11-4-10ashervegasIt’s all a matter of timing and attitude.  Now is the time, and if you’ve got the wrong attitude, Buddy, there’s no need to wait for the Finals in Pomona in two weeks.  Your season is going to end right here in Las Vegas on Sunday.  Or maybe even Saturday if you botch qualifying.  You’d better be positive and upbeat in your every action, or you’re going to be history.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  You love drag racing, don’t you?  Well, we do too, but as much as we love it we know this endeavor to be one of the cruelest known to man.  In no other sport can you go from hero to zero quicker than along the quarter mile.  (Somehow, wording it as “along the 1,000 foot track” doesn’t have the same ring to it as does “quarter mile.”)  Anyway, you know what we’re talking about.  Today’s Number 1 qualifier is tomorrow’s DNQ.  Conversely, the guy who didn’t make the cut last week could very well be this week’s winner.  That’s just how it goes in this most vibrant of sports.



Forget The Oil, Forget The Tire Smoke, This Was A Kick Butt Event

Greg Anderson hasn’t clinched the title yet, but he’s almost there.  He got a great “assist” from Mike Edwards when he lost in the first round.
Saturday was Saturday, best forgotten by everyone.  There’s little need to go over the debacle that was the second and last day of qualifying for this, the penultimate race of the 2010 Full Throttle season.  And yet, there is a need to at least reference it, to try and put it into perspective.

The two pro qualifying sessions took almost eight hours.  Eight hours!  There was as much oil on the track as there may be under the ground in Alaska.  From the leakiest of leakers to the strongest of the full time touring pros, they blew up left and right.  It was awful.  Neophyte fans were understandably unhappy, but the hard core seemed to understand that it was nobody’s fault.  Let’s face it, nobody liked it.

You may not realize it, but the folks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are all about customer service and making sure the fans are happy.  Not surprisingly, that’s the same attitude that permeates the management of the National Hot Rod Association.  I know, I know.  I’ve written some really harsh stuff about NHRA over the years, and never regretted a single word of it, but facts is facts.  Anyone who thinks anyone from NHRA was happy about this race is just flat wrong.

Interestingly enough, NHRA isn’t alone in their concerns about oil downs.  The racers themselves are also concerned.  They know that what they do is really all about the spectators.  No spectators, no show, period.  Look for major changes in NHRA’s policy regarding oil downs and oil containment systems before the Auto Club Finals.  As competition director Graham Light correctly pointed out, if the oil downs in Vegas were to be repeated at Pomona it would be impossible to complete the race due to very strict curfew laws and even shorter days.  That just can’t happen, so changes will be instituted.

Okay, we’re done with that.

John Force is on a roll, but can that roll take him all the way to a 15th championship?  That will be decided in California in two weeks.  Are you going to be there?
This was a monster race.  It seemed as if every run had implications for the championships.  Every round saw more and more people crowding around the starting line to see the action.  Crew members who never leave their pits and rarely even see their own cars run were up there, along with owners, sponsors, wives, girlfriends and anyone else who could sneak past security.  And every one of them knew what each win or loss was going to do for their championship hopes.  Some were undoubtedly dashed today, even if they remain statistically alive.  Some drivers are only alive if they earn every possible qualifying bonus point in Pomona and maybe set a national elapsed time record.  Them are mighty stiff odds, youngsters!

Take, for but one example, Cory McClenathan.  He may have been looking over his shoulder, as we reported yesterday, but after his car failed him in the first round against Australian Mark Mariani, he’s probably looking skyward saying, “Why me, Lord?”  His chances of winning now?  Probably zilch.

But his teammate, Tony Schumacher, has moved dramatically closer to another championship, ‘cause he won the race and points leader Larry Dixon got thumped in the second round.

Now, have we mentioned Dom Lagana’s name before today?  No need to check, we know we haven’t.  We’re mentioning it now, though, in 12-point type.  Lagana had an absolute monster day.  In the first round he downed Clay Millican, who looks to be returning to full time action in 2011.  Okay, so maybe that wasn’t a very big deal.  When he defeated Larry Dixon in the second round, that was indeed a very big deal, particularly after he Tree’d the Al Anabi driver and had a quicker elapsed time.  (Full disclosure:  Dixon had a mechanical failure near the finish line and only ran 248 mph.)  In the semis Lagana stomped Antron Brown, 3.892 to 3.951 – and the crowd went berserk, as did Lagana, saying at the top end, “I don’t know what’s goin’ on out here, I really don’t.  This is amazing to beat guys like Dixon and Antron.”

