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Doc's Blog

Welcome to Diana 'The Doc' Thomas' official Blog ... A radio interviewer once referred to Diana as being a 'Celebrity Drag Racing Authority & Visionary'... Diana has indeed filled the shoes (or fire boots) as truly being America's foremost 'Celebrity Drag Racing Authority & Visionary'... Diana is known for being somewhat controversial at times... She writes the truth... Diana tells it like it is about drag racing and other topical issues-- You've seen Diana 'The Doc' Thomas on our DVDs, with Bret Kepner on ESPN, and in all the major media... Don't miss your opportunity to read her daily blog right here at DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND... Diana's blog gives you a daily dose of truth and reality with heart... Diana's unique and refreshing perspective is unlike anything else on the drag racing web... We strongly recommend that you bookmark this page now... Be sure you check in daily to experience & enjoy Diana's unique insight, worldly wisdom and perspective...

COURTNEY FORCE FACES THE MUSIC ON ESPN'S SPORTSNATION 2PM ET...

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Everybody's favorite NHRA rookie driver Courtney Force, the lovely and talented daughter of drag racing legend John "Brute" Force, stops by ESPN's SportsNation today for a fireside chat about the season and this weekend's much anticipated 43rd Annual Toyota SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (my favorite of all the national events on the  grueling NHRA tour). Send you questions now and join Force on the show today at 2 p.m. ET! Courtney currently sits ninth in the NHRA Nitro Funny Car point standings, pretty good for a newcomer to the ultra-competitive class, putting her in line for a position into the "Countdown to the Championship" at the end of the season. So far in 2012, she has won the most rounds of any rookie with a fabulous five to her credit. I know that there's some of you probably already staged at your keyboards, ready to write me in protest of my posting some Force related news here on my blog. I know, I know,  I'll be getting the usual handful of emails that start out something like, "We're tired of hearing about ANYTHING to do with the Force camp!"-- But hey, I also know that's there more than a handful of folks who can genuinely appreciate a "heads-up" about Courtney's appearance on today's ESPN broadcast. I'll be tuning in...


HAPPY BELATED "BUNNY" BIRTHDAY WISHES!!...

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Yesterday was Carol "Bunny" Burkett's birthday. As many of you already know, I'm a genuine fan of Bunny's-- I adore her on multiple levels. She's sweet, strong, courageous and beautiful. Being born of extremely modest means, Bunny has managed to make an impressive life and career for herself. She started drag racing in the mid 60's. Her "Bunny" moniker comes from a stint she did as a hostess at a former Baltimore based Playboy Club. Going on to fully commit to drag racing in the 80's, Bunny earned an IHRA World Championship at the wheel of an Alky Flopper. Some of her other accomplishments include an NHRA Divisional Championship, induction into the Super Stock Hall of Fame, East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame, the Drag Racing List Racin' & Rockin' Radio's #1 Female Alky Funny Car Driver of All Time, York U.S. 30 Legions of Honor, and being an esteemed member of the Maryland International Raceway Hall of Fame. Bunny's recovery from her near fatal crash at Beaver Springs Dragway back in 1995 is a testament to her strength (and should be a reminder to all racers to do everything in their power to stay in their lane, because Bunny got rear ended by a driver who failed to). And the strength that Bunny has shown with her bouts with cancer also demonstrates how strong and courageous of a woman she truly is. I've had the pleasure of interviewing Bunny a couple of times for Drag Racing Underground. When you deal with this woman face to face, her energy and good spirit spills over and touches your soul. Her fans are numerous and widespread. The people love Bunny. Happy Birthday to a woman who definitely does this sport (and humanity in general) mighty darn proud...

 

The ever cute and courageous Carol "Bunny" Burkett and yours truly enjoying a fun-filled interview at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Bunny is a living legend of drag racing. The sport is extremely fortunate to have such a good soul and spirit as Bunny-- We all love her...

This is a still frame from Drag Racing Underground's FLOPPERS DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS dvd. For more info aim your computer's mouse and click here... http://www.dragracingunderground.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=4&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=48


NHRA'S "BIG SHOW" PULLS INTO E'TOWN THIS WEEKEND!!...

