May 16, 1972 – “It still isn’t like watching a tennis match, or a golf tournament, but it’s a far cry from the din we used to have, and what’s more, the people liked it.”

Carl Merrill, the racing director at Norwood Arena Speedway, was speaking of the debut of mufflers on racing cars at the NASCAR track’s first full competitive program of the season Saturday night.

May 17, 1951 Ad for Stock Car racing at the Norwood Arena

Merrill said that fans found they could talk to one another “in normal tones,” instead of shouting even as the cars tore into the turns and ripped down the straightaways.

“No more ‘roaring’ down the track,” he said. “When we were first asked by the town to install mufflers in the interests of ecology, we were apprehensive that taking the noise out of auto racing, or reducing it drastically would cut into its appeal. So far, we’ve found the opposite to be true.”

(The Boston Globe-May 16, 1972)

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