Cinderella time?  Uh, no.  Tony Schumacher had the horses to win in the finale, that was evident.  But let’s go back just a little.  In past years, when Alan Johnson was tuning Schumacher to numerous championships, we and many others in the media often called him a genius, saying he “owned” several tracks.  So how come we’re not saying that about crew chief Mike Green, ‘cause he certainly deserves it.  He twisted the Army car to the fastest speeds ever seen in 1,000 foot racing, better than 325 mph on more than one occasion.  This guy is simply not getting the credit he deserves.  If he and Tony can keep it up in Pomona, and maybe score the additional 20 points an elapsed time record would bring, the title could be his and not Dixon’s.  


Greg Stanfield has an uphill battle in front of him if he hopes to win the title.  He faces very long odds and two very good racers ahead of him -- Edwards and Anderson.


Mike Mariani won a round in his ride from Australia.  The man who made it happen?  Glenn Mikres, who has made a nice living for himself by traveling Down Under as a “fly-in” tuner.


Shout out to Halloween!  Ruth Evanchuk, witch, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  And yeah, she absolutely flew in on that broom!
Man, is Pomona gonna be good!

Can we all agree that John Force is a maniac?  Okay, good.  Can we also agree that he’s a fantastic driver, one of the best on the tour now – or ever?  Okay, again.  Do you know why Force is so good behind the wheel?  If you think it’s because all of the races and championships he’s won you’re only partially right.  He’s great because of all the match racing he did years ago on absolutely horrible tracks.  It’s in those situations that he learned how to pedal his car, how to grab the brake handle to stop tire spin, and how to finesse, not yank his car back into the groove if it drifted out.  Matt Hagan may be a star on the horizon, but he’s unlikely to ever be the driver Force is because the days of match racing are pretty much over, and a lot of those tracks have become housing tracts.  When you compete week after week and month after month on glass-smooth racing surfaces with enough bite to rotate the earth, you’ll never learn the nuances of car control the way Force has.  This is not to knock Hagan, but if it ever comes to a tire smokin’ pedalfest between the two, we’re putting our money on Force.  Proof?  He out-pedaled Melanie Troxel in the second round.  If he didn’t know how to pedal, that would have been the end of his day.  Instead, his day ended in the winners circle.

Hagan matched Force win for win, but he smoked the tires in the finale, and that was that.  In the semis Ashley Force-Hood faced Hagan, and as announcer Alan Reinhart had said to her after the second round, “You could really help your dad out in this next round.”  “I know,” she replied.  “He better be nice to me!”  Then she got loose against Hagan, and almost hit the wall.  Oops.  

Just as Schumacher has climbed to within 85 point of Dixon in Top Fuel, Force has closed in on Hagan to a very thin 37 points.  

Man, is Pomona gonna be good!

It’s funny how things work out.  As the points have tightened in the fuel classes, they’ve opened up in Pro Stock.  Greg Anderson entered the race 36 points ahead of mike Edwards.  That margin is now a much fatter 115 markers.  Unless Edwards can not only win in California, but set a record as well, it’s pretty much over.  Yeah, Edwards is mathematically still alive, but we don’t like his odds.  

Anderson earned that wider margin through exceptional driving – but Edwards helped him out by being a tiny bit late against Greg Stanfield in the first round.  A forty-three light won’t get it in a class where drivers like Stanfield can knock off thirteens.  It’s embarrassing when you clock a 6.655 and lose to a 6.682.  Edwards will not dig himself out of the hole he’s dug for himself this year, but let’s not say he’s losing the title as much as Anderson is flat out winning it.  He faced teammate Jason Line in the finale, and conspiracy theorists will probably suggest the fix was in, which appears ridiculous on the face of it.  Both guys had decent lights, both guys ran 6.65s and both ran 207 mph.  Anderson just got there first, making team owner Ken Black’s return to the track all the sweeter.  Absent since a stroke knocked him down a while back, the outpouring of welcome for Black from the Vegas crowd was something very special to witness.

