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in the world of drag racing

Black Bar

The latest update as of August 11, 1998

We'll start this installment of "What's New" with even more feedback. It's truly amazing what happens when I put a few words on a web page. Somewhat like throwing gasoline on a bonfire, eh? Keep those "rockets" coming, folks.

  • Reverend Phillip Bradford  -  "Racers for Coffee"

    I'm a fan who started doin' this (writing for Nitronic Research) 'cuz Phil Elliott had bailed out of SS and DI and Drag News was dead; ergo, nuthin' for me to read. So I started reading Full Throttle, wrote L-O-N-G tirades back and forth with Cole Coonce and he dared me to do it . . . so I did. I passed the dare along to Dave Kerr (who was featured at the LIONS reunion) and to Wrenchski, who as you know is now a regular contributor to Nitronic Research.

    Guess what BOB???? Now it's your turn. Don Ewald is accurate as snot. YOU WRITE WELL. Glad for your site. Mind you, even Cole never gets more than gas money, but you have a future in this. Suggest you contact Richard Heath at "Full Throttle News". No. That's not a suggestion. I DARE YOU.

    My heart and mind is with you re: the not-so-distant future. Putting this in context: I just crawled out of a tent after two months in the desert. AT NO TIME did I (a hard core drag fan) feel the need to know what John F(arce's) latest shenanigans in front of a camera were, who won (out of the predictable "Same Sixteen" cars travelling the No Hot Rods Allowed circuit. Or the Top Fuel results at the Yuppie Calling Card Nationals (complete with no respect for lineage and history of the event) at Anytrack, USA.

    The circuit (circus) must die. Fortunately, it has a death wish to rival anything AHRA did to itself in the '80's. What we need to face is, as you imply, the future of a sport that has only so much cash to fund it, only so many well-heeled fans to underwrite that support and an ever-fading corporate wellspring. Your UDRA analysis is pretty right on. The circuits that resulted may be the real lesson for us; not the local chapter infighting.

    Dave Kerr is one of the original 300 UDRA members --- he'll tell you about the fine art of shooting yourself in the foot that was demonstrated at those early meetings. Mind you, I'm on the LEFT side of the Nitronic Research libertarian/zen anarchy ethos. Rev is for Revolution! I have far more than middlin' nostalgic interest in west coast Goodguys-styled shows. These affairs are largely racer-directed. They may be able to clue us in on HOW we organize the future. I feel (sorry IHRA...) these shows (including the monthly Front-Motored TF shows at LA County) are the only current self-sustaining acitivites ongoing with NITRO as the soup d'jour.

    Your fellow railbird-in-revolt.... Reverend Phillip Bradford

  • Grant "Nitro" Stephens  -  Cackling Pipes   Syndey, Australia

    I tried to access your page yesterday but it said URL not found, seems OK now though. (Due to some heavy "tire shake" I "lifted" for a few hours) Have just read your latest news section; don't hold back now Bob ! I dunno much about Top Alcohol (if you could call it that) racing in the US, but I could never understand why injected nitro cars are allowed to race with alky ones, and why one's opinion would stir up so much reaction (suppose that's a good thing). Anyway, keep it up, glad to see your site is getting a lot of deserved attention. Gotta laugh at Vicky Stojanovska's comments, I've had a few e-mails from her myself and a couple of pics she sent me. (Presumably with lots of clothing on). Thanks for the pic of the ROMAC girls, they are quite a piece of work. Keep sticking it to 'em. (He means NHRA, etc. NOT the Romac girls! At least I hope that's what he means!!)

  • Jerry Kumre  -  "Submission to the NHRA rules committee"

    I am a sportsman racer within Division 7 who runs Super Comp and the Korbel Super Eliminator (7.90 index) series and have a vested interest in the FM/D (Top Alcohol Dragster) class in that we are in the process of building an A/Fuel car for next year. I have been involved in the alcohol classes for many many years through my family. (The San Paolo brothers) I have seen all the changes to the class since the mid 70's and I honestly cannot say too many of these changes have been very positive. The change of the classes' status to "Pro-Sportsman" was a welcomed addition but it is very obvious that this was a promotion in name only. Kind of like at work when you get a new title but no raise to go with it !

    The time has come and to some extent has passed by for the Alcohol classes to be given a level of well overdue respect. One good look at the "Winston Top 10" shows how many of your "Superstars" of the sport came from the alky ranks. 4 of the top 10 in T/F, including the top 3 and 5 of the top 10 in F/C ! It is time for the "pro-sportsman" classes to stop being stepped on and passed by. There is no way NHRA can say there is not enough funding to up the payout schedule when it can afford to add new pro classes. Look at the attendance numbers at divisional events, in many cases 500 cars, the same type of numbers as at a National event and a 20,000 plus fan attendance at many events.

    Why has the class been left behind? It is obviously not in the same area as a super class, no offence to any of my brethren (in super comp), and even Comp (eliminator), which I feel gets more publicity and respect from NHRA. Why is it that the NHRA pro-sportsman class doesn't get treated like NASCAR treats it's feeder series like BUSCH Cup or even Winston West or East ? Why do they get more professional treatment from their sanctioning body than the alky classes do from NHRA?

    When are the changes coming or is time for the members to pack it up, as many have, or look into new options. I hate to throw this out for discussion, but if IHRA were to come out west, I would probably jump ship. It seems as though they treat their racers with more respect and have not lost sight of the fact that the racers are the show and the VIP tents and hospitality areas are not.

    Respectfully yours, Jerry Kumre.

    P.S: Please don't reject my license renewals, I have partners to answer to as well.

  • Jim Sorenson  -  "Northwest fueler fan-atic"

    I admire your unflinching stand on the Top Alcohol Dragster thing. Keep it up as long as you can. Maybe it'll make a few people honest. Sounds like this Chris (Blair) guy has a sense of humour. (See the August 10th update for that story) But I doubt that Jerry Valentine will certify that "throne" . . . to paraphrase Jerry, "Those things should be locked in museums, they were unsafe then, and they're unsafe now." (Referring to AA/FA's.) Hope this isn't the end for you and Larry (Pfister), website-wise. It'd be a sad thing.

Many thanks to everyone who has expressed the same concerns that Jim Sorenson did on that last bit of feedback. Speaking for myself, Northern Thunder will continue in its present, complete form and over the coming months I'll be working hard to improve and expand the content. And NO, I will not get down off this Top Alcohol "reform" soapbox. Serious changes are needed, and they are needed NOW. I will continue to do my (small) part in trying to effect those changes.

Regarding Larry Pfister's incredible Horsepower Heaven 3 web-site; the future of one of the best drag racing web-sites in existence is strictly in Larry's capable hands. I've inadvertently and most unfortunately caused him much grief this week with some ill-advised, untrue and indefensible comments that were posted in his "Feedback" column. If my actions are the undoing of all his great work, then I'll have to take a long hard look at whether I should continue with the Northern Thunder website.

I've relayed these feelings to Larry several times in the past few days and am fervently hoping (as we all are) that he can rekindle the fire for the third time this (often turbulent) year. Let him know that you feel the same way, as it will be a dark day for drag racing without his voice and creative abilities on display for all to see. Don't delay, e-mail Larry with your messages of support right now! Tomorrow, or the next day, or next week might be too late.

And as always, stay tuned for the next riveting episode of "As the Wheel Turns" sometimes known as . . . "wake up and smell the f#@$ing tire smoke"

Black Bar
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