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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...
As you most likely are already aware, especially those of you who read my blog with regularity, this weekend October 7-8-9 is SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN-- This particular event presented by Dave Hance and New York Motorsports is without question THE OUTLAW DOORSLAMMER RACE OF THE YEAR!!... ALL the big names will be towing to Englishtown NJ, to try their hand at winning big money and earning the humongous bragging rights that comes with a SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN victory. Longtime east coast based Pro Mod hero Mike Castellana with his renowned nitrous crew chief Shannon Jenkins will be in the house taking names and ruffling the competition's feathers. Leah "Pro Mod" Pruett LeDuc is scheduled to appear and strike fear. And of course Outlaw 10.5 world record holder Tim Lynch will be assaulting the E-Town strip with the help of his trusty turbo expert & genius crew chief Steve Petty-- They're the "dynamic duo" known for "making history" at this event. Tomorrow I'll be discussing the different classes that will be competing at SHAKEDOWN. Plan NOW to be at E-Town for this grand gala doorslammer spectacular!!... Switching gears... It's become common knowledge among the drag racing media & community that I usually don't promote many non Raceway Park events on the blog, however, I was asked by the nice folks who put together the yearly OLD BRIDGE STADIUM SPEEDWAY WEEKEND to give a plug on my blog. They're having their annual reunion this weekend Oct 8 & 9, at the Thomas Warne Museum located at 4216 Rte. 516 in Matawan, NJ. (it's held at a historic little schoolhouse/museum that's worth seeing in itself!). Yes, my friends, there was once more than one race track in Old Bridge NJ, there was once the now defunct Old Bridge Speedway, a roundy round track that used its straightaway as a drag strip. I've been to this event in the past, and I enjoyed myself. There's groovy old race cars on display, they have lots of literature, racing artifacts, folks telling stories, and they even show old movies from the track. I figure most geezers who'd be interested in this nifty nostalgic gathering probably wouldn't be planning to attend SHAKEDOWN, so I'd get the word out about it... Wow, there's the proverbial "something for everyone" this weekend in the scenic Old Bridge area of New Jersey...

Yep, that's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it. I do believe that this upcoming weekend's (Oct 7-9) SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park is indeed "the most important independent drag race bar none". I've been to lots of drag races over the years, still, nothing quite compares to the brand of unbridled enthusiasm that both the racers and fans exude at this outrageous Outlaw Doorslammer event. Everyone involved is more "psyched" than any other type of drag race that I've experienced in recent memory. Promoter extraordinaire Dave Hance had a vision for this kind of grand event, and he's managed to turn his vision into reality. And speaking of "reality", let's get down to the reality of drag racing, let's cut through the bull poop and get down to facts, in this business of drag racing, it is most unfortunate that we see so-called "promoters" who are nothing more than bona-fide blowhards, completely out of touch with what racers and fans are REALLY looking for in an event. All too often, racing promoters are more concerned with their own sense of ghastly grandiose, and they ultimately wind up treating the racers and fans like second class citizens-- THANKFULLY that is NOT the case with SHAKEDOWN creator and promoter Dave Hance. Ya see, Dave Hance is a longtime racer, a true fan, AND a promoter, Dave's got the right combination of people skills, ambition, talent, and genuine gusto for the job-- He's not a blowhard, quite the opposite, Dave is a hard working man who does everything humanly possible to produce a world-class event that makes people happy-- And THAT'S what it's REALLY all about in this business of drag racing-- THAT'S what you need to make an event soar to the kind of incredible popularity that SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN has achieved. I believe it's also worth mentioning Raceway Park's Michelle Marchese, she plays an instrumental role in working with Dave to make this race happen... Actually, I've come to the realization that the entire Raceway Park staff give this event their best effort-- Everyone works together to make SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN a success... For tomorrow's blog, I'm going to sink my teeth into the different classes and the kind of cars you're gonna see at this weekend's SHAKEDOWN... Stay tuned!!... And remember, if for some ridiculous reason you still haven't made plans to "BE THERE", you best get busy and get to it right now, 'cause this is the one drag race you do NOT want to miss!!....

