Let ‘er Rip

November 21st, 2010
Hello Faithful Drag Racer Supporters…
It’s time you’ve heard something from the new editor.
The 2010 racing season is fast drawing to a close…
It’s certainly ending with a bang rather than a whimper.
The California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield was one of those “dude, you shoulda’ been there!” events.
It’s such a bitchin’ experience, on so many levels…kind of like the  Woodstock Music Festival on nitro.
You’re able to rub elbows with the people who literally created the Sport of Drag Racing….drivers, car owners, parts manufacturers…the
movers and shakers who got us to where we are today.  It’s the only place (event—happening) I know of where you have the opportunity
to do this.  Every body’s laid back, happy to take the time to talk with you.  If you’re into autograph collecting, the Hot Rod Reunion’s
THE PLACE to be.
This year there were a ton of “must see” faces, including Raymond Beadle and his entire Blue Max crew:  Crew Chief Dale Emery, “Waterbed
Fred” Miller and D. Gantt.  If you’re into race car construction, three of the greatest tin benders were in attendance:  Tom Hanna, Jim Hume and Steve Davis.  I’m an Okie, so it was a real treat to see Bob Creitz, who campaigned some of the strongest and most beautiful top fuel dragsters ever to come out of the southwest and  Top Fuel  ’67 & 68 World Champ Bennie “The Wizard” Osborn.
In addition to history making people, tons (literally) of history making race cars were in attendance…either restorations or recreations.
The Cacklefest portion of the event is getting out of control…in the most positive way!
In addition to the people and historical vehicles,  the race was truly a memory-maker.  37, yes drag fans you read right 37 double A nitro funny cars made a lap. When was the last time that many nitro floppers clogged the staging lanes?  One of our historians out there will have to answer than one.
Of course, the Top Fuel dragsters were also there in strength.
If you haven’t been…you are truly missing out!
Next up was the NHRA Vegas race.  It was memorable for what didn’t happen.  None of the Top Three Pro Categories were locked up, sending the Championship to Pomona.   Dixon didn’t win…and sadly (for me, anyway) Bobby Lagana, Jr. didn’t win T/F, after coming oh-so-close, losing to the Army in the final.  And he didn’t back into the finals either, taking out Millican, Dixon and Brown to get there.  I’ve been around the Laganas. for years, covering races and racing against them with “The Mongoo$e” .  They’re good people.
And the World Finals…Matt Hagan came oh so close…but the Old Pro  Force showed ‘em how to get it done…one more time.  Congrats John.
I was sitting next to “The Goo$e” during the race.  When Hagan and Tasca faced off in the first round, Goo$e was saying “stage, stage” and Hagan was sitting there, the motor getting hotter and hotter.  A few seconds later it was all over.  I wonder  if that extra time might have cost him the race….those engines have very short fuses.  It will be interesting to see how Funny Car plays out next season, especially in the light of Austin Coil leaving the Force Camp.
Well, I guess that’s enough for now.
I appreciate your time and your support of Drag Racer Magazine.
Pete

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13 Responses to “Let ‘er Rip”

  1. reefblue (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/reefblue) says:

    Team Force will miss Austin Coil but with Mr. Neff at side, John Force will do just fine. If Hagan’s motor was getting hotter than so was Tasca’s- maybe the Boss 500 motor was the difference.

  2. dragracerpjw says:

    reefblue,
    You make a very good point. There may be no accuracy to the following,
    but just to play the Devil’s Advocate…perhaps Team Tasca, had planned some staging drama prior to their meeting w/Hagan and gave
    their Boss 500 a little longer fuse.
    Thanks for your comment.
    The New Ed

  3. reefblue (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/reefblue) says:

    If what your proposing is correct, then Tasca is not only fast but wise.

  4. reefblue (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/reefblue) says:

    I just had another thought, I was wondering if Drag Racer magazine has done a tribute to the amazing life and drag racing accomplishments of Dyno Don Nicholson since his death? When you look at the complete picture, Dyno Don did it all and hasn’t [ in my estimation ] received the recognition/coverage he so rightly deserves. Thanks,Mark.

  5. dragracerpjw says:

    reefblue (Mark),
    You’re right on both points. The Tasca boys have done an excellent job. Of course Tasca’s illustrious racing history speaks volumes of its’ considerable talent.
    Re. Dyno Don…he certainly made a hefty contribution to our Sport.
    We (race fans) seem to be a bit fickle when it comes to honoring our “elders”….who receive our accolades and who do not.
    Cant’ find a spell check, pls. excuse the spelling errors.
    Thanks once again for your comments.
    The New Ed

  6. reefblue (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/reefblue) says:

    I agree. Unfortunately some folks can’t get past brand/driver loyalty and appreciate a car or driver based soley on merit. Case in point:
    Hot Rod Magazine’s Top 50 Drivers where they place Don Garlits #1 and John Force #2 and placing Grumpy Jenkins ahead of Dyno Don. Even using their criteria for placement and looking at the complete picture [ all the numbers and facts ] its not even close. The trouble with being fickle is eventually you lose credibility. In Hot Rod’s case, it started a long time ago and hasn’t got any better. Have a Happy Thanksgiving Pete. Thanks Again, Mark.

