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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...

"T.C." LEMONS DRAG RACING RENAISSANCE MAN REST IN PEACE...

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It bothers me that this blog is used as an obituary column with more frequency than I'd like. However, when people pass away who mean something to me, I feel compelled to dedicate this space to their honor and memory. Thomas C. Lemons aka "Top Cat", and more commonly known in drag racing circles as "T.C." Lemons died from a heart attack. "T.C." is most known for his association and friendship with "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. Yes, the same Don Garlits who rambled so much to me about his fascination with UFO's, was also fascinated by the innovative skills that "T.C." brought to his "Swamp Rat" racing operation. Starting all the way back in the late 1960's, up to the time "T.C." recently died, the relationship between the two, though having its occasional ups and downs, lasted for decades. When Garlits was developing his revolutionary rear engine dragster, it was "T.C." who was instrumental in making it work. "T.C." also played a role in helping Garlits get his museum in Florida up and running, including managing many of the more difficult and demanding display restorations... It was at E'Town where I had the opportunity to meet "T.C.", he approached me with some sort of wisecrack, although a friendly and gentlemanly wisecrack, and to be honest, I had no idea of who he was until he explained himself to me-- We then went on to have an enlightening conversation. He thought it was cool that I do what I do for drag racing-- And I was genuinely impressed with his industrious and resourceful manner. I respect him because he wasn't intimidated at all by me being a woman doing the job I do, like some peers of his generation occasionally are. "T.C." was an open-minded man. He obviously knew a lot, a real lot, but unlike some geezers, who hardly know a fraction of what he did, "T.C." wasn't a blowhard about it. He was a man who came across to me as being a genius, or possibly borderline genius, but handled himself extemporaneously, naturally, and instinctively-- He definitely possessed lots of intelligence, but kept himself in balance with an equal amount of humor and humility. That's the kind of guy he was, the kind of guy I can respect and admire... I'd like to express to Thomas C. Lemons' family and friends my most sincere of condolences. May he be granted eternal rest and bliss, and everything else a great man like "T.C." deserves in the alleged afterlife....


Internet rumors that either Roland Leong, Ritchie Blackmore, or Ron Paul would be occupying the driver's seat in a 2012 Team Force Funny Car were squashed when it was recently announced that Courtney Force got the job. I'm pretty darn happy with their choice. Keeping it in the family, Team Force will put "Courageous Courtney" Force at the wheel of an 8,000 horsepower Ford Mustang sponsored by Traxxas, the world leader in ready-to-run radio-controlled vehicles. The 23 year old daughter of NHRA megastar John Force will make her professional driving debut Feb 9-12 at the Winternationals. It's my opinion that Courtney deserves the gig because she's clearly proven her chops driving Super Comp and Top Alcohol dragsters, and let's face it, drag racing is definitely in her DNA. And yes, I know that a nitro flopper is a little more of a handful to drive than her previous rides, but I think she'll get a handle on it. I'm sure she'll give the "Macho Man Mental Midget Village People Blowhard Bigots" of the sport plenty to rag about-- She's all woman, and I believe in her. Ron Douglas has been assigned crew chief duties. He's the fine fellow who was crew chief for Courtney's sister, Ashley Force... In closing for today's blog, I want to wish Courtney and the rest of the Force team all the best for 2012. I hope y'all have a safe and successful season, and I sincerely look look forward to stopping by your camp to see y'all when you come to E'Town for the NHRA SuperNationals on May 31st - June 3rd. This time I'll be the one to bake the cookies...

 

 


DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND DOES OUR PART TO RECORD HISTORY FOR POSTERITY...