It's finally October, that's right, and THIS weekend, Oct 7th thru 9th, Dave Hance and New York Motorsports presents the 9th Annual SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN at Raceway Park!! That means I do NOT want to discuss Chaz Bono and all the terribly tiresome "Dancing With The Stars" drama that's currently dominating ALL of the mainstream media, if you're looking for that kind of drivel, there's plenty of other places for you to go, 'cause you sure as heck ain't gettin' it here this week... This week I'm talkin' SHAKEDOWN-- Ya got that?!?-- This coming weekend is what I honestly believe to be the most important "REAL" independent drag race of the year, this is the race that trumps all others because this is the one where there's no room for whiners, complainers, geriatric keyboard half-wit wasted has-beens, and the usual brand of lame brained losers that accompany some of the "other" drag racing scenes these days-- No sir-ee Bob!!-- SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN is ALL HARDCORE-- It's the absolute, undeniable "REAL McCOY" of our sacred straightline sport!!... All this week I'm going to be discussing the cars, the classes, the fans, and the world-class facility that hosting track Old Bridge Township Raceway Park truly is, and how when you mix all the incredible elements that make SHAKEDOWN come together, you indeed have the most important independent drag race on the entire planet. When it comes to dastardly outlaw doorslammer racing, there is no equal to SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN. I will be there with bells on. This is the one race that I wouldn't miss for anything in the world. It happens THIS WEEKEND OCTOBER 7-8-9 at RAAACEWAY PARK in scenic Englishtown, New Jersey. If for some reason you haven't made your plans to attend yet, get busy, you do not want to miss this event-- SHAKEDOWN AT E-TOWN is officially rated as receiving no less than "5 DOC STARS", that's right, my dear friends, it's my highest possible published rating EVER for a drag racing event!!-- BE THERE!!...

Those of you who read yesterday's blog know just how much I was anxiously anticipating attending last night's "grand re-opening party" for my girlfriend, Stacy's, brand spanking new "INCOGNEETO" vintage clothing & jewelry store. Stacy moved her store to a much bigger and far better location, the store is now located at 30 Division Street, in the bustling shopping district of swanky Somerville, NJ. The party surpassed even my enthused expectations, and proved to be a spectacular shindig, complete with lots of groovy guests, including some true Garden State celebs, and delectable food, drink & music. Stacy hired a three piece band that was kind of a cross between old school blues/rock and early 60's semi-greaser/rumbler fare, does that make any sense to you?-- Well, they were absolutely perfect for the occasion. I could hardly believe the incredible amount of top-shelf vintage inventory that Stacy stocked her new store with. I found one of those "Coke is the Real Thing" circa 1970s floppy girl's hats, what I would consider to be a prime example of "Jungle Pam-ish" era appearing '70s headwear for sure-- Stacy gave it to me, so you'll probably see me wearing the hat at next season's E-Town Nostalgia SummerNationals/Funny Car Reunion!!-- It's soooo appropriate for nostalgia drag racing!!... Ya know, I used to own the matching "Coca Cola" bell bottom pants, but I lost them when we (BIG STICK) toured with the THRILL KILL KULT and Traci Lords, so, I'm happy to at least have this way-groovy hat. I sure enjoyed driving my trick T-Bird Roadster to and from the fiercely fashionable event, it was nice to "open it up" a bit on Rt. 287 and lay a little rubber down... Yeah, baby!!...

Y'all know that often I bring it to my readers attention when one of our local boys kicks up a storm on the grueling NHRA tour. Well, here I go... Local hero Eddie Krawiec made good during yesterday's qualifying for the Auto Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. Eddie became the number one qualifier in Pro Stock Bike, and set the Reading, PA, track's E.T. and MPH records with a blazing 6.826/197.97mph charge. Krawiec piloted his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod motorcycle to the best performance of the tough two-wheeled field. Many of you know of Eddie Krawiec as the occasional track manager here at his home strip, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (E-Town). All of us from 'round this neck of the woods are proud of Eddie's amazing accomplishments in the NHRA Championship Drag Racing arena. It's obvious that Eddie and his Harley have the potential to be an extremely serious threat once the racing starts. We all wish Eddie and his trusty team the very best for the remainder of the Maple Grove event... Switching gears... I want to express how excited I am about tonight's grand re-opening party for my girlfriend, Stacy's, "INCOGNEETO" vintage clothing & jewelry store. Stacy has moved her store to a bigger and better location at 30 Division Street in swanky Somerville, NJ. There's going to be a three piece band performing in the new store tonight, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, catering by Verve (the undisputed best caterers in all of New Jersey) and much more-- I'm definitely looking forward to this evening's affair and helping Stacy celebrate the grand re-opening of her store-- Stacy stocks her establishment with the finest and most interesting vintage apparel imaginable. She really does sell the grooviest, fiercely fashionable stuff, bar none. I'll be racing over there tonight in my '03 Shadow Mountain Grey Thunderbird ready to celebrate and party it up!!...

Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... For some reason we've received a lot of emails of late, let's get to it... A few of you thanked me for giving a heads-up about the upcoming Oct 7th BLACK LABEL SOCIETY show at the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City. That's where you'll see BIG STICK guest drummer Johnny Kelly beating the skins for Zakk's bodacious band-- Although, with the current economy woes, a couple of you made it clear that scraping together the price for a ticket won't be easy... In regards to me mentioning the Amish kids who hang out on the hill across from Maple Grove, defying their strict religion and watching the races for free, several of you didn't think that's cute-- You believe the kids should have to pay to watch the races just like everyone else... The most heated emails came from folks responding to my blog about the alleged "Valley Fever" sickness that's become somewhat sorrowfully synonymous with the California Hot Rod Reunion. Some of you thought I shouldn't have taken such a "neutral" position on the matter, however, like I firmly stated in my blog, I'm not a physician, therefore, I don't feel qualified to offer my advice on the subject. Evidently some of you wanted me to take a side on the issue anyway-- Sorry, I just can't do that. Consult your family physician for an opinion... In regard to my blog about the proposed "Cyberbullicide" legislation, most agreed with me that pressing "manslaughter" charges isn't the way to go. And some of you were just as confused as I am by the fact that in mainstream America, most cyber bullies are young tweens or teens, however, in the drag racing world, for reasons I sure don't understand, a majority of the cyber bullies are old crusty blowhard geezers whose only claim to fame is that they once got "stoned" with deceased drag racers like "Gooseface Gunzo", or got "cockeyed" drunk with "Jungle Jim"-- Y'all pretty much agreed that the old cowardly men who like to cyber bully, especially the grotesque geezers who've polluted the Nostalgia Funny Car genre, are a disgrace to the memories of the deceased "Goosefaced Gunzo's" and "Jungle Jim's" of our sport, and those racers would turn in their graves if they could see how these old cyber bullies behave like such feeble fools in their memory... And last but not least, surprisingly, a few of you appreciated my blog about the emotional end of "ALL MY CHILDREN". We obviously have some "closet soap opera fans" in our drag racing community. Carol Ann from Texas was amazed that I also mentioned goth soap opera "DARK SHADOWS" in my blog--She said she used to run home from school too, to watch "Barnabas Collins" spook the small screen and make her scream!!... 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...

I'm posting today's blog for three good reasons, first of all, having toured this great nation of ours with BIG STICK, the one particular venue that I adore the most of all the other concert halls & clubs has got to be the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma... The second reason for this blog is because Zakk Wylde and his BLACK LABEL SOCIETY band are scheduled to play the DIAMOND BALLROOM on Friday, October 7th... Third reason for this post is because as many of you who read this blog regularly are aware, Johnny Kelly, the incredibly talented drummer of TYPE O NEGATIVE fame, is now the drummer in BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. The Johnny Kelly you occasionally see hanging with yours truly at E-Town, where he brings his sweet, trick, and quick 1970 SuperBee. Johnny Kelly is what I'd consider to be a gearhead at heart. Johnny recorded some guest drum tracks with us (BIG STICK) recently for stuff you'll hear on the upcoming release. The natural talent and skill that Johnny Kelly brings to a drum kit is kind of amazing. He's got the brand of "natural talent" musicianship that I believe to be quite rare. I guess that's why Zakk Wylde had the smarts to grab Johnny up. I'm very happy for Johnny finding a home with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY... Back to the subject of the Diamond Ballroom. I love that place so much. It's a big one floor building that's spread out nice over the ultra flat Oklahoma City plains. It looks a bit like a supersized bowling alley from years long gone. There's diamond shaped things on the roof that have neon letters that spell its name, and they light up in a way-groovy "period correct" timing succession that turns night into old school ballroom romantic bliss. Inside the ballroom it's a dream. There's old framed publicity photos all over the place that echo a history of the place that "blows your mind" (for lack of a better description). You can google BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and get the band's web site-- You'll see the entire tour that BLACK LABEL SOCIETY are about to embark on. There's arena-sized dates where they play with mega metal vets JUDAS PRIEST-- This time around is supposedly JUDAS PRIEST' "farewell tour". THIN LIZZY is also occasionally on the bill. Of course they no longer have bass guitarist/singer/songwriter superman Phil Lynott leading their group, but hey, if they play the songs with heart and capture some of that original Lynott rock/soulful vibe, then more power to 'em... Hope everyone going to the Diamond Ballroom show has a gosh darn good time...

