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

UP FRONT: FACING A HARSH FUTURE

11-21upfront_asher_harsh.jpgIn late 1972 the
publisher of Car Craft Magazine

offered me a staff position.  It was the
fifth such offer I’d received, and since I didn’t figure they’d ask again, I
accepted.  It turned out to be a
life-saver, although I didn’t know it until about six months later, when the
first nationwide gas crunch hit and the bottom fell out of the
economy.

 
With Americans sitting
in gas station lines that stretched for blocks, and new car sales in the dumper,
the number of jobs lost began to increase exponentially.  I’m not sure of the number 35 years distant,
but I think something like one in six Americans worked in jobs related to
Detroit’s OEM manufacturers.

FAITH IN THE FAST LANE – CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

Appearances ...sm_faithinthefastlane480x240.jpg

They certainly can be deceiving. No doubt we have all heard stories
about people or things that were not what they appeared to be. We’ve
even coined a special phrase for such situations: “Don’t judge a book
by its cover.”
    
Perhaps you have known some unassuming person who turned out to be far
more famous or accomplished than you ever imagined. For example, if you
had met Bill Gates 30 years ago, would you ever suspect that such a
geeky-looking guy would become one of the wealthiest people in the
world? Who would have guessed?
    
As a newcomer to the wild and furious world of championship drag
racing, would you ever guess that a cute little girl named Angelle
would become the winningest female in our sport’s history? Or if you
were being introduced to Bob Frey for the first time, would you ever
suspect … well, I’ll let you create your own scenario on that one.

ROGER RICHARDS - THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE BUCKET LIST

1-2-07-prettyflycover.jpgI want to report on a couple of things in the column this time. One of
them makes me feel really good about people and the other makes me feel
rather bad about people. I guess it depends on where I find those
people and what they are made of.

The thing that makes me feel really good about people is the
unbelievable response to my plea to help a fellow drag racer. In my
last column I told of Kathy Fisher’s minor need of a few dollars so she
could attend the last event on the IHRA schedule in Rockingham, N.C. As
I reported, she needed just $1000.00 to be able to meet the budget to
attend. While she and I were talking, it occurred to me that if only 20
of her friends would donate $50 each, she would have enough to make the
last race.

ROGER RICHARDS - HELPING A FRIEND

1-2-07-prettyflycover.jpgYou know, the greatest thing I have found in my retirement years are
the people I meet at the races. A tremendous number of those people I
have met I now call my friends.

I have also been fortunate enough to meet a great number of the racers competing today and a lot of the legends from the past.

These are two examples of why I always consider myself to be one of t
he luckiest people in the world.

GUEST COMMENTARY - BOB VANDERGRIFF DELIVERS

7-16-08vandergriff.jpgI am writing about a topic that has been a discussion piece for a long
time but due to some recent developments and numerous questions about
what my opinion is on the subject I have been prodded into sharing
them. In doing so I want to remind everyone that this is my opinion, it
always irks me when people are asked for their opinion and when giving
it get barbequed for it. You don’t have to agree with it that’s why
they call it an opinion and not fact.

The recent “rivalry” that has developed between Tony Schumacher and Hot
Rod Fuller, in my opinion, is a great and needed addition to our sport.

In Denver, Hot Rod had a shirt made that while I thought was hilarious
evidently infuriated quite a few people. I am not sure how or why
someone or a group of people would find this so offensive, in fact Hot
Rod pretty much made fun of himself on the front of the shirt and made
no actual derogatory reference to Team Schumacher, he left it there for
everyone to connect the dots.

LITTLE ROCK ROLLS by Roger Richards

1-2-07-prettyflycover.jpgLittle Rock, my travel van named in honor of Eric Medlen after his
favorite cutting horse, just keeps on rolling. Little Rock fell right
into the routine of hitting the road almost every weekend and heading
to a racetrack somewhere. He has thrown a shoe (flat tire/blowout) on a
couple of occasions (he is the proud owner of 4 new Goodyear shoes now)
and has gotten a burr under his saddle once or twice (alternator and
water pump failures) but he has proven to be a valiant steed and seems
anxious to get back on the road when we are back home at the Double R
ranch in Greer, SC. In the short time he and I have been partners, we
have traveled close to 50,000 miles on the trail. Roll on Little Rock.
God Bless Eric.