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People often ask me why do I bother, and put myself through all the "hassle" of doing this job, I mean, there's a lot more easier ways to make a buck than spending one's day hustling your butt off at the drag strip, and yeah, I get that, I'm not going to lie and say that my job is necessarily an easy one, because it's definitely not, and y'all know that. However, the main reason why John, Mike, Jim, Stephanie, Rusty, and the rest of the Drag Racing Underground crew and I do this is, is because we believe it's important that drag racing history be recorded, not just for ourselves and current generations, but for future generations to enjoy and learn from as well. Here at Drag Racing Underground, we firmly believe that this drag racing stuff needs to be recorded and documented for posterity, and we do so rather aggressively, because that's the only way we believe this sort of job can be effectively done. We capture the many images, do the countless interviews, the whole nine yards... So hopefully, after we're all long dead and gone, some kid, or drag racing historian (let's hope this sport remains relevant enough to have historians) can slip in a Drag Racing Underground dvd, or place a DRU "info chip" into their brain (remember, we're talking the future here), and experience the drag racing history we've worked so hard to preserve. So when you see me sweatin' at the strip, running around to grab an interview with an elderly drag racing legend, like Jim "Fireball" Shores, of the "Shores & Hess" Gasser era, and "Fireball Vega" Funny Car fame, you'll understand that I'm not just doing this for myself, or for you, I'm doing this for your great, great grandchildren, in hopes that they'll actually care enough about this sport, like we do, to want to know its history...

I firmly cling to elderly legend Jim "Fireball" Shores' scrapbook of priceless drag racing memories. Jim goes through the book with me on Drag Racing Underground's FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd. Recording and documenting drag racing history is a tireless job that Drag Racing Underground and I take very seriously. Preserving our history for posterity is our form of "giving back" to the sport we love so damn much.

 

 

 


As some of you already know, I've occasionally watched the popular TODDLERS & TIARAS television show on THE LEARNING CHANNEL (TLC). Well, I can guarantee you that I won't be watching it anymore. Recently it's been exposed that many of the "pageant moms" are forcing their young daughters participating in the pageants, to consume a severely sugared-up Mountain Dew based concoction called "Go-Go Juice", and also "wolf down" multiple sugar based "pixie stixs", also known as "Pageant Crack", to give their daughters an intense "Pageant Buzz", and fire them up into a state of extreme overdrive, so they can "perform" with an added boost of energy and enthusiasm... I find this pretty darn appalling, I mean, are these mothers really THAT unloving??-- Do they want there precious daughters to develop diabetes??-- Do they want to start their daughters on a habit of relying on narcotics and illegal stimulants to give them an added "boost" for the rest of their lives?!?... Y'all know that BIG STICK and I released our anti-crack inspired "CRACK ATTACK" tracks several years ago, so you know that I have zero tolerance for "Pageant Crack", street crack, or any type of substance abuse like that... With 2012 being the official 20th anniversary of NHRA's Junior Drag Racing League, I implore parents who are looking for a safer and saner competitive alternative for their daughters to participate in, to consider putting their little girls in a Junior Dragster. It's certainly a far more morally and ethically sound environment than pageants. From what I've personally witnessed, Jr. Drag Racing teaches kids the importance of good sportsmanship, and there's definitely not the widespread "Go-Go Juice" and "Pixie Stix Pageant Crack" abuse that's currently plaguing the young girls pageant circuit! Sure, you have to pay out the initial investment of buying your daughter a Jr. Dragster, however, if you compare it to the money you spend on custom pageant dresses, flippers (false teeth for the little ones), tanning, pageant coaching, wigs, entry fees, etc, you might find Jr. Drag Racing to be even slightly more economically feasible for your family... Give up the glitz, glamour, and the "pageant crack", and come on over to the drag strip, we've got a far more superior program for your daughters, a program that will give them the tools necessary to become better young women, and more stable and secure adults...


DRAG RACING "PIZZA PRINTS"??... SOME PRUDHOMME WITH YOUR PEPPERONI??...

