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Drag Racing OFFLine

Given how fast the Internet works, most of you have heard that Drag Racing Online might be off line for awhile, if not for good. As one might say to a traffic judge, “Guilty, but with an explanation. ” Last year, the four in-house staff members voted when to take a vacation and we agreed that beginning in April and up to a week before the Labor Day Weekend and the NHRA U.S. Nationals, we’d adjourn. So there it is. Jeff and Kay Burk plan a tour of Europe this spring, highlighted by stops in London, Dublin, Paris, Copenhagen, and Kosovo. Their daughter, Casey, and her husband Adolfo are young parents and will be busy with their two children, but will still find time for a Princess cruise around the world before heading for home. Chris Martin has joined with National Geographic magazine and will take part in a special five-month South American jungle expedition in the mountain highlands, starting off in LaPaz, Bolivia.

- AF

Force Team To Possibly Expand to 16 Cars

Make that 15 Funny Cars and one Top Fueler. Nine-time NHRA Winston Funny Car champion John Force, stung by recent criticism over his stated move to three Funny Cars, recently and calmly assessed the situation and reportedly in a private conversation remarked, “I’m led to believe that many of the Funny Car teams and some fans are unhappy with my intended move to three cars. I know I’ve got friends out there, but I didn’t know I had this many. In view of that, I’m going to quintuple that original number and give ‘em 15 AA / Funny Cars. How about that? After all, I’m going for ole Glidden’s career record [85 NHRA national-event wins] and I’m a goal-oriented person. As of now, I’ve contacted Prudhomme, Danny Ongais, Gene Snow, ‘the Mongoose, ’ ole man Schumacher, ole man Dunn, Mike Van Sant, Lil’ John Lombardo, Henry Harrison, Bob Pickett, Gary Burgin, and my cousin Dave Condit to compliment me, Tommy Johnson, Jr., and Tony Pedregon. That extra spot will be me in a Top Fuel dragster. I don’t know how my fans or me can lose on this one. I’ve got the budget and it looks like the alternate list is going to get a lot bigger before this year’s over. ”
(EDITOR’s NOTE: If Force brings this off by just one more driver, he will tie Mickey Thompson’s 30-year-old multi-car-team-at-one-event mark. M / T had Ongais driving a ‘69 Mustang, Arnie Behling in a ‘70 Maverick, Van Sant in a monocoque ‘70 Mustang, and Johnny Wright in a Carroll Shelby-styled ’70 Mustang at that year’s NHRA Winternationals.)

- AF

Darlington Race Sets IHRA off on right foot

The recent IHRA Prolong Lubricants Winter Nationals at Darlington, South Carolina proved to be one of the most successful starts yet for the Norwalk, Ohio-based operation. All three days produced record crowds, concessions boomed, and the television production went without a hitch. IHRA president Bill Bader’s bold move of charging just $20 a day to get in all three days was cited as a big factor in the full grandstands. Darlington isn’t the fastest track in the world, but no one seemed to mind the lack of 300-mph runs for the Top Fuel. Rather they were impressed more by the close competition and number of cars, not only for Top Fuel, but all classes of competition. In fact, the car count, according to IHRA insiders was “way up over 1999. ” Jeff Burk of Drag Racing Online stated that of all the winter races he’s attended this year - and that includes the NHRA Winternationals, Checker / Schucks / Kragen Nationals, and Gatornationals - the Darlington race was by far the best. And like the thousands of other contented fans, the stabbing deaths of six spectators and the injuring of 20 more after the race, did nothing to dampen a happy weekend.

- AF

Bob Glidden forms IHRA Pro Mod Team

Agent 1320 has learned that Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden will return to racing with an IHRA Pro Modified. Apparently Glidden was miffed that NHRA racers John Force and Warren Johnson were close to eclipsing his record of 103 combined NHRA and IHRA national event wins. Glidden reportedly will be driving a Stu Evans Motorsports Cougar with a Jon Kaase 800 inch, nitrous injected, hemi-Ford under the hood.

“With the experience my sons have running this combination I think we have a chance to win them all, “ Glidden said. The Agent has learned that Mike Sullivan has been retained as a second crew chief.

“Mike’s expertise with this kind of effort will be invaluable, ” one team member told the Agent.

- AF

Nitrous Manufacturers Under Government Scrutiny

President Clinton’s drug czar Howard Collingwood recently delivered a message that plainly did not bode well for drag racing nitrous oxide system manufacturers. Collingwood was the guest speaker at a Dade County, Florida anti-drug rally and breakfast on Monday, March 27, and said that along with the usual demons of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, the government was seriously looking at regulating sales of what he termed “automotive performance stimulants such as nitrous oxide.” The czar advocated strict accounting procedures concerning amounts of the gas a company has in stock, and full accounting of who buys it. Collingwood was also adamant on who should buy it. After rapping anyone who would dare inhale the substance, he declared, “Personally if it could be proven that one of these dealers sold to someone under 21, I’d advocate maximum prison time. ”

- AF

Scelzi, Bernstein, Schumacher Blow Up in Tests

The Winston team Top Fuel dragster of the Johnson Family with driver Gary Scelzi, Kenny Bernstein’s Bud King, and Tony Schumacher’s 1999 Winston Championship Exide Batteries dragsters, all stayed behind after the Mac Tools Gatornationals, to test at Gainesville Raceway on Tuesday. All three teams were reportedly testing with loads of nitro to quote one competitor, “that hovered around 80-percent.” The object was obviously to see if competitive elapsed times could be maintained with a lower equipment-saving load. Based on what happened, the answer was a resounding NO. The three cars made three runs apiece and on all nine runs, the engines fireballed ala Mount Saint Helens. On Bernstein’s final run, the engine actually left the chassis and bounced into the infield. Gainesville Sun scribe Norm Froscher said the mood was very grim and when he asked Bernstein what this carnage meant, the king scowled, “Fool, April’s gonna be a tough month. ”

- AF


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