Acceleration was and is the only value. Briefer and briefer elapsed times, the goal; shaving weight and boosting power any way possible, the means. Cars with comparable kinds of bodies ran in match races, with few restrictions on engine, chassis, and drive-train modifications that owners could try.
The motivating ideaand the quality that still attracts the die-hard enthusiasts for the formis the no holds barred expression of sheer power deftly.
Rules have changed over the years to accommodate technical changes, such as fiberglass bodies, and additional safety improvements, such as roll cages and fire suppression to protect the driver.
Drag racing is not as widely popular with the public as Indy or NASCAR. It is, perhaps, more a mechanics form of racing rather than a drivers formbut any enthusiast will rightly point out the skills of the drivers of such high-powered cars, the fastest of which now exceed 300 mph in the quartera far cry indeed from the drag race depicted in Rebel Without a Cause.