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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...

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY TO THE CHEVROLET BOWTIE BRIGADE...

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Today is the day that Chevrolet is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Chevrolet was founded by racing pioneer Louis Chevrolet 100 years ago. Now I know what some of you skeptics and soured cynics might be thinking, how can a gal who has three muscled-up Fords stuffed into her garage be touting the birthday of Chevrolet? Well, just because I've got some Fords in my garage doesn't mean I don't have a place for Chevys in my heart. Through the years, I've admired and appreciated several of the cars that rolled off the bowtie assembly line... There's the Corvette, Chevelle, Camaro, Vega, Bel Air, Impala, heck, during the original muscle car era (1960s & 70s), Chevrolet had an incredible presence at the drag strip, hey, you know what they say, every late '60s Camaro that Chevy ever manufactured eventually found its way onto the drag strip. In Pro Stock racing, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins put a real hurtin' on the competition with his stable of Camaros and Vegas. Chevy even broke into the Hemi dominated Nitro world with Bruce "USA-1" Larson's Chevy powered Funny Cars. Jim Bucher's Chevy Top Fueler was a major threat back in the day. And of course I have to mention my local "old school" Top Fuel friends and heroes, the "Hemi Hunter" crew, they once wreaked havoc here in NHRA's Division One territory with their dastardly dragster... "See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet", that used to be a popular advertising phrase in the late 1940s and 1950s... Hopefully more folks these days will want to see the U.S.A. behind the wheel of a Chevrolet-- I'm not one to mince words or try to whitewash an issue, you know me, I give you all sides to the story, and I'm well aware that Chevrolet isn't in nearly as good of shape as a car manufacturer as it once was, yeah, I get that, however, it does appear that the current crop of Chevy engineers and designers are doing their best to produce a product that the public will want to buy. Today Chevrolet is unveiling the 2012 Centennial Edition Corvette at the Dubai International Motor Show. Last week I received some "spy shots" from my sources at Chevrolet, and I must declare that this is one 'Vette that I predict is going to be a winner with modern muscle car enthusiasts. It's Chevrolet's 100th anniversary, go out and kiss a Camaro, or hug a Chevelle, show some love for the bowtie brigade...

YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN...

Posted by: lovely

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No, today's blog isn't about the courage and resilience that Chaz Bono demonstrated after being eliminated off ABC-TV's DANCING WITH THE STARS program... Today's blog is about an old drag racing friend of mine who is triumphantly stepping back into the driver's seat and returning to NHRA action. I'm talkin' 'bout Mike Ashley. I recall back in the late 1980s, when Mike was a threat in what was then the brand new genre of doorslammer racing referred to as "Top Sportsman", then later moving up to the ranks of Pro Modified. Back then, the regulars at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park gave Mike the nickname "The Kid", because he was relatively younger than most other racers in the class, and he possessed a youthful energy and enthusiasm for the sport that was nothing short of contagious. Mike went on to be a two-time NHRA Pro Modified series champion. Of course as many of you know, further down the timeline, Mike got the urge to burn nitro, resulting in him focusing his driving talents on piloting a fuel Funny Car. At the wheel of a fabulous Flopper, Mike scored a U.S. Nationals victory. There's no denying that "The Kid" from New York has grown up into one of the most capable of racing pilots in modern day drag racing. We then all watched as Mike had his troubles at the helm of his mortgage business, sidelining him from the sport. It's always been my belief that Mike was used as sort of a scapegoat for the whole housing bubble burst... Anyways, let's talk about the here and now. Mike Ashley recently put his fire boots back on, and made his first runs ever in a Top Fuel Dragster during post-race testing in Las Vegas. He earned his Top Fuel license with flying colors. Ashley is planning on racing at next week's NHRA final national event of the 2011 season, in sunny Pomona, California. He'll be in the driver's compartment of the Dexter Tuttle Top Fuel dragster. On behalf of all of us over here at Drag Racing Underground, and racing fans everywhere, I'd like to express best wishes for Mike Ashley in having a successful comeback to the sport of NHRA Championship Drag Racing, the sport that I know Mike loves with genuine passion. Yep, you can't keep a good man down...

