Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 11, Page

Give us an example of how the racers you just mentioned are unique.

DM: It was at Rockingham (the NHRA Invitational)  in 1991. I had a heart attack sometime, a couple days prior to it. I had a triple bypass performed at Moor Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.  I can remember coming out of an induced little sleep and here's Don Prudhomme standing at the end of my bed. A number of racers came by and for that, I will go to my grave genuinely grateful.  They didn't have to do that. It (drag racing) is a family.  I know that phrase has probably been overworked to some extent, but if you live it, you'll understand what I'm talking about.  It is a family.  For years, I knew the people on the racing circuit far better than my next door neighbors.  I rarely ever saw my neighbors because rarely was I home.

I was just talking to an older gentlemen like yourself, 73 or something.  He was telling me how he went to his granddaughter’s wedding and he sat there and he said nobody talked to me.  I just sat there.  When I come to the race track everybody says hi, how are you doing?  This is my real family.

Tell us about your family.  What's your wife's name?

DM: Louise.

  And your kids?

DM:  Kevin is the oldest, he's the one that won the national events.  Michael is our middle child and Melissa Knight is our daughter.  We have six grandchildren, the oldest is 21, the youngest is 12.

Can you give us some other examples of how drag racers are your extended family?

DM: I'll give you a prime example.  I would say the Driving Force TV program shows how John pretty much is.  He's this much off the wall.  I've been very close to him for years, done a lot of different things with him.  I consider him to be a good friend.  He's one of those who has been very supportive of both my wife and myself.   Anyway, he's talking

about the difficulty, familywise with him being gone all the time.  I’ve lived the same thing, I had three kids and a wife and was gone all the time.  We are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary next year and for 45 consecutive years, I would  be  in Indianapolis for Labor Day weekend.  This year, 2006, I opted not to go.  I had no employer, I had nothing and looked at the budgetary cost, I compared to what I'm spending for the trip for the 50th anniversary and realized that I could pay a big chunk of the 50th anniversary trip with what it would cost me personally to go to Indy this year.  So, I told my wife, unless you want to go really bad, let's not go.  She said, are you okay with that?  I said, yeah, I'm fine.  A couple days later I said, why don't you call the kids and see if they've got anything planned.  She said, why would they? You've never been home.  And it sunk in, literally, they grew up and it was just common knowledge that Labor Day weekend, dad's never home. It sometimes takes a club like that between the eyes to get your attention.  When you are doing it…

   Where do you live now?

DM:    I live in Glendale, California.  I lived there since 1971 when I went there for work for NHRA.  Still in the same house…worth a little bit more than it was in 1971.

How old are you now?

DM:   I will be, on the 30th of October, 70 years old.  I try not to acknowledge that, not out of fear or anything else, but as you can tell probably from talking with me for the last half hour, I have a much more positive outlook than I do pessimistic outlook.  I'm optimistic about everything, so I describe it as…as Wally says, you have just witnessed a 27-year-old mind in a 93-year-old body.  Well, mine is only 70, but I really do, I try not to let age do it.  I feel that I have kept current with modern approaches with things by virtue of working in a business that caters to younger people, for the most part.  And with that you have to stay on top of it, you have to stay sharp and while obviously, it is a second and third generation, my grandson's racing now in the high school bracket, he'll be going to the bracket finals, he's part of the racing team.  We're down to third generation now.

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