Tag Archives: NHRA

MEDIA MATTERS: GEICO’s Morgan Lucas Lights Night with Brainerd Top Fuel Win

18 Aug

“It was a dark and stormy night . . . .” The oft-used sentence found in the opening of novels ended a long and stormy day at Brainerd International Raceway, Minnesota, as favorite son, Morgan Lucas, driving the GEICO / Lucas Oil dragster, won the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in a fiery, dramatic finals pairing.

The thrilling and dramatic Top Fuel final made ESPN's Top Ten Plays of the Day as No. 5.

The thrilling and dramatic Top Fuel final made ESPN’s Top Ten Plays of the Day as No. 5.

In epic drama, Lucas won a pedalfest for the ages with the tough points-leader Doug Kalitta driving the Mac Tools Dragster in the other lane. Kalitta jumps off the line with a slight advantage and the confidence that comes with having bested Lucas more times than not. He goes up in tire smoke quickly; then Lucas joins in the slick-fest. Both pedal numerous times when Kalitta’s dragster loses power coasting to the line.

Lucas crosses the finish on fire less than a car length ahead of Kalitta

Lucas crosses the finish on fire less than a car length ahead of Kalitta

Lucas explained, “It got out there and the car kind of broke the tires loose. I saw Doug poke out, but I knew he was having problems, so I kind of blipped it to straighten it out. I got it cracked a little bit open, and I rolled it back down all the way and got it out there. I knew it was hurt but it’s the final, you’re not going to leave anything on the table; you’re going to go for it.

In the darkness the engine let go with a brilliant fireball like all of the celebratory fireworks exploding at once. “Then it lit up, and that was actually kind of cool too because my second thought after ‘Hell yeah we just won’ was ‘Man, this is going to make for great TV.’ ”

In the pits, preparing to race at Brainerd

In the pits, preparing to race at Brainerd

The track announcer said the lead changed at least three times in a thrilling finish that set the startline crowd jumping and hugging in the excitement.

“I love the people there,” Lucas said. “It’s definitely the most fun you can have at a racetrack, and it’s the race I’ve always looked forward to the most on the schedule. Of course it’s a special race for our family and for Lucas Oil as a company, but the people who attend this race are the ones who make that happen for all of us.”

The beautiful GEICO dragster piloted by Richie Crampton captured a Countdown slot at Brainerd

The beautiful GEICO dragster piloted by Richie Crampton

“Of course, you have a great race facility and a really awesome track surface that lends itself to top-notch drag racing. The staff there makes it perfect for us, and as racers we appreciate that a lot. But I keep coming back to the fans and the party out in ‘the Zoo’ and just the general good-time vibe that happens every year at BIR. It’s unique.” The Zoo is a friendly name for the on-site campground where the theme “Let the Good Times Roll” is a religion and sleep is postponed until returning to work on Monday.

Lucas sent No. 1 qualifier Antron Brown and his Matco Tools railer to the trailer in the semifinals after parking Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors Dragster in the quarterfinals.

Lucas won the day by besting both the race’s top qualifier and the class points leader; one could say the GEICO / Lucas Oil dragster was truly on fire in wet, soggy, but after this win, beautiful Brainerd .

Earlier in the day . . . .

Earlier in the day . . . .

In a unique finish to a water-logged day, Top Fuel became the only pro class to finish. The Funny Car finals between John Force and Ron Capps will be held in Indy during The Big Go while Pro Stock needs to race the semifinals of Jason Line vs. Dave River and Jeg Coughlin vs. Vincent Nobile to get their final pair. If Line were to win, it would be his first victory at his “original” home track, yet technically winning the Brainerd race at Indy isn’t in the Minnesota lakes area, but it is doubtful Line would complain at all.

Lucas also won Brainerd in 2009 and 2012 after making his pro debut at this same track in 2004 by taking the seat of Joe Amato’s dragster. This is the young Lucas Oil executive’s tenth win in ten years. “It’s our second home up here.”

Rob Geiger, GeigerMedia Global, and Forrest Lucas celebrate Morgans big win.

Rob Geiger, GeigerMedia Global, and Forrest Lucas celebrate Morgans big win.

