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

BOBBY BENNETT: THE GUARANTEE WAS THE DIFFERENCE

Having a guarantee with your name on it goes a long way to show what kind of person you are. 

"As owner and operator of Summit Motorsports Park, we, the Bader Family, together with our team, promise to present to you, our guest, the best show possible at the best value possible! Should we fail you in any way while you are at our park, help us improve your experience by resolving your issue on the spot."

In a nutshell, that was the kind of person Bill Bader Sr. was. 

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REMEMBERING JOHN DI BARTOLOMEO 1953-2022

When we’re kids the idea of death is often a far-off concept we give little thought to, but as the years pass, and life becomes ever more precious as we’re surrounded by family and friends, our realities change. As much as we might try to deny it, we know that everyone’s days are numbered, so we strive to make each one of those days more meaningful, more fulfilling. That was my friend – no our friend John Di Bartolomeo.

Born July 21, 1953, John was a “Joisey” boy through his formative years and remained a Jerseyite through the early years of his marriage to the former Dottie Hadrava. For the last 19 years John, Dottie and their children, Franklin, and Christina, lived in Beaver Springs, PA, literally a stone’s throw from the drag strip that originally bore the town’s name. Franklin and his wife, Jenny, and son, Evan, now reside in Huntersville, NC.

DAVE DENSMORE: THERE WAS ONLY ONE BIG MAC

The phone call I received Sunday morning was not unexpected. I knew that Dave McClelland had been wrestling with the demons of age. Slowly, methodically, they had robbed him of his mobility, his memory, and ultimately his will to unreasonably extend a battle whose outcome, unfortunately, he already knew. As did we all.

Nevertheless, the finality of knowing that the big, booming, one-of-a-kind voice that once defined NHRA drag racing would now forever be silenced was something for which I apparently was unprepared.

I’ve lost lots of friends the last few years. Raymond Beadle, Dale Armstrong, Paul Candies, Ernie Walker and, sadly, racer and journalist Johnny DiBartolomeo, of whose death I was informed just this morning. At my age, every time the phone rings, there’s a better than average chance it’s another confirmation of the inevitable.

RICHARD BRADY: JOHN D KNEW THE MEANING OF FRIENDSHIP

 

I was on my way back home from a trip up to Billings, Montana, when my cell phone rang. I grabbed it and answered to find it was John Di Bartolomeo, or John D as we all called him; on the other end, I pulled over so as not to lose the signal. The gist of what he told me left me pretty much numb and speechless at the time because what words can someone say to a friend, in the case of a very close friend, who has called to tell you that he has pancreatic cancer - one of the more deadliest forms of cancer out there, with little to no chance of total survival.

BOBBY BENNETT: ONE DAY YOU'LL SEE THE WORLD THROUGH MY EYES

Odd stuff usually happens in this office during the early morning hours. 
 
Early is a relative term, so let's just say in this instance that 7:30 a.m. is early. 
 
So I'm working away, and this kid rides up to the sidewalk in front of the office where I can see from my desk. He puts the kickstand down on his black Takara 10-speed, which looks a lot like the one this writer used to have when he was a young teenager. He just sits there looking at the posters we have in the front window. So I go back to work editing the latest episode of Legends: The Series.

DRAG RAGS OF JULY-DEC 1965: FUELERS, FUNNIES AND GASSERS APLENTY

COMMENTARY: WITH PHOENIX TRACK CLOSURE, TIME TO CONSIDER TRIMMED NHRA SCHEDULE

 

susan_01.jpgInitially, the news about Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park closing after the NHRA’s 2023 visit there to Chandler, Ariz., sounded terrible.

The mere fact the NHRA delivered it in a press release at 11:58 p.m. Pacific Time Friday (2:58 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday) smacks of damage-control mentality. It’s an old public-relations ploy: “Let’s hope nobody sees it or at least let’s mitigate the backlash.” Granted, we have no background information or any logical explanation why the timing is so suspicious, but it doesn’t matter, really.

The point is the NHRA has lost another venue. By that last suburban Phoenix race, five racetracks will have dropped off the circuit in six years. For various reasons, it permanently lost dragstrips at Englishtown, N.J., in 2018; Joliet, Ill., in 2020; and Commerce, Ga. (near Atlanta) this year. Houston is hosting its final race late next month, and by the end of the 2023 campaign, Phoenix (which has been a regular stop since 1985) will have closed its gates.

BOBBY BENNETT: DRAG RACING - IT'S AUSTRALIAN FOR DYSFUNCTION

There was a time when Australia was almost like a second home to me.

I learned certain words don't have the same meaning here in the United States as it does there. 

For instance, when a female says she took off her thong and whacked a spider, one should not get overly concerned. 

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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.

BOBBY BENNETT: THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL YOU; MAKES YOU STRONGER

Somewhere I heard that life is a test

I been through the worst but I still give my best

God made my mold different from the rest

Then he broke that mold so I know I'm blessed - Aloe Blacc

I've heard many times in my life, "That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.

Today is the start of a new year, a new resolution. Many will use January 1 as the launching date of a new approach to life or whatever they seek for self or professional improvement.

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