:::::: Feature Stories ::::::

DALE CREASY JR. - THE LONG ROAD BACK

It is often said that laughter is the best form of medicine.
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That isn’t necessarily the case for Dale Creasy Jr.

Instead, Creasy prefers the smell of nitro and the rush of 300 miles
per hour in less than five seconds as his medicine – and so far it is
working wonders for the 50-year-old Nitro Funny Car driver from
Beecher, Illinois.

Having sat out the past year with a broken leg and multiple fractures
in the lower portion of his body, Creasy is ready to put the accident
that resulted in over a dozen surgeries and the loss of a potential
championship season behind him and return to the track where it all
happened later this month – Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta,
Canada.

MORE ON THE FORD IN MORGAN’S FUTURE

The irony of what’s going to take place in NHRA Drag Racing next season
can’t be ignored:  After years of rebuffing every single 6_17_2009_morgan.jpgsponsorship
proposal involving Pro Stock, Ford Motor Company will have an active
presence in the sport – a very active presence.  The irony? 
Ford is stepping up to the plate at the same time the Pontiac brand is
being killed, Chevrolet is struggling for identity as GM restructures
after their very public bankruptcy, and Chrysler is being sold to Fiat,
the Italian car manufacturer more well known for econoboxes than
Hemi-powered fliers.

If you thought the Pro Stock playing field was changed this year, you
ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  The impact of the virtual departure of both GM
and Dodge from active sponsorship – with very few exceptions – tilted
the playing field toward those with the ability, fortitude and finances
to make it on their own without Detroit’s assistance.  There were at
least 10 GM-backed drivers who benefitted from cash, parts or both in
2008 who were cut loose completely this year.  Dodge also had a group
of supported racers, and for the last 10 years, Larry Morgan was one of
them, but he, too, got the word in December that it was over.  Merry
Christmas!

DAVID NAPP: E-TOWN ONE YEAR LATER

6_16_2009_napp.jpgDavid Napp admits he will replay in his mind, for the rest of his life, the incident which took the life of Scott Kalitta.

Napp, one of the owners of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, vividly remembers sitting in the grandstands at the 1,000 foot mark, now the current finish line for nitro racing, taking in a session of Funny Car qualifying just one year ago. He was taking a break from the usually busy routine of chasing down the odds and ends that come with hosting the NHRA SuperNationals.

As he sat there in the stands, the first pair of Funny Cars in the final session of qualifying pre-staged, staged and roared down the drag strip. What happened next would have a major impact on Napp's life for the next year.

REYES ON TOUR - JUNE 2009

The induction of Steve Reyes into the International Drag Racing Hall of
Fame in 2002 should speak volumes about his importance to 6_3_2009_reyes_on_tour.jpgthe history
of drag racing, but it doesn’t.  What speaks louder are the hundreds of
exceptional photos that are the hallmark of his almost five decade
career.  From the days he began shooting at now long-gone tracks in
Northern California in the 60s, through his successful stints as a
remarkable staff shooter for the likes of Popular Hot Rodding
and others, to his more recent contributions as a still-active
freelancer, sharp, incisive and often exciting pictures have been what
Reyes is all about.  While his “crash ‘n burn” spectaculars are
engraved in the minds of so many fans, it’s his just-as-spectacular
“every day” race and personality shots that have set him apart from the
crowd.  Quarter-Mile Chaos:  Images of Drag Racing Mayhem, Fuel
Altereds Forever and Slingshot Spectacular:  The Front-Engine Dragster
Era
(all available online from www.cartechbooks.com ) by Reyes are indicative of the man’s skills.  He is a welcome addition to CompetitionPlus.com.

NASCAR LEGENDS AND NITRO, A CHEST POUNDING EXPERIENCE

It started with a phone call. Where it will end is anyone's guess.
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Bob Tasca, III was looking for a building in the Charlotte are where he
could house his NHRA Funny Car operation. Given his connections with
Ford, it only seemed appropriate that he would call on the Wood
Brothers for advice.

