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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...

DRIVERS SHOULD PRACTICE "QUICK ESCAPE" FROM THIER RACE CARS...

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Today's topic is one that's directed at the many race drivers who religiously read this blog. Every now and then this important safety issue rises to the surface of discussion, I'm talking about the issue of whether or not you would be able to quickly "escape" from your race car in the event of a fire or catastrophic mishap... Several years ago there was a racer at the now defunct West Hampton Dragway who just bought a new safety harness. This driver got strapped into his car not knowing how to actually unfasten himself with the new hardware, he reasoned that he'd figure that out after completing his run-- Unfortunately he had a terrible transmission fire and wound up trapped in his own car, unable to undo his own seat belt/harness. The fire grew so rapidly and intensely, and the track was so lacking in safety preparation that the driver lost his life while stuck inside his car's own fiery inferno. Look, I know that there's some ignoramuses in this drag racing business (although they are in the tiny minority) who are absolutely of the blowharded belief that they "know it all", and don't need to be schooled on the importance of safety or anything that hints of intelligence or reason, I get that, knuckle draggers don't like hearing the truth, especially when it's coming from a confident and intelligent woman. HOWEVER, each and every racer should know the quickest way and procedure to GET OUT of their race car in the event of a fire or major mishap. I always tell racers that they should practice a quick "escape plan" from their car, so that if catastrophic trouble should ever rear its ugly head, they'll at least have a fighting chance of avoiding serious injury or death. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family, because they love you and appreciate you being around. Thanks...

 


Well, it's here, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July. It's the federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence way back on July 4th, 1776. Our feisty ancestors declared their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Now we've got parades, picnics, concerts, political blowhards giving speeches, barbecues, and of course, we have lots and lots of FIREWORKS-- and we all know that a lot of those fireworks won't necessarily be the kind your local municipality shoots off into the night sky in a safely controlled environment, in actuality, the majority of firework activity will be our kids playing with their own personal stash of scaled down explosives (firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc). While we certainly want our kids to celebrate our nation's independence, we sure don't want them to spend their 4th of July in the local hospital emergency room. It's unfortunate that so many children do in fact wind up in the emergency room this time of year, severely injured, burned, maimed, and often left with lifelong disabilities as a result of "playing" with fireworks. So much horrible heartbreak endured by so many families. I ask on this day that all parents and grown-ups please keep an especially watchful eye on our precious children. We don't want to see our kids burned, maimed, permanently disfigured, or even dead from a foolish Fourth of July mishap. We folks in the drag racing community often have a heightened sense of safety and responsibility, now is the time to employ those positive character traits and keep our kids safe. This Independence Day holiday, let's make an effort to keep our kids independent of emergency room grief and turmoil. Try to celebrate our nation's glorious independence in a safe manner that would make our Founding Fathers proud...

 

"Uncle Sam" doesn't want you spending your 4th of July in the waiting room at your local hospital grieving over a tragic fireworks accident. Keep an eye on your children and be a responsible adult, make sure your kids don't let careless fireworks folly cause them to suffer severe injury or death... Do your job as a parent...  Be smart... Please try to celebrate the Fourth of July safely...

Photo of "Uncle Sam" at E'Town taken by yours truly.

ERICA ENDERS MAKES "FACTORY HOT ROD" HISTORY...

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While I'm sure that a majority of my readers are already well aware of the fact, I figure that I've still got to join in on the well deserved hype and hoopla of Erica Enders becoming the first female driver EVER to make it all the way to the finals and win Pro Stock at an NHRA event. It happened last weekend at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals near Chicago, that's where Enders put a loud and resounding end to the prior long-running "no trips to the winner's circle" status in the "factory hot rod" category among the kinder 'n' gentler gender. There's no denying that Erica has paid her dues in the sport. We all know that Erica got her start with the Junior Dragster class, and she's certainly stuck to her guns and strong drag racing ambitions with steadfast dedication. The Walt Disney feature film "RIGHT ON TRACK", that told the story of Erica and her sister Courtney's Jr. Dragster determination demonstrated to the masses that this lady is 100% hardcore. Heck, she outran four-time NHRA world champ Greg Anderson in the Route 66 Pro Stock final, she also put heavyweights Kurt Johnson, Vincent Nobile and V.Gaines all on the trailer. Of course a lot of credit has to be paid to her crew chief Dave Connolly for tuning Erica's GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt to such spectacular round-winning performances, including Erica's final round 6.27/207mph charge. Erica Enders is a really nice, although brutally competitive gal, I sincerely congratulate her and the entire GK Motorsports team on their historic win... Another lady who deserves a big thumbs-up for her Route 66 performance is raucous rookie Courtney Force. She made it to the runner-up position in the Nitro Funny Car class. She lost to Jeff Arend in the final (I'm kind of happy for Jeff's victory). I told y'all that Courtney Force is gettin' her groove on, she'll be making plenty of female drag racing history for herself as time progresses. In closing, I'd also like to send congrats to Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) for their respective Route 66 class wins.

 

When NHRA Pro Stock racers see this gal in the other lane, they know she means business. Congratulations to Erica Enders on becoming the first woman to win in the "Factory Hot Rod" class at an NHRA national event... She is all woman... Hear Erica and her Chevy Cobalt doorslammer ROAR!!...


HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES TO FRED SCHNEIDER...