With Halloween receiving so much attention, after all, it's now the second largest holiday in our nation, we've sort of overlooked NHRA's Vegas results of the past weekend, so let's get to it... A few of my local heroes managed to get their mitts on a nice, shiny "Wally" at the "Big O Tires" Nationals. Pro Stock motorcycle maven Eddie Krawiec, also known for his occasional sharp track management skills at E'Town scored a win in the two-wheeler "factory hot rod" class. Eddie beat his fellow Vance & Hines Harley Davidson teammate Andrew Hines in the final round, clocking a 6.93/194mph charge. We're all chuffed here in this neck of the woods to see Eddie dominating the Pro Stock Bike category... My former New York neighbor Tony Bartone nabbed a spectacular win in the gruelingly competitive Top Alcohol Funny Car class. Bartone defeated Shane Westerfield in the final round with a strong 5.54/260mph blitz... Local sportsman superstar Peter Biondo won Super Stock Eliminator. Biondo pulled a holeshot on Jackie Alley, who broke out in the final round... Congrats are also in order for Del Worsham in Top Fuel, Ron Capps in Nitro Funny Car, Mike Edwards in Pro Stock, Chris Demke in Top Alcohol Dragster, Jim Meader in Stock Eliminator, Billy Torrence in Super Comp, and Ed DeStaute in Super Gas... The NHRA 2011 season is drawing closer to an end. There's no denying that this season's points chase is one of lots of sweat and drama. No matter what some snerts on the drag racing internet say, I believe that NHRA Championship Drag Racing remains the hottest ticket in all of motorsports... Switching gears... I'm aware that there's still a lot of my regular readership who don't have electrical power in their homes due to the recent whacked-out weather. It can be tough living like a Pilgrim, with no electricity in these modern times-- You folks are in my thoughts. I hope everyone's power gets restored sooner than later. Hang in there, my dear friends...

Some of you have been bugging me to share a rather rare and obscure scary drag racing tale for Halloween. Well, being how I love my public, and want to do my best to please y'all, I uncovered this terrible tale of a drag racer, his feminine sidekick, and a trip from an unsuccessful day at the drags gone woefully wrong... It was back in the mid 1960s, there was a dragster racer from the Midwest known as "Gooseface Gunzo", he certainly wasn't one of the most popular of drivers on the circuit, but his reputation for being a showman (and a show-off) preceded him. Folks called him "Gooseface" for obvious reasons, at first glance, his facial features uncannily resembled that of a goose. While he wasn't one of the best looking men to ever drive a digger, he had the love of his gorgeous girlfriend and back-up girl sidekick affectionately known as "Gooseface Gloria", although Gloria's facial features had no resemblance to the bird of the same name, she actually shared a striking likeness with Italian film star Gina Lollobrigida. The tale is told that the two were driving at dusk, after a match race at the now defunct West Hampton Dragway in rural Long Island, New York. The two were driving along in their humble pick-up truck, towing their dragster on a simple open-air trailer. They were having a bit of an argument because Gunzo felt that after completing his first round burnout, Gloria didn't back him up properly into the groove of the race track, causing him to be short on traction and lose the round to his opponent. Their argument quickly became heated, and Gunzo, who was driving, wasn't paying proper attention to the road. All of a sudden, Gloria screamed at Gunzo, "LOOK OUT!!!", as she pointed to a large flock of geese who were crossing the dimly lit rural road. In an attempt to avoid hitting the large number of geese, Gunzo over reacted, and drove perilously into a large pond of water that was located just over a small embankment on the roadside. Sadly, the pick-up truck, the dragster in tow, "Gooseface Gunzo", and "Gooseface Gloria" all quickly sank to their demise at the bottom of the pond, ironically known as "Goose Pond", because it's a body of water where flocks of geese frequently gather. It's said that at times, even to this day, when dusk falls on the eerie pond, you can still hear the faint ghostly quibble between "Gooseface Gunzo" and "Gooseface Gloria" arguing over their first round loss, as the geese merrily swim about and congregate among themselves...

DAVE HANCE RECORDS CAREER BEST WITH HIS OUTLAW '57 CHEVY PRO MOD!!...

Posted by: lovely

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Regular readers of my blog are aware of my deep respect and admiration of NY Motorsports' Dave Hance. I've known Dave for several years, interviewed him a couple of times for Drag Racing Underground. I recall when Dave would compete in E'Town's famous "Ultra Quick 8" doorslammer class. He's one of the guys in this drag racing business who genuinely talks the talk AND walks the walk, he's no blowhard, he's a fine gentleman, and the "real deal" in drag racing. Dave Hance is well recognized as a class-act racer, and being probably the smartest and most savvy of all independent promoters in the sport. His creating and developing of the SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN event clearly stands as one of the biggest accomplishments of any indie promoter in the sport, past or present, Dave is a promoter who knows how to run a race that satisfies the racers, spectators, and sponsors alike. We're all very fortunate to have Dave Hance involved as such an "active human-factor" in the sport of drag racing. Recently while testing at Maryland International Raceway for the Pro Mod race that got rained out in Virginia, Dave ran a career best 5.79 elapsed time at 254 mph!-- That's really hauling butt with his fabulous NY Motorsports '57 Chevy twin-turbo ride. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Dave Hance and his incredible team eventually set the World Door Car record, I'll bet there's still more horses waiting to be unleashed from the confines of his car's torrid turbo powered engine compartment. Congratulations to Dave Hance and his whole team on recording their career best performance!!... Switching gears... Lots of us in America are experiencing an early snow, I know that we sure got a lot of it 'round these parts. It's a slushy mix of snow and rain that's resulting in driving pains for many folks. I just ask that y'all be careful out on the roads. Exercise caution when driving in these less than ideal road conditions. You know I care about ya, and want ya to be safe... Take care...

