It was 1969, and things were crazy, After all, revolution was in the air after Nixon was comin’, and the infamous ‘68 Olympics ‘black power’ salute, and the Mansons, and Woodstock. And even if you were not in some SDS protest or tripping to the Doors, strange days were indeed upon the culture. In doorslammer drag racing, if we can make such a stretch from the former to the latter, it was the ‘breakout rule.’

At the time, the factories remained deeply involved in racing, and a lot of really good drivers were piloting Super Stock doorslammers, which ran on an index number based on a weight / factored horsepower formula NHRA had developed. This index was critical to qualifying as well as getting a starting line advantage. The factory drivers like Jenkins, Sox, Nicholson, Landy, and Leal were some of the most intelligent racers of the era, and they desired to play that index to their advantage – sandbagging, swapping cars and classes at whim, braking through the finish line lights (a dangerous scenario), and other shenanigans.

The innovating AHRA had already switched to a new heads-up Pro Super Stock division, and NHRA racers often raced each other heads-up on divisional Super Stock circuits that year. At big NHRA events, however, it was ‘run whatcha brung, and don’t brung trouble on your index.’ By Indy that summer, if you reset the record in your class, it altered the index for everyone; NHRA had upped the ante by stating that every quickest run under the old index would qualify as the new record and the other racers in that class would have to work from there. This was done in the hopes of getting the fastest cars to run flat-out.

So Chrysler, whose plethora of Super Stock equipment that had begun in 1963 was abundant, decided to go to a small Ohio racetrack a few hours away from Indy on Friday with all their connected racers (and if you were not connected, you probably weren’t quick enough to be a problem). They timed each car and then chose the quickest entries to be the only ones to race in the SS/B, SS/BA, and SS/CA classes; when class eliminations got underway, several big name guys who were already qualified deliberately redlit or lost to ensure the chosen few got in the field by running ‘record times.’ When the smoke cleared on Monday, Ronnie Sox was in the winner’s circle and NHRA called a meeting Tuesday morning with the racers plus industry guys like Dick Maxwell and Vince Piggins on hand to decide how to fix it for 1970. The answer was Pro Stock.