The road trip from Hell saved by great drag racing

I’ve been having the kind of road trip the late actor John Candy used to make movies about. I just came back from attending Carl Weisinger’s annual World Street Nationals and I have to tell you it has been a very interesting three days. It began with getting stranded overnight in the Charlotte airport after the airline cancelled my connecting flight and blamed it on an act of God (bad weather that backed up flights at the airport).  So they made me and a couple hundred other travelers pay for a hotel room and food and come back at 5:30 a.m. to re-book our flights without so much as an “I’m sorry” from the agents. It was more like “the flight’s cancelled so deal with it.”

After the hassle of a re-book, I finally got to my destination and then my cell phone, which I needed to tell my ride where to pick me up, shot craps between the time I turned it off after boarding and when I landed.

Finally got to Orlando Speed World thanks to some help from my old pal Ian Tocher and then got the terrible news that a couple of other friends, photographer Les Welch and racer Charles Carpenter, had both suffered the deaths of their wives. My condolences to both. I can’t image the pain they are going through.

Going to the Orlando airport on Saturday to start the next leg of my trip, I got DRO staff photographer Steve Gruenwald to leave the race and take me to the airport, and upon getting there I realized I had left my ticket at the hotel room and we had to go back and get it. It was then that I found out that, like me, Steve can get lost in a phone booth and we wandered around the Interstates, finally finding the hotel and getting back to the airport with just 40 minutes to check in.

Now normally by this time the old Burkster would be wild-eyed and drooling from the stress and strain of a road trip from hell, but I was surprisingly calm because during the three days I spent at the World Street Nationals, I had been introduced to some drag racing and drag racers that reminded why being involved in this sport is worth enduring the pain of a really bad road trip.

As a drag fan I always look forward to the Orlando race because the unique rules mean I will see classes full of over-powered, under-tired race cars and, because of those factors, the winning of this race, perhaps more than any other major race in drag racing, hinges on the skills of the driver. Driving skill is perhaps more important than horsepower at this race and I like that.

So I was really pumped to watch the unreal Radial Tire class where a few of those cars racing on a real nine-inch wide radial tire can dip into the six-second, 200-mph zone. Or the Outlaw Ten-wide class where 3,000-lb race cars with 2,000-hp engines do battle. I’m impressed with the class even though these days the tires they run are much closer to being twelve inches wide than the ten inches they originally ran. 

DRAG RACING Online will be published on the 8th of each month and will be updated throughout the month.

DRAG RACING Online owes allegiance to no sanctioning body and will call 'em as we see 'em. We strive for truth,integrity, irreverence and the betterment of drag racing. We have no agenda other than providing the drag racing public with unbiased information and view points they can't get in any other drag racing publication.


Editor & Publisher, CEO
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Kay Burk
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Contributing Photographers Donna Bistran, Steven Bunker, Adam Cranmer, James Drew, Don Eckert, Steve Embling, Mike Garland, Joel Gelfand, Steve Gruenwald, Chris Haverly, Rose Hughes, Bob Johnson, Bret Kepner, "Bad" Brad Klaassen, Jon LeMoine, Eddie Maloney, Tim Marshall, Matt Mothershed, Richard Muir, Joe McHugh, Dennis Mothershed, Ivan Sansom, Paul Schmitz, Dave Stoltz, Jon Van Daal
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