Matt Smith didn’t win Pro Stock Motorcycle, but what he did accomplish was something akin to cheating death to race again.  Yeah, we know how that sounds, but
Dressed up and ready to go, 6-year old Logan Derganc, Ashely Force-Hood fan from Centennial, Colorado.
if you’d seen Smith after he ran into the sand trap yesterday and was ejected from his bike, you might agree.  He appeared dazed and confused after it happened, and didn’t make a good run in the fourth and final session.  Today, however, he was on his game – until the finale against L.E. Tonglet.  The rookie kid is still 34 points behind Andrew Hines, so this chase definitely isn’t over.  

Man, is Pomona gonna be good!

Uh, did we say that before?  So what?  It is gonna be good.  It’s a very fast track, and records could be set.  Championships might not be decided until deep into eliminations.  Despite those who continue to decry the Countdown, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do – keep up fan excitement and interest until the last possible second while generating good publicity for drag racing.

This really was a monster race.  There were almost too many stories to be told – which is why, later in the week, we’re going to fill you in on a few tidbits we’ve kept to ourselves.  But we need to add something here, something about our fans.  Yesterday a lot of folks went home disappointed, some of them even before the first marathon pro session ended.  By the end of qualifying the track was pretty much deserted.  That didn’t bode well for today, but a large and enthusiastic crowd showed up, and despite oil downs and delays, they stayed.  They stayed because they knew there were witnessing excellent racing that was destined to determine this year’s champions.

The circumstances are ripe for an SRO crowd at the Finals.  Tight races with popular drivers and first rate cars is a formula for success.  Only one thing needs to happen to ensure that: The oil stays inside the engines!


If things go his way Matt Hagan is going to be doing a lot more of this in the future – signing autographs for pretty ladies while TV cameras zoom in for a closer look.

Dom Lagana made it to his first-ever NHRA national event final round – and deserved to be there.

Team owner Ken Black made his return to racing in Las Vegas, where he watched his two Pro Stocks race for the title. He is one of the sport’s good guys.

L.E. Tonglet can take those baby blues to the Awards ceremony, where he’s undoubtedly going to pick up the Rookie of the Year award – and could be picking up the champion’s check at the same time.

The Queen of Hearts, Ashley Force-Hood, tried to help her dad by beating Matt Hagan in the semis, but smoked the tires and almost smacked the wall instead.



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Wild rumors are circulating about Jeg Coughlin, Jr’s future in drag racing, and we’re on top of the story. While he could certainly win here on Sunday, we’ll have his story for you later in the week.
One after another they came to the starting line for today’s first session.  One after another they suffered mechanical failures.  One after another they spilled oil in the right lane, some right on the starting line, others further down track.  The first session lasted a mind-numbing four hours.  Four hours!  The fans – and they were out there in very good numbers – showed their displeasure by going home early – and one could hardly blame them.

And the second session was no better, this despite the fact that NHRA reportedly told two of the biggest offenders, Tim Boychuck and Rob Passey, to pack their junk and hit the road.

Make no mistake about it, nobody was happy about what took place.  And the men and women of the NHRA Safety Safari?  They worked harder than Third World child laborers stitching soccer balls for Western world sales.  In other words, they collectively busted their butts trying to fix the track, but despite their best efforts there was little they could do.  Oil is oil, a slippery substance that’s vital to our world while at the same time being a drag racer’s sworn enemy.  As long as the slippery stuff stays inside the engine, we love it.  When it hits the pavement, we hate it, and with good reason.  It ain’t lubricatin’ nothin’ down there!

“I dug myself into this hole, and I’m gonna dig myself out,” Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards told Attitude Apparel’s yesterday.  “This ain’t over, not by a long shot.”  Yesterday Edwards was a strong second on the list.  Proving how tricky the track was today, and how good the competition is, he goes into eliminations ninth, unable to improve on yesterday’s times.

Greg Anderson, who yesterday assured us that he can, indeed, win the title if things go well this weekend and again in Pomona, was fifth at the end of the day with a 6.680.  He improved today to a 6.677 – and found himself relegated to the eleventh spot on the list.  That’s just how hard this class is.

Missing the Charlotte race undoubtedly cost Allen Johnson the championship, but he’s not looking back, he’s looking forward to Sunday – and Pomona.  He might not be our Full Throttle champion, but by gosh he’s going to let everyone know he was here.  Yesterday he was, in the words of film director James Cameron, “king of the world.”  Guess what.  He’s still wearing that crown.  He bettered yesterday’s 6.660 with a 6.646 this afternoon.