In earning the final pair, Lucas trailered Bob Vandergriff Jr., his first victim in a thrilling day for the oil titans that allowed his Lucas teammate, Richie Crampton, to capture a remaining slot in the Countdown to the Championship. Blowing up in the first and final rounds gave Lucas a bookend of fire for the day . . . a dubious award but worth it to win at his favorite track. “To do it at nighttime with no lights, it’s kinda cool. It’s one of those where you have to stick a feather in your cap.”

 

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MEDIA MATTERS: Have a Heart! How NHRA Star Greg Anderson Almost Lost His

24 Apr

“When Anderson was told a week before the 2014 NHRA season that he needed surgery, he described it as a “shock.” Then he told the doctor that wasn’t possible; he needed to wait until November, after the racing season.

One of many reasons to get the heart valve fixed. (photo courtesy gregandersonracing.net)

One of many reasons to get the heart valve fixed. (photo courtesy gregandersonracing.net)

[BREAKING NEWS: Anderson cleared to qualify/race at Houston weekend of 4.25.14-4.27.14!]  “He looked at me like I had three heads,” Anderson said. “You feel indestructible as a racer. I wasn’t worried about my safety, my health or my life, which I’m a complete idiot for that. I was worried about missing races.”

By the time Anderson left the surgeon’s office, he was convinced the operation would be done in November; however, when Anderson arrived home and outlined the situation to his family, he was told emphatically he wasn’t waiting.”

Then a stunning development at Four-Wide Racing at Charlotte . . . Find out here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/18/4845406/mooresvilles-greg-anderson-looks.html#.U1j6SfldXYx#storylink=cpy

MEDIA MATTERS: What Happens in Vegas: ESPN2 Broadcasts

31 Mar

No secrets allowed; ESPN2 is here. Broadcasting the SummitRacing.com Nationals from the luxurious The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the ever-seeing camera eye snatched losers’ pained looks, too-close-to-call finishes and general drag racing mayhem. When David Grubnic two-stepped his Bounty Hunter Special dragster in the fourth pass of second round qualifying attempts, the camera caught the legendary Conrad Kalitta’s pained grimace looking every bit like one of his hoard of 747s had crashed.

How Conrad Kalitta looks when he is happy; celebrating a Top Fuel win with Doug Kalitta

How Conrad Kalitta looks when he is happy; celebrating a Top Fuel win with Doug Kalitta

Instead, what the grimaced expression signaled was misery; misery and despair that could only be solved by replacing Grubnic. What that look also revealed . . . this wasn’t just a hot-collared call. The pot appears to have been boiling prior to this mistake; much like a coach telling a player not to do something, and then the player immediately goes out and does it anyway, Grubnic got the bench. The pot boiling beneath the lid finally blew the lid off. Then the team released a quick press release indicating “. . . a change of direction . . . ” for the Kalitta team. A hurried call made to young up-and-comer, J.R. Todd, gaming it at home on an off weekend, worked a deal that had him in the cockpit Saturday. Nothing revealed on the travel front, but if a flight couldn’t be found in time, Kalitta Air could certainly come to service.

Color commentator, Mike Dunn, called the start-line problem a racing deal: “These things happen.” Lead announcer, David Rieff, added that Kalitta, the patriarch of the sport is “one successful man.” Starting in the year 2000 with three 747s, he now owns more than 22 of those beasts along with other aircraft. His air freight company exceed $400 million in revenue becoming one of the world’s largest 25 airline companies. He owns it 100 percent, a self-made success story extraordinaire. When driving for a racer like Kalitta, on the drag strip since the late 1950s,  a mistake is not likely to set well at all.

GEICO Top Fuel driver, Richie Crampton, to test after new Kalitta driver, JR Todd, left on him big time (photo by Mark J. Rebilas)

GEICO Top Fuel driver, Richie Crampton, to test after new Kalitta driver, JR Todd, left on him big time (photo by Mark J. Rebilas)

Grubnic’s side of the story? “This has been going on a while,” he said to Dunn, referring to talks about him sitting out of the racecar perhaps becoming a crew chief. The odds favor the remark could also refer to Kalitta’s displeasure in the friendly Aussie’s ability on the track.

