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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 speaks the TRUTH!!... Nobody else on the web possesses the ability to speak the Truth, and 'TELL IT LIKE IT REALLY IS' the way she does!!-- 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 here at DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND... Diana's Blog gives you a daily does of TRUTH and REALITY with HEART... Diana's unique and refreshing perspective is unlike anything else on the 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...

PLAN ON SPENDING MORE TIME AT THE DRAGS IN 2012...

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As many of us find ourselves now immersed in the thick of winter, families are gathering 'round the supper table, trying to figure out what sort of recreational activities they'd like to plan on doing for the upcoming spring and summer. I'd like to suggest that you and your family make a conscious effort to spend more of your leisure time in 2012 at the drags. Let's face it, spending the day at the drags with family is a much more economically practical alternative than many of the other recreational options available. A day at the drags is most definitely a "mind stimulating experience" for the kids, especially if any of 'em have even the slightest ambition of pursuing a career in engineering or the technically oriented fields. There's plenty of stuff going on at the track to get the wheels of you children's minds turning, inspiration is abound and visible everywhere at the drag strip... With the current economic times, your local drag strip could really use your recreational dollars. By supporting your local drag strip, you'll be helping them keep their business up and running, and therefore, providing a much safer place for local youth to race their cars than on the streets of your neighborhood, think about that... Spending more time at your local drag strip will provide you and your family lots of bonding opportunities. You'll get the chance to make the sort of family memories that you'll cherish, and that will last a lifetime. And don't forget to take some family photos at the track, you'll even find that the racers in the pits will be more than happy to pose with you and your kids. Folks at the drags are a warm and friendly bunch, eager to interact with each other... So please consider spending more family time at the drags in 2012, you'll be darn glad that you did... Thanks...

Yours truly in the grandstands enjoying a day at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, my local drag strip... I suggest that you plan on spending more of your family's recreational time at your local drag strip in 2012... It's time well spent...


It's come to my attention that while drag racing's nostalgia movement appears to be doing relatively well, there's some fans of the genre who still want more from it. The issue of the diminishing number of "dry hops" being done by the nostalgia Funny Cars came up on a Facebook page. It sparked a debate between some who dearly miss seeing them done, and those who claim among other factors, that the practicality of doing them these days with the more modernly constructed cars makes it far less feasible for the racers. It's also been said that dry hops wreak havoc on the chassis, car parts, the owner's wallet, etc, and that it's simply an "old school" starting line stunt that doesn't have as much of a practical place in the nostalgia revival racing of today... Of course some old school drag racing fans still insist that their hearts long to see Funny Cars aggressively hopping up a storm on the starting line like dastardly dueling rabbits. The quick "frump" of a dry hop is to some drag fans like what a potent electric guitar power chord played through a Marshall amp is to music fans-- They just love it!!... Of course dry hops aren't the only form of old school drag strip seduction technique that fans miss in their love affair with nostalgia oriented racing, long smoky bleach burnouts have been banned due to environmental concerns, we've lost fire burnouts and the old school respirator masks to sanctioning body rulings-- Yep, things just ain't what they used to be... That said, I've been a part of the northeastern nostalgia Funny Car revival since day one, Drag Racing Underground and I have been there since the scene's infancy, and while I'll admit that the racers haven't been able to absolutely 100% replicate the "old days" of the sport, they've done a heck of a job in accomplishing something that comes pretty darn close to it... Yeah, it'd sure be nice if we could step into the proverbial "time tunnel", and travel back in time to the 70's, when drag racing was a lot more outlaw oriented in its presentation, but we can't do that, so, I try to be happy with what we have today... HOWEVER, those of you Nostalgia Funny Car racers who still long to walk on the wild side and throw caution to the wind, please be advised that your dastardly dry hops are greatly appreciated!!...

The "Rollin' Stoned" 'Cuda replicating that sweet '70's Funny Car sensation rather well...