No matter how you look at it, seeing 10-time champ Bob Glidden’s name listed among the non-qualifiers in Pro Stock is still kind of surprising.  Neither Glidden or Erica Enders made the field in Jim Cunningham’s Mustangs, but don’t write them off just yet.  With another winter of testing they could be much better.

When cars – or motorcycles -- are running, never take your eyes off the track until they make the turn off at the top end.  When you look away too early, you miss some good stuff.  Funny Cars and dragsters don’t always “light up” before the finish line.  Sometimes a Funny Car will burst into flame all the way up by the sand trap.  In the case of the two wheelers, Matt Smith stopped a lot of people’s hearts when he lost his brakes in today’s first session and ran deeply into the sand.  The trap did its job, until the front wheel sunk in and the bike decided it no longer needed a rider.  We might need sideline doctors like the NFL is using these days, because when Smith got to his feet he had that same dazed look on his face that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a few weeks ago when he suffered a concussion in mid-game.  Nine sacks in a half’ll do that to you, but that’s another story for another sport.  Smith, by the way, returned to try again in the fourth session, but again had mechanical problems and shut off.


So what if he didn’t qualify? Bob Glidden is a legend, and seeing him back behind the wheel just seems, well, right.

One would think that Eddie Krawiec has about as much chance of winning the motorcycle championship as does Terry Vance.  Wait!  Vance – a true superstar of
When Mike Edwards and Greg Anderson faced off in previous national qualifying sessions it was no big deal. Now it is, because this confrontation might be repeated in, say, the second round tomorrow, or maybe at the Finals – and the championship could be in the balance.
two-wheeled competition – is long since retired as a rider.  But you get the point.  Just don’t tell Eddie, who sped to a track record speed of 196.02 coupled with a 6.911 to hold the second spot on the list, just a tick behind Hector Arana, who will absolutely, positively not repeat as champion.

The thing is, we know that qualifying doesn’t’ mean that much and please, no cards and letters saying otherwise.  We know what you mean.  Qualifying in the top half of your field gives you lane choice in the first round.  We know that.  But we also know that you actually can win a race from the sixteenth and last spot in your field.   It’s been done before, and will be done again.  That’s why contender Andrew Hines isn’t too worried about being seventh, nor is rookie L.E. Tonglet too concerned about being two spots further down the list.

Prediction:  L.E. Tonglet wins the Auto Club’s Road to the Future award at the ceremony the night after the Finals ends.

One of the things that makes one driver better than another is his or her ability to totally isolate themselves mentally from what’s going on around them.  When they’re in the car and on the line, nothing interrupts their concentration, concentration so focused that three naked skydivers could descend right next to the car, and they wouldn’t see them.  Cory McClenathan has that ability (although we’ve never asked him about the naked skydiver thing).  He’s looking over his shoulder these days, because his future isn’t secure at Don Schumacher Racing at this point.  We’ll have more details on this later in the week, but for right now just know that this guy has his hands full mentally, but he’s still all about winning the championship.  Crew chief Todd Okuhara says they’re feeling no pressure at all.  They’re just going to do their own thing, and see where it takes them.

Larry Dixon and tuner Jason McCulloch are taking the same approach.  They’re determined to do nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that will even remind themselves of the battle they’re in for the title.  The thing is, regardless of what Cory and Dixon do, Tony Schumacher may still have something to say about who wins the title.  Today’s gonna be gooooood – if the oil stays inside the engines instead of down on the racing surface.

Cory McClenathan is focused on one thing and one only – winning the Full Throttle championship.
Anyone who thought today’s first session was ugly had to be almost apoplectic after the second.  Only the hardest of hard core fans could sit through the endless delays and non-action and again, let us emphasize how hard the NHRA and track crews worked to try to fix things.  But, as a well known Pro Stock racer once had the audacity to put on T-shirts, “You can’t fix stupid,” and while that sounds harsh, some of the mechanical errors that led to the longest pro sessions we’ve ever seen were nothing short of that.  As a noted tuner said during one of the endless oildowns, “Some of these guys just don’t have enough good parts to be racing like this.  If your stuff will only go four flat, why try to twist it to 3.75?  It’s only going to blow all over the ground.”

