Keeping a Couple of ‘Things” Close To My Chest
Last time I said I would forget someone and I did. Or actually a group of someones. I forgot about my buddy Mike Cross's group, 7-0 pro. They run on a 7.00 index, a total run-what-ya-brung type of thing: no electronics, center steer Dragsters, Altereds and Funny Cars pre-1979. They have five races scheduled so far for this year with all of them being at Sacramento Raceway: April 11-12 Funny Car Fever; May 9-10 Fremont Reunion; June 7-8 Night of Fire; July 11-12 Fox Hunt (Oh, Yeah); Sept. 19-20 Governators Cup (I'll be back).
They crowned a champ for the 2007 season recently. A big congrats goes out to champ, Bob Murphy, and runner-up for the year, Scott Christlieb. Great job, guys!
I won't hold it against Mike Cross that he has been seen around that Estrus Funny Car gang for quite sometime now. I think his dragster even flies the Estrus colors. I can only hope that he has been a good influence on those delinquents.
Getting Nostalgic wishes to send out our congratulations to a couple of guys who send me notes from time to time to let me know when I'm off base or not. Jon Lundberg and Dave Wallace Jr. are being inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame along with Dale Armstrong, Jim Bucher, Ken Veney, and the Frantic Four, Weekley, Rivero, Fox and Holding. Big congrats to all!
Boy was I 'up on the tires' the other night. I had just heard an account of the Bill Miller Engineering Top Fuel dragster not being allowed to test at Firebird Raceway on Friday. What set me off was the reason. The chassis was deemed illegal. After a little searching I found a write-up that confirmed this. I was really pissed now. If you have been under a rock, you would not know about the recent chassis-gate scandal involving "abnormalized" tubing and Force's car coming apart. Add to that the intense research that has been conducted over a couple of years -- prior to the Force incident by the way -- spearheaded by Bill Miller, Don Long and Dr. Rory R. Davis. This research is regarding the use of "abnormalized" tubing that was mandated for back-half use in Top Fuel sometime ago.
I decided to get some info directly from my nostalgia tie-in to this. I called Don Long, builder of some of the trickest piles-o-pipe since the early '60s and one of the original freethinkers on drag race chassis, still to this day. I'm glad Don always tolerates me and talks to me at length about matters that range from chassis construction to fatherhood. I think the fatherhood thing is because the 'Things' once tried to run amok in Long's shop. Notice I said "tried"?
Anyway, after our conversation, my opinion on what went down in Phoenix is the NHRA appears to be tired of Bill Miller and are trying to wear him out. Hopefully, it won't happen. Major props to Bill Miller and Don Long for being completely focused on building a better and safer mousetrap. It's too bad that all of the decisions regarding chassis construction are being made behind closed doors and if you actually exceed the spec or enhance the strength of your race car, it can be deemed illegal.
So I was fired up and ready for a debate and, after a little break to put on my "liquid thinking cap," I hit a couple of message boards and let it rip. It was therapy by key-stroke. I got all fired up to write a piece involving this while hoping that none of this nonsense regarding updating of chassis trickles down to Nostalgia Top Fuel or Nostalgia Funny Car. I was motivated, but, it was bedtime, so I went to bed instead. In the morning I got up and went to work with all kinds of story ideas bouncing around my tire-shake-addled brain fueled by caffeine and the latest Mc-something breakfast burrito.
Then I heard probably the most disturbing and depressing news I have heard in a long time. It hit me. And hard. I'm sure you all have heard about Doug Herbert losing his two young sons, Jon and James, in a car accident on Saturday morning while Doug was in Phoenix testing. Of course my thoughts go out to the Herbert family during a time of unfathomable loss. I can't imagine what they are going through. My heart pours out to them. For want of a better analogy, it took the wind out my sails. I just don't feel like causing any trouble, being controversial, starting debates.
As the father of two young boys who you all know as "Thing One" and "Thing Two" (Morgan, age nine, Miles, age seven) this really got me. What would I do if they were taken from me? Of course there are times I would like to knock their heads together, but they are still here to piss me off enough to even think about that.
If any of you tough-guys out there haven't had a good cry in awhile or are too tough to cry, you might want to stay away from this link
I hope Phil Burgess doesn't mind me lifting this. If any of your tough-guys friends happen to come around while you are reading it, you can just say you had something in your eye. This has put some things in perspective with me. What is really important at the end of the day is me being the best dad I can be and not the biggest pain in the ass in Nostalgia Drag Racing. Hug your kids. Tell them you love them. Even if you want to knock 'em out. That'll teach em.