The first round matchup of Todd vs. the GEICO/Lucas Oil Dragster piloted by newcomer, Richie Crampton became the Upset Alert, a gutsy call by Dunn as Todd had little experience in that racer and the outfitting of the seats and pedals all had to be done very quickly. Crampton had a miserable light. “I was dead late on the Tree,” Crampton said. “He ran an .82, which was a decent run. I’ve got a feeling we could’ve run a little better.”

Todd’s day ended in the second round though he had a decent run; benefiting was Steve Torrence in his Capco Contractors Dragster.

ESPN Sports Center carried the new national MPH trophy snatched by Courtney Force at 325; a one mph better record than dad, John Force, and a new track ET Record to go along with it. Unfortunately, Cruz Pedregon sent her home in the second round of eliminations without getting a backup time to secure the big speed trophy. The 16-time champion retains the record.

Alexis DeJoria's crew and other Kalitta Motorsport team members hit the jackpot in Vegas.

Alexis DeJoria’s crew and other Kalitta Motorsport team members hit the jackpot in Vegas.

For the second time this year, Robert Hight wheeled his Auto Club Mustang into the final round of Funny Cars but lost again to Alexis DeJoria’s Patron XO Cafe Camry in her second win of the year. She now has three Funny Car trophies. Earlier comments hinted at the good results when she said, “I feel really good about today.” She has been in the 2014 finals twice in four races thus far, sealing any questions if she is the real deal. The summer heat makes these beasts behave even more weirdly than normal, so her championship run won’t be easy as the season progresses. However, it is tough for all drivers. The Patron XO Cafe Camry has a decent shot to win the championship. Rieff summed it up with the two women starring in the weekend’s positive events: “The ladies are getting it done.” And DeJoria is a Kalitta Motorsports team member.

A championship burnout for Alexis DeJoria

A championship burnout for Alexis DeJoria

After only winning two rounds all year, Tony Shumacher’s U.S. Army entry passed Doug Kalitta’s Mac Tools Dragster in the track’s second half to take the win by a margin of victory that would just about equal Grubnic’s height: a little more than six feet. Kalitta Motorsports enjoyed a great day: one win, one final round and one new driver;  maybe a new crew chief with Grubnic, too.

Doug Kalitta at his Gator Nationals win (photo courtesy AP photo, LA Times "Sports Now")

Doug Kalitta at his Gator Nationals win (photo courtesy AP photo, LA Times “Sports Now”)

Veteran reporter Gary Gerould summed up the race in a comment he made at the broadcast’s opening: it’s a “. . . wacky weekend.” And a take-a-way lesson: don’t screw up a billionaire’s dragster dreams, or your jet will be parked.

 

MEDIA MATTERS: Find This Car! BIG NOISE II

21 Mar
Big Noise II in a Chicago-area photo; know where it is? Contact me. There may be an award.

Big Noise II in a Chicago-area photo; know where it is? Contact me. There may be an award.

A Famous man, Don Miller, owned it; would like to find it and acquire it.
You can become famous, even better off financially, if you are the one to identify the location where it can be found.

In front of a house, Big Noise II all cleaned up. contact me at phillip@ultrasuperior.com if you know where it is

In front of a house, Big Noise II all cleaned up. contact me at phillip@ultrasuperior.com if you know where it is

No guarantees, but find it first . . . .

Here is information on the search:

http://harmonizingkeys.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-noise-ii-new-later-photo-search.html

"Miller's Time" the book that  reveals the life--and tragedies--of this amazing man of racing

“Miller’s Time” the book that reveals the life–and tragedies–of this amazing man of racing

Contact me: Phillip@ultrasuperior.com

MEDIA MATTERS: Jeg Coughlin New Spokesperson for Chrysler?

