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One thing I have learned from writing this column: Even when you are privileged enough to be able to write a column for a great publication such as DRO, sometimes it just doesn’t come as easily as other times.
If you ever want to experience frustration, fun, annoyance, and heart filled laughter, pack up your family and travel across the country during spring break. Drive across North Dakota in a freaking snow storm and get to Minnesota where it is possible to look out and see the curvature of the earth because the place is so flat and featureless. One of my daughters was riding in the seat of the family SUV and piped up as we were outside of St. Cloud, “Did we stop and nobody tell me?” I said, “No honey, why?” She said, “Well I fell asleep for a while and the scenery looks the same as when I woke up. So I thought you stopped to eat and didn’t tell me.”
So as I write this my wife is driving the family trickster and we’re headed across South Dakota to see the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn, Wall Drug and then the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore -- and what does this have to do with nostalgia drag racing and this column? I’m sure I could come up with some sort of metaphor that would tie the two together, but to be honest with you, not a damn thing.
However, what I do have to talk about is the March Meet.
The first thing that caught my attention is that for all the talk about Group One being set aside for this event, for the first time in, I believe, the event’s history, the race went off without any visible sightings of promoter Blake Bowser’s effigy being burned in the pits someplace.
Second of all was the fact that there was not one but two Top Fuel fields. One for nostalgia front motored cars and one for nostalgia rear engine cars. Now I have a question…WHY? Let’s not confuse the fans anymore; our sport is really, really good at that already, with bracket racing. This is nostalgia racing and back in the day, guess what, fuel cars ran whatever lined up beside them. So if there’s going to be an outcropping of rear engine top fuel cars, let’s not separate them or segregate them. In my opinion the rear engine cars need to go to the lanes when Top Fuel is called. I honestly don’t agree with there being rear engine dragsters in nostalgia top fuel, but I do see the reasoning behind it, and the argument for showing the progression forward of the class. However, then we start seeing engine rules arguments sprouting up again. The one thing it would do as I see it is it would force the rulemakers to either make the TFRE cars run on the small tire, or allow the NTF cars to run the bigger tire. More arguing to ensue.
Weather played a major factor in this year’s edition of the March Meet. Even with the promoters moving the event date out one more week to help with that problem, the old saying about how you can’t mess with Mother Nature held true, and this time she showed that by blowing and raining out Sunday’s final rounds until the next weekend, which played into the hands of another sanctioning body. But I digress; getting back to Mother Nature, I’m a bit curious if the racers in Group One have an in with her. Rich, are you keeping a secret from the rest of us?
With Sunday being totally being blown out, this forced the promoters to bring everybody back for the following weekend to finish. This put a second burr under the promoters’ saddle in more ways than one. A majority of the funny car teams still in competition decided not to return and headed for the guaranteed money at SIR in Tucson and the IHRA Nitro Jam that was brilliantly scheduled for the following weekend. As it was, only three of the eight cars went back to the Patch to run the finals. Six of the Nostalgia Top Fuel cars made it back for the next weekend, and one of the rear engine cars came back.