in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of July 22, 1998
Lots of news to report, not all of it good of course, but who said we weren't at least honest? First things first, though. The past two weeks have seen many additions to the site and the following list will direct you to the areas with the most changes. Be sure to come back to this page after you've finished surfing around the site, to read the latest news. Or just scroll down the page, and catch up on the changes later.
Bad news for Top Alcohol Dragster (Darn, I keep forgetting it's Federal-Mogul Dragsters now) fans with the announcement from Bobby Taylor, driver of Gary Turner's GT Bicycles car, that they are very close to parking the car. In fact, their appearance at the Woodburn, Oregon FMDRS event on July 10-12 could prove to have been their last outing. To quote Taylor, "The fun element of the sport has gone, not just for us, but for a lot of teams. A couple of years ago, whenever there was some downtime, we'd get together and play football and just hang out together. But something has changed; everybody is so intense, so wound up."
"The plan is to sell the car and all the equipment. We may go to Sonoma (for the Autolite Nationals) but after that we have no plans whatsoever." Backing up these statements was the fact that for the first time ever, car owner Gary Turner didn't accompany the team to Woodburn. If the statements are true, then the world of drag racing as a whole will have suffered a major loss, as the 1996 World Champions had for several years been considered among the top teams in NHRA drag racing. For a look at Taylor's views at the start of this season, go to The Pedaler article in our Press Clippings index.
Now for some good news ! The Australian drag racing calendar for the 1998-99 season has just been released and despite having only 5 rounds in the ANDRA Top Alcohol Championship Series the schedule seems tailor-made for our Northern Thunder downunder " invasion " plans. For a look at our 1999 competition schedule go to the Northern Thunder Schedule page. And for the complete story of how all this has come about, please read the NORTHERN THUNDER downunder story in the Northern Thunder section.
And in a strange turnabout, Australian Top Fuel legend Graeme Cowin has announced plans to compete on the NHRA tour, starting with this year's Winston Finals at Pomona in November. This will be followed in 1999 with between 6 and 10 events on the US tour, in a new Murf McKinney car currently under construction. No word yet as to his plans for running in Australia during the 1998-99 season. His Australian car was extensively damaged in a spectacular crash at the recent (Australian) Winternationals, when a new rear wheel sheared off at half-track, putting Graeme into, and almost over the guardwall at Willowbank Raceway. Initial reports indicated that it would be rebuilt by Rod Andrews in Seven Hills, New South Wales.
Veteran drag racing fans may remember Cowin's very successful stint in the USA ten years ago with his "Aussie Raider" Funny Car, highlighted by a memorable Runner-up finish to Kenny Bernstein at the 1998 Winternationals and setting an IHRA speed record at over 266 mph.
Finally, a few words from Chris Blair, NHRA Division Six Director prompted (in part at least) by my "diatribe" about the state of NHRA posted on this page last week. To see what I said (without having to hunt for it) go to And you thought NHRA Championship Drag Racing . . .
Chris Blair has asked me to post the following comments on behalf of the NHRA. I do so gladly, as fair reporting must include both sides of any story, no matter how much one may personally wish to slant the news to fit their views. " Super Street is not being dropped from NHRA National Events. I myself serve on the Super Street committee and Jerry Valentine (Divison Six Tech Director) serves as chairman of the committee. Super Street is one of the strongest categories we currently have and the intent of NHRA, Federal Mogul and our track operators is to preserve all of our Sportsman classes. Federal Mogul firmly believes in the sportsman program and have a multi-year contract to preserve the sport. If anyone has any questions regarding the future of sportsman classes at NHRA events, I would appreciate it if they would either call the division office or the National Field office for the truth instead of fueling the flames of a bad rumour. Thank you for your time." Chris Blair - July 16, 1998.
Final item of the day/night, NHRA has announced the hiring of Gary Darcy as it's new Vice President of Marketing. For the press release, click here. All I can say is that I wish him luck and longevity, he's going to need both.