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There's a commercial that I keep seeing on TV for something called "Pizza Prints". The TV advertisement sells round, disc shaped, color images of the NFL football teams helmets that are "edible", and that you put on your pizza. Supposedly "Pizza Prints" compliment the pizza's flavor.  When your pizza is hot, you simply apply the "Pizza Print" image right on top of the hot cheese, the pizza image then melds with the cheese, so you're able to eat your pizza with your favorite NFL team's image melted into it... Yum Yum, ya think??-- I dunno, I have no idea of what it actually tastes like. However, I do know that lots of NFL football fans are buying this new novelty item in droves, especially in anticipation of the Super Bowl... I have to ask, if this is such a huge hit with NFL football fans, would this sort of thing also appeal to NHRA drag racing fans?-- Would you want John Force's likeness melted into your pizza pie? How about a grinning Larry Dixon to spice up your pizza? Or why not a Pro Stock pizza with Greg Anderson and anchovies? How 'bout Don Prudhomme with your pepperoni and peppers?... I have to wonder what kind of ingredients "Pizza Prints" are really made of?-- I wonder what sort of flavor they really bring to a pizza?... I think if I was given my choice of drag racing oriented "Pizza Prints", I'd like an outlaw doorslammer version with Dave Hance's face gracing my pizza, or maybe a "nostalgia" pie with Bruce Larson's likeness, or better yet, NHRA's winningest drag racer of all time, Frank Manzo's magnificent mug perfectly placed to gallantly garnish my mightiest of meatball pizza pies... I guess in reality, drag racing isn't quite "mainstream" enough for us to ever expect the "Pizza Prints" people to cater to our whims with a frequently running TV commercial, after all, we're not quite as massive of a market as professional football... But hey, I don't think that I really need "Pizza Prints" to prove my love for drag racing, I think just eating normal pizza while watching drag racing is more than an adequate expression of my love for the sport... And for my love of pizza...

 

 


Very rarely do I use this blog to call out municipalities in New Jersey that fall miserably short of what I believe to be the standard of acceptable moral and ethical protocol. My most recent criticism of Belmar NJ, for being a town that masquerades itself as a quaint shore community, while harboring a livid juvenile population that violently preys on women, the homeless, and the elderly started a behind the scenes firestorm between the town and I, and I won't back down until I see the crime stats come down. That's just how I am, I fight when I want things done right. Belmar NJ is where John Gill's late father was brutally attacked and wounded... Once again, Sayreville, NJ is back on the hot seat with me. Previously on this blog, I cited Sayreville for allowing several of their historic and cherished landmark eating, drinking and entertainment establishments to rot and deteriorate. The newest problem that I have with Sayerville's blowhard bureaucrats is their failure to step-up and do something to save the town's no-kill animal shelter. The nonprofit Sayreville Pet Adoption Center, owned by veterinarian Dr. Joseph Chiosi, receives no government funding or assistance. And currently, the shelter has lost, or is in the process of losing its contracts with Sayreville, Helmetta, Spotswood, and South River, towns that paid SPAC to house and care for their stray animals. Evidently an animal shelter that doesn't adhere to a strict "no kill" policy has lowballed SPAC, and taken away their contracts with Sayreville (their own town, gee whiz), Helmetta, Spotswood, and South River, leaving SPAC in financial dire straits. Y'all might remember my blog of last year, when I told you about my attending and supporting of  SPAC's "Jammin' for the Animals" benefit. Today, January 7th, there will be a Flap-jack fundraiser at Applebee's restaurant in Milltown NJ, from 9 to 11am. Tickets are $15 each with proceeds going to SPAC. Look, while fundraisers are all well and good, I'm getting tired of seeing places like SPAC have to claw their way (pun intended) to financial stability, the town of Sayreville should use some of their bloated property tax income, and direct a small fraction of it to help keep SPAC afloat. I urge those politicians in Sayreville who have the power to make a difference for the town's "no kill" shelter to do so RIGHT NOW... At least grant SPAC the town's stray animal contract back!!-- Would it kill you to do something right for your own town's "no kill" animal shelter?!?...


FEEDBACK FRIDAY... WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT MY RECENT BLOGS...

