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The latest update as of August 22, 2003

Getting All Fired Up for the Lordco Lucas OIl Summer Nationals

Today is day one of the second Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event of this season at Mission Raceway Park. The weather forecast isn't the greatest heading into the weekend, but if all goes according to the weather gurus, we will get through the race without too much downtime. Saturday is currently the marginal day of the three.

We will be in attendance for all three days, with no work commitments on tap, at the cost of $1K or so in missed wages, but secure in the knowledge that life is short and when the sun's shining and the hot rods are running, it's time to get out and enjoy myself.

This week has been somewhat of a strange experience for me, getting back into the website and finding that it wasn't as impossible to restart as I kept telling myself. However, putting everything back together like it was a year or two ago will be a very tall order. You've already heard/read all the possible permutations of excuses, but the lack of time available to update/rebuild the website makes it simply impossible to put everything back the way it was.

Another factor working against us is that the world wide web has simply grown and evolved and improved at such a rate that nothing less than a full-tilt, high-dollar effort would do any of my ideas justice. Gee, that sounds so very similar to fielding a serious race car these days. "Go big or go home" was never more appropriate.

So with all that said, I will work at putting words and images on the site, as time and motivation permit. No promises, except that I will try to get something posted on a regular basis. Working on the Seattle story for several days in a row, despite being busier than I've been for quite a while on my regular job was a good start; it showed me that it was possible to still get things done.

Besides my work commitments, the ongoing battle to regain my health and stay away from cigarettes, and the perpetual mid-life crisis that I seem to keep going through, there will just not be enough time to begin to approach what Northern Thunder once was. But I will work on do-able projects, complete them and move on, instead of attempting to do everything and finish nothing. Right, Gerry?

Before I close off this little piece and give you some more preview news about the race this weekend, I'd like to sincerely thank everyone who's been backing me this year, sending me emails of encouragement and just generally letting me know that they're pulling for me. It truly means a lot to this old guy. Thanks heaps, mates!

NHRA Drag Racing returns to Mission this weekend

Drag Racing is quite unique in the world of motorsport, with many different approaches to building cars and racing them, compared to the homogenized cars in other racing disciplines. For those who appreciate mechanical creativity, show-quality car preparation, non-stop action and seeing something different go down the track every few minutes, Mission Raceway Park is the place to be this weekend.

It's the Summer Nationals presented by Lordco Auto Parts and Lucas Oil Products of Canada Inc., Round 6 of the 2003 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in the Northwest Division, and if there is one drag race to see in the year, it is this one, the biggest of the summer.

The fastest cars at the track will be the Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars, each capable of quarter-mile runs under six seconds and over 250 mph, from a standing start. As you are trying to imagine that kind of speed, bear in mind that these have something approaching 4,000 horsepower and weigh much less than your average economy car.

In the Top Alcohol Dragster class, there are two completely different types of cars, powered by either supercharged alcohol-burning engines or fuel-injected nitro-burning ones. It is in the several other classes that the wide variety of cars and approaches to racing are put on display.

Perhaps the most creative and unusual cars can be found in Competition Eliminator, where the only limits are a racer's ingenuity. Four, six, or eight cylinders, small dragsters, open-wheel cars with Model T bodies, Camaros -- you name it, this category has it.

Two of the most traditional classes are Super Stock and Stock, with their differences being primarily engine and chassis modifications. These classic muscle cars, in many cases, began life as street cars and all of them are easily identified as cars you might just own yourself. There is no mistaking these cars for your own, though, as they wheelstand off the start line and cross the finish stripe at 150 mph.

While Competition and Super Stock are heavily regulated and the cars fit into one of many dozens of classes resulting in handicapped starts, with the first driver to the finish line the winner, there is another approach to racing wherein just about anything goes, but the car may not run quicker than a specified elapsed time.

The classes, with the specified times, are Super Comp (8.90 seconds), Super Gas (9.90), and Super Street (10.90). Usually the best reaction time combined with a time as close as possible but not quicker than allowed, will win a race.

And then there is Top Comp, where the driver gets to choose the exact time under which he cannot run without losing. These cars typically run in the 7-second range. Add to all these classes ones for motorcycles and junior dragsters, in which the young stars of tomorrow get their start in racing, and you have a cornucopia of different racing vehicles, all of which can be easily seen up close in the pits, unlike in most other forms of racing.

It's three days packed with racing action, starting each morning, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at 9:00 am. The feature Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars have qualifying sessions at 3:00 pm Friday, and noon and 4:00 pm Saturday, and their first round of eliminations goes Sunday at noon.

Friday's admission of just $10.00 includes pit pass, while Saturday and Sunday admission is $20.00 each day, plus $5.00 for pit pass. Mission Raceway Park is located on Highway 11 between the Mission Bridge and the Lougheed Highway. For further information, call the track office at 604-826-6315.

by Gerry Frechette - from the Vancouver Province - Friday, August 22, 2003 - page A15

Other than a few minor errors and some tortured syntax, Gerry's "vanilla for the masses" report from today's fishwrap has got me fired up for sure. Can't wait to see those 4000 horsespower dragsters up close and personal (maybe they'll even give me some tuneup tips so I can hop up my little old 2500 horsepower toy). All kidding aside, it's time to upload this page, pack all the camera gear, grab the keys and head for the highway. Now if I can only find enough money to buy gas for the weekend (rob a couple of banks on the way out to the track?) then everything will be fine.

From North Vancouver it does look more than a little cloudy at the moment, but that's not going to stop me from leaving.... once I get those Shania Twain tickets which go on sale in less than 30 minutes. Hold the phone, I'm coming over.....

To see previous updates go to the What's Old page