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With Memorial Day weekend behind us, I hope all my readers had a safe and sane last couple of days. Hope y'all survived all the dingbats driving dangerously on the roads. Now it's time to discuss the colossal drag racing event approaching THIS coming weekend. The 43rd Annual Toyota NHRA SUPERNATIONALS pulls into E'Town. This Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday May 31st - June 3rd, the ultra competitive NHRA tour makes its stop at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The very best of professional and sportsman racers in the world will be battling it out on the historic E'Town strip. This particular world class motorsport event is "stiff competition" personified. The NHRA SUPERNATIONALS never fails to produce incredible side by side racing and peak performances. For all my jammin' doorslammin' readers, keep in mind that the PROCARE RX Pro Modified series will be part of the big show-- Y'all know how us folks from these parts love our fast doorslammin' racin'!!--- And local boy done good Eddie Krawiec returns on his Harley in an attempt for a hometown win. Each and every racer comin' to town will have their sights on making it to the winner's circle-- And it sure ain't easy!!... There's so much great stuff going on at Raceway Park that you've got to pack up your family and make tracks for Englishtown. I'll be busy as a bee working the press suite. I look forward to seeing ALL my NHRA touring friends-- Just as I look forward to seeing YOU and your family-- This is "MUST SEE" drag racing!!-- BE THERE!!....


MY THOUGHTS THIS MEMORIAL DAY 2012...

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On this Memorial Day I'd like to express my appreciation for all the men and women who've made the ultimate sacrifice for the betterment of our nation and the pursuit of freedom and liberation. I'd also like to express my appreciation and concern for all the men and women returning from conflicts in the middle east who are now suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The number of individuals who've served and are now back living on United States soil with PTSD are staggering. You folks with this serious mental affliction deserve our government to "man up" and recognize your pain, and to do everything in their power to treat your illness. I sympathize with each and every one of you who've served this nation and are currently suffering from PTSD-- You all desperately need and DESERVE the best treatment available. And remember, as a wise U.S. Marine who reads this blog religiously once told me, for all those who met their deaths while serving their country, please honor their deaths by questioning anyone in our government who are calling for more of them...


MORE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND WISDOM...

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Yesterday I expressed my concerns regarding all the folks on the roads this weekend who are dangerously intoxicated or impaired on either alcohol or illicit drugs. Today I'd like to address the issue of children and fireworks. Not trying to be the proverbial "wet blanket", but every Memorial Day weekend countless kids are rushed to the Emergency Room due to firework fun gone horrifically wrong. Sure, we all want to celebrate and honor those who've given their lives for our country, however, that shouldn't entail our kids sacrificing their lives or limbs while paying respect to our fallen soldiers. Honor our nation's heroes in a smart and intelligent manner. Don't allow kids to wonder off with fireworks and compromise their safety. As adults, we should supervise any play that includes the use of fireworks. Keep your eyes on our kids and make sure they don't do stupid stuff that could result in bodily injury or worse. There's nothing more depressing than spending Memorial Day Weekend in the waiting room at your local hospital, awaiting word from doctors on the status of an injured child-- You definitely DON'T want to be doing THAT... Exercising a little "Memorial Day Weekend Wisdom" is the way to stay safe so that you and your family's chances of enjoying many more future holiday weekends together is far more feasible. Celebrate the courage of our nation's heroes without acting like a silly zero!!...


Well, it's finally here. Memorial Day Weekend is in full effect. The roads are packed with bad drivers trying to make good time to their appointed destinations. Many of the folks at the wheel this weekend are either drunk, on illicit drugs, or just plain lousy drivers. I want to provide my readers with a wise word of caution. Please watch out for the "other guy" on the road this weekend. Drive defensively. If you suspect that the driver in front or in back of you doesn't know what they're doing, follow your instincts and stay clear of 'em. With gas prices actually undergoing a very rare reduction for this particular Memorial Day Weekend, you can bet your sweet bippy that more drivers than ever will be flooding the highways and interstates. Please watch out on the roads this weekend for the sake of you and your precious family.... Switching gears... This past Thursday I went to Gasko's Nursery in Monroe Township, NJ, and bought myself some plants for my garden. I picked up some Rutgers tomato plants, some pepper plants, and a couple of eggplant and zucchini plants too. Yesterday (Friday) I planted them in my garden. Hopefully they will all grow and prosper, yielding a decent harvest. I already planted peas back on St. Patty's Day, and they seem to be doing very well. They are tall and healthy. I know that there's lots of drag racing folks who enjoy gardening, because many of you come up to me at the track and tell me that you appreciate my occasional gardening blogs. If you're in the northeast region of the nation, now is the time to get your veggies in the ground. Best of luck to ALL my drag racing gardening friends across the nation with your gardens this year. There's nothing quite like enjoying the veggies and fruits of your own labor... Oh, and please don't forget what Memorial Day Weekend is REALLY about...