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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.... Yesterday's blog concerning the woman from the National Geographic TV show who wants a surgeon to cut her spinal cord, so she can be a "real" paraplegic, resulted in a slew of emails from folks who believe she's crazy, and agreed with me that she should speak to Darrell Gwynn and ask him what he thinks about her twisted idea... Several of you wrote me, thanking me for remembering those who passed away last year from the drag racing and music world , my "Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012" blog prompted Gerald from Allentown, PA to write, "Ken Nelson and his Cool Bus School Bus are going to be sorely missed."... My blog describing my annual New Year's Day walk with my sister at Sandy Hook beach, where I met a whole family wearing Raceway Park jackets, caused the dad from the family, Michael, to write that next time he sees me at E'Town, he wants me to sign his RP jacket. Will do, Michael!...  My blog encouraging people NOT to drink and drive on New Year's Eve brought in a few responses from members of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), one mom named Katherine from Bowling Green, KY told of how she lost her son to an intoxicated driver, and she genuinely appreciated me for discouraging drunk driving. I'm very sorry for your loss, Brenda... My blog comparing the similarities of the 2012 dippy doomsayers to the lackadaisical geezers who constantly preach a future of doom for drag racing was a big hit with my readers. My good friend, Michelle, who works at Raceway Park, thanked me for mentioning the successful SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN event, and NHRA's Junior Drag Racing League remaining strong for 20 years, that's definitely a living testament to the late, great Vinnie Napp's visionary ability...  My blog paying tribute to Peter Steele, of TYPE O NEGATIVE, who would've turned 50 a couple of days ago prompted some pretty emotional emails from you folks. Clara from Minneapolis, Minn said that Peter was an inspiration to her during a very difficult time in her life. Thanks for sending me your touching email, Clara. I posted another pic of Peter below. I'm thankful for TYPE O NEGATIVE's Johnny Kelly recording guest drums on our (BIG STICK's) upcoming 2012 record release... 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...


WHAT WOULD DARRELL GWYNN THINK OF THIS?...

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I remember touring the U.K. one year with BIG STICK, and having a day off from our grueling schedule to visit Santa Pod Raceway in England. Upon my return home back in the U.S., I heard that only a week after my visit to Santa Pod, Top Fuel racer Darrell Gwynn had his horrible accident at Santa Pod, leaving his lower body paralyzed. I remember how that news hit me like a ton of bricks. Over the years we've seen how Darrell's been courageously championing the cause of finding a cure for paralysis, and putting those who are paralyzed and can't afford one, in a power wheelchair of their very own. Much of Darrell's admirable efforts stem from his Darrell Gwynn Foundation, his charity organization that heroically promotes support for people with paralysis, and the prevention of spinal cord injuries.... Which brings me to the subject of what I witnessed the other night on an episode of the National Geographic channel's TABOO program. There was a woman featured on the show who spends a majority of her time "pretending" to be a paraplegic. That's right, she uses a wheelchair, at home, at work, etc, and deceives people into thinking that she can't walk, but the truth is that she CAN walk, she actually enjoys the idea, and "lifestyle" of her being a paraplegic. This same woman, who in my opinion is absolutely vacant in the head, although she does work as an accomplished chemist, also wants doctors to perform a sick surgery for her, a surgery that would slice her spinal cord and make her a paraplegic FOR REAL. So far, she's been unsuccessful in finding a surgeon willing to fulfill her body altering desire. According to the National Geographic program, she's not the only person who wants for this twisted alteration of life, there's others among our population who share her ambition... Maybe this woman and the others like her should sit down with Darrell and people who REALLY have this sort of physical affliction and handicap, maybe that would change their mind??-- I dunno, I really don't get it-- I really don't. There's no way I can make any sense of this at all. It kind of makes me sick to think this sort of thing exists... While people like Darrell Gwynn are working so hard to fight this affliction, and help those handicapped by it, there are other people with perfectly healthy bodies, wishing they could get surgery that wound render them a paraplegic. It's just not right... If you would like to learn more about the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, and even possibly make a donation as well, please visit darrellgwynnfoundation.org


TODAY PETER STEELE WOULD HAVE TURNED 50... WE REALLY MISS HIM A LOT...

