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Reyes On Tour:

Pro Stock - The Early Years

story by Aaron Green, photos by Steve Reyes

Factory involvement in drag racing changed the face of championship drag racing in many ways during the 1960’s. The “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” philosophy of the big Detroit car makers during that era first caused Super Stockers in the mid 1960’s to evolve into A/Factory Experimentals with altered wheelbases, running injected nitro burning powerplants. That eventually led to the tube framed, plastic bodied, blown nitro burning Funny Cars of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which now days have evolved into the 4 second, 300 mile per hour plus Funny Cars that we see at the major NHRA races today.

By the late 1960’s some of the Super Stock stars of that day and age had lost interest in the Funny Car wars because of several factors, including the fact that the nitro cars were much more prone to dangerous fires and crashes than their previous gasoline burning Super Stock rides. Plus the Detroit car makers wanted to run race cars that looked like the factory iron on their dealers showroom floors. That led to the evolution of Pro Stock, which were basically then current Super Stockers with highly modified engines racing on a heads up basis. First AHRA gave the Detroit factory stars a place to run their then new wave Pro Stockers in 1969, followed soon thereafter by NHRA in 1970. In 1970 most Pro Stockers turned low 10 second passes on the quarter mile, with some cars occasionally breaking into the high 9 second zone.

In this months installment of “Reyes on Tour”, Hall of Fame photographer Steve Reyes will show us what the early Pro Stockers looked like in the infancy of the class in the early 1970’s. It is interesting to see how these cars compare to the 6 second, 200 mile per hour plus Pro Stockers of today. CN

Looking for a classic drag racing photo of your favorite car or star? Chances are Steve Reyes has it. Or if you would like a professional photo shoot with your car, you can contact Steve Reyes via e-mail at