by Doug Boyce
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The early days of organized drag racing saw the need to group cars of similar potential into classes to encourage competitive racing. As time passed and the sport evolved, a wide range of classes were organized, pitting cars with similar power-to-weight ratios against one another.
Older cars were lined up against newer models, and lighter-weight cars with six cylinders could be paired against heavier models with V-8s. Depending on how class breaks were organized, the car you drive daily could be a contender, if it were well-tuned and you had some talent behind the wheel.
This is the story of the Junior Stock classes, which blossomed in the 1960s and were pretty much killed in 1971 when the NHRA implemented a new 10 year rule, specifying that cars more than ten years old were no longer able to compete. The era of competitive early-1950s Oldsmobiles and Hudsons and dominant 1955 to 1957 Chevys was over, and so were the average guys chances at winning a class trophy. This colorful era spawned many of the legendary drag racers we remember today, including Grumpy Jenkins, Jere Stahl, Wayne Jesel, Arlen "Akron" Vanke, and teams such as The Ramchargers.
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