It was from those conversations that an invitation to attend an NHRA
event was extended. Amazingly, even with a 65 year background in
motorsports, neither of two second generation Wood Brothers had ever
attended a drag race event of any kind. Then again, neither had the
third generation of Tasca's attended a NASCAR event.

One half of that scenario has now been resolved. The other will be
cleared up before the end of the year. You can bet your Tasca on it.

RON CAPPS: THINGS I MISS

Ron Capps, the NHRA Funny Car point leader, stepped away from his
300-mph-plus hectic lifestyle recently to reflect on his good life, his
past
5_27_2009_capps.jpgexperiences
and some of life's pleasures he often misses while rushing around the
country vying for his first NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series
championship and making appearances for his sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS.
- Editor

I have slowly been jotting these down while in the air flying to my
next appearance for NAPA AUTO PARTS or to the next NHRA race.

I miss ... gritting my teeth and squinting my eyes the last 320 feet on a run wondering if it was gonna make it to the finish line.

I miss ... showing up in our pit area and wondering what was gonna come out of Gary Scelzi's mouth.

THE HARSH REALITIES OF DETROIT’S BANKRUPTCY

The automotive and business sections of newspapers around the world are
filled with the stories of Chrysler's recent bankruptcy and 5_22_2009_hagan.jpgGeneral
Motors slide into the same abyss.  Both companies are slicing dealer
networks in attempts to match the number of dealers to the volume of
sales. The thinking being that it’s better to have fewer strong dealers
than thousands of weak dealers. Chrysler sent letters to 789 dealers
saying they would be closed in three weeks. One day later 2600 General
Motors dealers received letters saying they would be closed no later
than September of 2010.

That's the good news, at least for those dealers not affected by the cutbacks. Then there is the bad news.

David Hagan, father of Funny Car rookie driver Matt Hagan, and owner of
the Shelor Auto Group in Christianburg, Va., the largest single point
dealer in Southwest Virginia, explained that not being on the dealer
cut list was a relief, but the actions of Chrysler Financial just one
day later were potentially devastating to even the healthiest of
dealers.

MORRIS JOHNSON JR.: FROM WAR TO DRAG RACING

Morris Johnson Jr. can’t help it. Every time he hears those lyrics
from the famous Lee Greenwood song “Proud to be an American” his 5_27_2009_johnson.jpgeyes
well up with tears.

“I am the kind of guy who looks at the flag for the greatest country in
the world and gets goose bumps,” Johnson admits. “I get a tingle that I
don’t know
that everyone gets when they see the flag or the Star Spangled Banner
is sung. When Lee Greenwood sang that song it became almost as popular
as the national anthem.”

Johnson, of Smith Mountain Lake, Va., remembers the day a pair of
brothers approached him on behalf of their deceased brother who lost
his life during the Vietnam War. The Pro Stock driver was already
emotionally charged after watching the skydiver fly above him carrying
the flag as the Greenwood song played over the public address system.

ANGELLE: RACING ON HER TERMS

Angelle Sampey’s new approach to drag racing is laid back.
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Her new attitude does not come out of anger that she’s out of ride on
the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. She’s just over it.

She’s been there done that and has the proverbial t-shirt, albeit worn out, to prove it.

It does not, however mean she is finished with drag racing. If the
right opportunity presented itself, Sampey would have had to “think
about it”.

This weekend the three-time NHRA world champion will saddle up on a
nitrous-injected, ADRL Pro Extreme Buell owned by George Bryce.

Together, Bryce and Sampey have history as a championship duo of rider and tuner. 

LARRY CARRIER: DRAG RACING’S REBEL

When one talks about the legends of drag racing, Larry Carrier's name rarely is mentioned as often as it should be.  
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Every drag racing fan in the country should know of Carrier's commitment and accomplishments in the sport.

He built one of drag racing’s more legendary facilities carving a drag
strip from between two mountains in the mountains of northeast
Tennessee.

He founded drag racing’s second oldest sanctioning body.

He introduced R.J. Reynolds as the first major series sponsor in drag racing.

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