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It was 50 years ago today, January 4th, 1962 that Peter Thomas Ratajczyk, better known as Peter Steele was born. Steele was born in Red Hook, Brooklyn to a family of Polish, Russian, Icelandic and Scottish heritage. He was the youngest of six children, with five older sisters. Some folks might know of his time spent fronting the band Carnivore. Most people who follow "rock" music are aware of Peter being the lead singer, bass player, and primary songwriter for Type O Negative. He stood a giant-like 6'8", and although his towering appearance may have intimidated some people, he was an approachable guy that so many of us in the music community genuinely loved, respected, and admired. I still listen to Type O Negative almost every single day, especially in my cars, all my cars are stocked with Type O Negative, the music never grows old with me. One thing I admire most about Peter Steele was his ability to write songs that really put his emotions and feelings, no matter how somber, out in the open with a clear and unobstructed view. Steele shared his inner-self with listeners in a way that so few other recording artists do, and he did so without being soapy or sappy, but with his own unique technique that connects directly to your psyche in a straightforward intrepid manner. Call what he did "Goth Metal", "Doom Metal", or whatever you want, I call it exceptional music that will stand the test of time, and probably endure among serious music aficionados far longer than most other bands of similar genres. Peter Steele's brand of extraordinarily versatile baritone vocalization talent was pretty damn special, and he did lots of innovative recording with it. I really can say that I'm a "fan", John Gill is too. We (Big Stick) are friends with Johnny Kelly, the drummer from Type O Negative, who is also a drag racing enthusiast, and owns a sweet '70 Dodge "Super Bee" that he occasionally races at E'Town. Johnny Kelly recorded guest drums with us on our new Big Stick music that we're releasing in 2012. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it's my belief that Johnny is one of the most naturally talented percussionists in all of rock 'n' roll. The other two fellows who played with Peter in the band, guitarist Kenny Hickey, and keyboardist Josh Silver are also incredibly talented and gifted musicians. They all worked with Peter Steele to create Type O Negative's strong repertoire over the years. While there's no denying that Peter had his problems with alcohol and substance abuse, he was actually clean, sober, and back to fine form for a long period of time when he died of heart failure on April 14th in 2010, and he was readying to write and record new music with the band... Oh, how the people who knew him and love him now miss him so damn much... Peter was one man and musician I don't want us to forget...

 

 

 


Every New Year's day, my sister and I have a tradition of walking the beach in Sandy Hook, NJ. No matter what the weather brings, we brave the elements and do our annual walk. Fortunately for us, this past New Year's day was rather mild, and we took advantage of the favorable weather, by walking for a much longer distance than we usually do. We certainly weren't the only people at the beach that day. There were a healthy number of folks walking, riding bikes on the designated bike trail, and just spending quality family time together. One family that caught my attention were a Mom & Dad, with two young kids, all wearing Raceway Park jackets! When our paths crossed on the beach, I just had to start a friendly conversation with them. I did the proper introductions, and told them that  I'm "The Doc" of Drag Racing Underground. The family Dad, Michael, knew who I was, and even flattered me by saying that he occasionally reads the blog. Mom, Brenda, and their two boys, Greg, and Roger had no idea of who I was, but were friendly just as well, and eager to engage in New Year's conversation. I complimented them all on their spiffy, sporty and ultra-fashionable Raceway Park jackets. They in turn replied with how warm and comfortable they were in their E'Town apparel. Michael said how he used to help out a buddy of his who raced Super Comp. Even though Michael no longer does pit duty with his buddy, he still takes the family to the strip at least twice a year for select events. I asked the kids what's their favorite thing at the track, and they enthusiastically replied, "Jet Cars!!". We chatted a bit about non drag racing related stuff, like how beautiful the ocean looked and sounded that day. I told them how happy I was that they were wearing their Raceway Park jackets, because that's why I starting talking to them, and subsequently made some new friends to start off the New Year. After our trip to Sandy Hook, my sister and I want to Sissy's restaurant in the Atlantic Highlands for a late lunch. My sister and I were pretty exhausted from our long and extended walk on the beach, however, it was still a joy for us to share the day together... For those of you looking for some Raceway Park jackets to keep YOU warm and cozy this winter (they're great conversation ice breakers when walking the beach on New Year's day!), or, if you're looking for stylish Raceway Park sweaters, T-shirts, hats, racer gear, gift cards, etc, simply just aim your computer's mouse in the direction of the official Old Bridge Township Raceway Park e-store at http://www.racewayparkstore.com (copy & paste the url address to your browser).