in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of August 8, 1998
So Bob, where do you / we go from here? Good question, as by now there
are probably "NOT Wanted" posters of me at the pit entrance
of every NHRA track between here and Mexico. Amazingly, though, despite the
"strong" views expressed here earlier in the week, I've not heard a word
(discouraging or otherwise) from NHRA. However, judging by the e-mail response I've
received, and the links to my "editorial(s)" from some very popular websites,
NHRA has certainly heard / read about what's going down at Northern Thunder.
Feedback, comments and suggestions have come from all over North America
and even as far afield as Australia. I've taken to referring to Oz as my
"second home", and as each day passes it's looking more like my soon-to-be
new home. I can almost hear the commentators in the background already;
"What a coward. He makes a lot of noise, and then runs off and hides
on the other side of the world." Think what you will, but my reasons for
racing in Australia go far beyond my "difficulties" with the current NHRA
It's been suggested that posting some of the responses from other racers
and fans about my Northwest Nationals / S.I.R. editorial and the
Let the fireworks begin! "Pass the dynamite, the fuse is lit . . . ."
"Money, Marketing and Nitro" discussion paper would make for some
interesting reading. Since none of the messages have been tagged "NOT for
publication" I'll post what's come in, editing only for space and legal
reasons. If anyone doesn't want their name and/or comments appearing on this
now "infamous, subversive, (you pick an adjective)" site, let me
know and they will be removed a.s.a.p.
- Michael Ray - "Heads up Review"
I read it (SIR editorial) yesterday ! It's great stuff that needs to be said.
Unfortunately my ties with NHRA are too close to be publishing it on my site.
I just don't need to burn that bridge right now. I completely agree with you
though. I've never been out to SIR but I've heard the horror stories before
and the commercialism is ridiculous. Send me your alcohol discussion and we'll
publish it and give you some good advertising.
- Larry Pfister - "Horsepower Heaven 3"
I just wanted to thank you for saving me a ton of thinking, writing and editing.
Your latest piece is . . . well I'm not sure how to describe it. It's a little
more radical than what I would have written, basically because I was only
there for 24 hours, and didn't see and hear all you did. But it all sounds,
like everything else you do, well thought out, researched, and hell . . .
even spell-checked . . . things not all my stuff can match. Damn good, entertaining
job though. Rock on!
- Bill Pratt - "The Drag Racing List online"
I read your piece on Seattle late last night, and really enjoyed it. It was
great. I recently fell out of NHRA favour, I think, with a piece on the
newsgroup after hearing that Chris Martin (National Dragster) was let
go. That still is the most unbelievable thing to me --- proof positive that
those boneheads have no idea what is going on. The stuff about Seattle really
opened my eyes. I haven't ever been there. Unreal. I have a lot of alky pals,
running IHRA and having a great time. At least they get treated well.
- Ken Lowe - "Ken Lowe Race Cars" (Australia)
Just got your fax (Alcohol paper) - WOW!! I agree
with what you are saying!!! Having said that, do you think NHRA will get
"program" ? I would like to think so but I have my doubts . . .
sorry. The alky racers raising some hell is kinda like the tail wagging the
dog. The ONLY way NHRA will come "in line" is if it will hurt them not
- Scott Nelson - "crewman on Mark Hentges A/FD-T/AD"
Bob, I was just looking over your site again and wanted to let you know that
it is very good. I do agree with pretty much all that you had to say. As far
as what needs to be done with the Top Alcohol classes, that is a very good
question. The payout for the class is a joke, we are racing for the same money
that we did over 10 years ago. At the same time, NHRA has come up with money
to pay out for a new "Pro" class in the trucks, which is even a bigger joke.
Obviously NHRA is getting money from the "Big Three", which makes them happy.
If you find a package on your door step with a return address from Glendora,
you probably should call the bomb squad! Keep up the good work.
