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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...

FEEDBACK FRIDAY... DVDS, FORCE, WORSHAM, ORBISON, ETC...

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Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... Let's get to it... Despite my recommendations that you purchase certain Drag Racing Underground dvds for yourself and/or for gearheads on your Christmas list being rather commercial oriented reading, if does seems that a majority of you appreciate me guiding you in the proper holiday shopping direction. Sherman from Friendswood, Texas says my Santa certified suggestions helped him cover almost all his Christmas shopping "obligations". Glad I could help!... My words of wisdom regarding the current impoverished drag racing photographer crisis struck a chord with a lot of you. Although Cindy from Niota, Tenn says that my readers shouldn't have to be subjected to this sort of stuff, just 'cause some photographers don't know how to make a buck! OUCH!!-- Me thinks Cindy doesn't like photographers verymuch... My blog about the new "DESTINATION FORCE" graphic novel, telling the story of drag superstar John Force received mixed reactions. Randy from Kent, Wash claims that Ashley's concept of cartooning her dad is a good way to reach young people. But Tom from Indianapolis says he's already had enough Force publicity for one lifetime... My "Racer's Racer" blog, that posed the question of whether or not racers like Del Worsham, guys who can do it all, drive and wrench, are indeed a dying breed in the sport got lots of you to speak up. 99% of you believe the "racer's racer" is going the way of the extinct DoDo bird, however, some of you believe that in the non professional classes, there's still quite a few racers who can "do it all"... You responded to my recognition of Roy Orbison and the recent passing of his widow in a positive manner. Seems that there's lots of you who appreciate Orbison's music... Several of you congratulated me for finally finishing HOT SAUCE, the Big Stick track that features Fred from the B-52s and some other talented Big Stick friends. I appreciate your support... Keep those emails comin', 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...

 

 

 

 


FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW IS A "MUST HAVE" DVD FOR NOSTALGIA BUFFS!!...

Posted by: lovely

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Let's talk Christmas for you readers who are into nostalgia drags, or for those of you who have people on your list who dig the nostalgia drag racing scene. One of Drag Racing Underground's biggest sellers (over 12,000 units worldwide!) is our FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd. This particular dvd features incredible digital quality footage from the first three years of E'Town's Funny Car Reunion event. We cover this race like nobody else can. There's on-track footage that will knock your proverbial socks off yer feet. See yours truly interviewing some of the most prominent names of nostalgia drag racing. And y'all know me, I ask the kind of questions that everybody else is afraid to, and I get the racers to really open up and bare their souls. Besides Funny Cars, there's also some Dragsters and Altereds featured--- Like the beautiful "Hemi Hunter" front engine nitro digger, and the world famous "Winged Express" Altered! See Bruce "USA-1" Larson, "Jungle Pam", "Joltin'" Joe Jacono, Rob "Zombie" Bruce, Jerry "Smoker" Smith, Dave "The Pioneer" Sano and many, many more! Don't be a dud! Order this dvd asap so that you'll have it in time for Christmas. There is absolutely no better stocking stuffer for folks who claim to love the nostalgia drag racing scene than this DVD-- No Brag, Just Fact!--- It's almost two hours long (much longer than other drag racing dvds!)  and the audio is the "REAL" audio of the cars, not that annoying rock music you're used to hearing on those "other" drag racing dvds from those "other" companies!-- We give you what you REALLY want-- That's why we're the undisputed "Number One" leader in hardcore drag racing media-- Go to the top of this page and click on the "Video Catalog" link, then you'll see the FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd among our top tiles. Buy it NOW and feel confident with our secure registered SSL security ordering system.  Like I said, this is definitely a "MUST HAVE" for anyone who digs the nostalgia drag racing scene!!...