  7. dragracerpjw says:

    reefblue,
    One of the problems with creating lists, especially in our Sport, it’s hard to lock in the peramiters for such lists. How do we measure what an individual has contributed? Is it wins? Sponsorships? Goodwill/positive pr generated for drag racing? Someone, or that someone’s supporters always feel short changed. Perhaps a BCS
    system for “grading” accomplishemnts is in order. Once again, pls.
    forgive the spelling errors.
    Thanks for taking the time to communicate.

  8. reefblue (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/reefblue) says:

    Going back to my original email, regardless of the criteria used there is no way to justify placing Don Garlits #1 ahead of John Force #2. Force 15 time NHRA Funny Car champion [ only idiots need an explanation ]. Continues to work with Ford to improve the safety of drag racing[ the blue box and other safety features that get little recognition]. Developed with Ford the Boss 500 motor and it wins on a consistent basis- including this year’s Championship. Force’s relationships with the fans and the time,money,and effort that Force spends off the track for the betterment of the NHRA. JF’s involvement with charities. He won his last championship at 61 and overcame serious injuries and rehabilitation during the prior 3 years and during this time some folks said JF’s time has come and gone and he needs to retire. Don Garlits was one hell of a driver and dominated top fuel during his time in the sport, but when you put these 2 drivers side by side and compare their careers from any perspective- Force clearly has accomplished more than Garlits or any other driver living or dead. The same could be said of Dyno Don in regards to grumpy Jenkins but its late and I’m tired, Mark.

  9. dragracerpjw says:

    reefblue,
    Once again, thanks for taking the time to communicate.
    It’s obvious you’re a Force/Ford fan. Both are fortunate to have your
    support. Loyalty is a priceless commodity.
    Before I begin my response, let me say I’m also a Force fan. John and I have been friends since his and my time with AHRA in the late 70s. Regarding Force and Garlits; there are some striking similarities and
    major differences.
    Like John, Gar has suffered some horrific on-track accidents. In the mid-sixties he suffered burns so extensive, that many thought he’d ever return to racing. Then, of course his clutch explosion at Lions, which sawed his dragster in half and also a portion of his foot. Once again, he was written off.
    Not only did he return, but he revolutionized Top Fuel racing when returning with his rear engine dragster. Not the first one, but the first one that worked. I don’t think you’ll get many arguments by saying he, single-handedly, revitalized the nitro dragster class, which was in danger of going extinct.
    John, since his (and Medlin’s) accident, has invested heavily in new technology to improve racer safety. We’ve seen some major funny car carnage since John’s accident and I’m certain the reason the drivers have walked away, is the result of John’s efforts.
    Gar is (was) a “mad scientist” always dreaming of new ideas to go faster. He was always a racer first, the duties of business and self-promotion held little importance. His intensity when working on a race car or driving was palpable.
    John on the other hand has always been a promotor/businessman first, and mechanic second. He struggled for years, performance-wise until hooking up with Coil.
    You could spend hours debating who should be consided Number One…
    The Best in any sport, but you’re never going to get a concensis of opinion.
    Perhaps we should just feel fortunate that both John and Garlits have both participated in Drag Racing and we’ve had the pleasure of watching them race.
    Mark, glad you care enough to write.

  10. reefblue (http://www NULL.motortopia NULL.com/reefblue) says:

    John has the gift of gab and yes he is a business man, you have to be when your not only a driver, but the owner of a team as well. A team where one driver won the championship and the other came in 2nd in total points last year. This is another milestone for Force that no other person in NHRA has duplicated. To infer that Force is not a “driver” first is simply inaccurate at best. At 61 with 15 championships and still competitive, its the “driver” not the promoter/businessman getting the job done. After the “crash” Force did struggle for 3 years [ with Coil ] and then won the championship a few weeks ago. The new addition was Neff and this is the only real time period that he in your words “struggled for years.” If Garlits intensity was “palpable” then Force’s would hit you like a thermonuclear bomb. Nobody in the NHRA is more intense than JF. Maybe like you say your never going to get a general conscensus of who is #1 but the NHRA/Hot Rod magazine took a shot at it and blew it. Usually I don’t care if your father can beat my father up to the point I’ll take the time exchanging emails to make a point. But for me drag racing is a passion and I believe there is more than enough objective data that says Force for this day has no equal in the NHRA. Garlits was a better wrench/fabricator than Force but thats where it ends. In some areas you can’t even make a comparison because there are certain things that only JF has done in the NHRA. If I say anymore in regards to this subject I am in danger of repeating myself. Maybe one day I’ll pick up a copy of Drag Racer magazine- maybe there will be a good article on the 2012 Mustang Cobra Jet S/S’s- I hear Garlits is running the Super Stock Challenger for Mopar. Take Care Pete, Mark.

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