See more on Drag Racing Underground's FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd. Here's a link to it... http://www.dragracingunderground.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=3&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=48


The American Drag Racing League (ADRL) recently announced their new category called SuperCar Showdown. The class is going to feature the world's most powerful production automobiles in head-to-head competition. The SuperCar Showdown will present the latest factory-produced, dealership-available, modern muscle car models slamming it out on the strip. All this with "heads-up" competition, no handicaps or performance restrictions. The ADRL says, "The SuperCar Showdown will unite the automakers, the public market and the ADRL to present drag racing at its most meaningful level"-- Yikes!!-- Are the automakers actually ready for this sort of Honest-to-God drag strip challenge??-- Will the public be able to handle a return to such a blatantly, refreshingly honest presentation of the sport??  I mean, let's be real here, drag racing hasn't had such a fundamentally fun format like this for ages!! -- Will the ADRL be able to really pull off such a pure and ambitious concept??-- Well, this gal sure as heck hopes so, because this is the kind of concept that has been painfully missing from drag racing for way too long. The class is the brainchild of one of my longtime friends, broadcast personality Bret Kepner, along with ADRL president Tim McAmis and drag racing veteran Jeff Teuton.  I believe these three amigos have come up with a genuinely fresh "factory" competition arena. This could actually bring back drag racing's long gone consumer practice of car models that win on Sunday, subsequently getting sold off the car dealership lots on Monday-- THAT'S what drag racing used to be about back in the 60's and 70's. I know that several executives and marketing honchos from the major auto manufacturers religiously read my blog daily, so, you guys, you know who you are, I implore you to take note of this new ADRL category and get your respective brands ready for battle royale, baby!!.. The ADRL will soon release complete details regarding the new category. The SuperCar Showdown will be presented during the prime audience hours at ADRL events. Visit the ADRL web site to stay on top of news, developments and scheduling-- Here's a link to their web site.. http://www.adrl.us/

 

 


 I never discuss the subject of race in my drag racing blog, because to be quite frank, it's not really much of an issue in our sport. Compared to most other forms of motorsport, for the most part, the sport of drag racing has held the door wide open, and warmly welcomed  racers of African American ancestry with open arms, I mean, drag racing is sort of a "color blind" sport-- No matter what your race, color, or creed, drag racing is a pretty darn hospitable place... That said, since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I figure it's appropriate for me to bring up the issue of race in drag racing, and take a moment to celebrate those black racers, past and present, who make a positive impression on the sport. Leonard Woods and Fred Stone were 2/3rds of the famed "Stones-Woods-Cook" Gasser team, and were certainly two black guys who made drag racing history in the Gasser wars.  Malcolm Durham is considered a Funny Car "forefather".  He was known as the "Cassius Clay" of drag racing. The various "Strip Blazer" Floppers that Malcolm raced over the years were highly competitive and much sought after by booking agents. Rufus Boyd aka "Brookyln Heavy" was a major threat in the NY street racing wars, and later in the ranks of Pro Stock racing. "Heavy" campaigned mighty Mopar powered Dusters that rampaged the strips of the 1970's. Not long before his death, I had the chance to spend some time with him while Drag Racing Underground was covering a "Head Hunters" block party on the streets of Brooklyn, NY. He was a "gentle giant" of a man and he did share some of his thoughts for the DRU video camera, we'll have to get around to releasing that for the public.  I put a photo of "Heavy" from that day below. He's seen sitting outside a funky Spanish bodega, you can see the "ethnic" food items the bodega features on their menu behind him. We sure do miss "Brooklyn Heavy", Malcolm Durham, Leonard Woods & Fred Stone, they've all passed on... More currently, we've seen J.R. Todd become the first black man to win NHRA Top Fuel in 2006. There are a new generation of blacks who are making a name for themselves on the race track... In closing, I want to mention all the black fans who are so supportive of the current Outlaw Doorslammer scene, many of them are my friends from E'Town, and I'm genuinely appreciative for their friendship... I believe that drag racing is a sport where African Americans are definitely living Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream...

