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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...

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM A "SAUCED UP" SANTA CLAUS FROM CHRISTMAS PAST!!...

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I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a MERRY CHRISTMAS.... For today's blog, I'm lightening things up a bit, and sharing a ridiculous photo that was taken many moons ago... Long before there was a BIG STICK band, or a DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND video production company, back in time, when John Gill was only knee-high to a grasshopper, and barely as tall as even the smallest of his Marshall guitar cabinets, John's parents dragged him to the Mall to have his picture taken with "Santa Claus"... In this particular case, "Santa" was so "loaded", he could barely sit up. As a matter of fact, according to John, "Santa" smelled like he was boozing it up since the previous year's Christmas!!-- If you should ever see a "Santa Claus" looking this "bombed", please grab his car keys and call him a cab!!


CHRISTMAS PARTY NOTES & IN POLAND TONITE THE CRITTERS SPEAK!!...

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Yesterday was our Christmas party here at DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND. Practically all our staff were celebrating with festive cheer. Our company veterans, including John, Mike, Jim, Rusty, Christine, Stephanie, and Gary were all in attendance. I also invited Eric, our incredible audio engineer, who is working with us on our BIG STICK music thing to come party with us. And of course my two adorable girlfriends from the neighborhood, Janet & Lorraine, who've been working part time as our official "Christmas Elves", to help us fill all our Christmas orders were primped and present at the party as well, drinking the potent punch that our resident "ultra geek" Gary concocted, and they were both merrily prancing about in their makeshift Christmas elf hats and green leotards, ha ha, I bought my girls the leotards to wear at the party-- They looked so darn cute dressed as the "Christmas Elves" that I truly believe they are, I mean, there's NO WAY we would have been able to fill all our Christmas orders in a timely fashion without Janet and Lorraine coming to our rescue! I'd like to thank our friends from FORD for picking up the catering tab for the party. And I definitely want to thank all you loyal readers of my blog for giving me the best Christmas present of all, making me the number one most read female blogger on the drag racing internet! I want you to know that I felt like you all were here too, partying it up with us in spirit. You know that I love you all!!... In closing, here's a bit of interesting trivia that was bought to my attention by my  friend, Jeff Magnum, the talented guitar player of  "Dead Boys" fame...  "In Poland, the Christmas Eve Mass is called the Pasterka, which means the "Shepherds Watch", and there is a popular belief that while the congregation is praying, peace descends on the snow covered town and that during the holy night, the humble companions of men and women (the domestic animals) assume voices, but only the innocent of heart may hear them! So if yer dog, cat, or guinea pig starts talkin' tonight, YOU BETTER LISTEN!!"... 

 

 


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... Lots of you wrote me, including drag racing veteran Dale Pulde, with words of appreciation for my blog honoring the life of recently departed drag racing photographer Bob Plumer-- It appears that Bob was well liked by racers and fans alike... In regards to my blog recognizing all the folks in the drag racing biz who don't really get an "off season" vacation, and have many job responsibilities that keep them busy all year long, I received email from a few of the pro teams, thanking me for bringing this often overlooked fact to the attention of my readers-- Erin, who is a sponsor hunter for a Midwestern team said he'll "try" to take my advice and make time for his family this Christmas (I sure hope so)...  My blog about the importance of racers keeping their reaction time skills sharp during the off season, by hunkering down at least an hour a week with a "practice tree" generated responses of a mixed variety-- Positive emails from the folks who manufacture and sell practice trees (What a surprise, HA!), and one very negative email from Doris of Buff City, TN, who says her hubby needs to put his practice tree down and pay more attention to her! YIKES!... Yesterday's blog covering recent New Jersey related horror stories in the news was a hit with many of my local readers--  The phony death of Jon Bon Jovi prompted some of his fans to write in-- I didn't realize so many of you are fans of the Sayreville, NJ native-- In regards to the plane crash on Route 287, Warren from Lyndhurst, NJ agreed with me that even on days when a plane isn't crashing into the winding highway, "it's a disaster of a commute!"-- Lastly, the New Jersey horror story of David Ivins, the  homeless man severely beaten by creeps from Belmar, NJ, the town that masquerades itself as being a quaint seashore community, however, harbors a lawless youth population who constantly, and violently prey on homeless folks, the elderly, and women, prompted  Claudine from Scotch Plains, NJ to write about how her family was terrorized by some young Belmar thugs during an evening stroll along the shoreline, she claims that she's "through with that town", and she believes that the authorities "looked the other way" regarding the incident. I did receive one email asking that I give Belmar another chance, however, after checking the source, uh, I suspect it comes from one of the municipality's blowhard bureaucrats-- I'll be writing him back with a detailed account of what happened to John Gill's dad in that degenerate dump of a town... 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...


