:::::: Editorials ::::::

BOBBY BENNETT: THAT GOOSE, HE SURE WAS A MAVERICK

It was 4 AM in Australia, about 2 hours before I was to get out of bed and prepare for a long 14-hour flight across the Pacific ocean. Why in the world would legendary starter Larry Sutton be calling me out of the blue? 

Instead of taking the call, I texted back.

"Larry, can I call you back later? In Australia, trying to stretch out two hours of sleep." - Bobby

SUSAN WADE - NHRA NEEDS A CONCUSSION PROTOCOL

 

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It was astonishing enough in 2011 that a senior NHRA executive said the sanctioning body’s technical committee has no aerodynamic expert. That just didn’t sound proper for a sport that rewards aerodynamic efficiency and superiority.

Seven years later, it’s just as astounding that the NHRA – a sport with the fastest-accelerating vehicles on Earth, ones that on a perfect pass will jiggle a driver’s brain in an extreme, abnormal fashion – doesn’t have a concussion protocol.

FAN COMMENTARY - NHRA, PRO MOD COULD BE YOUR SAVIOR

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS ENCORE: TIM RICHMOND BELONGED IN A FUNNY CAR

 

On August 13, it’ll be 29 years since Timothy Lee “Tim” Richmond succumbed to the devastating effects of the AIDS virus. He was 34.

The late Raymond Beadle, with whom Tim enjoyed his first real success on the NASCAR tour, was himself one of the “cool kids” in a very cool era but even he was overshadowed by Richmond’s larger than life persona. Tim was a modern day Errol Flynn, the movie swashbuckler from the 1940s. You may have seen him on American Movie Classics. If not, Google him because that was Tim Richmond.

 

 

STRAIGHT AHEAD WITH JEFF WOLF - TWO DOUBLE-DOUBLES ARE ENOUGH

 

It was evident three weeks in Las Vegas than fans like the four-wide concept of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

They liked it enough that sellout crowds were announced for Saturday and Sunday racing after a near-capacity crowd opened the Denso Four-Wide NHRA Nationals on Friday.

The Strip became the second permanent four-lane track in the world. Its Speedway Motorsports Inc. sister facility near Charlotte is the other.

 

 

ENCORE - THE BAZEMORE FILES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

bazemore leadMost drag racing fans who are familiar with my story, know that I worked as a photographer for many years before my own racing career finally got underway in 1986. Once I started racing, I put away my cameras and focused (pun intended) solely on my career. All of my past work was no longer important to me. But even though I no longer cared about my past, I did manage to lug around 11 big plastic bins of negatives and transparencies from the mid eighties all over the country. They've been stored in numerous storage units, moved from Atlanta to Indy back in 1994, stacked up in the not-so-dry 1932 era basement of my first house, and most recently, stored in the garage next to all of my and my family's cycling and ski equipment out here in Oregon. How I kept them, and why, I am not sure, but, boy, am I glad I did. I kept all of my camera equipment too, for the most part, although I did sell my 500mm lens to noted photographer and fellow Super Stock Magazine contributor Francis Butler after we had blown something up in the funny car in 1990. I last did a professional shoot (for WInston) in 1989 to raise some quick money when Gary Evans and I formed our own team, Bazemore Evans Racing. I next shot our car in 1996 for the cover of National Dragster. That was it until 2005 when my son Dashiell was born. In 15 years, I had picked up a camera exactly one time.

STRAIGHT AHEAD WITH JEFF WOLF - FOUR-WIDE DRAG RACING IS AN ACQUIRED TASTE

When motorsports magnate Bruton Smith’s publicly held Speedway Motorsports Inc. purchased Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1998, one of his first projects was to complete construction of the dragstrip where only a massive concrete grandstand stood near the big oval track upon the acquisition.
 
It was slated to be the first permanent four-lane dragstrip. But while most of the infrastructure was prepared for double-wide racing, only two lanes were completed in 1999. It remained that way until work began late last year to expand it to four lanes for competition and Las Vegas now has joined SMI’s sister track zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the only four-lane dragstrips in the world.
 
The 91-year-old Smith is founder and chief executive of

STRAIGHT AHEAD WITH JEFF WOLF - YET ANOTHER HALF-FAST APPROACH TO A LONGTIME RULE

 

 

 

The National Hot Rod Association took a wrong turn a few weeks ago when it toughened penalties for drivers crossing the centerline during competition in Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.

In addition to the past penalty of having the run disqualified, drivers now are docked five to 15 points for crossing the line or hitting one of the orange foam blocks.

Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars must remain within their lanes for 320 feet past the 1,000-foot finish line. Apparently, after that, they can cross over to take out an opponent without losing championship points. There also are no points penalties for crossing the line on burnouts.

NHRA states “crossing the centerline and/or striking timing blocks is a serious safety concern and causes delays in racing due to cleanup time required for such incidents.”

SUSAN WADE - SUPER-PRODUCTIVE BOB GLIDDEN IS AT REST NOW

 

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Bob Glidden grabbed the ringing telephone and said, “You’re lucky you caught me. I just came in the house. I’ve been out for a week, digging up a septic system.”

Mind you, he was 70 years old at the time. But the Whiteland, Ind., native never lost that Midwest work ethic, that lunch-bucket mentality and even at 70-plus could put a longshoreman to shame with his productivity. Most remarkable is that Glidden’s self-imposed septic-tank assignment came not long after he underwent experimental surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center to receive stem-cell implants in his heart.

(Glidden, in typical fashion, sloughed off the serious procedure, saying, "I had open-heart surgery in 1994. Compared to that, this is no big deal.”)

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM

While the High Sheriffs get low marks for diplomacy, tact and transparency, in my opinion their response to the Larry Dixon situation probably was justified.

As much as I admire Larry as both a person and a racer, in the case of the two-seat Top Fuel dragster, I think the three-time world champion may have let his enthusiasm override his judgment. In an earlier interview with Competition Plus publisher Bobby Bennett, Dixon was very candid in outlining his view of the events and circumstances that led to the indefinite suspension of his competition license, going so far as to admit that he was embarrassed by the whole affair.

The NHRA, on the other hand, apparently has taken a vow of silence, declining to explain its actions beyond an initial press release. Since we are privy to only one side of the story, it would be easy to pile on -- which was my intent at the outset. After all, the Sheriffs generally make themselves pretty easy prey.

However, things are not always as they seem.

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