The late, great Rufus Boyd aka "Brooklyn Heavy" seated outside a BKLYN bodega for the Drag Racing Underground camera...


BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR "BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS...

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Yesterday was "Big Daddy" Don Garlits' 80th birthday... No matter who you talk to in the drag racing world, everyone seems to agree that Don Garlits is a pioneer who is responsible for much of the success the sport has enjoyed among mainstream America. He's probably one of the most, if not THE MOST recognizable names of any other personality in drag racing. Of course I do understand that this particular birthday must have come with some bitter sweet setbacks, after all, Don's longtime buddy and associate T.C. Lemons just died, and Don's love of his life, his longtime wife, Pat Garlits, is suffering from the burdens of Alzheimer's disease-- Those are tough pills to swallow... However, knowing how Don Garlits is, and his extremely strong faith, I'm sure he's dealing with all the bumps in life's road as best as he possibly can... This journalist is a true Don Garlits fan. My interview with him on Drag Racing Racing Underground's FLOPPER DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS dvd remains the undisputed, most historic (and controversial) drag racing interview of all time, thanks to Don spilling the beans to me about his steadfast belief in UFOs and extraterrestrial life forms. I was blown away by the way he felt comfortable enough to speak so frankly and candidly with me, and expose himself in a way that he never did before on camera. It takes a brave man to share his soul with the world the way he did with me. I certainly respect and admire Don Garlits for opening up and being so courageously honest. "Big Daddy" Don Garlits and his long-running "Swamp Rat" legacy certainly stands as an example of "Absolute True Grit" in drag racing history... To mark and honor "Big Daddy's" 80th birthday, I suggest you make an effort to see and learn what the man is REALLY like by ordering our FLOPPERS DIGGERS & DOORSLAMMERS dvd... Here's a link that will take you directly to it... http://www.dragracingunderground.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=4&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=48&vmcchk=1&Itemid=4

Yours truly conducting drag racing's most historic interview with "Big Daddy" Don Garlits


SUSAN WADE TAKES MY DRAG RACING "PIZZA PRINTS" CONCEPT A STEP FURTHER...

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Besides yours truly, there aren't a whole lotta women interested in this drag racing stuff enough to write about it on a regular basis. However, there is Susan Wade, she's a gal who exquisitely handles drag racing journalism duties at COMPETITION PLUS among other places... If you recall not too long ago, I wrote a blog about "Pizza Prints"-- Those circular and "edible" round prints that are all the rage among NFL football fans. They come in an assortment depicting the images of various NFL helmets, you put 'em on your hot pizza, they meld into the cheese, and you're eating pizza while celebrating your allegiance to your favorite gridiron team.  In my blog, I suggested that this would be a neat idea for NHRA drag racing fans too. I wrote that I'd like my doorslammer hero Dave Hance's likeness on my pizza, and Nostalgia F/C great Bruce Larson, and also the winningest racer of all time, Frank Manzo on my mightiest of meatball pizza pies... Susan Wade shared my concept with her blog readers, and actually took it a step further by contacting Lucks Food Decorating Company,  the manufacturer of the NFL "Pizza Prints". Susan spoke with the company's national account manager Andy Sachs on the phone, and he agreed to consider the prospect of producing "Pizza Prints" for us drag racing fans too... That would sure be nice, wouldn't it?-- So, who knows?-- Maybe someday you'll eventually be able to wolf down John Force's face on your pizza pie, or enjoy a Pro Stock pizza with Greg Anderson and anchovies, or maybe even Don Prudhomme with your pepperoni and peppers??-- We'll have to see about that. I certainly do appreciate Susan Wade working the idea on behalf of us often overlooked drag racing folks... Susan addresses this pressing pizza issue at two separate cyber venues, with her blog at STRAIGHT LINE TODAY, and over at COMPETITION PLUS... Here's the links for both... Bon Appetit... STRAIGHT LINE TODAY  http://www.straightlinetoday.com/2012/1/14/2706536/one-large-manzo-meatball-pie-please  COMPETITION PLUS http://www.competitionplus.com/drag-racing/news/19955-slice-of-drag-racing-life-pizza-prints-of-favorite-drivers?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150478062275838_20834093_10150481677090838#f3840bbbd4


Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... Let's get to it.... Yesterday's blog concerning the passing of T.C. Lemons prompted an outpouring of emails from all over the map. David from Toronto, Canada wrote that he met Lemons while he was tuning Garlits in the 70's, and "T.C." made such a positive impression on him that he sobbed yesterday when hearing the news of his death... My blog about Courtney Force getting the job of driving the Force family's newest Flopper received mixed emotions from readers, some good, some not so good. Randy from Westport, Conn believes Courtney's alcohol dragster experience doesn't qualify her for the job. Randy and I will have to agree to disagree on this issue... My blog urging parents to place their daughters in a Jr. Dragster instead of beauty pageants, because of the widespread abuse of the so-called "Pageant Crack", that pageant moms are forcing their young daughters to consume in order to "liven up" their pageant performances ignited a firestorm! I received an email from one "pageant mom" telling me to "GET BENT!"-- Despite emails like that one, I still believe Jr. Drag Racing is a healthier environment for young girls than pageants are... My blog urging Sayreville, NJ to save their town's "no kill" animal shelter caused many of you to write me, and tell me that you've made a financial contribution to the shelter. Thanks for that!... My blog explaining how we here at DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND do what we do, in order to document the sport for the sake of posterity prompted lots of you to write and thank me. And many of you said that you believe your great, great grandchildren WILL want to know the sport's history, and that you're going to keep your DRU dvds in your family, so future generations of your family will inherit them, learn from them, and enjoy them. Yep, that's exactly why the loyal crew and I here at DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND are so dedicated to this arduous task!!... In closing, I want to say Happy Birthday to longtime DRU and E'Town friend Ericka "Wildgirl" Dana. Ericka's birthday was yesterday. Some of you might remember her Rockin' And Racin' radio show on WFMU-FM.  She played a whole lot of BIG STICK on her popular program, and promoted drag racing like crazy! BIG STICK performed at Wildgirl's GO-GO RAMA events for ultra packed and enthusiastic crowds. I posted a pic of a joyful "Wildgirl" below for you to feast your peepers on...  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...

Happy Birthday to Wildgirl!


"T.C." LEMONS DRAG RACING RENAISSANCE MAN REST IN PEACE...

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It bothers me that this blog is used as an obituary column with more frequency than I'd like. However, when people pass away who mean something to me, I feel compelled to dedicate this space to their honor and memory. Thomas C. Lemons aka "Top Cat", and more commonly known in drag racing circles as "T.C." Lemons died from a heart attack. "T.C." is most known for his association and friendship with "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. Yes, the same Don Garlits who rambled so much to me about his fascination with UFO's, was also fascinated by the innovative skills that "T.C." brought to his "Swamp Rat" racing operation. Starting all the way back in the late 1960's, up to the time "T.C." recently died, the relationship between the two, though having its occasional ups and downs, lasted for decades. When Garlits was developing his revolutionary rear engine dragster, it was "T.C." who was instrumental in making it work. "T.C." also played a role in helping Garlits get his museum in Florida up and running, including managing many of the more difficult and demanding display restorations... It was at E'Town where I had the opportunity to meet "T.C.", he approached me with some sort of wisecrack, although a friendly and gentlemanly wisecrack, and to be honest, I had no idea of who he was until he explained himself to me-- We then went on to have an enlightening conversation. He thought it was cool that I do what I do for drag racing-- And I was genuinely impressed with his industrious and resourceful manner. I respect him because he wasn't intimidated at all by me being a woman doing the job I do, like some peers of his generation occasionally are. "T.C." was an open-minded man. He obviously knew a lot, a real lot, but unlike some geezers, who hardly know a fraction of what he did, "T.C." wasn't a blowhard about it. He was a man who came across to me as being a genius, or possibly borderline genius, but handled himself extemporaneously, naturally, and instinctively-- He definitely possessed lots of intelligence, but kept himself in balance with an equal amount of humor and humility. That's the kind of guy he was, the kind of guy I can respect and admire... I'd like to express to Thomas C. Lemons' family and friends my most sincere of condolences. May he be granted eternal rest and bliss, and everything else a great man like "T.C." deserves in the alleged afterlife....


