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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...

'Tis the time of the season to order your Drag Racing Underground DVDs if you really want them by Christmas... Yeah, all you Christmas shopping procrastinators out there, I'm giving you fair warning that NOW is the time to click on the "Video Catalog" link, located at the top of this page, and get your Drag Racing Underground Christmas dvd shopping done either today, or within the next few days at the latest, so that you're sure to get the most wanted (and popular) drag racing DVDs in the entire world by Christmas. As many of you are already aware, we hired extra help here at the office to keep us on top of business for the busy holiday season, well, actually, we've hired two of my girlfriend neighbors, and they're busy over here working in the capacity of being our official "Doc's Elves" (I've even given them the cutest little "elf hats" I could find!)--- They're busy as Santa's elves, pulling, prancing, and packing up orders so that y'all get your DVDs in time for Christmas... We have such an exciting selection of DVDs in our catalog, the proverbial "Something for Everyone" definitely applies here at Drag Racing Underground... If you dig doorslammers, we have SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN, HOT DAMN DOORSLAMMIN' 1 & 2, if nostalgia drag racing is your thing, we have the two best sellers in nostalgia drag racing history, our NOSTALGIA RAW and FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW DVDs, if you like variety in your drag racing DVDs, we have our FLOPPERS, DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS release, and yeah, it features my historic "UFO" interview with "Big Daddy" Don Garlits... And there's even more DVD titles for you to peruse through... So, don't hesitate much longer, exert your finger muscles to click on the "Video Catalog" link at the top of the page, and put in your "Have it by Christmas" order sooner than later... Come Christmas morning, you'll be thanking me, and you'll be darn glad that you placed your order in time for Christmas!!... Thanks...


NHRA JR. DRAG RACING LEAGUE WILL TURN 20 IN 2012...

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Drag Racing Underground's John Gill brought this following story to my attention, and I believe it's definitely worthy of sharing with you... The NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012!-- That's right, the Jr. Dragster movement has now been around long enough, so that those who were participating in it during its earliest years, can now be considered "pioneers" of the genre! Being a regular at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, I had the opportunity to see the Jr. Dragster scene develop at its true location of origin. I was fortunate enough to witness the late, great Vinnie Napp, tinkering and fabricating the first of the Jr. Dragsters. Vinnie is the individual who I consider to be the "founding father" of the movement. Those who were around E'Town back in the day would often see Vinnie out on the 1/4 mile strip, guiding his young son, and Jr. Dragster "test pilot", David Napp, as they worked out the bugs of the earliest of Jr. Dragster models. Vinnie and son David were responsible for much of the research and development work that resulted in the Jr. Dragsters becoming a safe and reliable ride for kids looking to take their first steps in competitive drag racing... It's also worth noting that Old Bridge Township Raceway Park later demonstrated their dedication to Jr. Dragster racing by constructing a special 1/8th mile facility on the property... So, here we are, about two decades down the road, and we now see NHRA's Jr. Dragster League going strong, with many participants from all over the map. And there's also a healthy handful of now "grown-up" drag racers, some of them being rather successful, who got their start racing in a Jr. Dragster... In closing, I would also like to acknowledge how Jr. Dragster racing creates bonds and memories among parents and kids, who will forever cherish the "fast times" they shared together while campaigning their scaled-down diggers on the drag strip...


E'TOWN 43RD ANNUAL NHRA SUPERNATIONALS MAY 31 - JUNE 3, 2012...

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For those of you not aware yet, I want to give you the heads-up now, that E'Town's 43rd Annual NHRA SUPERNATIONALS is scheduled for MAY 31 - JUNE 3, 2012. Now is a good time to consider giving yourself and the gearheads on your Christmas list the present of tickets for the upcoming event. You can go to racewaypark.com to get tickets. I know this doesn't qualify as an "immediate gratification" sort of Christmas gift, however, most drag racing fans have the intellect to appreciate the gesture. Yeah, it's not the kind of present you can open up on Christmas morning and immediately enjoy, but it makes for a great gift nonetheless. The NHRA SUPERNATIONALS always proves to be one of the most exciting events on the challenging NHRA tour. All the racing, in all the many classes is about as competitive as it gets-- It's brutally competitive drag racing!! The E'Town strip is always prepped for the best performances the drivers and crew chiefs can manage for their cars. You see the best in professional and sportsman racers that the world has to offer, bar none. There's no denying that the SUPERNATIONALS truly live up to the name-- The action is constant and fast paced-- There's no room for boredom at this spectacular drag race extravaganza. I'll be there with bells on and so should YOU. Think Christmas, and think of the smiles on everybody's faces when they know you made the effort to give them the gift of SUPERNATIONALS tickets this holiday season. Simply aim your 'puter's mouse at racewaypark.com for more information. You'll be thanking me for giving you this gift buying tip on Christmas morning, and come May 31st - June 12th, when the event takes place.  Don't miss the 43rd Annual E'Town NHRA SUPERNATIONALS!!-- BE THERE!!...


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!!...

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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...

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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!!...