6 Mar
At an invitational tour of Chrysler Headquarters & Technology Center, five-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. (left) met with Chrysler President and CEO Pietro Gorlier. Notice the relaxed look and dress

At an invitational tour of Chrysler Headquarters & Technology Center, five-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. (left) met with Chrysler President and CEO Pietro Gorlier. Notice the relaxed look and dress

Jeg Coughlin: Is he a new spokesperson for Chrysler? No; however, he should be. His casual demeanor belies the intensity and smarts within, otherwise how could he have won five–count ’em, one, two, three, four, five–NHRA Pro Stock Championships in arguably the most difficult Pro Class. Wins AND losses are counted in the small hundredths of a second . . . to be that precise proves his mettle. His looks are strong but not like a model’s . . . but a man’s.

Plus he has a name: Jeg, the only person in the NHRA’s 60-year history to win in SIX different categories. Let me ask: How many Jegs do you know?

Just think of this theme: “I drive a Dodge” and there’s Jeg Coughlin. On the highway and on the drag strip. Hurry, Chrysler! There’s still time to get this ready to go before their race: Denver, July 18-20, Bandimere Speedway at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals.

Will Troy Coughlin Jr Outgun Uncle Jeg?

27 Feb

The Coughlin family rules in the Lucas Oil NHRA Sportsman categories. Jeg Coughlin is the ruler-of-the-roost of both Sportsman classes and the Mello Yello NHRA Pro Stock class when one checks stats. Winning the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock crown added yet another Pro Stock title to his collection: 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, so now a complete handful of five. In the final rounds of the 2013 season, Coughlin had eight finals to his name; he won half of them, slightly below his average of 60 percent as a professional. Additionally he scored wins over the years in Super Stock (7), Super Gas (4), Top Dragster (2), Super Comp (2) and Competition (1). No one had a win in more individual classes than Jeg Coughlin.

The Troy Coughlin Jr Super Gas Corvette standing out on the strip

The Troy Coughlin Jr Super Gas Corvette standing out on the strip

Here is the candidate to exceed that phenomenal total: his nephew, Troy Coughlin Jr. Winning the Division 3 Super Gas title, the first of the third-generation of Coughlin racers to do so, gives him an early head-start. “I’ve always wanted to win the division since I was a little boy,” Coughlin said. “I remember being 5 years old at the Division 3 banquet in Indianapolis at the Sheraton. It was 1995, and I watched Uncle John win Super Gas and noticed how cool the ’Double-Decker Wallys’ were. I’ve always wanted one of those since 1995.”troy coughlin hr  photo

His dad is a champion in his own right while the experience factor and financial backing for this family’s racing thrust remains robust. Racing two cars, a Super Comp dragster and a Super Gas Corvette, two of the largest and toughest Sportsman classes, is a strong indicator of TJ’s skill. His practice habits are legend, and he’s only approaching 24-years-old. “I try to stay mentally prepared. The practice tree is a great tool, and I make a million passes in my mind. We also have time to go over the race cars from front to back and make sure everything is perfect. The off-season actually goes by very fast.”

However, he is not perfect on the track, but maybe so in relationships. In 2012, he took runner-up in a Moroso 5-Day event; he lost to Mia Tedesco in the final . . . his girlfriend. Hmmmmm, maybe he is even smarter than one gives him credit.

The super-quick Jegs Super Comp dragster

The super-quick Jegs Super Comp dragster

“TJ” as he is known finished third in the national standings with his Super Gas entry and third in the Division 3 Super Comp chase. The challenge of most racers to just win one of these Sportsman races is so difficult that to book this many wins at this age clearly sets him up as a potential pro champion to be reckoned with; perhaps better than Uncle Jeg. Besides, he already has one Indy victory, that coming in 2011 with his Super Comp dragster. Watch for him to capture an “Indy” for each of his rides along the way. This all fits in the long-term plan for the young Coughlin racers: follow those who have preceded him in the family; drive in the pro class, whether the super-sharp Pro Mods or the tough Pro Stock cars; then maybe again . . . he’ll invent a way to pilot both.

Mia Tedesco with her Super Comp dragster in 2011

Mia Tedesco with her Super Comp dragster in 2011

Let the countdown begin . . . .

His team opens the season at the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTS Nationals on March 21-23 at No Problem Raceway Park, Belle Rose, La.

