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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...

NHRA WINTERNATIONALS SPORTSMAN WINNERS PLEASE STAND UP...

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The other day after I posted the winners of the "Pro" categories for NHRA's debut Winternationals event, I received an uproar of emails "strongly suggesting" that I best cover the Sportsman winners too. Well, as you know, Drag Racing Underground and I have always been championing the cause of giving props to the so-called "littler guys" of the sport-- So here we go... In the Top Alcohol Dragster final Chris Demke defeated Larry Miersh by running the quickest pass of the event, a blistering 5.28 270mph. One heck of a performance for Demke... Daniel Oliver captured the Top Alcohol Funny Car win in a very close contest with Jay Payne, winning by only 7ft on the finish line. Oliver put the pain to Payne in the Alky Flopper class... Randy Jones activated the dreaded red light in Comp Eliminator, handing the win over to Dan Fletcher. There's no denying that seeing the blaring red bulb appear on the NHRA christmas tree puts a quick end to the contest... In a tight squeeze of a win, Mike Cotten managed to get the best of Jody Lang in Super Stock. It was a win that was practically "too close for comfort", but a win nonetheless... Brad Burton pulled a holeshot on Don Keen to win in the Stock class by a total of 19 inches. Whew! Another close one in the Sportsman ranks... Tommy Phillips left the line too soon for sanity, redlighted, allowing Kevin Wright a sweet victory final round lap in Super Comp. Once again, another final round decided on the starting line... Winner Greg Venture nabbed the holeshot and ran closer to the index to cause Jimmy Lewis to settle for the runner-up spot in Super Gas. Venture had all his ducks in a row and it paid off by being victorious in the first NHRA event of the 2012 season... After seeing the ultra tight and tough Sportsman racing at NHRA's debut event, it most certainly does appear that we're in for an extremely nail biting year of drag racing from all the Sportsman categories. Hang on tight, folks, it's gonna be a spectacular season for NHRA Sportsman drag racing...


ROMANCING THE OLD SKOOL RESPIRATOR MASK ON VALENTINE'S DAY...

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Happy Valentine's Day!... Let's celebrate love, a drag racing kind of love... The kind of love that lots of us have for the old skool respirator mask, the head accessory that was worn by droves of Dragster &  Funny Car stars in the 60's and 70's... Yes, I know, the sanctioning body has deemed them outdated and obsolete... That said, I'd like to share the following  piece that I wrote for the newest issue of OBSOLETE magazine, celebrating the love that many of us share for the mask...

 

This is an ode to the old school respirator mask- the kind that drag racers of years gone by used to wear. Now, a current wave of nostalgia-spirited racers wear them as well. I like the explanation Lou Sgro gave me for wearing the mask; “I want to look the part- I used to wear a full-style helmet- actually you can see a lot better with a full-style helmet- but I want to look the part, and with the whole nostalgia deal, I want to make it look like it did in the 70's. That's why I wear the mask". There is a kind of romance that goes with suiting up with the old school respirator mask- it's not just a matter of stepping into the past, but overstepping the confines and style-starved stagnation of the present. There is no denying that wearing the mask is definitely a gas. To the uninformed and novice observer, you may appear as some sort of a character straight out of a 60's sci-fi B movie. But hey- that's not a bad way to present yourself, at least not in my opinion- not bad at all. I'd like to see a designated “wear your respirator mask to work” day- to hell with “casual fridays”. My friend Joe Jacono used to drive the “Rollin' Stoned” funny car in the 1970's. The respirator mask is among the attire he wore. A striking outfit, for sure! Mike Boyd wears the mask as he courageously pilots the "Winged Express"- an adorable, lovable nitro altered at it's best. Yeah, and there's me- wearing the mask on loan for a music video shoot along with fire suit and pants. There is a distinct aroma of charred funny car and burnt fuel that fills the mask, but I'm loving it so much-  loving the old school. Yeah, it's the romance of it all. The romance....

