While drag racing was still in its infancy, technology was not part of the equation. The idea was to reduce weight and increase horsepower. Back then, speed parts were limited, but racers would alter the engine location and adjust the wheelbase to help weight balance. This led to the creation of the dragster. With wild proportions, these machines positioned the driver to the rear of the vehicle, with the engine just ahead of him. It was dangerous, but it worked!
These dragsters used weight balance to create enough traction to get down the track. The racing tires of the era had a slick surface, but the tire companies had not yet realized how to create an ultra-sticky compound or a flexible sidewall. These two developments would revolutionize the sport of drag racing, and it allowed the cars to go quicker and faster than ever before.
As the tires evolved, the famous piecrust sidewall would go away, in favor of wrinkle walls that would flex and allow for maximum traction. Additionally, drag strips began prepping the racing surface to further enhance traction.