Harley-Davidson Museum: ‘Drag Racing – America’s Fast Time’

You give some red-blooded, American goofs wheels, big engines and one quarter mile of open pavement, and it won’t take long for them to challenge each other. They’ll simply have to find out who can cross that distance the fastest, and it’s that death defying foolishness that the Harley-Davidson Museum rightfully celebrates with their new exhibit.

It’s generally believed the tradition of drag racing and its signature distance began in Detroit’s Woodward Avenue where Motown’s muscle cars would meet, Sine the distance stoplight to stoplight was a quarter mile, it seemed a natural enough distance for amateur racers to test without risking certain arrest.

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Running in the special exhibit space at the Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson attraction through September 5, Drag Racing: America’s Fast Time explores the history and record-setters amongst amateurs and professionals, cars and motorcycles. Including genuine drag racing artifacts and vehicles from the Harley-Davidson Museum’s own collection and on loan from across the United States, the show creates a temple of straight line speed.


While obviously putting a heavy focus on the death-defying world of motorcycle drag racing (including some of Harley-Davidson’s own record breaking machines), the exhibit acknowledges the sport began on four wheels — making automotive drag racing the image most people conjure when this particular motorsport is named. All summed up, there’s plenty to behold for gearheads and motorcycle lovers alike.


If  you can’t get out to hot and sticky Milwaukee along Lake Michigan this summer to check out the latest Harley-Davidson Museum exhibit, you can catch a glimpse as it speeds by in the gallery below.

All photos by John Scott Lewinski