 

Why are so many folks obsessed and in love with this form of drag racing head gear that the sanctioning body has deemed obsolete? I discuss in my recent piece published in OBSOLETE magazine. Visit the OBSOLETE web site by clicking the link...  http://obsoletemag.blogspot.com

You can see my romantic ode to the old skool drag racing respirator mask for free on YouTube... Click on the below link...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTrvVi7C_Qg

 


For all the keyboard crew chiefs who constantly insist that John Force is nothing more than a "washed up geezer" who needs to retire from drag racing, and settle into an old folks home, well, his 134th win yesterday at NHRA's first race of the 2012 season should definitely hush up those cyber blowhards (for at least a few days)--- John Force was chuffed to be victorious at NHRA's O'Reily Auto Parts Winternationals in Pomona, California. Senior citizen Force beat Mike Neff with an impressive holeshot in the final round, subsequently shutting all his many cyber based naysayers' pieholes closed (for at least for a few days at the most). The younger Courtney Force, John's daughter,  did alright for herself too, Courtney went out in the 2nd round, but proved to the Pomona crowd that she's certainly getting her driving chops together... Spencer Massey took top honors in Top Fuel. Massey put a hurtin' on Antron Brown in the final nitro round. This made for Spencer Massey's 7th NHRA career victory, definitely getting him off on the right foot for the 2012 season. Top Fuel has never been tougher than it is right now. 2012 is going to provide lots of on-the-edge of your seat drama for the unforgiving dragster class..... Greg Anderson could do no wrong in Pro Stock. In his 71st career victory, he managed to defeat Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final. Anderson proves that he's back with a vengeance-- He continues to be a major threat among the "factory hot rods" on the NHRA tour... Switching gears... I'd like to commend country crossover artist (and admitted Big Stick fan) Taylor Swift on her performance at the Grammys last night... I'd also like to say how thankful I am that Aunt Carol Ann's recent surgery went so well... And finally, I want y'all to know that Big Stick's "DADDY LONG LEG" song is up on YouTube. It's a tale of a soulful brother with a heart-- and a real long car. Give a listen and reminisce about the old days with DADDY LONG LEG. Here's a direct link to it... Click on this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSXJ1jYuQnE


WORLD FUEL ALTERED NATIONALS ON SPEED-TV TODAY 6PM EST...

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I want to give y'all a heads-up about an important television programming note, today, Saturday, February 11th, at 6pm EST, the 2011 World Fuel Altered Nationals from Eddyville Raceway Park in Iowa will by broadcast on SPEED TV... I realize that I don't talk about Altereds that much here on the blog, actually, sad to say, most folks in the drag racing business don't pay much attention to these type of cars anymore-- I guess that's partly due to the fact that there aren't a whole lot of Altereds that even exist today-- I mean, it's not anything like it was back in the 1960's and 1970's, when these short-wheelbased wombats of the strip were far more prevalent in our sport... While so many of these cars are gone, they're certainly not forgotten by a good number of  hardcore drag racing fans-- And there's still some racers courageous enough to keep the proverbial torch (and headers) lit brightly for the genre, and campaign these cars at any drag strip that will have 'em... Some of you might remember when E'Town booked the "Winged Express" for their Nostalgia Summernationals event. That was a few years ago. I interviewed car owner Al "Mousie" Marcellus that day.  I was impressed by the way Al brought an urn with the late "Wild" Willie Borsch's ashes to the track with him, that sure shows loyalty to the famous former driver of arguably the most popular Altered of all time. Of course the car was piloted that day by "Iron" Mike Boyd, who does do the "Winged Express" legacy proud... Anyways, I strongly suggest you tune-in for the World Fuel Altered Nationals on SPEED TV today. And if you want to get your mitts on Drag Racing Underground's FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd, that features the "Winged Express" Altered and my historic interview with Al "Mousie" Marcellus, click here... http://www.dragracingunderground.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=3&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=48&vmcchk=1&Itemid=48

 

Drag Racing Underground's John Gill is a longtime supporter of the Fuel Altered genre, as evident by this drawing he did of a fictitious Fuel Altered car and driver... Be sure to watch the World Fuel Altered Nationals today on SPEED TV 6pm EST...

While the "NASTY BUCKET" is indeed a fictional Fuel Altered, we all definitely do agree that Fuel Altereds are OUTTA-SIGHT!!...

 


FEEDBACK FRIDAY... B-52'S, SHAKEDOWN, SCHUMACHER & MORE...