 

 


First of all, since we have hired a couple of extra Christmas elves (my darling girlfriends from the neighborhood) to help us through the holidays here at Drag Racing Underground, I strongly suggest you go to the top of this page and click on the "Video Catalog" link, and peruse our various DVD releases. Find some DVDs for yourself, and/or for the gearheads on your Christmas list. I recommend our HOT DAMN DOORSLAMMIN' series for all my outlaw doorcar friends-- FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW or NOSTALGIA RAW for all my old school oriented buddies-- and if you dig modern nitro, nostalgia, and doorslammers, then you best order our FLOPPERS DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS dvd (Yes, my friends, that's the dvd that features my historic interview with Don Garlits, where he talks about UFOs and extraterrestrial life forms!! )-- I'll discuss these DVDs more in depth over the next few days-- But hey, order soon so that you can get your order delivered in time for Christmas!!... Switching gears... Yesterday was the 23rd anniversary of the death of music great Roy Orbison. His widow, Barbara Orbison died yesterday from cancer. Several years ago when Big Stick was touring the U.S., we visited Sun Studios in Nashville, the place where Roy got his start. The "vibe" of that studio crept into the core of my musical being. I'm a fan of Roy's earliest of Sun Studio recordings, as well as his more recent work with the TRAVELING WILBURYS. It's kind of weird that his wife just died on the anniversary of his death-- Hope they're together in the afterlife and having a blast... Switching gears... Last night we (BIG STICK) were in the recording studio putting the final "bouncy bass" touches on our HOT SAUCE track. This is the song that features Fred Schneider of the B-52s singing lead vocals with us, Paula Henderson on baritone sax, Shawn Banks on bongos, and a few other extremely talented BIG STICK friends. The bass player we brought in for the job is John Thompson, a skilled studio and live musician from the immediate area. John nailed his bass guitar part perfectly, and added the exact "bounce" we were looking for. I want to thank John for his incredible recording performance, and I wanna thank our trusty engineer Eric, 'cause I know they both read this blog religiously-- You guys really came through for us last night. I'm genuinely appreciative for your musical and technical efforts...


All this talk about Del Worsham giving up driving to take on crew chief duties over at Kalitta Motorsports, so he can tune Alexis DeJoria's Funny Car got me to thinkin'... How many individuals are remaining in drag racing today, who are truly capable of both driving and tuning a race car so superbly like "racer's racer" Del Worsham?-- Uh, my educated guess is not that many at all. The so-called "racer's racer", meaning a racer who can drive 'em, build 'em, and tune 'em, has become somewhat of an anomaly in our sport-- It used to be the norm, back in the old days, there were lots of racers who could "do it all", guys like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Dick LaHaie, Greg Anderson, etc, etc... The "racer's racer" is definitely on drag racing's " endangered species list", and could possibly be on the way to extinction much like the Dodo Bird. Although, the optimist in me believes that maybe there's hope of preserving the "racer's racer" species of the sport-- Maybe if more of drag racing's "cosmopolitan" drivers were to spend some time watching what their crew chiefs are doing between rounds, instead of sipping tea and getting a pedicure, so this way, they might pick up some tuning and wrenching knowledge, I dunno, OR maybe it's better that the sport continues to become more "specialized", with everyone having their own specific specialty, responsibility, and job-- Sort of like what doctors do-- you know, it's no longer fashionable (or as profitable) for doctors to be "general practitioners", nowadays most doctors don't "do it all", they just do one specialized thing in their medical practice. Am I just being a hopeless drag racing romantic believing that there's a place in drag racing's future for the racer who can do it all? Am I just waxing nostalgia, and straying from the reality of where modern day drag racing, and all motorsports for that matter are going?-- Perhaps-- I mean, you could argue, why the heck should we care if a hired driver is capable of turning wrenches or changing the oil?-- That's a question I'll have to pose to Del Worsham next time I see him...