As you may have heard, John Force is big on team meetings.  You know, fire up the guys.  Get ‘em to work really hard.  Win the race, stuff like that.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Maybe, just maybe, the guy that gets the message more than anyone else is the guy delivering it.  But, one thing we know for sure is that Force, who just signed a three year extension with Castrol that will keep him in the driver’s seat, may want to win this championship more than he sought any of the others.  He was down after his car failed him in Dallas a few years ago, but he never really got all the way back until this year.  Winning the title would mean he’s not only back, but back on top.  He wants it badly, and his guys have given him a b-a-a-a-d hot rod Ford to try and do it with.

The comparison of Force and Matt Hagan is almost humorous in the sense that our 14-time champ is non-stop in everything he does, from dawn to dusk.  Hagan is about a wound up as a plate of spaghetti – and we mean that in the best way possible.  He’s an intelligent young man who just isn’t as flamboyant as some other racers, certainly including Force.  But if he wins the title he’ll be a good champion.  He’ll say all the right things in interviews, he’ll have every female fan under 50 swooning, and he’ll win more races.

Maybe we’ve been too free with our predictions here.  Maybe we’re as off base as you can possibly be.  Maybe Jack Beckman is going to climb over Force and Hagan in a major surprise.
Is it gonna be Number 15? John Force is on fire emotionally. He wants this one badly.

But that’s why they race.

Qualifying?  There was no “show” in it, and for that we hold no one at fault.  If ever a set of bad circumstances were going to come together to ruin an otherwise gorgeous day of racing, it was right here in Las Vegas today.  But our fans will get over it, because the ones that truly understand the sport know that no one wanted what they got today – which wasn’t very much.

The pressure may be on, but tomorrow is going to be an eye-opener for many.  No one’s going to win a championship tomorrow – but more than one driver could lose one, finding himself out of contention at the end of the day.  We’ll have all the dirt for you when the last tire has turned on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  We’re just hoping there isn’t any debris or oil mixed in with it!

Showing their support for breast cancer research, the Al Anabi team’s dragster with Larry Dixon aboard sported some nice pink accents, but what the heck, the car could have been in primer orange and it still would have been fast.

Matt Hagan’s Dodge has the ideal sponsor in terms of saying who and what this team is – a bunch of diehards.

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That’s How Many Days of Racing Remain Until Someone’s Career Undergoes A Major Change

Has everyone forgotten about this guy? No, Tony Schumacher is not going to win this year’s championship – but he’s going to make darn sure that everyone knows he was out here racing. His Mike Green-tuned rocket is absolutely strong enough to impact who does win.
It’s all a matter of timing and attitude.  Now is the time, and if you’ve got the wrong attitude, Buddy, there’s no need to wait for the Finals in Pomona in two weeks.  Your season is going to end right here in Las Vegas on Sunday.  Or maybe even Saturday if you botch qualifying.  You’d better be positive and upbeat in your every action, or you’re going to be history.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  You love drag racing, don’t you?  Well, we do too, but as much as we love it we know this endeavor to be one of the cruelest known to man.  In no other sport can you go from hero to zero quicker than along the quarter mile.  (Somehow, wording it as “along the 1,000 foot track” doesn’t have the same ring to it as does “quarter mile.”)  Anyway, you know what we’re talking about.  Today’s Number 1 qualifier is tomorrow’s DNQ.  Conversely, the guy who didn’t make the cut last week could very well be this week’s winner.  That’s just how it goes in this most vibrant of sports.

The second Las Vegas race is a whole new animal compared to what took place here last spring.  Sure, the weather’s a factor, but that’s not what we mean.  Let’s go back even further, all the way to the Winternationals, and talk about attitude just a little.  The Winternationals always begins with an air of excitement.  No one has a single point to his or her credit, and anyone from last year’s champ to the guy who scored just enough points to make 35th on the list goes into the race with high hopes.  Anyone can win.  It’s a whole new ball game.  Those positive vibes don’t fade with the Sunday California sunset, either.  Every racer remains upbeat and positive through the first half of the season.  And then reality begins to rear its ugly head.  By June even frontline drivers may be acknowledging, if only to themselves, that this will not be their year.  They know it, but they’re never going to tell you – or their sponsors – but they know it nevertheless.

As the end of the Countdown to 10 approaches there’s a flurry of excitement as those drivers near the bubble gear up for a last ditch effort to make the show – and sometimes that show is exceptional, out of the ordinary and sometimes even downright bizarre.  Consider, for just a moment, the confrontation between John Force and Tony Pedregon at Indy last year.  Forget about accusations of diving or anything else, that confrontation was absolutely, positively all about the Countdown.