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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 about the B-52's Fred Schneider recording with Big Stick, and their "Love Shack" track on the Glee TV show's Valentine's Day episode sparked some romance from readers. Eileen from Athens, Georgia (that's where the B-52's originated) said that she LOVES the B-52's, and that she'll definitely be watching, and she asked if I could get her an autograph from Fred-- Uh, okay, Eileen, I'll get you Fred's autograph... My blog stating that SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN is my "Most Recommended Race of the 2102 Season" prompted many of you to write in and agree with me. Rafael from Piscataway, NJ says, "It's the one race of the season that I take my whole family to see", I concur that it truly is a "fun for the entire family" kind of event! Mark your calendars for Oct 12-14 NOW!!...  My blog about Don Schumacher's attempt to make cockpit canopies a reality in NHRA Top Fuel brought in a lot more negative emails than I would have ever imagined. Alex from Boston, Mass claims they're "fugly" and they don't belong on T/F cars. I didn't realize how many folks put the appearance of the cars as their priority over the possible safety implications for the drivers... My blog regarding when former NHRA Funny Car racer Whit Bazemore flipped Scotty Cannon the bird, in relation to the recent NFL Super Bowl incident caused some of you to write that in both cases, it's really much to do about nothing... My blog about NJ Gov. Chris Christie and NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg facing off in the Super Bowl to see who claims territorial rights to the Giants prompted Alex from Queens NY to write, "The name of the team is the NEW YORK Giants, 'nuff said!!"...  My blog reminding readers that the NHRA SuperNationals is just around the corner (May 31 - June 3) must have been a good thing, because dozens of you thanked me for reminding you-- Hey, that's what I'm here for!!... 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...


Dave Hance of NY Motorsports (my fave promoter) and Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (my fave track) proudly announce that the tenth running of the SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 12, 13 & 14, 2012. Many racers and fans agree that SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN has grown into the Ultimate Outlaw Heads-Up Doorslammer event in the entire world! Now in its 10th triumphant season, there's absolutely no denying that SHAKEDOWN has become a "MUST ATTEND" race for outlaw competitors and fans alike. The record books take a severe beating at each and every SHAKEDOWN, as the cool Fall temperatures combined with E'Town's superior track prep and conditions make for a very, very fast drag strip. Side by side outlaw racing, featuring the best heads-up competitors in the nation is what SHAKEDOWN is all about!... Classes include Pro Mod, Top Sportsman, Pro Import, Outlaw 10.5, Heavy Street, Outlaw Radial/Limited Street, X275, 8.50 Index and Pro Street Bike. All the classes provide edge-of-your-seat drag racing excitement. History is made at SHAKEDOWN, year after year. The elapsed times are low and the mile per hours are sky high. The racers always hook hard and perform their career bests. SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN is without doubt a Who's Who of quick doorslammer stars and cars-- It's colossal. All the biggest names in the outlaw doorslammer world come to E'Town with big expectations and big horsepower!... Be sure that you mark your calendar for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 12,13 & 14, 2012. Don't miss your opportunity to experience the 10th ANNUAL SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN! Come on out to E'Town and see the biggest guns of heads-up racing battling for huge cash money and ultimate outlaw bragging rights. You deserve to enjoy the best doorslammer racing has to offer, you deserve to personally experience this incredible in-your-face phenom. Don't you dare hesitate! Grab you calendar NOW and write in October 12, 13 & 14 to insure that you'll be here at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for the SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN. This event earns my highest rating of "5 Doc Stars", and ranks as my "MOST RECOMMENDED RACE OF THE 2012 SEASON", so you know it's guaranteed to please! Rain date November 2, 3, & 4. For additional info please visit http://www.shakedownatetown.com/ and   http://www.etownraceway.com/

 

Join promoter extraordinaire Dave Hance and yours truly at the 10th Annual SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN October 12, 13 & 14 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey.... It's my most highly recommended race of the 2012 season!!... BE THERE!!...

Article written by "The Doc" reprinted courtesy of Raceway News & National Dragster. Photo by Drag Racing Underground.

