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

FROM THE GRANDSTANDS: GIVE ME THE OLD SCHOOL

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.

SHIRLEY SAYS: A NEW COLUMN BY SHIRLEY MULDOWNEY

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?

FROM THE GRANDSTANDS: OF WHISKEY, ICE CREAM AND SOURED STOMACHS

The relationships drag racing fans have with their favorite drivers is quite unique.
4-3-09timcharlet.jpg
We have our favorite classes, our favorite auto manufacturers and even
our favorite sponsors. We cheer for our favorite drivers, and when
something tragic happens to them, we take it hard, very hard and when
we do, we can cause others to question our sanity.

Have you ever had ice cream and a shot of whiskey at the same time?  

Under normal circumstances the combination of these two temptations
would create a sour stomach, but the feelings of this particular day
were not about how a mid section was about to feel. It was done to
remember a few friends and heal a deep wound. 

FROM THE GRANDSTANDS: CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHY?

For 30 years I have been a member of the ‘Church of Drag Racing’.

timglasseup.jpgWe
passed through Ash Wednesday about a week ago, which in the Christian
calendar is the beginning of Lent. Traditionally, Lent is a time of
soul-searching and repentance. It is a period (40 days for most
religious groups) for reflection and taking stock in ones life.

Even though I, along with my friend John Rogers decided to give up
donuts (for John) and chocolate (for Timmah) for Lent, I feel like it
may be time for me to make a few sacrifices to the church of drag
racing as well.

FROM THE GRANDSTANDS: KICK THE TIRES AND LIGHT THE FIRES?

2_5_2008_grandstands.jpgOne of my favorite parts of working on the starting line at the Mile
High Nationals is when "race master" Gary Ross stands between the first
pair of Top Fuel dragsters on a bright Sunday morning, looks at both
crew chiefs and says, "Are you guys ready? Okay guys...fire 'em up!"

I get chills thinking about it. If you love NHRA drag racing like I do,
I'm sure you just got goose bumps, too. Traditionally, I get those same
feelings as the season opens up in Pomona, Calif.

However, as the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series begins, for
some strange reason, I just do not have that same level of excitement
and anticipation that I have had for the past 30 years.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

AS WE SEE IT - TIME TO COUNT RECORDS

2_2_2008_1000_records.jpgWith the season-opening
NHRA Winternationals about to begin it’s time for the NHRA to stop considering
the records and points situation and make the
changes necessary
to level the
playing field for every professional competitor.
 
First, for those of you
who are still complaining about 1,000 foot drag racing, please note that our
sources within the NHRA have told us numerous times that they are continuing to
investigate ways of slowing the cars and returning to full quarter mile
racing.  The organization wants
that, the fans and media certainly want it and, under the right, safe
circumstances, so do the majority of the 
competitors.  The problem is
in putting together a reasonable plan that will result in safe competition
without putting a severe dent in the pockets of the team owners.  Despite the announcement that all of
this year’s races will be run to 1,000 feet, give the NHRA a break, and assume
that we’ll return to full quarter mile racing as soon as possible, and let’s
further hope that’s at the Winternationals in 2010.

UP FRONT: DO THE MATH

Right at the outset, let’s silence those critics of the National Hot Rod Association who appear to be blaming the sanctioning

1_21_2009_asher.jpg

body for the nation’s current financial situation. It is neither the
fault or responsibility of drag racing’s leading organization. The NHRA
had nothing to do with the meltdown on Wall Street or the horror show
that has become the real estate/mortgage industry, nor is it their
responsibility to solve the problems of lost or financially reduced
sponsorships.
 
Some of the suggestions I’ve been hearing for solving these problems
have been amazingly naïve, and point to a somewhat surprising lack of
understanding of the business side of drag racing. Individuals who have
proven to be ahead of the curve when it comes to tuning cars and
running race teams are way behind it when it comes to understanding
drag racing’s overall place in America. The harsh reality is that as
big as we’d like to think we are, we live in a nation of more than 305
million people. For the vast majority of them the term “drag racing”
stirs only vague thoughts, often negative in nature. In a private
conversation one of the sport’s most honored individuals put it
succinctly when he said, “Drag racing is only an essential activity to
those of us who make our livings from it.”

TIM CHARLET: FROM THE GRANDSTANDS

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Tim Charlet, a.k.a. TIMMAH, will begin a
monthly column today discussing life from the grandstands, the
not-so-cheap seats in today's drag racing. He speaks from a race fan's
perspective, a side often displaced in many commentaries not to mention
investigative articles. Charlet will bring ideas as he sees them, from
the average race fan's standpoint.
- Bobby Bennett

 

Have you ever been given a present that you will always remember?

Whether it was your ‘Red Rider BB gun’ or the puppy you always wanted,
there is always that one gift, for whatever reason, that is more
special than the others.

On Christmas day in 1988, I received the best present ever from my Dad.
It was my very own (National Hot Rod Association) NHRA membership card.
I was 15 years old, and was eagerly awaiting my 16th birthday the
following May. As I opened up the box, I did a quick inventory of the
items inside:

BOBBY BENNETT: PLEASE, SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING

12-29_editorial.jpg Does anyone else wonder if the NHRA management has any clue that we are in a financial crisis at this very moment?

I wonder if they’ve noticed more than a handful of professional teams have fallen by the wayside since the season ending event at Pomona. If they have, they sure haven't reported anything in their propaganda machines.

Drag racing has lost at least two 24-race touring operations in two weeks.

At the risk of sounding like another e-zine on the web, one can’t help but wonder when the NHRA is going to become proactive to the situation. Is there any justification for purported raises to the upper series management when the supporting cast is on the verge of going under?

BOBBY BENNETT: IS FORD POISED TO TAKE OVER PRO STOCK?

At least one of America's “Big Three” automotive manufacturers appears to be making the right moves, in and out racing.

12-10ford.jpg
Ford, a manufacturer who declined to be involved in a factory backed
effort for almost the entire last decade, could leapfrog its way to the
front of the pack in both the Pro Stock and Funny car divisions of the
NHRA within two seasons.

Strong words given the history of the Blue Oval's financial involvement
in the NHRA. Strong words backed up by all which has transpired inside
the automotive industry in the past few months.

If the current automotive “bailout” is any indication, Ford has shown
itself to be the strongest and best prepared to move forward in tough
economic times.

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