 

Here's a pic that I snapped last year of my tomatoes... I'm hoping for a good harvest this year too... Hot Rod Wrenching and Gardening are a lot alike, they both get dirt under your fingernails... Good luck to ALL my drag racing gardening friends this year...

photo courtesy of the Drag Racing Underground home and gardening archives

 


Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... Yesterday's blog jesting that kids would be more excited about going to school if they were driven there by the "COOL BUS" of "HIGHER EDUCATION" (Monster Bus) sparked some interesting emails. Someone from Passiac NJ, calling him or herself "Chris Christie's Biggest Fan" wrote, "The school budgets are already too inflated for this kind of nonsense!"-- Well, like I said, I wrote the piece a little tongue in cheek, I'm sorry that a couple readers (total of 2) took it literally and were fiscally offended...  My blog about the closing of the famous drag racer hangout bar & grill formerly known as Cantore's and Vitale's, and most recently known as The Race Zone prompted several readers to write including Dino from Brooklyn NY, who said he still retains memories of seeing "Jungle Jim" and other 70's drag racing greats woofing down bar pies. Like all of you who wrote us, Dino is genuinely upset that the bar's doors are closed... My blog about the old school Funny Cars being booked in for the recent E'Town NIGHT OF THRILLS resulted in many positive emails. Lisa from Maine says, "Thanks to Raceway Park for giving those racers the opportunity to run in front of thousands of people". Andrew from Lodi NJ wrote, "My kids love the Monster Trucks and so do I,  but I really appreciate seeing the old Funny Cars when I take my family to the night races."... Lastly, we received some nice notes from readers thanking me for my blog remembering the late Big Willie Robinson. Carmen from East L.A. wrote, "Big Willie was like a big brother to me and all my peeps". Jason from Malibu CA wrote, "Thanks for giving Willie props." Marco from Chicago wrote, "Willie should be in the drag racing Hall of Fame!"...  Keep those emails comin' (by using the "Contact Us" link atop the page), whether you agree or disagree with my opinions, I'm genuinely interested in your feedback... I just ask that you please keep your emails short and to the point, no rambling please, and please also include where you're from, I often find the location of where folks are writing me from to be sort of interesting... Thanks...


HOW TO GET KIDS PUMPED ABOUT GOING TO SCHOOL... DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS...

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It seems like a day doesn't go by that you don't see somebody ragging about the state of our nation's education system. Whether on the radio, in print or on the television, there's plenty of talking heads complaining about the way today's kids aren't "enthused" enough about learning and paying attention to their studies. Could this be a result of many kids dreading their daily commute to and from school? Are kids turned off of education because they can't stand their dreary daily travels on that yucky yellow bus they're forced to be transported with? Is that slow and stale ride to school the reason why so many kids are tuning out at school??-- They simply can't stand that wickedly boring wretched bus ride??...  Well, after seeing the "COOL BUS" of "HIGHER EDUCATION" at E'Town's recent PC Richard & Son NIGHT OF THRILLS, I'm convinced that if a vehicle like that was our kids daily ride to and from school, there would no longer be droves of children so darn reluctant to get up in the morning for their commute to school-- In fact, kids would be going to bed every night in anticipation of waking up the following morning to ride the bus!!-- The level of enthusiasm for going to school would get a big LIFT!!... Uh, of course I understand that with the already tight school budgets that most municipalities are restrained to these days, there's really no chance that the current fleets of clunkers that transport our kids could  be replaced with superior souped-up buses. I get that... I just wanted to post the below photo to show y'all what kids can DREAM of being driven to and from school with!!-- ha ha..... BTW, in our Drag Racing Underground "Department of Corrections", my trusty assistant recently constructed a blog for me, stating that the NHRA SuperNationals are THIS weekend, when in fact, they're NEXT weekend-- I've got to cut Stephanie some slack for that, she's been working hard on a lot of our behind the scenes projects-- Thanks to the hundreds of you who emailed us, bringing the error to our attention!! You're a sharp bunch!!...