 


The concept of a fully enclosed canopy on a Top Fuel dragster isn't really that new of an idea. "Big Daddy" Don Garlits drove with one on his last of the "Swamp Rat" series dragsters. While I do realize that Garlits' canopy isn't exactly like the one that Don Schumacher's camp are currently experimenting with, both Garlits and Schumacher believe putting a canopy on dragsters can improve safety and aerodynamics... Look, if anyone in this drag racing journalism biz is known for "telling it like it is", that journalist is definitely yours truly, so I'm not going to mince words here or beat around the bush-- I'm well aware that practically ANYTHING Don Garlits believes in, is often the subject of ridicule by others in the drag racing community, and his belief in the canopy concept is no exception-- it ranks right up there with his belief in the monostrut wing and UFOs-- For some reason, almost everything that Garlits thinks is a good idea gets shot down by a group of others in the drag racing industry... That said, Don Schumacher doesn't quite have the same sort of problem among his drag racing peers (not yet). I guess since Schumacher hasn't done an interview with me claiming he believes in UFOs (like Garlits did), he's still hanging on to a little more credibility among drag racing's ultra staunch conservative contingent. However, there are a few of Schumacher's peers claiming that his canopy idea is dumb. The issue of adding the weight to the cars that comes with a canopy raises serious NEGATIVE safety concerns with some. Don Schumacher's harshest critics aren't buying the safety argument at all, as a matter of fact, they're saying that if a canopied car gets in an accident, the canopy could actually cause more harm than good-- They think that Don Schumacher just wants his car to have an unfair "aerodynamic advantage" over the rest of the field... Where do I stand on this controversial subject? Well, I believe that if "Shoe's" team wants to do further testing and R & D work with the canopy, they should be allowed to do so--If Don Garlits believes in the concept, that leads me to think that it could have some merit. I'm one of the people in this sport who respects Garlits and DOESN'T think he's a whack job... What's next from the Schumacher camp?-- An Army dragster sporting a monostrut rear wing?-- We'll see...

 

Don Garlits believes in UFOs and canopies for Top Fuel Dragsters, so far, at least to my knowledge, Don Schumacher only believes in the latter... What do you think? Do cockpit canopies belong on NHRA's nitro diggers??... Yes or no??...

Yours truly with "BIG" talkin' UFOs for the Drag Racing Underground's FLOPPERS DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS dvd release... click here for that release info... 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&vmcchk=1&Itemid=48


Some of us remember several years ago, when drag racing photographer turned professional drag racer, Whit Bazemore, stirred up controversy among NHRA followers when he "flipped the bird" at Scotty Cannon. This happened after both drivers stepped out of their respective Funny Cars after a race, and evidently Bazemore, who was driving the Matco Tools flopper at the time was mad as heck at Cannon, because he felt that Cannon took way too long to stage when they were back on the starting line... Of course the amount of hype concerning that particular drag racing related incident pales in comparison to the "flipping of the bird" fiasco at last night's NFL Super Bowl. During the Super Bowl half-time show, singer M.I.A. flipped off zillions of TV viewers when she made the lewd gesture during a performance of Madonna's new "Give Me All Your Luvin'" single. M.I.A. also seemed to say an expletive (I don't give a s***), a line from Big Stick's classic (I Look Like S***) single of several years ago-- Well, actually, I don't really believe she was trying to mimic Big Stick, but I just thought I'd just throw that in... Anyways, I guess almost every Super Bowl half-time performance these days has it's spicy moment, remember Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction"?-- When her top moved, exposing her breast or something like that?... I guess M.I.A. was feeling a bit cranky last night, I don't really know the reason for her actions, unless it was just a premeditated marketing move to attract all the publicity she's receiving today (which I guess makes sense)... At least when Whit Bazemore did it, we all sort of understood his exact reasoning for it... If you'd like to see a free YouTube video, where you'll see me behind the scenes at an NHRA press conference, discussing Whit Bazemore's flipping of the bird with Drag Racing Underground honcho Mike Bennett, you can click on this link (it happens around 1minute 20seconds into the clip) click on the below link for a freebie video treat from the Drag Racing Underground archives... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mJ1IP9_nkc&list=UUvTmV1NcqkJ0fWwK1vV4jeg&index=4&feature=plcp

 

 


N.J. GOV CHRISTIE & N.Y. MAYOR BLOOMBERG PLAYING IN SUPERBOWL?!?...

