Welcome back to the first update in nearly two weeks. The hair fire is out,
the situation in Australia has calmed down and life is carrying on. We'll
be leaving for the land downunder tomorrow, so there's just enough time to
jot down a few notes about other matters before I go.
Congratulations and commiserations
Bob & Jim Behnke: Congrats to both members of this father
and son team. Jim took the Super Pro bracket at the Mission FMDRS event earlier
this month.... over his father. Hey Bob, you're not slowing down in your golden
years, are you? Better luck next time.
Don Murray & Glen Braid: These guys have both stepped up
their acts considerably this year, with Murray absolutely bombing his 7.50
e.t. minimum at Mission with a 7.38 at 191 mph (hope I got those numbers
right). Glen has been busy organizing a series of Canada vs. U.S.A. challenge
races and will be similarly pushing the limits of his chassis certification.
Could there be some chromoly in both these racers' futures?
Bob Haffner: Is in England this weekend at Santa Pod Raceway's
"Main Event", the first of five rounds in the F.I.A. (European) Championship.
He's helping another Wilson, Dave, with his "Nemesis Racing" Top Methanol
Dragster. Wilson was running regular 5.80's last year, with a combination
similar to Haffner's and is looking to step up with some of Bob's tuneup tips.
Good luck to both of you.
Mark Brew:&nmbsp; Driver of Australia's quickest and fastest Top
Alcohol Dragster, Mark and partner Bob Brackam parked their car at the end
of last season. They've just dragged the car out of mothballs and will be
competing at this season's final event, the Konica Winternationals, and are
promising even better numbers than last year's 5.65 at 248 mph. Good luck
Mark Hentges: Has just finished the first leg of a two week
road trip through the midwest. He ran at Topeka's Heartland Park over the
weekend but didn't get past the first round. Qualified solidly in the #6
spot, Mark appeared to have Gene Snow covered in the opening round of eliminations,
until the engine went away at half track. Better luck next week at Chicago's
Route 66 event, Mark.
Now back to the Top Alcohol "situation" in Australia.... The rumours of
its demise have been soundly refuted by the usual suspects. ANDRA officials,
of course, have been totally silent on the issue. (If they were told that the
sun will rise tomorrow, they wouldn't commit to it, and would want to strike
a committee to study the matter first).
The best rebuttal (i.e., most believable... at this point) of the announced
elimination of Top Alcohol came from Willowbank's Marketing Director, Rob
Oberg, who stated unequivocally, and on behalf of the track's board of
directors, that Top Alcohol would always be contested at Willowbank's two
major events - the Castrol Summer Championships and the Konica Winternationals.
The most logical theory for the category elimination story is that a
promoter from Western Australia firmly stated at the recent ADRPA meeting
that T/A would never be run at his track.
How that lone statement morphed into general agreement among the promoters
to eliminate T/A from the sport seems a bit of a stretch. But I've still got
a nagging suspicion that there's more to the story than what has been reported
in print, or posted on the Cackling
Pipes message board.
If you've got some time to spare, you might find it interesting to check
out the discussion on "Top Alcohol's Future in Oz" on the message board. There
were more than 50 replies to the original post at last count.
You can be sure that I'll be directing a lot of questions at the principals
in this drama over the next two weeks, and the results of those interrogations
will be reported here as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we've got a Top Alcohol car to prepare for four or five
days (and nights) of racing over the next two weeks. Starting tomorrow, we'll
be back to the "Dragster Diary" for the full story on our latest adventure
A funny thing just occurred to me: It seems that the What's New page gets
updated much more often when I'm halfway around the world than when I'm at
home. Weird, eh? See you tomorrow....