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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...

BELATED OBITUARY FOR BERT JACKSON...

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With all the attention I've been giving 9/11 and its ramped-up remembrance, I'm coming in late on this, and for that I sincerely apologize... Extreme ADRL Pro Stock racer and all around warm-hearted guy, Bert Jackson, died as a result of a racing accident at this past Friday night's Dragstock Vlll event in Rockingham, NC. Jackson got out of the groove with his Pontiac GXP around the eighth-mile finish line and hit the guard wall. Officials report that they believe the car's throttle got stuck, driving the car further off the end of the track. Bert Jackson had been the driver for Enoch Love's racing team since 2004. Jackson was sixth-ranked in the ADRL's Extreme Pro Stock class. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Bert Jackson's family, team mates, and friends... Bert will be fondly remembered by all of us in the doorslammer drag racing community... Godspeed to Mr. Jackson...

MIXED EMOTIONS OVER 9/11 TENTH ANNIVERSARY COMMOTION...

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I watched a good portion of the 10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony from New York City's "ground zero". The memorial waterfalls placed in the "footprints" of where the World Trade Center towers used to be are beautiful. The names of all the victims etched into stone is also a beautiful and proper remembrance of those who died in the attack. The reading of all the names of the victims seemed more personal than years past. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and all the musicians did a fine job of providing a musical backdrop for the event. When Paul Simon performed "The Sound of Silence" I lost it and broke down in tears. Even the politicians who spoke maintained a level of class and political restraint that I found to be genuine... It was also good to see coverage of memorial ceremonies being held at the other locations of the attacks... What wasn't so nice was seeing a former FBI agent appear on CBS 60 Minutes, claiming that if the CIA shared their intelligence with him and the FBI, there's a good chance this whole miserable debacle could have been avoided (it was a very believable and hurtful interview to watch)... Then CBS ran a special "9/11 Ten Years Later" featuring stunningly scary footage from filmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet. These fellows were making a film about a rookie fireman stationed at a Firehouse near the World Trade Center, at the same time that all hell broke loose on 9/11. These guys actually shot footage from inside the World Trade Center during the attacks as they tagged along with firemen-- A very gripping and occasionally ghastly piece of reality from the disaster... Today in New York City, there's still an official "State of High Alert". Lots of check points, combined with an extremely heavy Police and Military presence. It appears that authorities are still scared of the "credible" threat of a "dirty bomb" (nuke) being brought into the city aboard a car or truck... When will this "war" be over with? I don't know... Once again, I'd like to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences for all the victims of 9/11/01 and their families... All you heroic "first responders" and others who are now suffering severe medical complications as a result of working the "ground zero" site, you are in my thoughts and prayers...

On a clear day you can see forever... My 10th Anniversary of 9/11 sermon... Yeah, I'm calling it a "sermon" because this is the tenth anniversary of the day that changed our history & mindset, and being that this year's anniversary falls on a Sunday, it feels even more like a spiritual thing... I've told the story before, how on the morning of 9/11/01, it was one of the most calm and beautiful days you could imagine, clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures. I was in the Post Office that morning, doing what I usually do, mailing out that day's bulk of Drag Racing Underground orders for our loyal customers. I was standing in the Post Office line with my sack of DRU orders, waiting for my turn at the clerk's window, others were also in line, we were all watching a TV monitor up in the corner of the room, at that time, the local morning news channel was showing a helicopter's view of a smoking World Trade Center Tower, the details were sketchy as to what was really going on. It seemed at that time that everyone believed a "commuter plane" "accidentally" crashed into one of the towers. Of course when another big commercial jet plowed into the other tower only minutes later, it was quite apparent that America was under terrorist attack.... Now I'm going to be blunt here, I am certainly not thrilled by the way we're now here ten years later, and we're still having to carry on like a cage of spooked rabbits, being fed cryptic sound bites from our news media and government officials, telling us that we should all be on "HIGH ALERT" due to a "credible" terrorist threat of a truck (or trucks) bringing a "dirty bomb(s)" (nuke) into NYC or Washington DC, to detonate and kill a whole bunch more of us on this ten year anniversary. What a vile, putrid mess we're all in with this ongoing battle of good and evil-- It's downright grotesque-- If this is really the "New Normal", as our media are telling us, it's a disgraceful shame in my opinion... I want to express my sorrow for all those who lost their loved ones on 9/11/01, whether they lost their loved ones in New York, Washington DC, or the field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. I also want to say a sorrowful thanks for all the first responders who lost their lives that day, and to all of those men and women who died later as a result of medical complications due to working the Twin Towers site, and my heart also goes out to all the people who are now severely sick due to working the site of the Twin Towers aftermath... In closing, I'd like to offer up a line that's become somewhat of a cliche' in all this, but it is a line that does ring TRUE to me, and does shine an inspiring light of humanity through the darkness of it all, and that line being: "The Very Worst of Humanity Brings Out The Very Best In Humanity"-- So many men and women have proven that statement to be true by the courage they demonstrated back on 9/11/01, and we still see that courage today in the eyes of so many Americans, people who would act just as heroically today as those who did on 9/11/01-- THAT makes me proud to be an American...

