SCRA SERVED A PURPOSE FOR THEN DISPLACED CLASS RACERS IN 1988
Billy Meyer should have paid closer attention at the 1981 NHRA U.S. Nationals. Amid Top Fuel eliminations, that year in Indianapolis, one by one, disgruntled Modified Eliminator racers paraded down the return road. Their actions were in protest of the sanctioning body's decision to disband their eliminator, relocating their classifications into Comp and Super Stock eliminators. The move was not wholly, but primarily to make room for the new Super Gas division coming in for the 1982 season.
A little over five years later, Meyer would purchase the IHRA promising to take the rival organization to the next level. It didn't take long for Meyer to exemplify his lack of understanding of sportsman drag racing.
Less than a month after purchasing the series, Meyer proclaimed he was going to simplify sportsman drag racing by eliminating class racing and replacing the traditional IHRA eliminators of Modified, Super Stock, and Stock, with indexes of 7.90 through 12.90.
To paraphrase Meyer's quote in the house organ Drag Review, "Just pick an index that fits your car, and go drag racing."
The looks good on paper approach flew with the displaced sportsman racers as a lead balloon.
The IHRA's class racers banded together, and in an organized meeting held in Modified racer Kenny Melton's basement in December 1987, a month after Meyer's comments rubbed them the wrong way. Thus the Sportsman Class Racers Association was born.
The original membership consisted of 42 members when Moroso Performance came aboard as the primary series sponsor, armed with a $15,000 championship package endorsed by founder Dick Moroso.
The series ran for two seasons, competing mainly in the Carolinas but often drifted outside into Virginia. By 1989, the IHRA was purchased by an ownership group intent on returning IHRA to the way it was before the 1988 debacle. Most of the then displaced racers returned to IHRA, while some just quit racing.
The SCRA served its purposed, and eventually disbanded but sent a message to the major series - sportsman racers will fight back.
There's nothing more prestigious than winning Top Fuel at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, and that's exactly what inspired a group of sportsman racers in 1981 to use E-1 of eliminations as a protest platform. #DragRacingNews #classicdragracing - https://t.co/AqqOU9aZgL pic.twitter.com/7eXKNr9INh— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) December 1, 2019