Over the last several days there's been some troubling news stories generated from the State of New Jersey. I'm aware that my blog is a nationally, even internationally read blog, however, I feel compelled to dedicate today's writing to the recent and genuinely disturbing going-ons from around my neck of the woods... First we have the Jon Bon Jovi phony death story. While I don't claim to be Jon's biggest fan, I sure would hate to see him die such an early death. Evidently somebody posted a blog featuring a fake story of Jon croaking from cardiac arrest, same story was picked up by folks on Twitter, the false tale quickly got legs, and made it to some of the mainstream press. Jon Bon Jovi is alive and well. The Sayreville, NJ native is simply the victim of a cyber hoax.... As if driving on New Jersey's Route 287 isn't already enough of a dancing with death experience, yesterday a private plane descended from the sky and crashed into the infamous highway. Five people who were on the plane, along with the family dog died in the mishap. The accident resulted in horrific traffic delays, as there usually are on a daily basis on Rt. 287 anyways, only this particular traffic mess made the national news due to the freak plane crash. My condolences to family and friends of the crash victims... Lastly, in New Jersey related horror news, a 51 year old homeless man named David Ivins was severely beaten in the woods of Wall Township by two creeps, one age 21, the other age 17. The thugs actually posted the beating on YouTube, and I watched it being played last night on Fox Network's local affiliate Channel 5's 10 o'clock news. The two miscreants who preyed on this poor man are from Belmar, New Jersey. Belmar is a town that masquerades itself as being a quaint seashore community, however, much of its youth population are absolute garbage. Several years ago, John Gill's late father was walking from a Belmar eating establishment to his car, when a few Belmar youths collectively knocked him down and caused permanent bodily harm.-- And the local Belmar law enforcement phonies were miserably inept in handling the matter. So, hey, I must warn all my readers who might be planning a family vacation on the Jersey shore to stay as far away as humanly possible from Belmar-- its outward appearance is very misleading, it looks nice on the surface, but in my opinion, it's truly New Jersey's worst piece of garbage town... Well, there you have it, my friends--  It's certainly been a busy last few days in NJ-- And we sure can't blame any of THESE particular horrific New Jersey news stories on little ol' Snooki...

 

 

 

 


It's December, it's almost Christmas, for many people involved with this drag racing stuff, it means you're now entitled to take a little break, a small vacation, some of that much looked forward to off season rest and relaxation. However, as this sport has evolved over the years, and the level of competition has increased to a ridiculous degree, there are some people working in this business who really don't get an off season break. The truth is, for some, the end of one racing season, means the hectic dash in preparing for the next one. We see this especially in the pro categories, with crew chiefs and different assigned crew and administrative people scrambling to order new cars, new motors, new parts, new tow rigs, new uniforms, new race car and tow rig wraps, hiring and firing personnel, making travel arrangements for next season, courting new sponsors, trying desperately to keep current sponsors convinced they're getting their moneys worth, etc, etc... Yeah, there's a lot to do during the "off season" for some folks in the drag racing biz, lots of responsibilities that require just as much attention to detail, as their responsibilities demand of them during the actual race season.  It's for these individuals who are working behind the scenes, busting their buttocks, hustling hard in preparation for the 2012 season, that I dedicate today's blog to. I know you're out there, and I know despite your horrendous workloads, many of you still make a few minutes of time every day to read this blog-- And I sure appreciate that-- And I also appreciate all the grunt work you're doing while the rest of us have leisure time to spend with loved ones and friends. I know that there's those of you who don't have much time this holiday season to hug you family, spend time with friends, and do a lot of the things that us other folks take for granted--- I get that-- So, for you, I ask that you still FORCE YOURSELF  (even if you work for JOHN FORCE), to take a brief breather from you duties and engage in some down home holiday cheer. I know you're out there, I'm thinking of all of you extremely dedicated, hard working folks, and I want you all to have a Merry Christmas-- Please try to make just a little time in your horrendously hectic schedule for that to happen...


'TIS THE SEASON FOR DRAG RACERS TO BOND WITH THE CHRISTMAS TREE...

