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

GUEST EDITORIAL - YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY LADIES!

Written by Dina Parise.

10003298 10202043618114156 362426882 nThe very early days of NASCAR (1949) had names such as Louise Smith and Ethel Mobley. In 1965, Shirley Muldowney was the first woman licensed by NHRA to drive a gasoline-burning dragster capable of speeds over 150 mph in the quarter-mile. In 1977 Janet Guthrie was the first woman to earn a starting spot in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 (where she was top rookie). Ladies have been making their mark in the Motorsports industry for decades.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Carolyn Melendy. (Read about Carolyn Melendy here: www.competitionplus.com She is considered the first lady of Pro Modified racing, having been involved in the class since the 1990s. At the time it was male dominated, and she recalled that no one wanted to line up next to her to race. The issue to her male counterparts was that  they felt she did not have the skill to drive a Pro Mod car.  

Finally, Bill Kuhlmann (a pioneer in the Pro Mod movement), decided to line up next to her, thinking he would have her by many car lengths. The conclusion was that he was sadly mistaken. Although Carolyn did not win the race, she was right with him all the way. It was there that she began to legitimize herself in the Pro Mod world and consequently open the door for women like me. I’m thankful for that. And on a side note, I would like to mention Annette Summer and Carol Long, two ladies in Pro Mod that I also feel may not get the recognition they deserve. Or even Bunny Burkett (IHRA Funny Car Driver and World Champion) for that matter. Ladies much like me that work hard at their craft without the accolades. True racers. And at the heart of it, that is what we are; racers, drivers and competitors.

 

SUSAN WADE: TOM COMPTON’S SPEECH THAT WASN’T . . . BUT SHOULD BE

Written by Susan Wade.

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"Breaking News: This is an ESPN Special Report. We pre-empt the regional volleyball game to bring you this special presentation.

"We're in Glendora, California, this evening for a State of the Sport Address. We're here before a joint session of Professional and Sportsman Racers. The National Hot Rod Association Board of Directors – drag racing's 'Supreme Court,' if you will, has been seated. The NHRA department heads are in place. And now we'll hear from Graham Light, the NHRA's senior vice-president of racing operations, who serves as the NHRA's Sergeant at Arms, and he'll introduce Tom Compton.”

Light enters and in the customary loud announcement, calls out, "Mister Speaker, the President of the National Hot Rod Association!"

The doors swing open and Tom Compton strides in, shaking hands with team owners and racers as he makes his way to the stage. Once the applause fades, he greets his distinguished guests and begins to lay out his agenda for the sanctioning body.

 

 

 

 

 

SUSAN WADE: PACIFIC RACEWAYS – AND MAYBE ITS HISTORY – ON AUCTION BLOCK

Written by Susan Wade.

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Jason Fiorito, president of Pacific Raceways, has come up with a master plan to develop his family's 320-acre multiuse property southeast of Seattle into an "automotive and design technology campus" with global reach.

It’s his one idea that has gained traction after several scrapped projects since he took over management of the facility from Jim Rockstad in January 2002. It’s a clever, relevant, and even economically and environmentally beneficial proposal, with its mission to bring together high-tech and automotive companies for advancements in the renewable-energy-vehicle industry and other “green” initiatives.

But it casts uncertainty on the future of National Hot Rod Association drag racing in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UP FRONT: IT'S ABOUT FIXING THE SHOW

Written by Jon Asher.

 

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Before we begin, the importance of this topic resulted in our consulting a half dozen others, seeking their input on these topics. The people who provided that input are anything but in complete agreement with everything, and we’re good with that. Even though this is an editorial, seeking wide-ranging opinions has helped set the tone while also helping to clarify our own thoughts.

After our last editorial (http://www.competitionplus.com/drag-racing/editorials/26057-up-front-racing-is-killing-drag-racing1) we were overwhelmed by the support it received. In addition to e-mails and calls, the number of Facebook and on-site “Likes” topped 4,500, while the “Didn’t Likes” numbered less than one percent of the total respondents, or less than 50. During a recent national event we heard a number of strong supporting comments, some from surprising sources, which included NHRA executives, race team owners, track operators, corporate sponsors, mechanics and drivers. The only conclusion we can draw is there’s widespread belief that the current “show” aspects of NHRA Drag Racing are sadly lacking, and something must be done about it to not only attract new fans, but keep the ones we already have.

 

 

 

IAN TOCHER: SAFE TO SAY X-DRL EXPERIMENT IS OVER

Written by Ian Tocher, Drag Illustrated; Photos by Roger Richards.

tocherWith three events left in its eight-race inaugural season the X-treme Drag Racing League ran into “X-treme” trouble. Late purse payments to racers plagued the upstart eighth-mile organization almost from the start and promises from series president Jeff Mitchell to make good are now looking about as empty as—well, as empty as the grandstands on race day at an X-DRL event.

Whether this mess—and make no mistake about it, the X-DRL experiment can now officially be referred to as a mess—is self-inflicted or the X-DRL is at the mercy of its own non-paying “sponsors,” the credibility of the series is destroyed. Time after time racers, fans and media alike this year heard reassurances, statements of solvency, pledges of support and offers of excuse, but with the outright cancellation late in August of events at Indianapolis and Montgomery, Alabama, and the season-ending X-DRL World Finals at Charlotte in October left as little more than an underfunded dream, it’s time to get the forks out; the X-DRL is done.  

After a decent debut at Tulsa in April, through no fault of its own the X-DRL suffered through a rainout at Bristol later that month at an event that attracted only about 80 race teams and perhaps as many spectators. During one of several rain showers I sat down with Mitchell and asked how much of a setback—financially—a race like that would be to the fledgling X-DRL and he assured me it was none. “The money is not at the track,” he said, explaining he wasn’t relying on racer entry fees or spectator admissions to keep the series afloat. “We have a three-year plan and there’s enough (money) lined up right now to see it through those three years.”

GUEST COMMENTARY – JIM HUGHES: THE PROCESS ONLY IMPROVES WITH INPUT

Written by Jim Hughes.


jim hughesJim Hughes is both a successful super class racer and business owner. His Hughes Performance brand is recognized worldwide as one of the leaders in his industries. He has also won many national events both as a driver and team owner. This year, Hughes has been a vocal proponent for safety in super class racing and has at times taken the NHRA to task for their policies regarding this style of racing. Recently, Hughes and K&N Filers President Steve Williams offered their opinions in a CompetitionPlus.com article asking if the three-decade's old Super Comp and Super Gas indexes should be made quicker. The topic quickly became a lightning rod of controversy. In this guest editorial, Hughes offers his insight and ideas to help Super style racing.  

A recent article published here in CompetitionPlus.com regarding the viability of changing the indexes for the Super classes generated input and healthy debate. There is no doubt, certain aspects of our style of racing need to be updated and/or reorganized, if only to keep up with the changing times and increase of horsepower our industry has developed.

STRAIGHT UP: PROCK PRODIGY, SCELZI SENSATIONS REUNITE ON WEST COAST

Written by Susan Wade.

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While Jimmy Prock was tuning John Force to his 136th Funny Car victory Sunday at St. Louis, his and wife Jill's 18-year-old son Austin was racing in California with four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi and his family.
 
The younger Prock, a midget racer and the 2012 STARS (Short Track Auto Racing Series) Rookie of the Year, reconnected with longtime buddies Dominic and Giovanni Scelzi, now 16 and 11 years old.
 
And they crammed their visit with -- what else? Racing.
 
The youngsters went Thursday night to a town near the Scelzis' home at Fresno for some go-kart racing. They were back in the shop the next morning to finish prepping the micro sprint cars to race in that night at Plaza Park Raceway at Visalia. The following night they raced at Lemoore.

 

 

 

STRAIGHT UP - NHRA RACERS IDLE BUT THEY'RE BUSY, CALCULATING

Written by Susan Wade.

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When Winston sponsored the NHRA professional series, it sponsored the No-Bull Showdown between Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars at Bristol, Tenn. But Lex Dudas' Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., can top that.
 
The dragstrip that last October produced national records in all pro classes . . .  the dragstrip on which the sport's best set performance milestones . . . will see more than horsepower. It will be the site next June 7 of the Northeast Great Bull Run.

 

 

STRAIGHT UP - BRITTANY FORCE PUTS THREE FROM FAMILY IN TRAXXAS EVENT

Written by Susan Wade.

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Castrol EDGE Top Fuel driver Brittany Force threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis Tuesday night for the Indianapolis Indians Triple-A minor-league game. Shawn Langdon, one of her Top Fuel competitors from Al-Anabi Racing, also participated in the pre-game festivities. "It was definitely something different," Force said. "I've never done anything like that before."



The 27-year-old Top Fuel rookie had excellent luck this week with ping-pong balls, too. She received the most fan votes among eligible Top Fuel racers for the final berth in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. The lottery winner was decided by different-colored ping-pong balls in a hopper, with each driver assigned a specific color. Force had 49 of the 100 balls in the hopper, and one of hers popped out in the Monument Circle drawing Wednesday at NHRA Fan Fest in downtown Indianapolis. She'll start her quest for the $100,000 winner's prize against top seed and points leader Shawn Langdon. Her sister Courtney and dad John will compete in the Funny Car version of the Traxxas Shootout.

"

This is very cool, and I'm so excited," Force said. "I remember watching my dad race in all the Big Bud Shootouts growing up, and to follow in his footsteps and get a chance to compete in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, it's awesome. This is an unbelievable feeling.

 

 

 

STRAIGHT UP - BIKE LEADER ARANA JR. HAS SECRET COUNTDOWN WEAPON

Written by Susan Wade.

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No one else except non-Countdown-driver Brandon Bernstein has the advantage, but Pro Stock Motorcycle leader Hector Arana Jr. only has to look across the dinner table to get championship advice.

Dad Hector Arana Sr. won the bike-class crown in 2009, and the son said he already has received valuable advice on the eve of the six-race playoff.

"He's been there; he's done that. So in a way I have all of his 20 years of experience in racing underneath my belt with only three years. Because he has told me everything and he's there [each] step of the way.  Sometimes he's even there going down a track right beside me. So definitely, it is a good tool to have," he said. "I'm definitely going to use him to my advantage for going for this championship this year."

 

 

 

STRAIGHT UP - BIKE LEADER ARANA JR. HAS SECRET COUNTDOWN WEAPON

Written by Susan Wade.

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No one else except non-Countdown-driver Brandon Bernstein has the advantage, but Pro Stock Motorcycle leader Hector Arana Jr. only has to look across the dinner table to get championship advice.

Dad Hector Arana Sr. won the bike-class crown in 2009, and the son said he already has received valuable advice on the eve of the six-race playoff.

"He's been there; he's done that. So in a way I have all of his 20 years of experience in racing underneath my belt with only three years. Because he has told me everything and he's there [each] step of the way.  Sometimes he's even there going down a track right beside me. So definitely, it is a good tool to have," he said. "I'm definitely going to use him to my advantage for going for this championship this year."

 

 

 

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