:::::: Editorials ::::::

SUSAN WADE: KING COUNTY, YOU HAVE LOTS OF NERVE

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With its Thursday announcement that it has canceled the July 31–Aug. 2 Flav-R-Pac Northwest Nationals near Seattle, the NHRA is yet another casualty – not of coronavirus restrictions, as it appears, but of Washington State’s and Seattle’s incredible hypocrisy.

The Glendora, Calif.-based sanctioning body said in its prepared statement that the event at Pacific Raceways is off the 2020 schedule “due to COVID-19 restrictions in Washington state and King County that would not allow fans to attend the event.  . . .  For the event to proceed with fans in attendance, King County, where the track is located, would need to reach Phase 4 of Washington’s reopening plan. As of today, King County is still in Phase 2 and with the time required before moving into subsequent phases, it would be very unlikely, if not impossible, to arrive at Phase 4 in time for the rescheduled 2020 event.”

THE TOD MACK MEMOIRS: NASCAR DRAG RACING - WHAT WENT WRONG? PT. 1

 

Tod Mack, a former owner of Maryland international Dragway, had his fingerprint on many promotions and innovations from the heralded facility located in Budds Creek, Md.

Mack, whose promotional home runs included the US Pro Stock Open, Mountain Motor Nationals, and The Wild Bunch, solidified his name in the ranks of significant drag racing contributors.

Mack was the first to use a pairings ladder based on qualifying times for the nitro cars when he ran the NASCAR Drag Race Division in the 1960s. Tod and Larry, along with Lex Dudas and Mike Lewis, created the ET Bracket Finals program in the early 1970s, which the group finally turned over to NHRA after a few years. MIR was the winner of the Inaugural event held at York US 30 Dragway. All in all, Tod Mack owned or operated six tracks over his career, and MIR fans benefited from his decades of experience.

DRAG RAGS OF 1963: FUEL IS BACK - OR IS IT? JETS RUN WILD

Entire books could be written about the many historical milestones recorded during this single season. In February at Pomona, fuels other than pump gasoline returned to NHRA for the first time since the 1956 Nationals—if only unofficially and "experimentally." Immediately afterwards, NHRA president and outgoing Petersen Publishing Co. editorial director Wally Parks expressed buyer's remorse to his editors at Hot Rod, Car Craft, Rod & Custom: "Due to limited field of Fuelers that appeared for participation in the Winternationals, and the great amount of difficulty a number of them provoked, it is doubtful that NHRA will continue to include these classes at its major events," began a February 19 internal document unearthed only a few years ago in the PPC archive (by longtime, now-ex-archivist Thomas Voehringer). Indeed, just as president Parks wished, NHRA stubbornly continued to enforced the gas-only formula for its next (and only other) 1963 national event, Indy’s Big Go. Nearly no one outside of PPC and NHRA knew at the time how close Wally came to extending the unpopular ban beyond its seven miserable years.   

ENCORE - THE BAZEMORE FILES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

bazemore leadMost drag racing fans who are familiar with my story, know that I worked as a photographer for many years before my own racing career finally got underway in 1986. Once I started racing, I put away my cameras and focused (pun intended) solely on my career. All of my past work was no longer important to me. But even though I no longer cared about my past, I did manage to lug around 11 big plastic bins of negatives and transparencies from the mid eighties all over the country. They've been stored in numerous storage units, moved from Atlanta to Indy back in 1994, stacked up in the not-so-dry 1932 era basement of my first house, and most recently, stored in the garage next to all of my and my family's cycling and ski equipment out here in Oregon. How I kept them, and why, I am not sure, but, boy, am I glad I did. I kept all of my camera equipment too, for the most part, although I did sell my 500mm lens to noted photographer and fellow Super Stock Magazine contributor Francis Butler after we had blown something up in the funny car in 1990. I last did a professional shoot (for WInston) in 1989 to raise some quick money when Gary Evans and I formed our own team, Bazemore Evans Racing. I next shot our car in 1996 for the cover of National Dragster. That was it until 2005 when my son Dashiell was born. In 15 years, I had picked up a camera exactly one time.

THE TOD MACK MEMOIRS: THE BIRTH OF THE MOUNTAIN MOTOR NATIONALS

BOBBY BENNETT: A LESSON LEARNED ABOUT MEMORIAL DAY

There's nothing "happy" about Memorial Day.

I rarely prefer to write commentaries, so when I do, it's something which I feel strongly.

Let me say; I am in absolute appreciation for anyone who has served our country. Additionally, I am in awe of those who have served on the battlefield. However, I do have a special place in my heart for those who served our country bravely in a war where they had zero chance to win.

Vietnam Veterans are my heroes. They were drag racing's solid hold on the 18 to 24-year-old market when drag racing could be found in popular television shows as part of network television storylines, significant media and even cartoons.

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS ENCORE: TIM RICHMOND BELONGED IN A FUNNY CAR

 

On August 13, it’ll be 29 years since Timothy Lee “Tim” Richmond succumbed to the devastating effects of the AIDS virus. He was 34.

The late Raymond Beadle, with whom Tim enjoyed his first real success on the NASCAR tour, was himself one of the “cool kids” in a very cool era but even he was overshadowed by Richmond’s larger than life persona. Tim was a modern day Errol Flynn, the movie swashbuckler from the 1940s. You may have seen him on American Movie Classics. If not, Google him because that was Tim Richmond.

 

 

LEE MONTGOMERY: YOU ARE FRIENDS WITH WHO YOU ARE FRIENDS WITH

 

My buddy Stan Creekmore died yesterday. 

Stan wasn't a driver or a crew chief or an engine builder. He didn’t work for a sanctioning body or a race team.

But, boy did he love racing – and racers.

I'm sure I met Stan at a race track years ago, though I don't remember exactly which one or exactly when. We were in NASCAR together for several years, and we continued our friendship in NHRA. 

THE TOD MACK MEMOIRS: A DRAG RACING RIVALRY

JON ASHER: ANOTHER FAILURE TO LEAD

 

I wrote an editorial under the above title, with a different subtitle, on April 2, but after re-reading it I decided to round file it. The first three ‘graphs addressed the continuing concerns about COVID-19 and how I felt NHRA was in error suggesting a return to racing with LODRS racing in mid-May. Late on the afternoon of April 24 NHRA wisely announced the postponement of those four events, but the initial announcement only appeared on nhraracer.com and was not in the form of a general press release distributed to the media.

Regardless of those postponements and how they were announced it does not make up for the tremendous amount of lost momentum that’s resulted from NHRA’s media inaction since mid-March. The last press release that scrolled across my screen from NHRA was dated April 2 announcing the proposed race dates. Glendora has remained silent for the last 22 days.

During the ensuing three weeks-plus, every media outlet known to publish motorsports news has received a plethora of releases from NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA and numerous other organizations. In addition, many of us are also being bombarded with a long string of releases prepared and distributed by the teams competing on those circuits. Sure, a great many of them – heck, most in fact – are in some way related to the virtual racing events those organizations are hosting online. So what if they aren’t what we’d call “hard news.” The point is, they’re out there.

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