 

Want the kids to be excited about getting up in the morning to go to school to better themselves with "HIGHER EDUCATION"?? Want them to get a real LIFT of enthusiasm about studying and gettin' good grades?? Have 'em take this "COOL BUS" of "HIGHER EDUCATION" to school every morning!! That'll do it for 'em!!...

Photo from E'Town's recent NIGHT OF THRILLS event.

 


THE END OF A LEGENDARY DRAG RACING FOOD & DRINK ESTABLISHMENT??...

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Longtime racers and fans who've been going to the drags at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park know that when you're lookin' for good chow and drink in the area, there's one establishment that truly stood out over the past few decades. I'm talking about the place formerly known as "Cantories", then later known at "Vitalies", and most recently known as "The Race Zone". This modest brick building located on Englishtown Road, about a mile or so from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, has long had a reputation as being the "go to" restaurant and bar for drag racers and fans. Back in the 70s, when it was called "Cantories", after every big E'Town night time Funny Car extravaganza, you'd see practically all the racers' trailers and ramp trucks tightly parked together like sardines in the parking lot, and the "good times" had by all inside the bar were spectacular. Then later on the timeline, the place got sold and the new owner renamed it "Vitalies", it still held on to much of its drag racing romance-- the food and drink were still great-- the original crisp and delicious "bar pie" recipe stayed a staple on the menu, and for many it remained a "must stop" kind of place after a day or night at the races. Then it was sold to the Hearth Brothers, two fellows who used to be E'Town racers-- They named it "The Race Zone" and have been running it the last few years... NOW the place is all closed up, the parking lot is empty, and it appears that it's on the "endangered species list" of cool 'n' casual restaurants and taverns. Drag Racing Underground's John Gill was told by a reliable source that the folks from the Cambridge Inn of Spotswood, NJ, were possibly interested in buying the place and keeping the doors open, but that deal might have fell through. What's the future hold in store? What's the next stage of metamorphosis of this legendary place? Will it be bought and reopened? Will it just sit on Englishtown Road and rot away in a state of abandonment? We'd sure be mighty sad to see it go the way of the dodo bird and become extinct-- I sincerely hope the place survives and is able to reopen!!...  Anyways, switching gears for my sign off, I'd like to send Happy Belated Birthday Wishes to longtime National Dragster editor Phil Burgess...


NHRA SUPERNATS PULLING INTO E'TOWN!!...

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Unless you've been living under a rock or have been locked up abroad for the last few weeks, you most likely know from reading this blog, as well as being exposed to other forms of popular drag racing media, that the 43rd Annual Toyota NHRA SUPERNATIONALS is pulling into E'Town, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 31st - June 3rd... The NHRA tour makes its stop at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in this merry month of May to bring you the best professional and sportsman drag racers in the world. This race is stiff competition personified. It's an event known for cooperating weather conditions that often result in record breaking performances. And the E'Town track prep is top notch, so you know all the dastardly drag strip machinery will be hooking up hard. The SUPERNATIONALS never fails to produce incredible side by side racing and peak performances. Also keep in mind that the NHRA Pro Modified series presented by PROCARE RX will be part of this spectacular show. Being a super fan of fast doorslammers, I believe the NHRA's Pro Mod series is one phenomenal presentation!! Many of you know that E'Town was one of the tracks that really helped pioneer the Pro Mod movement, so it's only fitting that this series be featured as part of the SUPERNATIONALS-- I believe the Pro Mod segment of the event is worth the price of admission alone!-- Watching wicked fast doorslammers on the historic Raceway Park strip is like heaven on earth. I'll be there in the press booth. And I look forward to seeing lots of my NHRA touring friends--- Just as I look forward to seeing YOU and your family at this "MUST SEE" E'Town drag racing event. BE THERE!!....