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The latest update as of June 17, 2010

Calgary A-Go-Go

It's looking like all systems go for tomorrow's departure for Calgary. The crew at Race City are hard at work getting things prepped for the weekend, the weather is improving (read: no more rain) and we're almost packed and ready to go. Even the event coverage pages are ready for me to start filling in the blanks. Now all I've got to do is find the suitcase, throw some extra clothes in and head for the airport in the morning.

While I'm stuck here at work tonight, I've had a chance to read not only Dean Murdoch's editorial about last weekend's fiasco at the Fallon, Nevada Lucas series points meet. Not only is there the editorial, but a rebuttal (of sorts) from Division Seven Director Mike Rice. All in all, there's no winners to come out of that mess, and the sport looks a little less sporting in the aftermath.

With that issue out of the way, I can hardly wait to read what Mr. M has to say about a messy situation at the Top Alcohol shootout at Medicine Hat last weekend. Everything from a supposed burndown to a too low-slung (due to damage) front-end on another car, to some unfortunate acts of poor sportsmanship again. Or so I've been told. Not to mention any names, because that isn't going to help matters as I'm not privileged to know all the details of what took place, but I'm sure Dean won't pull any punches in his second editorial of the week.

Just to be sure that he doesn't get much rest this week either, the SpeedZone editor has got another major event to attend, report on and photograph at Mission Raceway. The first Pro Mod Shootout of the local season. with the Canada West Doorslammers as the support feature is set to start tomorrow, with final qualifying on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday. While the weather is a little suspect at this point, with Friday the best of the three days, so far, we all know how the local weather can change so quickly - for better or worse.

But back to Calgary for a bit; we're still waiting to see a lineup of cars entered, and we'll probably have to wait until we're actually walking through the pits on Saturday and do a rollcall to see everyone who's going to run. Until then, you'll just have to wait to read the latest news from the 23rd annual Father's Day Funny Car Classic from Race City.

Hot off the Press

Some days around here are truly like a box of chocolates: you just never know what you're going to unwrap in your email inbox. Today is one of those days. Some background: for the past week or so I've been carrying on an email conversation with none other than "240" Gordie Bonin and sundry other folks that have some knowledge of the debacle that just won't die - the A-team (AHRA). We've agreed to meet up at the Calgary "Father's Day Classic" this weekend and that's got the makings of a bench racing session that will carry me through the rest of the year.

HIs "partner in crime" this weekend is Vern Christy of 1320 Motorsports, who's come out from Ontario to help the Race City people promote and carry out the event. But Vern and Gordie have taken a minute or two out of their busy schedule to pass along some exclusive photos of his first real race car: an injected nitro small-block Chevy A/FD. What makes this even cooler is that the rebopped car will be at Calgary and Edmonton and doing some cackle duty, with Mr. 240 in the driver's seat again, for the first time in 40 years! Hows cool is that?

Here's the pics that came attached to the email, with (on the left) Bonin in the seat (obviously) and standing behind him his first drag racing employer: Gordon Jenner (gave Gordie his first really serious ride in the Pacemaker Vega AA/FC in 1972). The right side pic shows Gordie again and one of the partners in the car, Harold "Fudd" Fjallman behind him. The other partner, Sinclair, is not shown (not sure what he's up to, but I'm sure I'll find out this weekend).

Enjoy the pics (click to see the larger versions, then scroll down for a bit of drag racing trivia. Very little and very trivial. More "reak" news later. One quick note before we go; check out the great coverage from Ashcroft last weekend: the Rocky Mountain Funny Cars, the doorslammers and all the other nostalgia stuff at Dean Murdoch's SpeedZone website. Excellent work Dean!

Gordie Bonin & Gordon Jenner with A/FD Grodie Bonin & Harold


I've been meaning to mention something about one of my favourite areas of NHRA's website for a while now. Even though there's an awful lot of content on the site, it's not exactly one of my "go-to" sites on a daily basis. For the exact terminology or statistics or details on all things NHRA, it is very useful, but for editorial content, not nearly so much so.

Except for the Phil Burgess column "DRAGSTER Insider" column which I've become quite a fan of lately. And not just for one ego-driven reason which I'll get to shortly. For the past three years, Burgess has been doing what amounts to a blog, starting off with occasional postings and leaving large gaps between writing at times. More recently however, it's become a regular Tuesday thing and there's even occasional mid-week updates also.

The topics covered range the gamut from A to Z, with a few extra letters thrown in for good measure at times. Witness the continuing - it went on for weeks - postings on wedge and/or streamlined dragsters lately as a good example.

So where do I fit in to all this? Well, way back in my "pirate" days, before the copyright laws were clearly explained to me, I had a habit of lifting articles from Car Craft, Hot Rod, and sundry other drag mags and putting them in the Press Clippings section of this website.

One such piece, actually a series of articles, was penned by a young (at the time) Jon Asher, when he was partners in the "Jade Grenade" Top Fuel car, and the article in question was titled Green Insanity. It really captured the essence of the true bucks-down fuel racer that could just find enough money to compete occasionally in the mid-1970's, before REAL money wiped out all members of that breed.

Imagine my delight when I was reading Burgess's column in late April of this year and the topic was drag racing pins. You know, the ones that go on hats and jackets and shirts, or just end up in the back of a junk drawer. The column mentioned that Jon Asher was really into pins and showed an example of a very detailed Jade Grenade pin that he'd had made up at the time he was involved with the car. At the end of the piece, there was a link to his "funny article" from Car Craft magazine.

When I clicked on the link and it led to... you guessed it.... right here at good old Northern Thunder, I thought I'd hit the wrong key or something had gone haywire in cyberspace. Clicking back to the NHRA website and hovering over the link revealed that yes, it was a link to the article that I'd put up here nearly ten years ago. The biggest shock I received from this was wondering just why Phil Burgess and NHRA would ever link from their mega-corporate website to my little piece of junk out on the far reaches of the internet. But link they did, and thanks for the little thrill Phil.

A postscript to this bit: while the link is accurate now, and probably for another week or two, the Insider column has pages numbered in an inverse method. In other words, the current first page is numbered page 1 and the oldest page is currently page 87, but when the page fills up, everything moves down a notch and the oldest page becomes page 88. If Phil keeps his blog going long enough, eventually my little claim to infamy will be page 99 or worse. Oh well, an iota of fleeting fame is better than none at all.

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