All eyes have been on Larry Dixon, and that’s okay with Cory McClenathan. He’s been close to a championship before, so he knows how to deal with the pressure. Only one question remains to be answered: Is his driving and his car good enough?
That kind of action didn’t take place this year when the Countdown to 10 ended in Brainerd, but in all candor, even if it had, who would have known about it?  Media overage of that particular event is, well, problematical at best, as few major publications will even ask their journalists to make the trek deep into the Minnesota woods for the race.  If it weren’t for the likes of Attitude Apparel’s and one or two other media outlets the Brainerd race would easily win the prize for being the most ignored event on the NHRA Full Throttle series tour.  In spite of the effort we make, it’s a race easily ignored, and quickly forgotten – except by those who win.

Now look where we are.  There are two races left in the season, two in the Countdown.  The rabble have largely been dismissed, and only the cream is left of each crop.  There are still battles to be fought and won, but the number of fighters has been trimmed to a precious few.  And those few know their days in the sun are coming to an end.  Two days of racing remain here in Las Vegas, and then four more in Pomona in a couple of weeks.  Eight rounds of racing, that’s all that’s left, and those eight rounds will break hearts, cause tears to flow, pulses to race and emotions to run the gamut from euphoria to depression.

We can’t wait for it to start!

Oh.  That attitude thing.  You may not realize it, but here’s more harsh reality.  There are race teams out here that are simply going through the motions.  They’re tired, beaten down with defeats, overworked, struggling to survive, and what they’re looking forward to now is the finish line.  Not here at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but the finish line that awaits them at the end of qualifying at Pomona, or at the end of whatever round they don’t survive in eliminations.  You can’t really blame them.  It’s been a long, trying season, and you have no idea – none – about how hard the road can be on a man’s body and mind.

You won’t read about it, but marriages end during racing seasons.  Husbands under extreme pressure racing in Seattle often have a hard time understanding or even dealing with wives trying to juggle two kids with runny noses and a third with a school disciplinary problem back in Georgia.  The road is the harshest of mistresses, and anyone who suggests that it doesn’t take a toll, a heavy one, is an absolute bald-faced liar.  From the outside a job in drag racing is as glamorous as it gets – but that’s from the outside.  From the inside it’s, yes, a potentially satisfying and rewarding occupation, but don’t for a second think of it as glamorous.  That’s only for the guys who get to stand in the winners circle, posing for photos.  For everyone else it’s a tough, tough job.


Greg Anderson is leading the points – for now. But, he’s actually got a pretty good lead, and if things go his way he’ll win it. Uh, but we’re not gonna actually bet on it yet.

Mike Edwards is already demonstrating by his car’s elapsed times that he’s not going to give up his title easily.
There’s another way of understanding this.  At the end of the season there will be four winners in the professional ranks.  Just four.  Everyone else is just another loser.  Yeah, that’s harsh – but it’s reality.  A hard-nosed sponsor intent upon winning isn’t going to be happy with second place.  Neither is a team owner who lives for winning and nothing less.  The thoughtful sponsors and owners understand that winning can actually mean more than trophies and records.  They realize that winning a single race in a season of 23 is really quite an accomplishment.  They see how tough it is, how a gram too much on the clutch can smoke the tires at just the wrong instant.  And they’re also realists.  They’ll take the few wins that come their way and cherish them like the precious things they are.

We haven’t mentioned a single elapsed time, or one lone top end speed since this story began – and we’re not going to.  No, what we’re doing here is setting the stage for the days to come, the days in which champions will be crowned and hopefuls disappointed.  You need to understand, really understand, what’s going on out here.  It’s trite, and we admit it, but in some ways the next six days of racing will be the most important some competitors will ever live through.  They’ll ride the emotional roller coaster to the highest of highs – and they’ll crash to the ground like a B-52 with its wings ripped loose.

Are you ready to take that ride?  Buckle up, ‘cause tomorrow we’re gonna start getting’ right to it.  We’ve set the stage, and now we’re ready to start dissecting the innermost thoughts and fears of the top competitors for this years championships.  If only they’ll spill their guts to us!


Steve Faria, in need of his sponsor’s fire prevention products!

Everyone’s heard the term “game face.” We’re not going there. Just look at the intensity in Matt Hagan’s eyes. Some people may not like us saying this, but this is the face of drag racing’s future. We think he’s going to win it – but we’ve been wrong oh so many times before!

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