- Chris Blair - "NHRA Division Six Director"
Huh, what, is something happening? Do I smell smoke? Are my pants on fire
again? Gee, my ears are getting warm, maybe I am on fire? Did somebody say
something? Jerry, quick, re-certify my seat-belts before I fall off my throne
again! Oh well, time for another 40 winks . . . . Z-Z-Z-Z-Z . . . ( My
aplogies Chris, but since you've been so silent all week, I felt that something
had to be written on your behalf)
- Jerry Kumre - "Supercomp - moving to A/Fuel"
How about that turn out of dragsters; 11 to qualify and only 8 able to run
the first round. This one race alone should let NHRA know that the wake-up
call has sounded. NHRA and Federal-Mogul need to put their heads and wallets
together and get some funding into the class. It is simple: T/AD cannot
survive on Super Comp payouts!! Just the logistics, as you well know, do
not work out. A Top Fuel car can make the next race on qualifying money alone.
In Top Alcohol, even if you win you are still in the hole. How to make sure
T/AD survives . . . SHOW US THE MONEY!!!
- Dennis Syrmis - "Willowbank Raceway, Australia"
Just read your story on Seattle. We went there the year before last and were
less than impressed with the facility. Interesting to see that things are not
as perfect on your side of the pond as the perception is over here. Having
raced for twenty years and now as a track operator for some 14 years I know
it's VERY difficult to balance the expectations of racers with the necessities
of running a viable business. Believe me, it ain't easy! (Willowbank
Raceway would put the majority of North American facilities to shame - Trust
me, I've been there and it is without doubt one of the nicest tracks in the
- Norman Hechtkoff - (someone who's REALLY lost!)
I really enjoyed your site, especially the pissed off (at SIR) story.
Are you the mad Canadian Jet Funny Car guy of a few years ago?
NO, not quite. YES, I'm mad. YES, I did own a funny car at one time. BUT,
the only jets I've been near are the ones Qantas uses to get me to Australia.
The guy you're thinking of is Bob Elliot and his Northern Force
car from Ontario. He's not quite as crazy as me, though.
- David Marin - "CRUZIN' Magazine"
Having spent an uncomfortable weekend at the Northwest Nationals, I was pleased
to read your account. Having pretty much burned our own bridges to SIR due
to previous articles about the deplorable conditions there, we were only able
to gain limited access this year. With your permission, we'd like to print at
least a portion of your editorial comments.
- Don Ewald - "Top Fuel Dragsters
- We Did It for Love"
Read your article - it was F---ING great - hit the
nail on the head. Like your style. Keep up the good work - you're
a hellofa writer. Let me know the next time you post. Keep in touch.
- Pat Harden - "Barling, Harden and Iseli B/AD"
Boy oh boy, Bob - don't sugar coat it now!! Better lay in some
supplies and make sure the security company is living up to their 24 hour
monitoring agreement at your place - Messrs. Rockstad, Gardner,
et al are probably sneaking through the undergrowth as we speak !
Gotta agree with you on all points, though - especially the "No
BULL" Winston gang. Even though I smoke, I was thoroughly embarassed and
dismayed by their shameless and overt promotion of both their product and an
acknowledged bad habit. And I thought "Smokin' Joe" Camel was over the top
.... Does this crap happen at Winston Cup races too??
Yup, SIR is a disgrace, and I'm embarassed once again to admit that I once
enjoyed going there - now I'm appalled at the condition of this
once "flagship" facility. Should NHRA pull the race?? I think not (not
yet, anyway), but they SHOULD (and hopefully already HAVE) demanded a serious
makeover, including a PROPER repaving, sanitary toilets, decent pits, etc.,
etc., . . . ALL the points you mentioned. Prolong must've been rather unpleasantly
surprised - wonder if they had any idea what they were getting
- Pat Green - "Ma Green"
Most interesting and very well written. I agree with you in all areas, although
I'm not as upset as you. But then I didn't go to Seattle this year either.
I'm beginning to think it's easier, and far cheaper, to stay home and watch
it on TV.
- Bill Evans - Super Gas racer
Hey Bob, wake up! If you are not in a PRO (NHRA version) class you are
definitely destined for the back burner. You may not like it or agree but
"the times they are a changing". Pretty soon the national events won't need
any of the sportspeople classes (notice the politically correct approach).
What we all need to do is organize all the little associations that are running
all over Canada and the U.S. into a racer run national group. And you FMD
(top alcohol) people should form your own. More fun and more money for the
racers. But I am just dreaming because my experience with most "golden days
of racing" bitches are that the people making them never do anything but bitch.