This weekend is the 45TH ANNUAL LUCAS OIL SPORTSMAN DRAG RACING SERIES DIVISION 1 POINTS MEET at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park... Therefore, all the many folks who always squawk on the internet and say they want to go to an event that features "REAL DRAG RACING", this is your chance to see just that, true hardcore, all-out competition, record runs, the whole works-- THAT'S exactly what NHRA divisional meets like this one are all about. For those people who squabble and complain, saying the same-old, same-old, online whines and moans we constantly hear, such as: "Jet Cars are just for little kiddies.", "Monster Trucks are just for little babies.", "Nostalgia Drag Racing is bogus and only for washed-up geriatric clueless hippie drunks and junkies.", etc, etc, well, like I just told you, this Division 1 Meet at Raceway Park is your chance to see completely hardcore, unbridled drag racing action in its most purist of form. So, if you're one of those folks who complain and whine about practically everything else that goes on at the drags, you've got no excuse for not making tracks to E-Town for this event. Don't be a hypocrite, get your crusty self up from behind that computer of yours, and get down to Raceway Park to see and support "REAL DRAG RACING".... Switching gears here... Oh well, here in my neck of the woods (New York), the special 10th Anniversary Remembrance of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks has turned into "Uh-oh, here they come to kill us again!", There's all sorts of alerts, news flashes, road blocks, and check points, because now there's supposedly a "credible" terrorist threat that some sort of car or truck will be loaded with explosives or maybe even a "dirty bomb" (nuke), and be activated 'round these parts. I tell ya, we've really got ourselves into some kind of relentless holy war mess with this crap. With all the zillions of dollars spent to combat terrorism, and all the troop deployments to fight it, it seems like this grotesque game of cat and mouse isn't going away anytime soon... Isn't it a pity... Well, if I get nuked and killed, don't cry for me, I'll be well off, I mean, I would think that there ain't no terrorists to deal with in the afterlife, at least I hope not... Be safe, my dear friends...

Today is my "FEEDBACK FRIDAYS" blog, meaning I respond to emails we receive here at Drag Racing Underground regarding this here blog... Yesterday's blog where I celebrated the career of veteran singer Neil Diamond brought some "closet" Neil Diamond fans to write me in agreement. I'm glad I'm not alone in my appreciation of the man... My blog where I saluted drag racing's "unsung heroes" actually sparked quite a few of you who have chassis fabricators or aftermarket parts engineers in your family, to take the time to write me. It seems you folks appreciated me taking the time to recognize those individuals of our sport who work behind the scenes to make racing safer... My blog that sang the praises of local alky flopper sensation Frank Manzo still caused some of you to write that you believe I play favorites for local friends and racers. I guess you sort of folks believe I should have ignored the fact that Frank recently earned the title of "Winningest Driver in U.S. Nationals History"??-- Whatever... I received a total of eight emails from readers living in and around Paterson, NJ, who felt that I shouldn't judge the town by the enthused "terrorist supporters" who were dancing in the streets after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. They wrote me that those creeps who were dancing in Paterson's streets are a minority of the town's population-- I also received an email from one male "Internet Nostalgia Funny Car Bully/Thug" who couldn't understand how I could compare "Nostalgia F/C Bullies" to those creeps, uh, maybe he should step away from his 'puter for awhile and think about it... Some of you really liked my idea of asking President Obama to initiate a "Generator Tax Rebate", since so many Americans need to buy generators to keep their basement sump pumps running in the event of a power outage. One of my longtime friends who works for Raceway Park emailed, suggesting that I approach NJ Governor Chris Christie with the concept... Anyways, please keep those emails comin', so I can talk about 'em on "FEEDBACK FRIDAYS", and please do keep you and your family safe during this year's 9/11 anniversary-- supposedly there's some serious threats on the radar for the tenth anniversary, geez, what a world we live in, stay safe, my dear friends...