Snakes on a Drag Strip! Get “Snake and Mongoo$e” New DVD

24 Feb
A young Snake (Jesse Williams) gets the best award for winning; Ashley Hinshaw as Lynn Prudhomme

A Young Snake (Jesse Williams) Gets the Best Award for Winning: Ashley Hinshaw as Lynn Prudhomme

Fast friends yet arch rivals uncover the coming-of-age in the world of drag racing as seen through the eyes of two of the most famous drivers ever, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoo$e” McEwen—yes, with a dollar sign. Their lives twist dramatically with a story that tears at the heart, unleashing feelings that go way deeper than an ultra quick lap down a drag strip.

The coolest college to snatch a degree in drag racing without ever covering a single lap . . . watch “Snake and Mongoo$e” over and over.  Study it, embrace it, drive it; the film is an archive treasure trove.

The full-size racing Funny Cars of the Hot Wheels era

The full-size racing Funny Cars of the Hot Wheels era

Each trip through this new DVD unveils dramatic action and historic film seamlessly woven into the plot revealing the inside of the world’s most popular professional motor sport.

The Snake pairing on the track against Mongoo$e pioneered modern racing sponsorship; this is their story. Wrapped around each nostalgia-laced scene coils thrill-a-minute flash-history lessons in how it happened, the personalities involved, plus the work and strife in the pits and their lives.

Patron Tequila Funny Car star, Alexia DeJoria, zaps a cameo, one of many best lines in this history-comes-to-the-big-screen. Strolling with a young Wally Parks (John Heard) founder of the professional sport of drag racing, she sultrily coos, “Watch out for snakes . . . .”

Don Prudhomme's Collection of Real Toys; Notice a Life Size Figurine of Him

Don Prudhomme’s Collection of Real Toys; Notice Snake Sitting on the ARMY Funny Car

They’re everywhere in this movie, those snakes and mongeese, both old and young. Interspersed with historic racing film clips, Snake and Mongoo$e drag racers Jesse Williams and Richard Blake, offer a realistic depiction how it had to be to live and race those roles. As a viewer one will be hard-pressed to distinguish the actors from the originals.

Alexia DeJoria Gives a Warning While Wally Parks (John Heard) Looks On.

Alexia DeJoria Gives a Warning While Wally Parks (John Heard) Looks On.

The character’s personalities come across just as they are in life: Prudhomme, the cool, collected but intense competitor. McEwen plays the playboy, loving every squeeze while creating a brilliant marketing strategy. His single idea led to a remarkable deal with Hot Wheels developing a Barbie-type franchise for racing. Today the novel idea still lives through tricked-out Traxxas remote-controlled models splashed on Courtney Force’s popular NHRA Funny Car.

How these two drivers ever managed to get along without killing one another racks fodder for a sequel. Mongoo$e, just like his namesake in the desert or on the track, seems to get the jump on the start. His prankish ways drove his partner nuts.

Snake's English Leather Hot Rod

Snake’s English Leather Hot Rod

Meanwhile, Snake’s mechanical acumen became his competitive tool, twisted like a Dairy Queen with his cool breeze. Cameos spice this movie such as the movie star character Prudhomme meeting the real Snake playing the role of a car owner, which he was after retiring from active driving. They shake hands while not breaking character; it’s great stuff to witness.

No other film including the ground-breaking “Heart Like a Wheel,” a survey of drag racing 40-years ago revealing how Shirley Muldowney colored it pink, has this incredible depth of detail. 50 million can’t be wrong; drag racing is the most fan-friendly motorsport on the globe. One experiences it frame-by-frame with “Snake and Mongoo$e.”

An Inside Lesson on How Those Racing Close-ups Occur

An Inside Lesson on How Those Racing Close-ups Occur

Illustrating the historical significance of this story, make sure to check the special thanks and archival footage credits trailing the movie. It reads like a Who’s Who in the history of drag racing: Legendary “Big Daddy” Don Garlits; Prudhomme crew chief and drag racer Bob Brandt along with “Jungle” Jim Liberman.

