Jeff Burk Photo
We get letters. Everything from sophisticated
e-mails and flawlessly written 37-cent notes
to sour-bellied lipstick scrawl on a
cocktail napkin. I'd say 85-percent is generally
favorable with 15-percent ranging from nonchalant
indifference to out and out disgust with us.
From the ranks of the disgusted, many complaints
are similar to the pair immediately below.
"Geezus, don't you guys ever stumble
across something you LIKE about drag racing?"
"I dig the magazine, especially the microscopic
portions where you guys don't bludgeon NHRA?"
Translation? DRO does a lot of bitch,
bitch, bitch, bitching.
Like any other publication, DragRacingOnline.com
does mount the soapbox. In fact, I'd say we
do that every issue and most of the time we
take an adversarial stance. I think we do turn
the screws, but we also stand on our theater
seats and applaud wildly when things are done
right. Like my treatment of last year's World
Series of Drag Racing or Burk's bullhorn booyah
(!) for NHRA's 75-minute rule.
It's my feeling that all publications dealing
with the real world should be watchdogs as
well as reporters. Not like these gutless hacks
today who just regurgitate White House press
releases. As Mao Tse Tung once put it, "Not
everyone can be an artist, but EVERYONE should
be a critic." Makes for a better
world. A good newspaper or magazine is societal
quality control. Give 'em kisses when they're
good and spank them when they're bad.
This time ole' C. Bley Motorsports Au Go Go
is going to get kissy-kissy. NO you won't confuse
this with one of those helium balloons you
see in the National DRAGSTER letters column.
And by the same token, this piece won't kick
start the passions accompanying a remark, "I
DON'T like Raymond."
No. There are a lot of things I really like,
especially in drag racing. I'm going to go
positive on you. In the spirit of Tom T. Hall
and without all the "I love, I loves," here
are things that I'm happy with in my sport
of choice. (Boxing aside, of course).
I like sophisticated top-end scoreboards.
Before the mid-1980s, there were no such things.
I love the policy of fans in the pits. It's
taken for granted by NHRA-ers, but if you are
a NASCAR-ite you can't go up to Dale Earnhardt
Jr and have him autograph your butt during
I am thankful that we've got instant replay.
I can't tell you how many times that embellishment
has edited out something I THOUGHT I saw.
I take pride in being a part of silly little
sport (to many outsiders) that may have produced
the single most important female athlete of
the last century, Shirley Muldowney.
I get the biggest kick in the world out of
the fact so many of the guys I idolized in
high school are still vital participants in
today's arena and in many cases, friends of
mine. My hero Chris Karamesines, Connie Kalitta,
Don Prudhomme, Dick LaHaie – in a manner
of speaking, still in the driver's seat, definitely
calling the shots.