the last word w/Aaron Polburn

VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 4 - April  2017

Drag Strip Jobs


At one point or another I have had about every job at a drag strip. I went from cleaning restrooms to a ten-year presidency of IHRA. Some will say I brought the same skill set to both. So, without further ado, here are my five worst jobs and five best jobs at a drag strip. One note. The one job I never did was tech. As you know I am a tech zero and anytime I got near a tech line I would get a radio call asking for help at the furthest location from that tech line. Smart move.




1. Putting numbers and class designations on cars. When I first started no one had a permanent number so you mixed a batch of white chalk and water and applied it with a small paint brush. The problem I faced was that my writing sucked and I hated to paint anything. At the end of the day I had more chalk on me than the race cars and the numbers were barely legible. To this day I can look at old photos and spot the cars I did.


2. Cleaning restrooms was exactly as you are developing in your mind’s eye. There was no septic system so all the recycling of 2,349 beers, 748 hot dogs and 1 bag of chips went into a holding tank. And it was the job of the future President of IHRA to pump this joy into a 750-gallon tank sitting on an old military truck chassis and deposit it in a secret location that the EPA would never find.


3. Working the concession stand makes the top five because you never got to see a race. You broke every health department law. You did get free food but after your fifth hot dog your insides were torn to shreds.


4. Working a spectator gate also had issues. It's the one place every manager forgets, so when you run out of tickets or change and your bladder is about ready to explode, you are on your own.


5. The burnout box position is a study in “be careful what you ask for.” You take the job because you want to be part of the action. What you get is the constant feeling you are under attack from every angle. Add smoke, noise and dodging various projectiles and your reward is scraping the track. Oh, the joy.




1. Announcing is the best. You get to see everything. You get to entertain. You get to sit in a room that is climate controlled. And if you don't know something you can make it up. And if something goes wrong the event director is right next to you to take all the crap.


2. The starter is a great job if you are a control freak and don't mind being the center of attention. There is no position that demands more concentration.

3. ET Booth Passer Outer. This is the person who hands you your ET slip. There is no pressure. The racers tend to feed this position. Share joy with the winners and compassion for the losers. If you’re good at it you could parlay it into a WalMart greeter position.


4. Box Office Manager. There is just something cool about counting a lot of money, even if it isn't yours.


5. Promotor/Manager. There is no greater joy than seeing your ideas and hard work turn into a successful event. The ability to motivate a person to buy a ticket is intoxicating.




OK, I know you watch stuff on TV that you would rather not admit to. I'll tell you mine if you will tell me yours.


-British Side Car Racing

-Street Outlaws

-WWE Monday Night Raw

-Movies on the El Rey Network

-Carnival Eats




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