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The Christmas holiday is upon us. It's now drag racing's "off season" in most places across the globe. And now is the time for all serious drag racers to bond with the Christmas Tree. I don't mean the Christmas Tree with the pine needles and tinsel, I'm referring to the Christmas Tree that's used universally to stage and start drag races... That's right, now's the time for all racers who still can't quite cut a good light to hunker down with a "practice tree", and develop the knack for improving their all-important reaction times. It's also a good idea for racers who are capable of producing good "R.Ts" (reaction times), to spend some time with their practice tree as well, to keep their skills sharp and avoid getting rusty during the off season. In the sport of drag racing, it's no secret that most races are either won or lost depending on a driver's reaction time, that's just the facts, so therefore, spending time with one's practice tree is usually time well spent. Whether you have one of those popular compact, pocket sized practice tree gadgets, or the more costly "full size" practice tree versions, try dedicating at least an hour per week to honing your R.T. skills... Yeah, I know, I know, you much rather just kick back on the couch and watch your Drag Racing Underground dvds over and over again-- Hey, that's only natural for any real drag racer of drag fan, but please, take a little time out of your Drag Racing Underground dvd watching schedule to polish your tree leaving skills... Take my advice and you'll be thanking me when the snow clears, and the off season is over, and it's time for you to get back to the strip-- And you're a bullet on the Christmas Tree, with reaction times you can be proud of, instead of being a "snoozer" who can't get past first round... Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish readers!...


LAST CALL FOR DRAG RACING CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PROCRASTINATORS!!...

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Today is Monday, with Christmas coming on Sunday... Those of you reading this who qualify as Christmas shopping procrastinators, I would say that today is the last day before Christmas for you to order Drag Racing Underground dvds online, with still a good chance of receiving your order in time for Christmas. And we all know that ordering stocking stuffers from Drag Racing Underground is much easier (and smarter), than doing your last minute Christmas shopping at the mall, where you have a good chance of getting "mauled" (ha ha), trampled, or even pepper-sprayed by the other whacky shoppers who will be stampeding through the stores during those final Christmas shopping hours... If you dig doorslammers, we have plenty of dvds that will turn you on, such as our HOT DAMN DOORSLAMMIN' series, and SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN...  If nostalgia drag racing is your fetish of choice, you best get our NOSTALGIA RAW dvd, and if your nostalgia affliction is geared towards the old school Floppers, you'd be a complete dunce to not have our FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd in your collection... If you dig a little bit of everything, I strongly recommend gettin' your mitts on our FLOPPERS DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS dvd-- You'll see my historic UFO interview with Don Garlits, as well as captivating chat, and on-track action with Shirley Muldowney and other drag strip superstars... If you're looking for an audio gift for yourself, or gearheads on your Christmas list, check out the BIG STICK "HOT FROM THE STRIP" cd. It features BIG STICK drag tunes, old school drag strip radio commercials you won't hear anywhere else, WILDGIRL with "Big Daddy" Roth, "True Stereo Sounds of the Drags" and lots more... I've hired a couple of my adorable girlfriends from the neighborhood to help pull and pack Christmas orders here at Drag Racing Underground, they're my cute little "Christmas elves", so we're prepared to handle all your last minute Christmas orders... Just click on the "Video Catalog" link at the top of the page, and you'll then be taken to the variety of "sure thing" drag strip oriented gifts that nobody will want to return after Christmas, or re-gift to the in-laws next Christmas... We have certified SSL secure online ordering here at Drag Racing Underground for your security and complete peace of mind... So what the heck are you waiting for?!?... Finish up your Christmas shopping NOW!!... Click on the "Video Catalog" link at the top of this page and STOP YOUR PROCRASTINATING!!...


VETERAN DRAG RACING PHOTOGRAPHER BOB PLUMER R.I.P....

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As all my regular readers are aware, we lost Ken Nelson this week to cancer, the friendly fellow who built and drove the "Cool Bus School Bus" wheelstander... Well,  there's another guy in the drag racing biz who also succumbed to cancer this week, longtime veteran drag racing photographer Bob Plumer. Some of you probably have no idea of who Bob Plumer was, and hey, that's understandable, I mean, the people who document drag racing are very rarely in the public eye, with their "work" not really appreciated by much of the "mainstream" drag racing populous-- And sadly to say, uh, I get that-- Unfortunately the guys who shoot this drag racing stuff from the sidelines are mostly thought of as being "second class citizens" by those in the drag racing industry-- I'm not gonna mince words here, I have the reputation as being one of the very few journalists in the drag racing world who really does "Tell it Like it is", so, that's exactly what I'm doing for you now-- That said, I do believe it's a shame that the prevalent vibe often associated with those who photograph the history of this sport is a negative one-- Because if it wasn't for guys like Bob Plumer, the so-called "lensmen slaves of the sport", a lot of the sport's history  (especially from the 60's & 70's in Bob's case), wouldn't be documented for future generations to observe... I'm sure that Bob stood out on the sidelines shooting drag racing on days when the temperature and humidity were probably even too oppressive for a desert lizard-- But hey, that's what comes with the job of being a drag racing photographer-- And that's why many of today's breed of young "aspiring photographers" won't even step foot at a drag race these days. All the "noise", "smell" and "heat" keep them as far away as possible from drag racing-- And not to mention that fact that you get paid a lot more cash from the mainstream media for just one photo of Newt Gingrich, Al Sharpton or Kim Kardashian stepping out of a trendy restaurant, than you'll ever get paid for a million pics of a drag cars  "smoking the tires"...  So, please, let's give some much deserved admiration and respect to Bob Plumer... Let's wish Bob a good time in the afterlife... Let's wish that he's capable of  "Resting In Peace", as we continue to eyeball all the many photos he's left us to enjoy, all the drag racing documentation he so selflessly recorded over the span of decades...


