in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of October 18, 1998
We've just finished posting the final (finally) results from NHRA's Parts America Nationals (aka: The Press-On-Regardless Nationals) from Topeka. Eliminations started at 6:30pm. and finally concluded (after all the tire smoke and oil dry dust cleared) at 2:00am. Desperation or what?
With their late season events stacked up week after week (after week) the pressure was surely on the "association" to finish the Heartland Park event this weekend, as the next two weekends see back-to-back events at Dallas and Houston. And there is only one open weekend left on the calendar before the Winston Finals at Pomona in mid-November. With their weather window rapidly closing, as the summer is truly over now, the folks running the travelling acceleration circus must surely have been getting very nervous watching the weather satellite data yesterday. I'm sure they would have kept running around the clock to finish the race, no matter how much incovenience it meant for the spectators or racers. "We've already got your money, so sit down, shut up and 'enjoy' the show!"
Another insult to the faithful was NHRA's Friday "Test 'n' Tune" at Topeka, with admission being offered for only $13. And of course, all the (already qualified) racers were cordially invited to perform for free in front of the spectators. Gee, what an opportunity; put on a free show and use up more equipment and money to enrich the NHRA. I could be wrong, but I didn't see any mention of any remuneration to the racers for their efforts on Friday. At a "conservative" estimate of $5000 a lap for the fuel guys and over $1000 per lap for the alcohol cars, those "free test runs" can add up in a hurry. To their credit, the majority of cars stayed in the pits. Scanning the list of those who did run reveals that nearly all were corporate sponsored racers.
So after all was said and done, how was the race? Well, if you like to see lots of smoke, shake, a blowover, pedalling till their feet got numb . . . then you came to the right place. Only a few side-by-side competitive runs occurred, with the majority of the rounds being won by the racer who "lifted last". One unfortunate incident happened in the first round, when Pat Dakin smoked the tires, pedalled and then went into a wheelstand that didn't quit. Another blowover, with a completely destroyed race car, but fortunately a not seriously injured driver.
To this point, (Sunday afternoon) I haven't seen any updates on Pat's condition, other than the initial "he was alert and responding to commands". Hopefully, he isn't badly hurt and will come back with a new car in 1999. A "low-buck" (relatively) racer of the first order, Pat and his Commercial Metal Fabricators (his own company) crew have achieved an awful lot with not much money in the last few years. Let's hope we haven't seen the last of him. LATE FLASH: Dean Skuza (aka "The Burnout King") reported a few minutes ago that Pat suffered a broken wrist and some cuts.
The "other guys" (IHRA) fell prey to the weather gods this weekend too. Their "World" Finals event at the brand-new Red River Raceway in Shreveport, Louisiana was finally postponed earlier today after two days of on-and-off rain. The track (when dry enough to run on) proved first-class and many career bests were recorded in all classes. With seven of eight Top Fuel qualifiers in the 4-second zone, eliminations promised to be close and exciting.
The biggest problem was the unfinished pit area which turned into a red clay mud bog with each downpour. Even if the track could have been dried today, the pits were beyond help without several days of dry weather. Qualifying, abbreviated for many classes - Top Fuel only had 2 sessions - were completed on Saturday, and eliminations have been postponed until Sunday, October 25. At least the Shreveport event is the last on the IHRA national event schedule for 1999 and they should be able to complete it . . . eventually. No bets on whether that will be next Sunday though.
After my "teaser" last week about a local "situation" involving myself, a well known local speed shop, a local motorsports facility and a publishing/ promoting/marketing "guru" . . . there's been a strange? silence ever since. None of the threatened actions have been taken, no further "meetings" have taken place (to my knowledge), no process servers have knocked on my door. Is it just another example of "all smoke - no fire" or could the parties involved have realized that the alleged offence(s) were nothing that could be even remotely offensive to saner/cooler minds? More details as soon as possible.