This weekend (September 29th - October 2nd) is the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. To help celebrate NHRA's 60th Anniversary, some true drag racing "legends" will be appearing on the Pennsylvania property. Joe Amato, the designated "hometown favorite" will be the headliner of the 60th Anniversary festivities. Fellow Pennsylvanians Bill "The Grump" Jenkins, Bruce "USA-1" Larson and Larry Lombardo are also scheduled to appear at the event-- AND straightline racing ultra-heroes "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden, and Connie Kalitta will be there too, as these four racing greats are slated to be inducted into Maple Grove Raceway's "Walk of Fame" on Sunday morning. That's a mighty healthy handful of genuine drag racing legends at the Maple Grove track to shake hands, kiss babies, sign autographs and share their time with the NHRA drag racing fans... Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and Bruce "USA-1" Larson certainly qualify as two of my favorite Pennsylvania based talents. Many of you from the northeast are aware of the joy that Bruce Larson has brought to E-Town's Nostalgia Summernationals/Funny Car Reunion over the years by bringing his classic '68 "USA-1" Camaro flip-top Flopper out for exhibition runs. Bill Jenkins is surely drag racing's favorite "grump", his driving and tuning history with the "factory hot rods" is recognized with ample admiration by those who really know the sport... Hopefully the infamous & annoying Maple Grove "yellow jackets" will keep their buzzing selves in check this year and not bother the fans in the stands, and hopefully "Mother Nature" will be equally as kind to the folks at the Grove by keeping the area dry, so the NHRA Championship Drag Racing can happen without a hitch... In closing, I must admit that I get a real kick out of seeing all the Pennsylvania Amish kids who assemble together across the hill from the starting line, dressed in their full and formal Amish garb, where they watch the racing for free, and put aside their stringent religious restrictions for a short while to enjoy the drags-- I'm sure it's an incredibly "liberating" and "accelerating" experience for those Amish youngins'-- Quite a drastic departure from their brand of horse 'n' buggy culture...

There was a recent story reported on the local TV news that caught my attention. Evidently there's folks in New Jersey looking to pass legislation that could put some cyber bullies away for a long time. The law would make cyber bullying that results in a victim's suicide ("Cyberbullicide" as they call it) punishable with manslaughter charges. If you're an individual who has cyber bullied so extremely that you drive somebody to commit suicide as a result of your relentless bullying, you could serve up to 15 years in prison. I spoke to one of my attorneys regarding this proposed legislation, and he believes this proposed law has no chance of getting passed. It really is a shame that the "computer age" has given us this underbelly cyber bully problem. Of course among mainstream America, the cyber bully problem is almost exclusive to young kids and those members of our society who have not fully "mentally matured". However, in the drag racing cyber world, for reasons I can't quite understand, cyber bullying is almost exclusive to old grotesque geezers who claim to have gotten "stoned" with deceased drag racers like "Goosefaced Gunzo", or got cockeyed drunk with "Jungle Jim"-- We're talkin' old crusty men with an extremely reduced number of living brain cells, definitely not youthful tweens and teens. And as anyone who surfs the drag racing internet with any regularity knows, the Nostalgia Funny Car scene has become known as being the most polluted of drag racing genres by this "mental midget minority" of geriatric cyber bullying fools... All that said, and as dumb and disgusting as cyber bullying actually is, I really don't believe that passing the "Cyberbullicide" law is necessarily a good idea. I mean, yeah, there should be consequences for those who use their keyboard for little more than behaving as brainless bully blowhards, but adding the possible consequence of manslaughter charges into the equation will only clog up the courts-- It would probably tie up our already overcrowded court system with lengthy trials that would result in deadlock, because as my attorney advised me, it would be hard to prove that cyber bullying was indeed the sole reason for somebody taking their own life... Like I said, it really is a shame that the "computer age" has produced this cyber bullying problem, but I don't see the "Cyberbullicide" legislation as a move in the right direction-- It would not provide the beneficial results that its advocates are trying to sell us...

I thought it'd be appropriate to congratulate Bob Vandergriff Jr. and his Top Fuel team on finally scoring a win in Dallas. It was Bob's 14th final round showing in NHRA competition, and up to this point, all his previous final round appearances resulted in the runner-up spot. Fortunately Bob's driving talents, skill and luck kicked into full gear at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. Bob Vandergriff Jr. raced his C&J Energy Services dragster to defeat Spencer Massey in the final, ending the longest of final-round appearances before a win in NHRA history!!-- Yikes!!--Wow, we can only imagine how chuffed Vandergriff and his trusty crew must have felt to FINALLY see the final round win light come on in their lane!!... In music news, for those of you in the northeastern region of the nation-- Cyndi Lauper & Dr. John will be bringing their critically acclaimed "From Memphis to Mardi Gras Tour" to the Count Basis Theatre in Red Bank, NJ on Sunday night, October 16th. This is a pretty darn eclectic pairing of recording artists. Both of them have certainly earned my respect and admiration over the years. Cyndi Lauper has an impressive collection of work, and Dr. John's "Right Place Wrong Time" is definitely among one of the best tracks ever recorded by anyone in the history of popular music. Dr. John is the living embodiment of all things musical, funky and southern... I'll be in the audience with bells on and I look forward to seeing some of my local blog readers there as well...