Evidently my recent blog of 11/25/11 regarding how the drag racing "industry" has a history of treating its photographers like, uh, "crap" (for lack of a better word), has sparked more hype & controversy than I would've ever expected. We've received a flood of emails from drag racing photographers of multi-generations, all pretty much saying the same thing, that they're sick of going broke while providing the sport with their services. It's even been suggested that I help organize a "union" that would advocate for drag racing's lensemen and women-- THAT'S impossible. Between my Big Stick duties and my responsibilities of doing this Drag Racing Underground job, there's no way I have the time. All I can do, is reprint below, my initial blog of 11/25/11 that started all this hoopla, and urge y'all to show it to every drag racing photographer you know, and post it on every possible drag racing web site you know, and get the word out that it's time for the sport's photojournalists to smarten up. Here is the 11/25/11 reprint...... [ As you surf the internet, treating your peepers to so many old drag racing photos on the various web outlets, especially the photos from the sport's so-called "golden era" (the 60s & 70s), keep in mind that many of the photographers who snapped those "historic" pics are unfortunately either living in a box under a bridge, or fighting off foreclosure in a dilapidated Midwestern shack, or if they're "lucky", barely making ends meet. Being that so many drag racing photographers from "days gone by" were doing their work for the "LOVE" of it, and allowing their "LOVE" for drag racing to cloud their sense of receiving reasonable financial compensation, we now have many bankrupt elderly shutterbugs. Granted, these same photographers shouldn't have let their blind "LOVE" for the sport lead them so financially astray, however, let's face it, "LOVE" does have a tendency of making folks lose their financial way in life, heck, that's just what LOVE occasionally does. I wish that I could turn back the hands of time and offer these now geriatric photographers some tough "Suze Orman" sort of financial "common $en$e" advice, and alter their fate in a more fiscally positive direction, so that now, these old photographers wouldn't be stuck with stacks of dusty drag racing photos that are "historic", yet possess an actual monetary value that falls miserably short of what vintage pics snapped of the "stick 'n' ball" sports are worth-- I wish I could do the Cher Bono-esque "Turn Back Time" thing, and tell drag racing photographers decades ago, to look beyond their "LOVE" for the sport, and treat their "business" of photography with far better financial foresight... Well, the best I can do now, in reality, is tell you young whippersnapper photo snappers, who are currently taking pics of this drag racing stuff, that it's okay for you to LOVE drag racing, however, please try to combine that "LOVE" with a smarter business sense than those photographers who've come before you-- MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID A REASONABLE WAGE. You're going to be thanking me in the future for telling you this now. ]

Let's start off by clearing the air. I know there's a number of drag racing internet snerts and cynics who would still find reason to diss John Force, even if he found a cure for cancer or was responsible for putting an abrupt end to world hunger. That said, the newest marketing move from the Force empire is "DESTINATION FORCE", a graphic novel inspired by the turbulent life of the NHRA Funny Car superstar. It's written by his feminine Funny Car celeb offspring Ashley Force Hood in collaboration with Jule Selbo, Bob Engels and Josh Miller. The illustration work is done by Doug Sirois. The cover of the book has an illustration of John Force that physically equips him with a "6 pack" physique that looks a lot more like Ron Iannotti than the John Force we all know. But hey, this is a modern "graphic novel", so the writers and artists are permitted the "creative license" to do that sort of thing. Ashley claims the book gives readers a representation of how her dad is energetic, entertaining, bigger-than-life, and also possesses the kind of resilience that enabled him to bounce back from his horrific 2007 crash-- I agree that John Force is definitely "all that". Ashley says her dad really is a real-life "Super Man", so I believe her taking this ambitious book project to completion is certainly a groovy way of showing folks the kind of incredible fellow her father genuinely is. Some drag racing fans have grown complacent with John Force and his empire, and now take the man for granted, as people often do take greatness and what's good in their lives for granted... So, is "DESTINATION FORCE" a marketing masterpiece or Machiavellian like mishap? I have not read it yet, therefore I can't honestly tell you whether or not it's a masterpiece, however, I believe that daughter Ashley Force must have went the proverbial extra mile (or 1/4 mile in this case, ha ha), to make sure this book would do her dad proud and be a rousing representation of his life and career. My money's on "DESTINATION FORCE" as being a darn good bet for those seeking a dramatic piece of drag racing pop culture. Go to www.johnforceracestation.com to learn more...

THE LAST DRAG RACE... UH, OF RACEWAY PARK'S 2011 SEASON...

