The Nitro Joint w / "Chicago Jon" Hoffman

The 2nd Annual OLIAS Awards

It would not be an awards season without the Second Annual OLIAS awards! Created one year ago, and fueled by a case of 'writers block' ("Oh-Look-It's-a-SQUIRREL"), it has made its triumphant return! Last year I promised that we would have a full blown catered banquet and a red-carpet ceremony … well, that has changed. There will be food, as soon as I pay the pizza guy, and the carpet has a salsa stain over by the cabinet of VHS tapes, so that is as red as it'll get. SO, give me those envelopes, and let’s start giving out some awards, shall we?


The 'that's what I call a SHOW' OLIAS goes to Harry Hruska. Every time I saw him and his Pro Mod make a full power pass at Indy this year, he had that front end almost 'lose the horizon-high' every time, and all the butts in the seats that saw him got their money’s worth that weekend.


An 'It's about Damn TIME' OLIAS to Clay Millican and Terry McMillen, for finally getting into the winners circle. And, for the record, if you did not shed a tear or three for Clay, winning at that place, on that DAY, please, go and get into the box, for you are clearly dead.


They call him T.J., but the son of Tony Zizzo could have been called 'David', because getting into the semis at the NHRA race in Joliet took some GIANT-KILLING! Make no mistake, in round 2 they flat out BEAT Alan Johnson’s, eerrrrrrrrr...John Force’s dragster. Like a kid that wouldn't eat their veggies, you got SPANKED, little lady.


A great BIG 'ol OLIAS to the best thing to happen to Pro Stock in decades, that being "Bob Utner", none other than Bo Butner. What a genuine guy, who can run a car great, and have fun in the process. I sat by his entourage at Indy in 2015, and you could just sense that the whole gang was the real-deal-Holyfield, and the world is a better place because of their ways and means.


A special "From the Heart" OLIAS goes to the Pride of the Buckeye State, none other than Jim Head. This year at Indy, I found myself with a couple spare minutes on my hands and my portfolio close by, and so I sought out his autograph. A lot of big-show guys will smile, scribble and move on, but Jim took time to chat with me, commend me on my work, and when I explained that the photo in question included Dick LaHaie’s last under-power lap at Indianapolis, he was VERY effusive on how much admiration and respect he has always had for the Man From Michigan. Kudos to you, Mister Head, the best 'Mad Scientist' our sport has had in a long, LONG time.

Another Special Edition OLIAS, in the form of Halloween pumpkins that are still on the stoop of someone’s house on the FIRST OF DECEMBER goes to the powers that be, who continue throwing old socks at the wall, to see if they'll stick. Of course, I refer to the once awesome category of Pro Stock. Classes that were thriving were cut down in their prime, like Top Gas, Modified, AA/FAs, and Pro Comp, and yet nobody will allow 'Joseph Merrick Eliminator' to lay down on its side and slip away.


A "True Grit" OLIAS to Mike Dunn, for sticking it out with the IHRA as long as he did. Did you ever see the episode of 'The Simpsons' where Homer is commissioned to design an automobile? He sticks together every crazy idea he can think of, and tells the engineers to BUILD IT! I think what poor Mike walked into was the equivalent of the completed 'Homer-car', and the IHRA told him to DRIVE IT! Over a GORGE! And THEN, the ambulance, after hauling Mike up from the bottom, drops him back into it! (Simpsons fans, you know you'll never see episode 8, season 2 the same way again – lol.)


Hollywood has always trotted out special edition awards, and we here at Drag Racing Online are no different. I present the Inaugural "William Asher Film Achievement OLIAS" to The Jackson Brothers. Before TV contracts ('carbon...FIBER!') or jumbly youtube clips from some dope’s phone, there was buying up the VHS tapes via ads in HOT ROD or car shows of The Brothers Jackson. And so, we have been able to enjoy their amazing trove of So Cal footage, be it 8mm or Super 8. Gentleman, thank you for the fine work you did capturing our sport’s history. I for one think you did very well. (For those scratching their heads, William Asher directed the classic Frankie & Annette drag racing movie BIKINI BEACH.)


Last year there were 'hearts-on-sleeve' OLIAS awards for Pat Dakin and Clint Thompson, for not being afraid to let their political "freak-flag fly", and this year, I'm DEFINITELY giving one to 'Papa John' aka John Schnatter. Here is a man who has taken a ton of flack for letting everyone know that he does not approve of the spoiled millionaires who play flag-football, aka the current state of the NFL, disrespecting the FLAG of this great nation of ours. You go, Papa John, Chicago Jon-WAYNE has your back.


And we conclude with our final Special Edition OLIAS, in the shape of a bowling ball, to be presented to the current formula for determining NHRA World Champions. Now, as we all know, there are no sharp edges on a bowling ball, and as they are made of solid urethane, they are much like the poor old scarecrow, in that there is no brain present. AND SO, to have a formula that crowns a champion based on a two to three event hot streak, as opposed to season long dominant performance, is equal measures pointless and brainless, much like a bowling ball. The CAPCO T/F dragster, and the NAPA Nitro F/C are the champions for 2017 in my book, and whenever I see them this year, I will let them know that, by holding my index finger aloft. The formula that jobbed them? Guess what finger I'll be holding up for that deal?


That's all for this month. I AM Chicago Jon, time to say C-YAAAAaaaaaa!!! 


(The opinions of the Championship Formula are those of Chicago Jon and do not necessarily reflect those of Drag Racing Online.)



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