Let's start this discussion off with recognizing the obvious, I'm aware that most "professional" drag racers who compete in the NHRA's drag racing series make a mere pittance of a penny compared to the multi-millions of dollars that the players of the NBA are known for bringing home, I get that-- Professional basketball players are part of America's "stick 'n' ball" sports culture, and just like pro football & baseball players, those athletes who play with balls, make lots more cash than our pro drag racers who play with fast cars ever do... But what amazes me, well, actually, I guess after being around the block in this business of professional sports journalism for some time, I guess in truth, it doesn't really amaze me much that the issue of the NBA having a "strike" or a labor/management dispute, receives so much more attention from the media than we'd ever see in the drag racing world-- Ya think that if maybe Don Garlits was abducted by aliens, we'd see the press give us a fraction of the attention that they're currently giving the NBA?... I guess if the NHRA and its racers brought the sport to a screeching halt over money issues, maybe, just maybe, we'd get a 5 sentence blurb printed somewhere in the back section of the newspaper sports pages, placed far back in the sports section with the strip club and "male potency" pill advertisements, and that's if we were lucky... I just believe it's a little off balance that the National Basketball Association's decision to stop bouncing their balls, is such a bigger story among the mainstream media than anything that could ever possibly happen in the drag racing world (short of Garlits getting abducted by aliens in plain view)... But hey, THAT'S just the way it is... And yes, I'm used to it being this way, just thought I'd blow off a little steam on behalf of all the frustrated folks in the drag racing business who wish things were a little different, and that the mainstream media would somehow be just a tad bit more concerned with our brand of spectacular sport...

Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... One of my loyal readers emailed, asking about information I posted on Draglist about John Peel, about how even before he became the superstar DJ in his homeland of England, he first took a DJ job here in the U.S. at a radio station in Texas, where he was responsible for breaking THE BEATLES in America, aiding the four "mop topped" rockers in achieving their domination of the American music scene in the 1960s-- Yeah, that's the real skinny on Peel-- At the end of this blog, I'll post the url address for BIG STICK's "DRAG RACING" youtube video that was created especially for the BBC's "John Peel's Record Box" Television Special... The subject of Formula-1 racing coming to the streets of Weehawken New Jersey prompted some of you to write me, a few of you wrote it's a good idea, while others who only believe racing should be done in a straight line gave the idea a hearty thumbs down... My blog regarding how our sport's crusty 'n' cranky geezers should be more appreciative of the California Hot Rod Reunion raised some heck among my readers, most agreed with me, while some folks claimed that NHRA still isn't doing enough to promote nostalgia racing... I received a few emails thanking me for bringing B-52 Fred Schneider's side project, THE SUPERIONS' "BATBABY" video to your attention just in time for Halloween. Fred has recorded with BIG STICK and he is one of my fave friends in the music biz. Glad you liked it... The subject of the possibility of a "Polygamy" financed Pro Stock conjured up mixed opinions among you all-- Mitchell of San Bernardino, CA wrote me an email saying, "Who cares??? Anybody who wants to support drag racing is welcome to step up and write a check!!!"... 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... Oh, and as promised, here's the url address for the BIG STICK "DRAG RACING" video that was created for the BBC's "John Peel's Record Box" Television Special, that's played yearly in conjunction with the U.K. Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame awards. Copy and paste it up to your browser... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bIYoQ42dBg

