A Few More Items On This Year’s Agenda
Hey! We got the announcement! Sort of. We still don't have specific dates or tracks other than the March Meet at Famoso or the 17th CHRR, again at Famoso, but at least they said "OK, jeeze, we'll put a series on already!" or words to that effect.
This all happened at the Friday night party at the Doubletree Hotel at the 16th edition of the CHRR. I wrote last time that I had never been to one of the Friday night deals; I'm sorry this was my first. What a gas! Got to catch up with lots of folks who you just seem to miss at the track when you're out trying to race. I'll be back at that party next year for sure! And maybe I should use this space to apologize to the folks who were trying to enjoy a quiet nightcap in the Clarion lobby bar until the Pisano team came in and cleared the joint. My guys race hard and play hard. I'm surprised our antics haven't shown up on Youtube yet. I was thanking the acetaminophen gods the next morning for sure!
I also started out last month's column with a nice rip-off of a monologue on truth. This was to be my preamble for something that has been bugging a lot of us chassis-building folks for a long time: that is, the issue of heat-treated tubing. I see eyes rolling from around the world as I write this, but really, it has grown to epic proportions with the Force "incident."
So, here is my nostalgia tie-in: At the CHRR Friday shindig, I got to speak to Don Long at length on this subject. NHRA needs to get off their ass and enforce the SFI spec to the word, and not let McKinney and others (?) build as they please for the "golden child." This thing is a complete quagmire and it looks like we might be on the verge of a complete redesign of Funny Car chassis. Why do I care? Because in our NHRA rulebook supplement, section 7, Nostalgia Funny Car, under heading "Frame" it states, "Chassis must meet SFI spec. 10.1E." Ladies and gents, that is the same as the big dogs. That's why I care. I'm not going to bore you with my tales of 16 years in aerospace as a welder and manager from production doing R&D, static test and flight test before I landed with Bobby Hansen doing chassis. The military did their homework. Let's adhere to the mil-spec standards for tubing and not second guess it based on some college kid's computer model analysis. With any luck, the SFI spec will be split so that TAFC and NFC can still run under their current configurations. Let the big guys re-invent the wheel. Sorry to beat what some consider a dead horse. It's far from dead.
A lot of you folks come out west this time of year for the CHRR and the NHRA finals. It's a bit of a stretch, but if you are able to hang out until the 17th of November, you won't be sorry! At the Wally Parks Motorsports Museum on the aforementioned 17th of November, there will be the 30-year reunion of the last drag race held at Irwindale Raceway. This is going to be a blast! Presented by the Legends of Speed Motorsports Group, this clam-bake will feature cars that ran at Irwindale, a giant raffle and 50/50 to benefit Linda Vaughn's Angels charity program and a barbecue lunch with drinks and snacks provided by the "infamous" Tres Amigos Cooking Team! I can attest to the fact that "Dos" of the "Tres" amigos frequent my shop and neither has missed any meals lately, so the cooking must be good!
Reunion honorees are none other than Lou Gasparrelli, one of my heroes, and also the great Mike Bartlett. I almost forgot about the most important part: Nitro! This event will also feature a four car Fuel Altered Cacklefest. First round will feature the famed Winged Express versus the Tocco & Gartin team. Second round has the recently completed and beautiful Mondello and Matsubara Fiat against the exquisitely patina-ed 15 oz. Coupe. The flyer and poster has an RSVP number on there but I'm not sure Robby wants it going out to the world so if you hit me at my DRO mail, I'll pass the number on to ya. Or you can call the Museum Batphone and get some more info from them 909-622-2133.
Our season for the Fuel cars is over but ANRA has their finals coming up on Nov. 10th and 11th at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Gates open at 7:00 a.m. both days. I'm glad Butch and his guys and gals have been successful in bringing this association back from the dead. It's been an uphill battle, but the sportsman racers have stepped up and support this series. As soon as I hear from Butch on dates and places for next year’s series you'll get it right here.
So friends, the 2007 season is winding down and it's time to start sending me info on what you got going on for next year. Would love to hear about your new car, goofy new crew guy or gal (keep it g-rated if you want me to pass it along), or whatever. Till next time.