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I realize this is a drag racing blog, however, the rumors around here concerning today's playing of the NFL Super Bowl are just way too weird for this gal to ignore. For those of you who aren't from my neck of the woods, let me fill you in on a long running local debate that never seems to go away-- It's a debate regarding whether or not the New York Giants are REALLY a New York team, OR, if they're actually a New Jersey based team. You see, the Giants actually practice and play their games in NJ, and this causes lots of folks to consider them as being the "NJ Giants", and NOT the "NY Giants". However, on the other side of this debate, the name of the team is in fact officially the NY Giants, and New Yorkers strongly INSIST that the ball club is their own!!... This leads me to discuss the seemingly strange rumor that NJ Governor Chris Christie and NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg are actually going to be brought in to join the Giants for a couple of plays during today's Super Bowl! That's right, the "plus-size sex symbol" among staunch republican females, NJ Gov. Christie, and multi-billionaire NY independent Mayor Bloomberg are rumored to be participating for two plays each with the Giants in today's Super Bowl, with the politician who performs best with the team, earning the honor of calling the Giants his team for his State or City. "Bear" like NJ Gov. Chris Christie is rumored to be suiting up to play defensive tackle, while "quick on his feet" and "nimble" NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg is rumored to be playing offense as either a tight end or wide receiver. Which of the politicians will fair best on the field? I really don't know, it's a tough call... I'm aware that halftime entertainer Madonna is a friend of Michael Bloomberg, maybe she'll offer him some encouraging moral support that will put him at an advantage? Chris Christie certainly does have the "beefy physique" of a dastardly NFL defensive tackle, however, I'm not sure if his level of endurance is up to snuff. I'm having a somewhat difficult time believing this rumor, but I guess we'll just have to see. Do you think of the Giants as a NY or NJ team? Do you think they're going to defeat the New England Patriots? Do you think you have enough potato chips and onion dip in stock for your Super Bowl party? These are some of the questions we ponder on this Super Bowl Sunday...

 

 

 


Tomorrow is the big day in America, it's Super Bowl XLVI.  And while I'm well aware that the NFL's Super Bowl is what so many people are talking about, I'd like to say some words about the NHRA SuperNationals!!... The 43rd annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals will be here before you know it, coming up on May 31st through June 3rd.  And yes, this year it's officially the "Toyota" SuperNationals. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. has generously expanded its participation in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing by becoming the title rights sponsor of the event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. I realize that the news of Toyota stepping up as title sponsor was announced a couple of days ago, however, I didn't give Toyota any props here on the blog yet, so I'm doing so now-- "better late than never" as my old friend and fellow drag journalist, the late, great Steve Collison used to say. For those of you who still haven't ordered your advance tickets for the E'Town event, why not put that on your "to do" list right now. Get those hot little tickets in your hands, mark the dates on your calendar, and be prepared to usher in the Spring with one of the very best races on the NHRA tour! To get your tickets and learn more info about this spectacular event visit E'Town's official web site, I put a link to it at the end of this blog... Okay then, let's talk a little Super Bowl chatter. Needless to say, my money is on the NY Giants puttin' a relatively serious hurtin' on the New England Patriots. Over here at Drag Racing Underground headquarters, we root for the Giants because John Gill's dad used to know one of the team's head coaches back in the day-- So "Big Blue" is the team of choice 'round these parts. Hope all my friends who are already in Indianapolis for the game have themselves a darn good time. I'll be watching from the comfort of home on one of our oversized HD television sets. I'll let DRU guinea pig mascot Selky aka "Bucky Buck" provide the halftime entertainment, she can hop around a lot more enthusiastically than any cheerleader can, ha ha... Anyways, back to the business of the SuperNationals, here's the link that will take you directly to Raceway Park's web site, so you can order your advance tickets for drag racing's "Super" event. Click on this...  http://www.etownraceway.com/

It's quiet and empty now. However, come May 31-June 3, the 43rd Annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals pulls into Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Order your advance tickets now so that you're well prepared to experience drag racing's "Super" event!!