(Jeff Burk photo)

Jeff Leonard

Jeff “Lenny” Leonard on the Phlegm Building’s front porch back when DRO first started in 1999. He was one of our first columnists, penning Lenny’s Lines for several years.

I was watching the NHRA show from Norwalk this last weekend, and I got to thinking about how I got involved with this sometimes crazy sport. To paraphrase George Carlin, I started out as a fan. That's the path for most of us, save those lucky few born into a racing family.

The first seed for me was planted at the local grocery store in my hometown outside of Kansas City, MO, where I happened across a paperback book about drag racing. I had been to the local oval tracks, but drag racing -- hadn't even heard of it. This book was crammed full of photos, stats and quotes from the hero drivers of the day. Ohio George Montgomery, Dick Landy and Don Garlits himself were among the many featured on those pages, and buying that book was the first step onto an unknown course.

This was in 1966, smack in the middle of the “Radio Screamers” era. You know: Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! at beautiful (wherever). Loved those commercials! Especially the one that mixed Jimi Hendrix feedback riffs with The Cack. But I digress.