Caught walking through the pits in the movie, Roland Leong, who was there when the Hot Wheels deal came together, recounts “McEwen was the smartest of the bunch . . . I hate to admit it but McEwen and Prudhomme showed us the way to the future.” (1) When Leong and Prudhomme formed a team, the Snake describes it as driving for another rich kid; in that line is a truism that escapes most of the public. Great wealth roams those pits—some are billionaires—who are as addicted to the thrill of the intense seconds on a pro drag strip as the sportsman in the Super Gas class.

Young and Old Snake and Mongoo$e Meeting On The Set

Young and Old Snake and Mongoo$e: Meeting On The Set

“TV” Tommy Ivo, whose showmanship and dragster display innovation staged the way for the sport, contributed to the film along with a driving credit, too; note the credit for the ever-lovely Linda Vaughn originally creating the hot look modeling white boots as Miss Hurst Shifter; count in respected veteran reporters and voices of Dave McClelland, Steve Evans and Keith Jackson.

The remarkable racing artist Kenny Youngblood snares credit as he created the look and feel of those logo images pasted on the dragsters. Youngblood is the best known of any racing artist where the word “legendary” does not do him justice. Note he recently launched a new publication illustrating his work, “Fuel Coupe Magazine.”Snake Mongoose DVD wheel shot up close

Popular NHRA Funny Car Driver for NAPA, Ron Capps, with an uncharacteristic look

Popular NHRA Funny Car Driver for NAPA, Ron Capps, with an uncharacteristic look

Incredibly for this production, eight restored dragsters, trucks and funny cars provided by Snake Racing populate the screen along with 17 other dragsters from names such as Bruce Meyer, Frank Baney, the (must see) NHRA Museum, Mike Kuhl and a host of others.

Seven additional Funny Cars receive credits like Don Trasn’s 1978 English leather Corvette; 22 “period cars” such as Chopit Kustom’s 1932 Red Ford Hot Rod and a 1950 Merc, along with four Chevys by Randy Winkle including his cool 1964 El Camino.

Then there is the book . . . ahhhh, the book.

Author Tom Madigan published “Snake and Mongoose: the Rivalry that Changed Drag Racing Forever.” I wrote the following in a review December, 2009, for Radioactive Drag Racing News:

(L-R) Young Snake, The Real Snake, Young Mongoose

(L-R) Young Snake, The Real Snake, Young Mongoose

. . . elements that will amuse, confuse, and bemuse the reader absorbing this pictorial delight. Then, without warning, the whole tale comes together in a very poignant moment of the adventure, slamming the reader in their seat as though they’ve hit the accelerator on a Funny Car, leaving one exhausted and emotionally spent afterward, but warmly satisfied.

I am not giving away the nature of that moment, but it led to . . .

Snake and Mongoo$e were Front Page Material

Snake and Mongoo$e were Front Page Material

I was squished on an airplane at 35,000 feet . . . absorbed in the beautiful photography handsomely displayed . . . . Then, out of the blue, here comes this bombshell like nitro exploding in my gut . . . I was grabbed by a story that had the Snake losing a major drag race to McEwen, but afterwards uncharacteristically leaping out of his Funny Car, scrambling over to McEwen’s car and clutching him as they both broke down, crying in a very private way.

The Hauler: The Interim Step Between a Trailer and the Now Prevalent Tractor Trailers

The Hauler: The Interim Step Between Towing a Trailer and the Now-Prevalent Tractor Trailers

Snake Mongoose DVD

Notice in That Era the Engine Sat in Front of the Driver. Later, Don Garlits and T.C. Lemons Created the Rear-Engine Dragsters

I remember misty eyes and a clutched throat as the two hardened racers, as different in personalities as summer and winter, wept together over an unfathomable loss that exceeded anything either had experienced in their racing careers—and none of us ever wish to join. And now here it is, available on a DVD; their lives, their loves, their personal animosities morphing into respect, along with the entire racing experience brought together in redemption exceeding one’s imagination.

I am not going to spoil this account here, or give it away—it is too important for that. You need to discover it for yourself. I will tell you my eyes watered for those moments, stuck in a window seat, turning to glance at the expansive blue beyond while reading in shock as raw human emotion spilled out of these pages and now is embedded on the “Snake and Mongoo$e” DVD. You will know it when you see it. You NEED to know it.

