The first thing I need to do this month is to thank every one who expressed their condolences at the passing of my Dad. I received hundreds of emails, cards and flowers and entries on message boards. Thanks to all my friends world wide. One humorous note as a result of all the flowers present from race teams at the service. Several folks looked at the senders' card and expressed confusion about Sam's (my Dad) involvement in drag racing. Little did they know that in the late 1940's, Dad was the terror of the mill village of Apalache , S.C. That is the current location of the Greer Drag strip. Before the strip was built in 1954, Dad would do ¼-mile burnouts in his1939 Ford and generally run roughshod through the streets of Apalache. Cecil Glenn, the local general store owner, used to entertain me with stories about my dad and his car; stories that my dad would not admit to until the day he left this world. He never admitted to them nor did he deny them, but the twinkle in his eyes when I asked about them gave me the answer. Thanks again to everyone, and goodbye Dad.
Some people and race teams have somewhat of an off-season. However, I was fairly lucky again after the end of the national events in 2003. I managed to find a race or event of some kind almost every weekend throughout the winter. Whether it was a match race, banquet or a trade show, I managed to find something to attend and still meet and talk to my friends. Always close to the edge of insanity, I think I would have toppled over completely if not for those events to keep me going.
I got to see Rick Jones' new car at the Indianapolis PRI show before he gave it some test runs in Bradenton , Fla. Also at the PRI show, I met John Montecalvo and Lois Anne Carlesco and was confused by the extra twinkle in their eyes. The confusion was cleared this week when they called me and told of their May 8 th wedding date. During some of the weekdays, to avoid the shakes, I made 6-hour driving trips to the Illusions Paint and Airbrush shop just to look at new paint. I became a nuisance at Tommy Mauney and Alan Pittman's chassis shops by dropping in unannounced just to see what new cars were on the jigs.
I spent more time in the CompetitionPlus chat room than I probably should trying to start rumors or picking the brains of a lot of racers and fans that frequent the room also. I did learn quite a bit about building cars, more than a photographer should know. If you haven't had a chance to attend, it can be a fun experience listening to all the trash-talk and some real down to earth sharing of knowledge. At any given night we will have visits from all over the world. Sweden, England, Iceland, Norway, Germany, Australia, Puerto Rico, Canada and one of the most foreign countries of all, New York.
Just a thought. If you read this month's Editorial, you will see a new problem for drag racing. Now, if Bill Bader was on his game, he would allow the cheaper nitromethane to be used in IHRA. The lesser cost of the nitro would offset the entry fee charged the TF teams that refuse to race IHRA because of the fee. Bader should make a big deal about the cheaper nitro and maybe attract some more crossover teams. He refuses to come off the entry fee and that is a major thing for pro teams. Money aside, it is the principle. However, for some of the lesser funded teams, this may be the time to really try and pull them into the IHRA TF show
All things are new again now that the new season is upon us. I already have a few completed events in my schedule book and have the bags packed for the next. Those bags will never really be completely unpacked until the middle of November. One thing has happened already that isn't NEW. I was the jinx that caused 75% of the events I attend last year to be affected by rain. So far this year, I am right on my game. More than half of the test/tune or match races or divisional events that I have attended have been rescheduled due to rain.
If I could really make things new again, that is the one thing I would fix.