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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, 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 a race.

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.


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