Make the system work for you by knowing how it works and getting inside of it.
- Marg Crossman - "United Parcel Service"
We will be forced to put your account on a C.O.D. only basis if you do not
respond immediately to our repeated requests for settlement of your overdue
account. Additionally, we will submit the file to our collection agency if
payment is not received within 7 days. Your immediate response to this matter
is required to avoid further charges. Have a nice day.
- Wrenchski - as posted on "Header Flames"
Hey Bob Wilson - Got an idea that'll save spectators AND racers
from boredom - open up Pro Stock (dump) Truck to Blown Alky
and Injected Nitro motors ! Kill two birds with one stone ! This would
inject some excitement into a class obviously invented with the gunrack and
Skoal set in mind . . . and give all the guys who supported NHRA with blood,
sweat and tears a place to sell all their old stuff . . . You don't really
think the old footballers, healthcare experts and dogfood salesmen at NHRA
are gonna let a class live when it only generates a paltry $1000 in ad revenues,
do ya? Anybody think we could raise the UDRA out of the ashes?
- Stan Berry - "a guy from Kansas"
Good stuff, right on the money. I am really beginning to resent some marketing
bastards sucking the fun out of something that used to be about just that . .
. . FUN. There isn't anyone having even a good time anymore, let alone
a great time like we used to.
- Mark - "another guy from the midwest"
When's the next flight to Australia!?!? (He's obviously seen the picture
of my "new" Oz Pit Crew). I kind of like
the NHRA since they do put on a good show. However, they do seem more than a
tad arrogant. They don't seem to care about anyone but the touring pros. I
wonder how long it will take before they realize they're cutting their real
source of income by neglecting the little guys like Stock and Super Stock,
not to mention T/AD and T/AFC. They claim to be a non-profit operation, but
I'll bet they do pretty well at year end! One thing I don't like is that they
insist on staying at SIR, but won't go to Mid-American Raceway in Scribner,
Nebraska. Scribner is no IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park), but from the
way it sounds, it's better than SIR!! Oh well, I hope you don't get too many
nastygrams from NHRA!
- X Man - "FMDRS # 25 Super Street"
This is just the sort of thing that's sorely needed . . . . a "no punches
pulled" eyewitness account, that's not been put through the propaganda
machine. Keep it up, dude! (Anyone got any Viagra tablets they can
- Joan Wilson - "a.k.a. MOM"
How come I can never reach you on the phone anymore? How come you never
return my messages? Are you still playing with that darned computer? At
least come over and have a home-cooked meal for a change, instead of that
junk food you keep picking up at the drive-thru. And what's this stuff about
you sending that darned race car to Australia?
- Doug Dornbos - "NHRA newsgroup reader"
Interesting reading on the T/A class problems. I found your page due to your
post on the nhra newsgroup. As far as your comments on: Beer Sales:(
"My views on this may be somewhat skewed as I don't drink, but did we come to
a drag race or a bar?" ). I've been on both sides of this issue and I think
you are absolutely right, one drunk can spoil the fun for 1000 people real
easy. When you accept major sponsorship from a beer company (Budweiser
), I guess you sell beer at your events. (Yeah, at four bucks a
hit for a plastic cup of watered-down 2% diuretic aid)
- Vicky Stojanovska - "Sydney, Australia"
I was just wondering if you had any idea why all these so-called "babes"
either look like they're going to do aerobics, or look like prostitutes?
Actually, I've seen hookers with more clothes! Believe me, I ain't jealous,
because I'm 24 and perfectly proportioned myself, (send us some photos?)
but I hate the idea of going to the drags and seeing some chick in a g-string
running around and her a$$ shaking all over the place! What about the girls
that RACE? I don't see guys in tight shorts running down the strip. Just my
thoughts, that's all. I love going to the races, and I hope that I see many
more women there. RACING, not exposing themselves. (I guess you just can't
- Jim Sorenson - "front-engine fuel-burner fanatic"
I pretty much agree with all your points on the NW Nats. Not being a racer,
just a spectator, I'm not privy to the info that you are, when it comes to
the racers' accomodations. So, those were a surprise to me. I think the
Montana Express guys did the right thing by heading home. Too bad they
didn't squash the NHRA trailer on the way out. Keep burning at the Glendora
gang. I almost didn't go this show, because of the way drag racing is turning
into SHOWTIME!, but only living about 30 miles away, I needed that nitro fix.