Compare this photo of the Actors Snake and Mongoo$e with the Super Stock Magazine Photo of the Real Thing

Compare this photo of the Actors Snake and Mongoo$e with the Super Stock Magazine Photo of the Real Thing

Songs like Rare Earth’s “I Just Want to Celebrate” rock the soundtrack bringing Motown Records to racing.  ZZ Top’s “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” follows a Prudhomme national win early in the movie. The movie credits end with the hard rock riffs of “How You Like Me Now” written by Ken Goldstein, Jack Dempsey’s voice reverberating deep in the soul, leaving an awesome imprint that one just witnessed something special in this movie, confirmed by the song’s closing lyric: “Oh, mercy. Hello. Oh yeah.” Oh, mercy. Hello. Oh yeah, indeed.

Mongoose Wins; Snake Congratulates Him in This Poignant Moment

Mongoose Wins; Snake Congratulates Him in This Poignant Moment

Race to buy the new “Snake and Mongoo$e” DVD, an entertaining and exceptional era-racing movie. Then you will discover a secret: why Jamie smiles . . . forever.

(1) Tom McEwen (drag racer)

Firsts at First: 2014 NHRA Winternationals

19 Feb

The Winternationals first ran in 1961; now, for more than 50 years, the annual Mellow Yellow NHRA Winternationals opens the drag racing tour. Plenty of excitement in all those years, but this 2014 edition unveiled many new firsts.

Historic start; smoky end

Historic start; smoky end

The first woman drag racer slipped in the elite three-second-club when Alexis DeJoria coaxed her Patron XO Cafe Camry to a 3.997 ET during qualifying to claim a third place start in the Sunday finals. Fresh off her cameo in the best drag

Love this Flick!

Love this Flick!

racing film, Snake and Mongoose, since Shirley Muldowney’s Heart Like A Wheel in 1983, DeJoria took an acting lesson from professor Gary Densham who edged her off the line in their sleepy launches. As she began to pull away, tire smoke billowed from under the Toyota; she pedaled but Densham got the break in his Densham Motorsports Charger and ran a little further before he, too, spit smoke. As  FastNews Network exclaimed, “Upset alert!”  DeJoria did not win the booby prize, the first woman knocked out in the pro brackets for 2014; that honor passed to Leah Pritchett’s Gumout Dragster.

After leaving on Spencer Massey’s Battery Extender Dragster,  Massey’s better rail never trailed though Pritchett looked good in her run. Maybe DeJoria deserves a credit for first out in a tire-fest.

For the first time, the broadcast over the extended qualifying days speculated if legend, John Force, would up his Sweet Sixteen championships to a “Love Me Do” 17. See, back in 1962 the Beatles released this, their first ever single, in England. It peaked at 17. On the flip-side of the 45, back when records were the download of the day, the song reflected most fan’s admiration of the incredible Force: “P.S. I Love You.” Certainly that might “Please Please Me“–the later album containing the two aforementioned hits–so Ford might delay their planned pullout of support for the sport and the fans who stuck with them even when their retail cars were, nicely stated, out of style. As the saying goes in The Godfather classics, Ford would say, “It’s only business;” we still love you. This action if consummated would be the first major blunder Ford made under the Alan R. Mulally reign as its President and CEO. See if he ever gets invited back to a drag strip . . . .

Wonder if the Godfather ever made it to the drag strip?

Wonder if the Godfather ever made it to the drag strip?

First memorable line of the year came when one of the broadcast blurted that Force is now eligible for the senior discount at Marie Callenders, a well-known California chain. Their tag “Home Cooked Happiness” would appeal to the Funny Car champ as winning the Winternationals in his Ford (!) Mustang in his home state might just fry the remainder of the field, allowing him to careen unseen to number 17.

Ever popular Ron Capps won the first highlight film-clip of the season when the NAPA Auto Parts Charger spread the back-half of the car over much of the track during qualifying runs. He gave the fans a taste of that disaster when in elimination’s quarter-finals his Charger pushed him to the wall, tagging it “You’re it!” style, and thus winning the season’s first DQ–“We ask you to kindly leave the track now as you are officially disqualified from this round. Thank you.”

