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in the world of drag racing

Black Bar

The latest update as of January 14, 2000

Think the new racing season hasn't started yet in North America? People living in Canada may be forgiven for believing that, but in some parts of this continent, the season really never ends. And in the Southern Hemisphere, the season has been going strong for three months now. In fact, this weekend see's racing at three major venues: Phoenix, Arizona; Brisbane, Queensland; and Adelaide, South Australia.

It doesn't end there though, as action moves on to two more tracks next weekend: Melbourne, Victoria and Tucson, Arizona. Then, after a one week break, the NHRA national event season begins with the Winternationals at Pomona. It seems like the ink is barely dry on the records of the '99 season and here we are starting the 2000 season already. What happened to the "off-season"? It simply gets shorter and shorter every year, doesn't it?

The first test of the "new and improved" NHRA fuel rules comes at Phoenix's Firebird International Raceway "National Time Trials" this weekend. Quite a few teams have entered this event in the hopes of getting an early baseline for what could be some major tune-up changes this season. Presumably, NHRA's new "spec fuel" supplier (VP Fuels) will be on hand with a truckload of the new 90% blend mandated for 2000. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what develops. Stay tuned for all the news, good or bad, from Phoenix.

NHRA's second test session is scheduled for Tucson's Southwestern International Raceway next weekend. Titled as the "PRO National Warmup", this event will be the last chance for the fuellers to get acquainted with the new rules before the big show in Pomona, three weeks from now. Again, it should be interesting.

Looking further south, as in much further south, we see the Australian drag racing season kicking into high gear this weekend. Two major events are on tap, with Brisbane's Willowbank Raceway hosting the first round of their annual "Castrol New Year Series." And, for the first time ever, a Canadian racer will be appearing at a major championship event downunder. No, unfortunately, it's not yours truly, but Langley, BC's Jim Grant will be racing in Top Comp with his '68 Dart blown doorslammer.

He'll be facing some tough competition, ranging from Debbie Reed's 6-second small-block dragster, to Wayne Jones' 5-second small-block dragster, to Dean McLennan's 6-second Funny Car, etc. In total, fourteen cars have entered: five doorslammers, five dragsters, two altereds and two funny cars. Half are capable of six-second and quicker runs and all are blown. I repeat: ALL are blown alcohol cars. And they call it Top Comp. And it's one of the most popular brackets contested on a regular basis at Willowbank. Let's see now... all blown, very popular, hmm... think NHRA's Division Six could pick up a trick or two from this deal? More about that later, eh?

The Brisbane event is headlined by the Top Doorslammers (11 entered), the Pro Stocks (10 entered) and the Top Comp cars are the third feature. Tomorrow's weather forecast for Willowbank is for "cloudy at times with a shower or two. Light to moderate winds. Maximum 29 (C)". Let's hope the precipitation holds off and the first major event of Willowbank's 2000 season can be a successful one. And to Jim Grant: Go get 'em, bro! Show those Aussies what Canuck power is all about.... at least until Northern Thunder roars into life. (More about that later, too).

Even further south, down in Adelaide, the first round of the ANDRA Top Alcohol Championship series is running tomorrow. With nine cars entered, the national open at Adelaide International Raceway should be a good show. Too bad it wasn't ten, but circumstances just haven't permitted me to attend the event. In my absence, I'd like to extend my very best wishes to all the alcohol racers at Adelaide for a good, safe, fast race. Good luck, guys! We hope to have the results available sometime over the weekend.

Where to next? Well, we've got lots of options, like: What's really happening (or not) with that Northern Thunder dragster this year? or, What would Wilson do to improve/save/destroy (take your pick) drag racing? or, What's going to happen with this website as it prepares to enter its third year? So many topics to choose from . . . and so little time available to write about them, though.

While I'd like to cover the first two topics as soon as possible, and the second one in depth, the final item is easier and quicker to deal with, so that's where we'll finish up today. Today is two years to the day since I got connected to the internet and put up my original "Northern Thunder Home Page". Man, there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then; a steep learning curve, which never seems to get any flatter -- even after two years -- and a lot of fun, a few disappointments and a few major scares. We're still here though, and plan to be for quite a while yet.

Last week, in fact, the site hit a new all-time high in visitors, with a total of 2159. Thank you very, very much, everyone. Numbers like that make it easier to continue plugging away, trying to put together a website that people actually want to visit. While the "hits" pale in comparison to some other, much better presented and more high-profile sites, they are pretty respectable for this little old, home-made website.

This year I hope to finally get that new computer I've needed almost since day one, and be able to finally get to that polished, professional look that I've been (vainly) trying to achieve. Not to fear though: this place will never be cluttered up with pop-up windows, scrolling banners, animated gifs, or any of that other fancy stuff you're so "fond" of seeing elsewhere. At best, we'll graduate to "Plain Vanilla 2.01" and that will be just fine with me, thanks. And as always, stay tuned to the "What's New" page for all the news about what's happening in the world of drag racing.

Black Bar
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