The Starting Line

Here we go! No turning back now. The 2009 season has started and we can't do a darn thing about it.

First off, thank you to those who sent emails and the like commenting on my January column. I struck some nerves both good and bad and its cool some of you think enough to comment. And yes, I love a debate. And a parade. And long walks on the beach, and piña coladas. Thanks!

Lookie, lookie, the NHRA has thrown you a cookie: some new rules to check out and be confused over, if you let them get to you. The 2009 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Racing Rules are now up on the NHRA site. Other than a new class being added for this year, the 7.0 Eliminator, (Congrats guys and gals!) things are pretty consistent with the previous years. Some new safety items need to be addressed, like the faster dragster classes needing an SFI 20 pound fire system (as of July 2009) instead of the many previous years' SFI 10 pound systems. I'm not against any safety upgrades, but that's a funny car fire system on a front motor dragster. OK, we just need to find a nice place to mount another bottle, activator, stainless lines and nozzles. I can hear the chassis shop phone lines a buzzin' already.

There are some new firesuit requirements that Stevie Wonder could have seen coming. -20 boots and gloves for the nitro classes. I've had -20 stuff for a couple of years now but some don't. I've seen the bitching on the message boards from you guys trying to cheap out. It's been said for a few years now that whatever the TAFC folks need to do for safety, the NFC (and NTF to a certain extent) crowd is about a year behind that. We have been lucky the last two years. No poured seat inserts, roll cage shrouds, 7 point belts, and for the funnys, rear body latch system or new body undercoat paint. Cough up the dough and get legal while it's still fairly reasonable folks.

This just in… Impact is recalling -20 suits and boots made in 2008. Well, they're not calling it a recall. Some other double-speak. How is this going to affect the nostalgia crowd with this gear? The big show types are scrambling with five days left before Pomona. Fire up the carrier pigeon and the Fed-Ex truck!

Even though the economy sucks, some groups have put up some ambitious schedules for this year. Even though personally I'm pulling back, it's good to be able to pick andchoose the events that look like the winners in your book.

I'll just kind of ramble about some things I have heard about and we'll go from there, okay?

Let's start with that new-fangled funny car thingee that the Burkster is putting together for this year. Six races, starting in May and ending in October. Dates are in the Midwest and I won't go into too much detail because if you read this 'zine, you've already seen it in the Agent's notes.

The purse is already an issue with some. Go figure. I'll just add this: don't like the money? Stay home.

Just heard from my buddy Joel Gruzen of the Nostalgia Eliminator Racers Association. Looks like no events confirmed for these guys. That's too bad. Good luck later in the year, guys! Might be able to put something up then.

The NHRA Heritage gang has their "sked" up. (I like that term, a hip journalist friend turned me on to that.) They have joined themselves at the hip with 12 events for this year. Eight Heritage Series events and four affiliated events. Look them up at that site with the "John Force Yard Gnome" that was hawking Pomona big show tickets from the right side of your computer screen.