Looking everybit like a champion-to-be, Millican gets off a shocking first round win

Looking every bit like a champion-to-be, Millican gets off a shocking first round win

Now in his general manager’s position with the Al-Anabi team, Brandon Bernstein makes it the first time since 1977 a Bernstein hasn’t been in a dragster. Remember 1977? Apple became a company, the Sex Pistols rock sound was nixed by EMI, Jimmy Carter became President No. 39, and like this year, the Great Lakes Blizzard slammed the Northeast; that was all in just January, too.

Remember when?

Remember when?

Effervescent Clay Millican celebrated a birthday during the weekend by sitting down the Top Fuel Champion, Antron Brown’s Matco Tools ride, with his own Parts Plus Dragster. The significance of this upset is shown in their past races: Brown had taken all ten of them. Brown isn’t slipping, it is Millican is showing he is a Milli-CAN, not a Milli-CAN’T . . . with apologizes to Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the 2003 film where that line originated. Brown told the broadcast, “We’re not going to get down. We’ll head to Phoenix and try to win there; lean and mean,” becoming the first champion of the 2013 to lose in 2014. There’s always some honor in dishonor in losing. I know. I’ve done it enough.

The Women of Force

11 Mar
BP Lubricants Inc., and their line of Castrol motor oil will be featured on Designing Spaces, the popular home improvement show on Lifetime Television. Brittany Force, professional drag racer joins the show's "Kid Spaces" series to talk to viewers about staying safe on the road.

BP Lubricants Inc., and their line of Castrol motor oil will be featured on Designing Spaces, the popular home improvement show on Lifetime Television. Brittany Force, professional drag racer joins the show’s “Kid Spaces” series to talk to viewers about staying safe on the road.

Brittany  continued,“We shot the segment in Florida after we tested in January. It was a really neat experience and I hope the show’s viewers enjoy the segment. I am excited to have Castrol EDGE as my primary sponsor so getting the word out about the importance of changing your motor oil is a big deal. Spring Break and Summer are right around the corner so you want to be sure you have your car in tip top shape,” said Brittany Force a top contender for the 2013 NHRA rookie of the year award drives a Top Fuel dragster, the only one in the Force camp.

Brittany continued,“We shot the segment in Florida after we tested in January. It was a really neat experience and I hope the show’s viewers enjoy the segment. I am excited to have Castrol EDGE as my primary sponsor so getting the word out about the importance of changing your motor oil is a big deal. Spring Break and Summer are right around the corner so you want to be sure you have your car in tip top shape,” said Brittany Force a top contender for the 2013 NHRA rookie of the year award drives a Top Fuel dragster, the only one in the Force camp.

Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of drag racing’s most prolific and popular driver, 15-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, is RACER magazine’s  runaway choice as Rookie of the Year, voted on by their global readership. A runner-up finish to Cruz Pedregon in the Pomona finals showed she’ll be a Funny Car title contender in 2013 – and victory in the season-opening Winternationals confirmed it.

Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of drag racing’s most prolific and popular driver, 15-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, is RACER magazine’s runaway choice as Rookie of the Year, voted on by their global readership. A runner-up finish to Cruz Pedregon in the Pomona finals showed she’ll be a Funny Car title contender in 2013 – and victory in the season-opening Winternationals confirmed it.

"I want to thank the readers of RACER Magazine for voting for me as RACER Rookie of the Year. To be considered with top NASCAR, Indy Car and F1 rookies is an honor just in itself and to be voted as Rookie of the Year is unbelievable,” said Force, the 2012 Automobile Club Road to the Future Award winner. “I have to thank all my fans and especially RACER magazine for this honor."

“I want to thank the readers of RACER Magazine for voting for me as RACER Rookie of the Year. To be considered with top NASCAR, Indy Car and F1 rookies is an honor just in itself and to be voted as Rookie of the Year is unbelievable,” said Force, the 2012 Automobile Club Road to the Future Award winner. “I have to thank all my fans and especially RACER magazine for this honor.”

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The Neighborhood

Society online's creative conscious.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

iHarmonizing Competition

Delivering Lessons Learned from racing and life

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

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