Internet rumors that either Roland Leong, Ritchie Blackmore, or Ron Paul would be occupying the driver's seat in a 2012 Team Force Funny Car were squashed when it was recently announced that Courtney Force got the job. I'm pretty darn happy with their choice. Keeping it in the family, Team Force will put "Courageous Courtney" Force at the wheel of an 8,000 horsepower Ford Mustang sponsored by Traxxas, the world leader in ready-to-run radio-controlled vehicles. The 23 year old daughter of NHRA megastar John Force will make her professional driving debut Feb 9-12 at the Winternationals. It's my opinion that Courtney deserves the gig because she's clearly proven her chops driving Super Comp and Top Alcohol dragsters, and let's face it, drag racing is definitely in her DNA. And yes, I know that a nitro flopper is a little more of a handful to drive than her previous rides, but I think she'll get a handle on it. I'm sure she'll give the "Macho Man Mental Midget Village People Blowhard Bigots" of the sport plenty to rag about-- She's all woman, and I believe in her. Ron Douglas has been assigned crew chief duties. He's the fine fellow who was crew chief for Courtney's sister, Ashley Force... In closing for today's blog, I want to wish Courtney and the rest of the Force team all the best for 2012. I hope y'all have a safe and successful season, and I sincerely look look forward to stopping by your camp to see y'all when you come to E'Town for the NHRA SuperNationals on May 31st - June 3rd. This time I'll be the one to bake the cookies...

 

 


DRAG RACING UNDERGROUND DOES OUR PART TO RECORD HISTORY FOR POSTERITY...

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People often ask me why do I bother, and put myself through all the "hassle" of doing this job, I mean, there's a lot more easier ways to make a buck than spending one's day hustling your butt off at the drag strip, and yeah, I get that, I'm not going to lie and say that my job is necessarily an easy one, because it's definitely not, and y'all know that. However, the main reason why John, Mike, Jim, Stephanie, Rusty, and the rest of the Drag Racing Underground crew and I do this is, is because we believe it's important that drag racing history be recorded, not just for ourselves and current generations, but for future generations to enjoy and learn from as well. Here at Drag Racing Underground, we firmly believe that this drag racing stuff needs to be recorded and documented for posterity, and we do so rather aggressively, because that's the only way we believe this sort of job can be effectively done. We capture the many images, do the countless interviews, the whole nine yards... So hopefully, after we're all long dead and gone, some kid, or drag racing historian (let's hope this sport remains relevant enough to have historians) can slip in a Drag Racing Underground dvd, or place a DRU "info chip" into their brain (remember, we're talking the future here), and experience the drag racing history we've worked so hard to preserve. So when you see me sweatin' at the strip, running around to grab an interview with an elderly drag racing legend, like Jim "Fireball" Shores, of the "Shores & Hess" Gasser era, and "Fireball Vega" Funny Car fame, you'll understand that I'm not just doing this for myself, or for you, I'm doing this for your great, great grandchildren, in hopes that they'll actually care enough about this sport, like we do, to want to know its history...

I firmly cling to elderly legend Jim "Fireball" Shores' scrapbook of priceless drag racing memories. Jim goes through the book with me on Drag Racing Underground's FUNNY CAR REUNION RAW dvd. Recording and documenting drag racing history is a tireless job that Drag Racing Underground and I take very seriously. Preserving our history for posterity is our form of "giving back" to the sport we love so damn much.