Posted by: lovely

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Ever since Lions Drag Strip's final race in 1972, the expression, "The Last Drag Race", has held dramatic implications in the world of drag racing. The "Last Drag Race" that I'm discussing in today's blog, isn't quite as dramatic, because it's not marking the end of a drag strip, or meant to evoke tears of amplified sentimental emotions... I'm just giving y'all who reside in the immediate area the heads-up that tomorrow, Sunday, December 4th, is Old Bridge Township Raceway Park's 2011 season finale. Of course being that we're now in the month of December, the race day is a "weather permitting" affair. For only $40, drivers can get three test & tune runs. There's also word that a number of "street racers" and "No Time" teams will be commuting to E'Town for some big buck, old school strip action. I've told you several times on this blog that I'm a big fan of the "No Time" brand of racing. Get the shoe polish, boldly write the "N/T" designation on your windows, so the staff working in the timing tower can clearly see it, so they can do their duty of shutting off the big clocks, so that your elapsed time remains a well kept secret, and then you can subsequently proceed to drive yourself to old school "Newark Style" street racing bliss. Many of the cars appear in black primer paint, without all the frills you see in "mainstream" drag racing. This ain't no "Toddlers and Tiaras" beauty contest, this is hardcore racers with cars that look and play a far more primitive role-- No multi-colored neon paint schemes and lip gloss, heck, these cars look a lot more "goth" than they look glamorous-- Sometimes that makes for a refreshing change from the drag racing norm, at least for me. This all takes place on the 1/4 mile strip, as the 1/8th mile facility will be closed. If "Mother Nature" decides that she wants to cooperate tomorrow, wear a jacket and bring your singles for the $2 window... Switching gears... I want to express my most sincere of Happy Birthday wishes to one of Drag Racing Underground's ultra talented cyber geeks, Sandra Milano, she's certainly become one of my favorite people who punch a clock here at DRU headquarters. We love you, girl!!...

Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... Most readers agreed with my assessment of the Worsham situation, agreeing that he's jumping out of the fire and into the frying pan by taking on the Kalitta crew chief job. Tuning rookie Funny Car pilot Alexis DeJoria to a successful 2012 season ain't gonna be easy for Del. Gary from Seminole, FL wrote me that he thinks Del should stay in the driver's seat instead of turning wrenches next season... Some longtime Drag Racing Underground customers wrote me about how much they love watching their NOSTALGIA RAW and FLOPPERS, DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMER dvds that I recently recommended for Christmas presents. Brian of Junction City, Oregon says how much he digs the "real audio" and "real" stereo sound of the race cars that our dvds provide. Shawn from La Verne, CA wrote how he always plays our FLOPPERS DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS release for friends, to "blow their minds" with my Garlits/UFO interview. HA!... My blog urging drag racing photographers not to just "do it for love", but try to keep a reasonable business sense when doing their drag racing photography business got some unexpected feedback from a couple of old timer photo snappers who wish to remain anonymous, praising me for saying what I did, because they claimed they'd be a lot better off today (financially) if someone like me bothered to tell them the kind of practical business advice I recently wrote in my blog... I want to thank all of you who've been showing lots of love on other cyber places. Although there was one blowhard manchild who couldn't handle an educating and informative caption I wrote for a pic of the lovely and gracious (and SMART) "Jungle Pam" inspecting the underbelly of "Jungle Jim's" Funny Car for fluid leakage before sending him down the track, uh, God forbid if some wet behind the ears crew members of today would read my caption and realize the IMPORTANCE of checking their team's car for leaks before sending 'em down the drag strip-- I guess same duffus never had to sit through a lengthy clean-up, or watch a driver slip on his own oil and hit the wall, or worse yet, hit the racer in the other lane with fatal results, or he just doesn't care about a racer's safety anyways, it's far more important of a priority to be a bigot simpleton and chastise a chick on the internet. Duh!... Keep those emails comin', 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 what State of our great nation that you're writing me from, I often find the location of where folks are writing me from to be sort of interesting...Thanks...

DEL WORSHAM JUMPS OUT OF THE FIRE AND INTO THE FRYING PAN...

Posted by: lovely

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I admit that when Del Worsham recently announced his "retirement" from drag racing, I was kind of happy for the guy and his family. I figured after so many years of driving on the grueling NHRA tour, it'd be nice for Del and his family to be able to step away from all the hustle of professional drag racing and take some time to smell the roses and chill out a bit. Of course now we're all aware that Del's "retirement" announcement was a little misleading. Sure, Del Worsham is in fact retiring from the pressures of driving a nitro ride, but now he's planning to take on the nerve racking responsibility of being the crew chief for Funny Car newbie Alexis DeJoria. Del's move to the Kalitta camp to serve as crew chief for female driving phenom Alexis DeJoria is like jumping out of the fire and into the frying pan in my opinion. We all know there's incredible pressure on you when you're driving a nitro ride, but it's also common knowledge in the drag racing world that being the crew chief for a prominent nitro team can often come with even more pressure than a driving gig. It's often argued that in the nitro ranks, that races are won more by the crew chief's abilities than the individuals driving the cars. Cynics claim that all the drivers have to do is aim the car and go for the ride, while it's the crew chiefs who have the weight of the world on their shoulders, as they have to master a tune-up that will get 8000 horsepower down the track without smoking the tires or falling prey to a whole list of other variable gremlin induced bugs. While I don't necessarily share the cynical view that driving a nitro ride is just a matter of "aiming the car and holding on for the ride", I do believe the crew chief position can possibly bring on more migraine headaches than being the designated driver. That said, I've been watching Del Worsham for a long time-- I was there in the thick of it all several years ago, when he had his bad Flopper fire and E'Town, and I've witnessed him eventually bounce back to glory-- I know Del is a tough cookie-- AND I've also watched him turning wrenches over the years, and I'm well aware that his potential crew chief talents and skills are a darn good bet for Kalitta Racing and Alexis DeJoria. I wish Del the very best in this new chapter of his career, because as it turns out, he won't really be having much time in 2012 to be chilling out and smelling the roses, 'cause he's still gonna be mighty busy smelling the nitro at Camp Kalitta...

As promised, I'm going to be dedicating some blog time to tipping you off on the Drag Racing Underground dvds that are my personal favorites, to help you in choosing gifts that you and/or the drag enthusiasts on your Christmas list will REALLY want. For today's blog, I'd like to tell y'all about NOSTALGIA RAW. Just when the nostalgia drag racing movement was learning to crawl, back when the scene was in its infancy, we here at Drag Racing Underground were its strongest of media supporters, just ask any of the drivers who were there. We'd be shooting high quality digital video at ALL the nostalgia events, the "Old Time Drags" at E'Town, the "Geezers" race at The Grove, the "Philly Modifiers" at Atco, the N.E.T.O. events at Lebanon Valley, and even the oldie races at Island Dragway-- Yeah, we were there, baby!!-- covering it all-- I was interviewing lots of the racers on camera who I now consider to be the "pioneers" of the nostalgia movement. NOSTALGIA RAW is a dvd that is a result of all that coverage. It's a 2 hour long, digital quality, full length DVD featuring plenty of true-grit nostalgia themed drag racing. There's a wide variety of "old school" drag machinery, making this one the most comprehensive nostalgia dvds you'll find anywhere. See original way-back rides from days gone by, resurrected and refurbished cars, and painstaking recreations from the sport's colorful past. You'll see me interview "Big Daddy" with one of his earliest of "Swamp Rat" front engine diggers. I also interview the guys who helped kick the nostalgia Funny Car movement into gear (long before there was a "Funny Car Reunion" or it was even, ahem, "acceptable" to show their scene any love). NOSTALGIA RAW features Diggers, Funny Cars, Altereds, Gassers, Roadsters, Super Stockers, and just about every kind of Nostalgia car you can imagine. This dvd is chock full of interesting people and race machinery. It's a "MUST HAVE" for anyone who digs old school drag racing. Go click on the "Video Catalog" link on the top of this page, then click on NOSTALGIA RAW, and order it for yourself, or for someone who has a taste for the old school drag racing scene...