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

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.

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - IT WAS ALWAYS MORE ABOUT THE REUNION THAN THE RACING

​There is no better example of the NHRA’s current disconnect with the sport it purports to promote than its callous handling of last year’s 25th annual California Hot Rod Reunion and its shameful treatment of those responsible for the event’s creation and success.

Twenty-five is an enormous milestone in any endeavor but, instead of a celebration, what the NHRA delivered was a swift kick to the nether regions; a boot to the balls, if you will.

Racers who spent months restoring old cars to their former prominence and took time away from family and business were turned away at the gate. And why? Because the NHRA, in its infinite wisdom, apparently determined that despite what you and I might believe, there apparently can be too many old cars at an old car event. I don’t know what that number is; the NHRA apparently does.

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - IS IT STILL SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TO GIVE EVERYONE A FAIR CHANCE?

Over the last 40-odd years, first as an NHRA employee, then as a PR flack and finally as an unapologetic fan, I have proposed dozens of ideas for improving the sport and you know what?  I can’t recall a single one that ever was adopted or even adapted by the NHRA, the IHRA, the PDRA, the ADRL or any of the other HRAs and DRLs on the planet.
 
Which begs the question: Is it me?
 
Regardless of the answer, the truth is I’ve reached a point where I don’t really give a crap.  So, you can either indulge an old man another opinion or you can suck eggs although I’m sure there are other options.

 

 

UP FRONT WITH JON ASHER: IT REALLY IS OVER FOR PRO STOCK

 

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In 2005 we published an editorial entitled “Pro Stock’s In Trouble: Who’s At Fault and What Can Be done About It.” It was one of the few two-part editorials we’ve ever run. Along with an outline of the then current situation in Pro Stock was a chart that succinctly outlined the declining entries in the class over the three-year period from 2003 to ‘05. It’s with more than a little irony that we note that in 2003 17 of 23 races had more than 30 entries, and three had in excess of 40. Because that editorial was written at mid-season, we can report that in the first half of 2005 only two of 12 events had 30 or more entries. That steady decline continues today, as evidenced by the significant number of races that have failed to attract a full 16-car field both this year and last.

 

 

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - ANOTHER FINE EXAMPLE OF MISPLACED PRIORITIES

The fact that the High Sheriffs have decided not to replace departed Vice President of Communications Terry Blount, a nice man who apparently misunderstood the essence of his job, calls into question the course on which the world’s largest motorsports organization now is embarked.

Like Geno Effler before him, Blount evidently was operating under the delusion that, as the VP/Communications, he was to “communicate” the NHRA message to the media, racers and fans which, in his short time in Glendora, he managed to do with considerable skill.

He probably thought that by rebuilding eroded relationships with key outlets like USA Today and leveraging the contacts he made as an award-winning writer and broadcast journalist, he had secured a corner office and the proverbial golden parachute to which so many NHRA executives seem to aspire.

 

 

COMMENTARY: SUSAN WADE - SOME NEW YEAR’S WISHES FROM COMPETITION PLUS

 

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