I admit it, I'm a Neil Diamond fan... Several years ago, we (BIG STICK) were recording and mixing our music at a studio in Sheffield, England... Every day the record company would send a taxi to our hotel to take us to the recording studio, and then when we were done working at the studio, they'd send a taxi to drive us back to our hotel. Most of those rides would be with an elderly taxi driver named Trevor. When we'd get in Trevor's taxi cab, he'd always have Neil Diamond playing on his cab's cassette player. And Trevor wouldn't just be playing the "hits" that made Neil Diamond famous, he'd be playing entire albums, featuring some of the far more "obscure" Neil Diamond tracks that you'd never hear on the radio. All those cab rides gave me a deep and heartfelt appreciation for Neil Diamond as a singer, storyteller, and musician. I discovered during those often "rainy" cab rides (we were in England, ya know) that a majority of Neil Diamond's material possesses an incredibly "dark" and "solemn" flavor to it-- not quite as much of a "feel good" vibe as some of his "hits" that most of us have grown accustom to hearing on "Top 40" radio. Neil Diamond's voice has a way of reaching into the pit of your stomach, and psyche, and bending your emotions in a way that not many singers are capable of doing. That said, I'd like to congratulate Neil Diamond for being among the artists to receive the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, our nation's most prestigious award for the performing arts. The ceremony takes place on Dec 4th, and airs on CBS-TV on Dec 27th. Those rainy England taxi cab rides are now so much more of a pronounced memory for me, thanks to our driver Trevor's taste for Neil Diamond... I definitely learned to appreciate the range of emotions and vocal skills of Neil Diamond in the back seat of that cab... I'm grateful for that...

In the often topsy-turvy world of drag racing related journalism, I have a stout reputation for my brutal brand of honesty, giving folks the proverbial "real skinny", no matter what the particular issue-- it's a reputation that I'm genuinely appreciative and proud of. Yeah, I speak honestly and from the heart, that's just the way I am, and the way I'll always remain for all my dear and loyal readership... That said, over the years, I've made no secret of the fact that drag racing does have a certain degree of risk involved for our courageous men and women who strap on a helmet, put on a fire suit, and step into the cockpit of race cars that accelerate with the subtlety of a "Wyoming Whiplash". This sport can sometimes take you for a wicked ride. Darin Bay certainly experienced quite a wicked ride while driving the "INCINERATOR" Jet Dragster during an exhibition run at this past weekend's big NHRA "Indy" event. While Darin's Jet Digger was storming through the track's shutdown area, he lost control and made contact with the retaining wall, where the car launched into the air. Needless to say, it was a somewhat scary scene for spectators, and especially for driver Darin Bay. NHRA safety personnel had to actually cut the roll cage to extract Darin from the car. Fortunately Darin just suffered a minor concussion and sustained no additional injuries... So, as much as this sport does have its element of risk, it also seems that we've developed a strong foundation of safety measures to combat that risk, resulting in increasing numbers of racers who either "walk away", or at least are released quickly and left relatively unscathed after a trip to the hospital. The car fabricators, aftermarket parts manufacturers, and the sanctioning body (NHRA) have made great strides in drag racing safety. Darin Bay is proof of that. Truth be told, as a sport, we owe a lot to those who make it their job to engineer and build the cars, and parts, that can endure these sort of messy mishaps-- Today, I whole-heartingly salute all the unsung heroes working behind the scenes, the builders, engineers, and fabricators who make drag racing a safer sport... I'm well aware that an awful lot of you read my blog with regularity, and I want you to know that I admire your noble calling in this life...

LOCAL HERO FRANK MANZO WINNINGEST DRIVER IN U.S. NATIONALS HISTORY...