A BELATED "FEEDBACK FRIDAY" BLOG FOR THIS HERE SATURDAY'S READING...

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Since I used yesterday's blog to pay tribute to "COOL BUS SCHOOL BUS" driver Ken Nelson, we're going to do our  "FEEDBACK FRIDAY" thing today, Saturday, because I know that a lot of you folks look forward to the weekly feature. So, therefore, today we'll deal with some of the emails that my assistant Stephanie and I received from you readers regarding my most recent blogs... Let's get to it... First of all, many of you shared my heartfelt sentiments about Ken "Cool Bus" Nelson, and expressed your condolences in his passing. Harry from Joliet, Illinois told me how Ken once spent a length of time with his son, talking about the "bus", and how that made his kid real happy-- Yeah, that's the kind of guy Ken was-- Kids all of ages would gather around the bus when it was is the pits, and Ken would give all the fans as much of his time as humanly possible... My blog regarding NHRA's Junior Drag Racing League turning 20 in 2012 prompted an onslaught of reader emails from young adults claiming how now they feel so OLD!! It is kind of amazing to think how it seems like just yesterday when Jr. Dragster "Founding Father", the late, great Vinnie Napp was working out the initial Jr. Dragster bugs with his son, David, on the E'Town strip. Lisa from Keyport, NJ wrote that she honestly believes it was Jr. Drag Racing that helped mold her kids into the upstanding adults they are today... My blog thanking y'all for my Christmas present, meaning your continued loyalty to reading this blog, and steadily raising the "cyber traffic" that comes to this place through the stratosphere, received a rallying response from the masses. A few of you even claiming that you can't have your morning coffee without reading this blog certainly flattered me. Rick and Debbie from Manly, Iowa are a race fan couple who said that every morning they fight over who gets to read my blog first on their family computer!!-- Hey, don't y'all be fighting on account of me! LOL!-- I'll have to tell Stephanie to send you two lovebirds one of the extra old 'puters sittin' 'round here for Christmas, to help keep the peace in your house! Ha! (I'm serious, we're gonna do it!)... Lastly, thanks to those of you who agreed with me that BIG STICK'S "HOT FROM THE STRIP" cd makes the perfect "stocking stuffer" for all the gearheads on your Christmas list. Jill from Greensburg, Kentucky says that her "HOT FROM THE STRIP" keeps her satisfied during the "off season" with its drag tunes, vintage drag strip radio ads, and "Sounds of the Drags" segment. She also thinks the BIG STICK "Hell Fire" track is the darn wildest thing she's ever heard in her entire life-- Thanks, Jill!!... 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...

 


"COOL BUS SCHOOL BUS" STAR KEN NELSON PASSES AWAY...

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I realize that today is Friday, and that on Fridays, my trusty assistant Stephanie and I usually compile some of your recent emails for my weekly "Feedback Friday" blog. However, I believe the news of "Cool Bus School Bus" racer Ken Nelson just passing away is what I should respectfully dedicate today's blog to. Ken Nelson passed away on Thursday after a bout with lung cancer. Ken was the builder and driver of the famed "Cool Bus School Bus" wheelstander,  the exhibition vehicle that cleverly mimicked the appearance of a yellow  "Bluebird" school bus, and carried the front wheels up in the air in spectacular fashion, complete with a trailing shower of sparks in its wake. The "bus" was arguably the most exciting and "in demand" wheelstander in the drag racing business. Some of you are aware that I knew Ken, and that I interviewed Ken a couple of times for our Drag Racing Underground dvds. Ken also graciously helped me with some work we did for Comedy Central's Daily Show, back when DRU and I used to do freelance stuff for them. Ken was a "bus driver" with a message, a message for kids to stay in school and try to live a clean lifestyle. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that Ken was one of the nicest of gentlemen I've ever encountered in the drag racing world. He was always so graciously accommodating to the DRU crew and I, no matter what we requested of him (and we occasionally took up quite a bit of his valuable time). Ken was a great sport. My sincere condolences to Ken's wonderful wife Anita and the Nelson family. We're really going to miss Ken Nelson at the drags. Those of us in the drag racing community will always remember Ken Nelson as being a stand-up guy with a stand-up wheelstander that triumphantly towered (literally and figuratively ) over everything else at the track...