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

ALL IN THE FAMILY by Jeff Wolf

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In drag
racing, it’s all about family.
Thousands of families are involved in owning or operating teams from Top Fuel
to E.T. brackets.
The Forces fall into that category.
So do the Bernsteins.

The biggest stories of the preseason involved Ashley Force’s debut in Funny Car
and six-time champion Kenny Bernstein’s return this year to the category that
made him a motorsports icon.

 

UP FRONT with Jon Asher

01-25-06-asher.jpgNo publication worth the ink it’s printed with – although in our case
that probably means the pixels you see on your screen – lets the year
end without some sort of review. I could select the Best and Worst of
the Year, but in this instance I’ll just nominate what I think were the
most important stories of 2006. Of course, one man’s version of what
was important isn’t necessary another’s, so ultimately you’ll decide
what you think were the most meaningful stories of the past 12 months.

I don’t think there was one story that’s worthy of being the biggest
news of the year, but unlike Time Magazine, I won’t insult you by
suggesting that you are the story of year.

DO WE HAVE A VOICE? by Jeff Wolf

11-19-06-jeffwolf_2.jpgAs
members of the National Hot Rod Association we need to wrest control of the
organization from the fat cats now running it.

Or is that just my opinion?

We have as much input into its decisions as we do with how our government is
run. But at least we can vote as Americans.

The cry to unite should be loudest now as NHRA is a month away from
instituting its new points system, which is intended to fix something that isn’t
broken.

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS by Roger Richards

1-2-07-prettyflycover.jpgRodney reached a milestone
on December the 10th of 2006. Rodney is the name that my frequent
travel companion Brian Wood and I have given to the Astro van in which I have
criss-crossed the country for the last 5 years. We gave it that name because
any time someone asked what I drive and I tell them an Astro they usually roll
their eyes and give me that “I’m Sorry” look. Since the Astro gets no respect,
it has earned that name.

However, not many vehicles
can boast of the accomplishment that occurred about 7 pm on the 10th
of December. Rodney rolled over 300,000 miles while rolling down the right lane
of Bristol Dragway. Each year, Bristol
allows cars onto the grounds to view thousands of Christmas (not holiday)
lights decorating the complex.

GETTING A FRESH START by Ken Owen

sm_faithinthefastlane480x240.jpgIf you’re like most people I know – and especially racers as a whole – you
probably find comfort in being able to turn the calendar from December to
January every year. It’s a new year, a fresh start, and an opportunity to put
the past behind and begin looking forward to a new beginning.
    
Due no
doubt to my background and training as a minister, every year at this time my
mind remembers a little portion of scripture located in 2 Corinthians 5:14-17,
in which this statement is made …
“old things are passed away, and all things are becoming
new.”
    
I can remember always being intrigued by that message.
What a comforting thought to know that we are given opportunities to start anew.
And even though the author was obviously speaking about new beginnings in a
spiritual context, it’s nice to also have fresh opportunities in other areas of
life.

WHAT IF? with DALE WILSON

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Okay, so I’m king of drag racing, and I can make up whatever
rules I want. Here are some more “what-ifs” that I would recommend to the
association rules makers.

What if…NHRA introduced Top Dragster to the divisional
eliminators? Well, they’ve actually done it in Division 2 recently. Top
Dragster, the fast dragster eliminator that has been contested in IHRA country
for years, now comes to the NHRA, to go along with Division 2’s Top Sportsman
Eliminator. Division director Bill Holt made the announcement in the first part
of November, and Top Dragster will be a go for all 2007 divisional races.

FINDING THE MISSING PEACE by Ken Owen

sm_faithinthefastlane480x240.jpgRegardless
of religious background or affiliation (or lack thereof), people
usually view the Christmas holidays as a season of peace. But I wonder
at times if peace is as common a condition as it once was in our
society. Sociologists tell us that peacefulness is something that all
mankind seeks and is willing to go to great lengths to find.
Unfortunately, it appears to me that more and more people every year
seem to be in a constant search for what I call the missing peace.

I imagine that one of the most distressing experiences a racer can
endure is to finally complete an engine rebuild—only to discover that a
few extra pieces still remain. (And, yes, I speak from personal
experience, but please don’t ask.)

DISOBEYING ORDERS by Jeff Wolf

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The greatest weekend perhaps ever in the illustrious history of drag racing was marred by a driver disobeying a direct order.

Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher’s record run in the final round against
Doug Kalitta gave him his third straight Top Fuel championship during
the Pomona finals.

John Force beat Ron Capps in the second round to clinch his 14th world
title and proved that old men can still react better than a young one.
The quicker reaction propelled him to his 122nd event title and a win
over Jack Beckman’s record-setting flash down the quarter-mile.

UP FRONT with Jon Asher

asher05.jpg
Getting the National Hot Rod Association to admit there have been
mistakes in their operations, and that maybe changes should be made in
the way they do things is somewhat akin to getting Congress to admit
there have been ethical lapses by some of its members.

Historically, the NHRA has seldom, if ever, been receptive to ideas
that come from outsiders, and all too often, from those inside the
confines of 2035 Financial Way as well. Part of that is a result of the
corporate life and isn’t necessarily endemic to the organization. It
happens in companies of all sizes, particularly those in which, for
whatever reason, executives constantly fear for their personal future
with the firm, and often make questionable moves more designed to
protect those futures than to advance the company’s goals. It’s in
those environments where a worker bee’s suggestion will be advanced by
the boss and claimed as his own if the uber boss likes it, or will be
just as quickly abandoned by that middle manager when the uber leader
turns up his nose in distaste. The middle manager is the one likely to
say, “Well, it wasn’t my idea. That one came from So-and-So, and I
promised to present it to you. I didn’t like it either, but I did
promise.” Sure you did!

ARE YOU POSITIVE? by Ken Owen

sm_faithinthefastlane480x240.jpgAre you positive?

Most people accept the idea that stress and depression eat
away at the body’s natural ability to fight off disease, but many medical
scientists have remained skeptical over the years that the mind can actually
exert a direct influence over the immune system.

In recent years, however, evidence has suggested that
psychology can indeed affect biology.

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