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Sometimes I get heat from readers who think I spend too much time writing "local hero worship" stories about drivers who come from my neck of the woods. My writings over the years about local favorites, especially doorslammer dominator Pat Musi and alcohol Funny Car phenom Frank Manzo have occasionally stirred up readers who believe I give these two particular competitors way too much cyber ink-- I most respectfully disagree with that assessment, if a racer does something outstanding, whether they live in my neighborhood or not, it's my "job" to report on it... In this case, there's no way that I can possibly ignore or overlook the fact that at NHRA's recent edition of their "Big Go" aka "Indy" event, it was local guy done real good, Frank Manzo, who became the "Winningest Driver in U.S. Nationals History". Wow!! That's quite an accomplishment for Frank Manzo. Indy marked Frank's one hundred and nineteenth final at a National Event, and his 33rd final in a row! When Frank Manzo defeated Fred Tigges in the final round of this year's U.S. Nationals, it was his tenth time winning the prestigious event, making Frank the "Winningest Driver in U.S. Nationals History", another milestone to add to his already incredible overall title of being the "Winningest Driver in NHRA Event Competition". Let's face the "Hard Doc Facts", my friends, I seriously doubt that anyone else in drag racing's future will even come close to Frank Manzo's record winning ways-- I strongly doubt that anyone will ever come to take Frank Manzo's "Winningest Driver" crown, throne, and plush velvet cape away from him... So there, yeah, I'm a "Frank Fan" and for valid reason-- Frank Manzo has the skills, chops and consistent talent that makes him "Number One" in visits to NHRA's National Event winner's circle. Congrats to Frank and his entire trusty crew on making "more" drag racing history at the U.S. Nationals...

Ya know, the more you think about it, the more you realize that NHRA's Indy "BIG GO" is indeed the perfect celebration and salute for American laborers on this Labor Day 2011. Just take a look at any of the professional or sportsman pit areas at this year's NHRA Indianapolis event... I guarantee you'll see men and women laboring tirelessly over the cars and machinery being campaigned at the event-- Men and women using brute muscle, strength, and even some good ol' fashioned "elbow grease" (that's what our ancestors used to call it)-- Pit crews pulling motors in and out of cars, taking them apart, putting them back together again, all on a strict and unforgiving clock that they're at constant odds with, yeah, THAT's American Labor, my dear friends, THAT'S AMERICAN LABOR-- THAT'S the spirit that we're supposed to be celebrating with today's holiday. We as a nation were built on the blood, sweat, tears, and "hard labor" of our people, and while I'll be the first to admit that in these times, the so-called "labor movement" appears to be on a steep and steady decline, with much of our labor intensive jobs being imported and "outsourced" to places other than America, I believe the labor force of this nation still has plenty to be proud of. So, next time you're strolling through the pits at an NHRA event, look at the dirt under the racing crews' fingernails, look at the burn scars on their arms and legs from getting too close to a set of freshly fired headers, look at the sweat dripping from their brow-- And then stand at attention and show them respect with an enthusiastic salute, because they are an example of America's new laborers, they are our generation's example of what recognizing and celebrating Labor Day is all about...

President Barack Obama will be visiting Paterson, NJ today. Current "media darling" and "political plus-size sex symbol", New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, is supposed to give Obama a tour of Paterson, NJ, a town ravaged by flood waters, as a result of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Irene. I've never been to Paterson, NJ, nor do I ever have the desire to go there. When the planes were crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, it was the town of Paterson NJ, where many of its residents were jumping for joy and dancing in the streets, celebrating the fact that terrorists successfully attacked America. I always found that to be pretty darn disturbing and despicable (they've got about as much class as the inbred internet Nostalgia Funny Car bullies, but I digress)... Anyways, please allow me to get to the issues I want to address with today's blog... I know that President Obama would probably have no interest in speaking to me, however, if by some "Act of God" he would agree to sit down with yours truly and listen to what I have to say, here's what I'd tell him-- First of all, Obama already told us that we need to fix all the dings of America's infrastructure. I say get to it! Repair or rebuild all our weak dams and levees, so we can survive natural disasters with more dignity, and not be flooded out like a third world nation every time "Mother Nature" strikes... Second thing I would tell the President is to initiate some sort of "Generator Tax Rebate". It's become obvious that basement "sump pumps" aren't enough, Americans also need to equip their homes with generators, because when "Mother Nature" knocks our power out, Americans need generators to keep their sump pumps running. I strongly recommend that Obama provide folks with a tax rebate for all generator purchases, to enable families that are out-of-work and strapped-for-cash, the chance to buy a generator and possibly save their homes from flooding... And last but certainly not least, I would ask Obama to enact a federal law that protects all drag strips and racing facilities built prior to the year of 1980 from being shut down or harassed by over-zealous neighbors and municipalities. Drag Strips and racing facilities are a staple of many local and regional economies, track owners deserve peace of mind and protection from worrying about losing their businesses-- It's hard enough running a race track without having to worry about that sort of garbage, it's time for our government to give automobile racing a break...