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Original Issue

It's a Drag, Man!

Beatniks might consider it square, but to Marion (Mickey) Thompson, 31, it's really living to drag away from a standing start and scream a sauced-up car over a measured course in a race with the clock. Last year, with a flying start, Thompson did 363 mph at Bonneville to become America's fastest human on wheels. Here, whizzing down a runway at March Air Force Base, Calif., he goes after one of 14 acceleration records he set in a single day. Dressed like an astronaut, he sits hot-rod fashion behind the rear wheels of an 800-hp, Pontiac-engined, droop-nosed car he designed himself. Attached to the car's tail is a parachute for quick stops. In his top effort Thompson set a world record of 149.93 mph for the mile.