What's New What's Old What's New - July 29, 1998 What's New - July 22, 1998 What's New - July 17, 1998 What's New - July 3, 1998 E-MAIL to NORTHERN THUNDER Home Page  

in the world of drag racing

Black Bar

The latest update as of July 26, 1998

As always, lots of news to report, and as usual not enough time to do it. So I'll give you the headlines now, and fill in the details tomorrow.

Tonight, we've (myself and crewchief Tom Mohan) got to help Jay Syvertsen prepare his MOPAC Auto Supply blown alcohol 67 Nova doorslammer to run at Mission Raceway tomorrow.

Now for the headlines:
  • Whit Bazemore (Nitro Funny Car) has been dropped from Team WINSTON for the 1999 NHRA season. "A change in marketing focus" is the reason cited.

  • Shelly Anderson's run of bad luck continued at Sears Point's Autolite Nationals yesterday when she blew the engine, the tires, then crashed heavily. Initial reports list minor burns and bruises as the only apparent injuries.

  • Chris Blair, NHRA's Division Six director has responded to my e-mail(s) and has some information about where NHRA is heading for next season. Read the details below the headlines.

  • Bobby Taylor (Top Alcohol Dragster) is NOT at Sears Point. Apparently his statement that he and car owner Gary Turner are pulling out of NHRA drag racing and selling all the equipment are true.

  • Melanie Troxel's In-N-Out Burger injected nitro dragster suffered a major engine explosion while attempting to start for the final qualifying session at Sears Point today. Several crew members were injured (and hospitalized) due to the concussion and the team car of Shane Gay which was the 7th qualifier was withdrawn as a result. Yet another reason to get the injected cars out of Top Alcohol (Federal-Mogul) Dragster? You be the judge.

The following is the complete text of an e-mail sent to me earlier this week by NHRA's Division Six Director, Chris Blair.

I just wanted to let you know that I just got back from Las Vegas where the 30 people who sit on the rules committees all get together to, contrary to popular belief, try to make things better for everyone.

The dominant focal point of our meeting was " What can we do to save Federal Mogul Dragster and Funny Car?"

We dedicated days and hours to finding both short term and long term solutions for this class. Everyone there realizes that there are more racers who are in your situation than the unlimited budget teams. We see the problems, we realize that something must be done and it will happen.

The situation that we are in is that we want to make things better so that more racers can move to that level. We can't do it overnight so we have to look at laying out our long term plans as to where we want to go and by what date things must be in place. We also need to look at what small steps can be made so that 1999 is better than 1998, 2000 is better than 1999 and so on.

We developed several possiblities and we are going to start fielding responses from racers like yourself. We will then meet again at Indy for the U.S. Nationals to see what the next step will be and how soon we can do it.

Your arguments and commentaries don't fall on deaf ears. I encourage you to give me your opinions and ideas in writing so that I can copy it to the other members of our group so that we can see what is out there. I also ask that every other racer out there do the same thing.

Obviously we can't do everything that everyone asks. However, we can look at our racers opinions and look for the common thread that runs through everyone and see if those solutions can be made.

Just to let you know, those in attendance in Las Vegas included:
The 7 Division Directors, Divison Tech Directors, NHRA Tech Department, VP Carl Olson, VP Graham Light, Ned Walliser, Lynwood Dupuy, Steve Gibbs, Gene Bergstrom, Legal Counsel Russ Dean, VP Cary Menard and NHRA VP and General Manager Tom Compton .

I appreciate comments and suggestions.

Chris Blair
NHRA Division Director

What can I say? I did receive a response, it sounds like NHRA realizes that there is a major problem with the class, but in the end what can be done to save/rectify the situation? I don't pretend to have the answers, but instead of sitting here whining about it, I'm going to take him up on his offer and give him my comments and suggestions about what can be done. Rest assured that you'll see them in "What's New" at the same time they are sent to Mr. Blair. Stay tuned, I promise it will be interesting!

For more comments from the Division Director, pertaining to the future of the Super Comp, Gas, Street classes, visit Larry Pfister's Horsepower Heaven The Site  3.

Despite the "carnage" reports from Sears Point, there are enough cars left to stage the Autolite Nationals tomorrow, so be sure to visit our Results Menu   for all the results. In fact, we have already posted the final qualifying results from the event. The numbers aren't earth shattering, but as usual for this race, the hot weather takes its toll on the track and the cars. Remember, as always, more news as it happens.

Black Bar
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: