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


UPDATED 08-28-2009 - As they say in football, upon further review it turns out that John
Force Racing did nothing wrong in their recent testing and car swaps
08_24_2009_asher_upfront.jpgprior to the race in Reading.  I regret having accused the NHRA of
appearing to show favoritism to Force, but the fault for my error lies
directly with the sanctioning organization itself.

The wording of the rule as issued by Graham Light’s Competition
Department varies slightly from the wording in the press release
regarding the test ban policy which was disseminated by the Media
Department.  Light has apparently accepted the responsibility for this
error, which resulted in a media-wide assault on the organization.

Despite the hours we spend digging to get the truth for our articles
there are numerous instances in which we’re forced by circumstances to
accept the word of the sanctioning organization as expressed in the
press releases they distribute.  One such circumstance is obviously
technical areas regarding rules, points and record procedures and how
races are conducted.  We assume that the information we receive through
formal channels, and that which appears on NHRA official sites, to be
accurate and the final word on those topics.  The wording of the
release as distributed by the sanctioning organization resulted in many
of us believing that some sort of behind-the-scenes maneuvering took
place to allow the JFR testing, and that now appears to be untrue.


This is 'My Take'. My feelings, my observations and most importantly my opinions which are being shared with you, the reader.
After twenty six years as a journalist covering the NASCAR circuit I
have spent the better part of this year splitting time between NASCAR
and NHRA events. It has been the best year. There is excitement at an
NHRA event which doesn't exist in the NASCAR world, at this time, at
least for me.

What does exist at both events are fans, rabid fans who love their
sport but also love to complain about their sport. Complaining can be
good, when there is something to complain about.

For example, some fans like to complain that John Force and his teams
get too much attention. Yes, they get a lot of attention, at least John
and Ashley always seem to be in the spotlight. What do you expect?  One
is a 14-time National champion with over 1000 round wins while the
other is, at least when in a race car, a chip off the old block.


If the ADRL is to play on the same level as it aspires to be with the
NHRA and where the IHRA 7-29-2008_adrl_pains.jpgused to be, then a measure of the Mom & Pop
mentality that helped propel the group is going to have to be brushed

It was impressive to watch the multitude of spectators come and go in
multiple waves at the recent event in Dinwiddie (Va). When the ADRL
says the crowd was the largest that has ever been at Virginia
Motorsports Park that’s not propaganda. It’s the truth.

Having been at the very first ADRL event, even before it was an
official series, and watching the excitement of their first event, it’s
impressive to see how far the group has come. An even though the lead
man, Kenny Nowling, can work a microphone into submission, he was and
will always be the right man for the job of leading the ADRL.


07_29_2009_promoters.jpgNational Speed Sport News Editor Chris Economaki gave a short but profound answer to Michael Knight, host of VoiceAmerica.com's The Race Reporters radio show June 24 on the Internet's Power Up Channel.
Knight asked Economaki whether the Indianapolis 500 or the Daytona 500 is America's premier race. Replied Economaki, "The Daytona 500 is important because it is heavily promoted. The Indianapolis 500, unfortunately, is not heavily promoted. It's presented and managed well, but it isn't promoted well. That is the big difference. You have to beat the drums for your event, and the Indianapolis 500 doesn't have a drum-beater."
Neither does drag racing.


1-2-07-prettyflycover.jpgHello again, Race Fans!  I found myself with another opportunity to
highjack the Geezer’s column.  Since my first introduction into drag
racing at the 2007 IHRA World Finals in Rockingham, NC, I’ve been able
to attend a few other IHRA and NHRA events.  However, I haven’t been
able to get my schedule to jibe with that of the ADRL.  With big thanks
to the McDonald family, that streak ended and I was able to hitch a
ride with them to the Hardee’s Independence Drags in Topeka, KS where I
was able to attend my first ADRL race, witness Bennie Mac’s return
after his stroke, and take part in the racing weekend alongside a true
racing family.


07_08_2009_grandstands.jpgWe all love walking into a race track where the owners 'get it'.

'It' is an intangible, which separates the great from the good.
It also helps many consumers chose to frequent a business based off of
one simple criteria, am I comfortable spending my money here?

There are two families, the Bader and Bandimere families, who understand what “it” is and it shows in their facilities.

Bill Bader Sr. and his family have been providing racers and fans with
The Norwalk Experience since April 1974.  Their goal is simple, to
ensure a positive experience for both the racer and the fans.  They
accomplish this by staying true to their mission statement of providing
a customer service driven, customer friendly facility that makes good
sense and focuses on value.


There’s no doubt the most recognizable nick-name in drag racing is “Big Daddy”.
Case in point, when the NHRA announced their  top 50 drag racers of all
time, as voted on by the media,  Don “Big Daddy” Garlits took the top
prize largely on the basis of his valuable contributions to the sport
and secondly because of his success in winning 144 major drag racing
events and a score of world championships.

The name Big Daddy truly fit his reputation.

I was introduced to drag racing by a Big Daddy whose first name
ironically was also Don. This Don didn’t race a Top Fuel car and didn’t
shave his beard at the 1967 US Nationals. In actuality, I looked up to
this Big Daddy Don from San Jacinto, CA more than the iconic drag racer
from Ocala, FA.

This Don is Don Charlet, Jr., my father.


I’ve had a truly wonderful driving career, and even if I could go back and change a few things, I doubt if I would.  It’s not that I’ve 6_10_2009_shirley.jpggotten
philosophical as the years have gone by, but I guess that when you get
right down to it, you live your life the best you can, and take the
good times with the bad.

Everyone’s heard the stories of how difficult it was for me to become a
driver, so I won’t bother repeating those yet again.  I will admit,
however, that I do appreciate it when women drivers acknowledge me as
having paved the way for them.  I’d love to say that I’m glad I did it,
but in all honesty, when I was going through it I never considered the
long term picture.  You never see yourself as a “pioneer,” and that
certainly wasn’t my intention at the time.  All I wanted to do was
drive a race car without being hassled because I was a woman.  Now,
looking back on it all, I’m glad that I went through all of the crap
just so today’s women drivers don’t have to.  Well, maybe “glad” wasn’t
the right word.  I went through it so others don’t have to, but from
the conversations I’ve had with some of the younger drivers out there I
get the feeling that some of them have been subjected to additional
scrutiny just because they’re girls.


Everyone loves a good “old” story. A story where age and experience
triumph over youth and exuberance. A story which exposes the 5-21-09timcharlet.jpgrichness of the foundation upon which the dreams of tomorrow were built.

How could anyone not be impressed when a seventy-something Chris Karamesines holds his own against a Del Cox Jr. in Top Fuel?

Who doesn't cheer loudly when Warren Johnson puts it to the younger
competition,  when the seasoned Pro Stock driver goes through the
gearbox quicker than a hot knife through butter?

We all love when battle-worn veterans, dragging decades of experience
down the quarter-mile, break out the win light. And, the victory is all
the sweeter when it's old school whipping up on new school. When
yesterday's mousetrap proves as effective as today's fancier version.


I have always loved drag racing.  There’s nothing else like it.  It’s
the only thing I know of in which all of your senses come into play in
4_24_2009_shirley.jpgjust a few seconds.  Of course, when I started driving the cars were a
lot slower than they are today, but it’s all relative, isn’t it? 

From the second you strap on that helmet you step into another world. 
You’re still aware of everything around you, but at the same time it’s
kind of like you’re in some kind of isolation booth.  Your crew can be
talking to you, and even though you can hear what they’re saying, their
voices seem to come from far away.  As you sit there, strapped into the
car waiting to run, you can look out and see the fans, but it becomes
just a mass of colors.  And even though your crew might be running all
around the car after the engine fires, it’s just you and that car.  You
become one.

I won’t describe what a run is like because everyone who’s ever been
down the track knows the feeling, and it doesn’t matter if you were
driving a 15 second Stocker or a Top Fuel dragster.  Like I said
earlier, it’s all relative, isn’t it?