FAITH IN THE FAST LANE – THE UNANSWERABLE QUESTION

WHY?sm_faithinthefastlane480x240.jpg

No other question is more common or seems more relevant in the light of
extreme tragedy than this single-syllable inquiry. Occasionally in the
world of racing, this question is asked from hurting hearts with
painful concern. Having been a minister for 35 years, I’ve been granted
the opportunity of helping people face the tragedy of death on many
occasions. While never a pleasant experience, I have repeatedly seen
God comfort the deep hurt to which we are all so vulnerable during such
times.

Two very important issues need to be settled at the very onset when
coping with the tragedy of death. First, we must realize that God does
not will tragedy to take place. Second, it is sometimes best not to ask
"why."

Christianity teaches that Christ was sent into this world that we might
have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. God is a God of
life; he is concerned with life and wants us to know and enjoy life
more fully. 

UP FRONT - ITS TIME FOR A COMPLETE HOUSE CLEANING AT NHRA

4-17-08asherupfront.jpgThe
embarrassment that was the Summitracing.com Nationals in Las Vegas
should be placed directly where the blame belongs – at the doorstep of
the National Hot Rod Association.  The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is completely blameless for the fiasco, particularly after

track management reportedly informed NHRA that they had already scraped
the track, but NHRA went ahead and scraped it again anyway.  The
NHRA not only owes track owner Bruton Smith a sincere apology, they owe
the same apology to Summit Racing Equipment, their other sponsors, the
competitors and, most of the all, to the fans who paid good money to
see a lousy show.
 
Compounding
an already disastrous weekend was NHRA’s bumbling of the announcement
of the $100,000 fine levied against Don Schumacher for an alleged fuel
violation.  Rather than wait until Tuesday, when
the media would have been scattered to the winds, and getting reactions
from Schumacher and Graham Light would have been problematical, the
announcement was made Sunday afternoon, resulting in a media feeding
frenzy.  That was further compounded by Light’s reported less-then-professional statement during the event telecast Sunday night.
 
While
we’ve heard cooler heads were advising holding off any announcement,
Light was apparently adamant about its immediate importance, forcing us
to ask, Was this about a real issue, or was it more about Light being
desirous of demonstrating his own power and importance?

AS WE SEE IT – A STRONG CASE OF INEPT TRACK PREP AND MORE

4-15-08vegastrack.jpgMaybe the NHRA truly just doesn’t get it.

Maybe they just don’t understand true race fans are no longer
interested in forking out hundreds of dollars to watch nitro cars
compete in quarter-mile burnout contests.

When thirteen of sixteen races are won in the same lane in the same
round, which occurred this past weekend in the first round of the
SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas Dragway, there is a serious
problem. A problem not explained away by suggesting the track was hot,
because both lanes were under the same sunny conditions yet one lane
was garbage and the other was a little bit better.

The NHRA's defense of the product touts attendance figures which are at
an all time high. While attendance may be up, the quality of the
product is moving in the opposite direction.

On television, the presentation looked horrible. In person it was even
worse. Event after event, one of the announcers stands on the wall
prior to the finals and delivers his traditional speech of gratitude to
those in attendance.   “We realize you have many options when spending
your entertainment dollar and on behalf of the NHRA, we’d like to thank
you for spending it with us.”

NORM FROSCHER: GOD BLESS THE LADIES

2-18-08froscherladies.jpgThe ladies, God Bless them!
  
No, this isn't about Hillary Clinton.
  
Or even one's wife as a means of making up after an argument.
   
This is about the fairer sex, some pretty danged hard-nosed, in the
rough and tumble world of racing. Yep, driving, riding, publicizing and
writing about.
     
As you probably realize, it wasn't always so.
  
Far from it, in the arena or even in the garage or on the media side of things.

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