Halloween is definitely upon us... Halloween has become the 2nd largest holiday in America... Kids of all ages dress up in costumes, go to parties, and live out the night as their favorite ghouls, or various other different "fantasy" characters-- This Halloween I'm looking forward to transforming myself into a somewhat sultry version of "Minnie Mouse"... That said, I thought some of you might appreciate seeing THE SUPERIONS brand new "BATBABY" video now available on YouTube. THE SUPERIONS are actually a side project of B-52s member Fred Schneider. As some of you might already be aware, my band, music thing, whatever you want to call it, BIG STICK, recently had Fred Schneider in the recording studio with us, Fred sang co-lead vocals with us on a song called "HOT SAUCE". Fred gave us one super soulful vocal performance on the track, he did the best that we could have ever possibly hoped for, he really nailed it and did a spectacular job. We love Fred-- And we sure look forward to getting the song mixed and released out to a much deserving public. And I just want to give a shout out to Fred and the B-52s because I had a blast being their guest when they played the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank NJ awhile back.. Anyways, just in time for Halloween, THE SUPERIONS brand new "BATBABY" video is up on YouTube and ready for mass consumption, in the tradition of Halloween fare, I recommend watching it while eating soft and chewy "candy corn" (those little orange candies that surface every year during Halloween), if you're diabetic, replace the "candy corn" with an apple and you'll be just fine... Be warned, this is a "comedy" music video, it's intended to scare you and make you laugh, or something like that... Here's the YouTube url address, copy it and paste it up on your browser... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnsPFi3-s1o

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whether you love him or hate him, the often controversial "plus size sex symbol??" of the political world, recently made a startling announcement that's been relatively ignored by the mainstream media (as well as much of the motorsport media too)-- Evidently Chris Christie just announced a deal with the folks from the London-based Formula 1 racing circuit to bring Grand Prix racing to New Jersey. Plans for a race to take place in June of 2013 have been set full speed ahead in motion. There's going to be a 3.2 mile road course in Weehawken NJ, along the edge of the Palisades, overlooking the Hudson River with the Manhattan skyline in the backround... Will it be nearly as "romantic" of a race as the yearly Formula 1 racing along the French Riviera in Monaco?-- I don't know about that, but from a financial perspective, it's believed the event will bring in 100,000 spectators and "several hundred million dollars" to the regional economy... Several years ago, New York City tried to make a similar sort of open-wheel racing event happen, as a matter of fact, the city held a glitzy press conference in hopes of selling the idea to the press and public, but it got shot down because New Yorkers were fearful of the "noise" that the roaring Formula 1 cars would make-- That's the press conference where I met Emerson Fittipaldi, as you regular readers of my blog are aware, I recently mentioned him in one of my blogs regarding the subject of mutual respect among drivers of different racing genres-- Anyways, no matter how you slice it, this is a pretty radical move for New Jersey. You think New Jersey and the town of Weehawken will be able to pull this off and make it a success?-- We'll see... Switching gears... To further celebrate the life of late rock 'n' roll radio personality John Peel (see yesterday's blog), here's the url address for Big Stick's "Drag Racing" video that was created especially for the "John Peel's Record Box" BBC Television Special... Copy it to your browser and enjoy... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bIYoQ42dBg

Seven years ago today legendary BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel died at the age of 65. Today is being recognized by musicians and music fans throughout the world as International John Peel Day... John Peel revolutionized radio and is remembered as the man who broke EVERYTHING in England, which later spread to the world. He was up on everything and gave listeners a healthy earful with each and every nightly broadcast. He's credited with breaking Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Fall among others... Several years ago, we (Big Stick) sent our indie "Drag Racing" single across the pond to John Peel, fortunately he fell in love with it and played it with much frequency on his humongously popular radio program. The record charted, we signed with Blast First/Mute in the U.K., and we flew over to England to perform. I remember the first night in my London hotel room, listening to Peel's show and hearing him play Big Stick on the radio, and hearing his warm style of broadcasting, a style that seemed to speak personally to his droves of listeners. Throughout the years, until his death, he continued to play Big Stick, practically everything new that we'd send John over the years, he'd subsequently play on his show. One thing that really stands out, is that he actually played our "Broadcast Booth" single with regularity, a cut that's basically a "War of the Worlds-ish" narrative, with John Gill calling the action of a drag racing event, complete with roaring car sounds and such, however, there's no music whatsoever on the track, just talking and car sounds-- That definitely demonstrated to me John Peel's admiration and loyalty for Big Stick, and of course we admire, love and miss him so very much... And last but certainly not least, we're honored that he included Big Stick in his special "John Peel's Record Box", a box of a hundred or so records he kept in his home, and that he kept all together in a single box, so that in the event of a fire, after first gathering up his wife and kids, those particular records, out of the literally tens of thousands of records that he kept at his home, would be the ones that he would grab up and save... We're also happy that we received recognition on the BBC's "John Peel's Record Box" television program that runs yearly in conjunction with the U.K. Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame awards... We celebrate the memory of one of the most influential DJs who ever was. In closing, I'd like to say that for today, and forever, we're not all just musicians and music fans who believe in "Keepin' It Real", we're also musicians and music fans dedicated in our heart of hearts to "KEEPING IT PEEL"... We love and miss you John Peel...