Hell, people pay more money to see Garth Brooks, and they get the ugly security
along with that experience. And a little better seating, but not much better.
Knock 'em down, pal! Let that righteous anger burn! The NHRA is going to
have to do something soon, as I can't and won't support what they're doing
much longer, even at the minor level I participate at. Thanks, Bob.
- Allen Tucker - "soldier at Fort Lewis, Washington"
I really enjoyed your editorial. Now if the people at NHRA and the management
at SIR would do something about it. (yeah, right!). Question . . . is the
IHRA anywhere near as bad as the NHRA? That might be a stupid question,
but I'm a spectator, not a racer. Thanks for the stinging commentary.
(Don't get this guy pissed off, he's got access to REAL weapons!)
- Tom 396 - "www.hotrodder.com/Tom396"
You should be sorry Mr Wilson! While stumbling along in your site, I ended
up clicking on something called "Aussie Drag Babes".
There went my whole afternoon! :-) Take care.
- Customer Service - "BC Telephone Internet Service"
Monthly statement: Billing date August 2/98 Time usage charges:
First 100 hours: FREE
Next 56.6225 hours: $84.93
Monthly Rental: $24.95
More Taxes: $7.70
This is for your record only. It is not an invoice.
- George Adams - "G & K Transport - Oregon"
I haven't been to an NHRA national event for 8 years and with your recent
posts on "Header Flames" I guess things haven't changed much. Good
for Mitchell (Montana Express T/F) for pulling out, what a lot of crap!
I think Wally's (Parks) a good man and I hope he is aware of sites
like yours, he might not be the main man anymore but he still has clout. (
Sorry to burst your bubble George, but Wally has become like Roy Roger's
horse Trigger; a stuffed animal, that they drag out on special occasions
just to keep the suckers thinking that NHRA is still an association of racers.
My sincere apologies to taxidermists, deceased cowboys and historical icons
everywhere). My question is: if you were running the show, what would you
do different? (Got a coupla days to listen to it all George?) All
you racers out there (current or retired) if you were calling the shots what
would it take to turn NHRA around? (About forty pounds of plastique
would be a good start!)
- Tony Ashley - "an old fart who got lost"
Let's see it's 9:00 pm. Yeah, I guess all the old fart's are in bed. I went
looking for Northern something and ended up here. Where am I? and how do I
- Norman Hechtkoff - ( how'd he sneak in again ?)
Bob Wilson's article on the Seattle race is a must read. While the crappy
nature of a just paved strip is nothing new (seems to me they had conditions
at Gainesville one year that were terrifying), the Seattle track seems to have
been forgotten in the push to upgrade facilities. The conditions of NAZI security
and bathrooms from Hell, remind me of New York National Speedway (circa 1969).
The NHRA can't explain away putting on a race at a shit hole like this now.
They have talked up their "new drag order" too much to present us with a
sewer. Mitchell and Grubnic have shown more balls and class than our sport
has seen before! Perhaps it is an omen that on the same weekend Shirley
(Muldowney) went 4.69 at an IHRA event. All tyrants have a settle up day.
Well, the "people" have certainly spoken, haven't they? I guess I really
have set off a few smoke alarms. Who needs flamethrowers or grenades to start
a revolution, when you've got a PC and a website for weapons? As usual, any
comments (positive or negative) about this site or it's postings are most
welcome. Stay tuned for more developments in this ongoing battle that I've
started. I'm just starting to get warmed up. As I've said before, I've really
got nothing to lose. What is NHRA going to do? Cancel my National Dragster
(Pravda) subscription? Get Rogers (cablevision) to cut my Nashville Network
hookup? Pull my competition license (it's currently expired anyway)?
More news as it happens, and if you wish to provide us with any news or information
to upgrade or correct any errors at this site: