PRI 2011: Project 1320 Tells Stories Of Drag Racing’s Heroes

More than sixty years ago, as World War II drew to a close, a collection of young racers and mechanical talents with an entrepreneurial spirit took their fascination with the automobile to a new level, creating the very roots of the sport of drag racing. As the sport began a slow, steady growth across the nation and eventually exploded into a major force on the motorsports scene in the 1960’s, the vibrant performance aftermarket industry was born. Little did these individuals know that their efforts would bore the multi-billion dollar industry that exists today, nor that their hobbyist exploits would one day make them legends.

Today, the racing and performance industry are losing these pioneers at an alarming rate, and the Quarter Mile Foundation, through its Project 1320, has set out capture the stories, the successes, and the frustrations of these legends of the quarter mile, while they still can.

In addition to the ongoing capture of interviews with well over 100 of the early legends of the sport of drag racing, the team behind Project 1320 has gathered hundreds of hours of original video footage from the formative years of the sport.

Attempts have been made to share the stories of these individuals, but never before has a collective effort been approached to being together an all-encompassing tale of these legends. The goal of Project 1320 is to capture the historical perspectives of these pioneers of drag racing through first-person stories, coupled with images and footage from the period, to tell the “who, what when, where, how, and why” of how it all happened.

Said Board Member Wayne Wolfe, “The influence of these individuals influenced the way America built automobiles. If it hadn’t been for that little group in those early, formative years, we’d all be driving little Fiat’s or something rather than here in Orlando, part of this showcase of a this vibrant performance industry.”

The mission is to create a 25 episode, high quality documentary film series to air on a national television network that focuses on the people, the manufacturers, the associations, and the behind-the-scenes people and tales to share the story of how this great sport came to be. The work of Ken Burns, who has a long list of historical documentaries to his credit, Project 1320 will be narrated by legendary voices Dave McClelland and Jon Lundberg.

As a nonprofit organization, Project 1320 is funded entirely through contributions from manufacturers, individuals, and other parties.

The eight member board and the countless small and large contributors to Project 1320 hope that during the next two years, their promotional efforts pay off with the attainment of their goal of a 25 episode documentary on a national cable television network.

“When we lose these heros, or as their memories began to fade, we lose their stories forever. We’re simply running out of time to capture them, and that’s our goal” says Wolfe. Project 1320 already has a large number of interviews completed and is inundated with footage.” The end result will include first-person interviews with drivers, crew chiefs, writers, photographers, sanctioning body personnel, track owners, sponsors, and others. Although very dependent upon contributions for the expenses of traveling and filming, the eight member board of the Quarter Mile Foundation hopes to conclude this project within the next two years.

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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