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I know I've mentioned several times that Fred Schneider of the B-52s is a friend, and that he's recorded guest vocals with us (Big Stick) on a track for our upcoming 2012 LP release.  Well, it's come to my attention that yesterday was Fred's birthday-- so I want to take this time to wish him the very best of birthday wishes. Fred really is a genuinely great guy-- He's also one of the most soulful people I know. He is a true lover of music, his vinyl record collection stands as one of the biggest and most diverse of anyone I know. The B-52s are touring right now, so check to see if they're coming to play somewhere in your neck of the woods-- if they are coming to your town, I strongly suggest you go see them, because they put on one heck of a great performance... It's also come to my attention that Debbie Harry (of Blondie fame) celebrated her birthday just yesterday. Several years ago I met Debbie at a function for hot rod artist Robert Williams, as you may or may not know, Robert featured us (Big Stick) on his highly acclaimed CHROME SMOKE & FIRE hot rod music compilation 2LP record set-- Anyways, meeting and talking to Debbie Harry was great for me, I believe she's one of THE most naturally talented female vocalists in the history punk/pop/rock/dance music period. Debbie is also a talented actress, her performance in HAIRSPRAY is a hoot and a half. Happy Birthday, Debbie Harry!!...

 

Fred Schneider with the B-52s. Happy Birthday Wishes to my friend Fred!!...

The B-52s are one of the music world's most fabulously talented and soulful foursomes.


CUSTOM PAINTING WAS ONCE A PARAMOUNT PART OF DRAG RACING...

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Let's face it, the days of "custom paint jobs" in drag racing have far passed their heyday. Nowadays there's very little interest in getting a car into the "paint booth" and working some truly artistic magic on its body panels--- These days, for the most part, racers keep it simple. They stick some vinyl on the car, usually paying more signage attention to sponsors than spotlighting an artist's aesthetic painting talents. Times have changed, the standards for how a race car is supposed to look are much different than drag racing's years gone by. And while we've all had to adapt to the new, less aesthetically appealing style of race car body art (or lack of), I do find myself missing the days when the paint applications of race cars would put you in a state of awe and make your jaw drop... Yeah, those days are over, but at least we can admire the photos from the past that illustrate the time when folks really would have their cars painted to impress-- I always thought the EASTERN AUTOMOTIVE '69 Opel of Bobby Lombardi was one of the absolute most beautiful race cars campaigned at E'Town in the 1970s... Below is a picture of the opulent Opel to treat your peepers and refresh your memory to the days when appearances really did matter at the drags...

 

The power of purple sure aesthetically clicked on Bobby Lombardo's EASTERN AUTOMOTIVE '69 Opel. Creativity in the art of custom painting race cars was paramount in the 1960s and 1970s, not so much anymore.


THANKS FOR THE LOVE AT JUNEBUG ART FEST... THIS WEEKEND SUMMER SLAM...

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To start things off, I'd like to thank all those folks who read this blog from the Central New Jersey area, and who took the time to come by throughout the month to see me and my bronze bunnies at the JuneBug Art Fest in Metuchen, NJ. Several of you loyal blog readers who stopped in to say hello at the exhibit, demonstrated to me what great friends I truly have as a result of this blog, and I want to express how much I genuinely appreciate y'all. My artist and sculpture side is one that I don't speak too much of on these pages, however, I am an artist at heart, so I really dig all your support. And I want to thank my dear friend Evelyn for hosting an incredible after-party for me last night to celebrate the success of the month long event. I finally got to hold Evelyn's REAL and LIVE pet bunny! And of course thanks to the fine art collecting folks who purchased my art-- You peeps made a wise and much appreciated investment-- THANKS to EVERYONE who helped make the JuneBug Art Fest such a resounding success!!... Switching gears... Please keep in mind that today Saturday June 30th and tomorrow Sunday July 1st is the 17th Annual IMPORT & LOW RIDER SUMMER SPORT COMPACT SLAM at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ!! This is an event that provides spectacular sport compact fun for everyone. You'll see Team Puerto Rico take on Team USA in heads-up competition. You'll witness some really fast compacts that will make your jaw drop when you see the numbers they produce appear on the big clocks. There's also plenty of fascinating car show activity that will dazzle and amaze you. If sport compacts are your thing, or you're just curious to check out this scene, I strong recommend that you make tracks to E'Town THIS WEEKEND!!...

 

Thanks to everyone who stopped by throughout the month to see me and my bronze bunnies on exhibit at the JuneBug Art Fest in Metuchen NJ. You're the best friends that a gal could ever ask for. Your support is genuinely appreciated.

Photo of two of my bronze bunnies conversing with each other in the winter snow by yours truly.


FEEDBACK FRIDAY... E'TOWN IS HERE TO STAY, YOU LIKE IT THAT WAY!!...

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Today is "FEEDBACK FRIDAY", meaning I deal with emails that my assistant Stephanie and I receive from readers regarding my most recent blogs... Yesterday's blog recognizing Del Worsham's ESPY award nomination for "Best Driver" drove some of you to thank me for giving Del some ink. Flora from Seattle wrote, "Del Worsham deserves to win the ESPN ESPY!"... My blog that exposed Susan Wade's COMPETITION PLUS fact finding story about the truth of E'Town's future caused a heck of a lot of you to write. James from Deal NJ said, "Every year the rumors of E'Town's demise surface, and every year it's nothing but lies and complete bulllsh*t. I've learned to ignore it!" Another related email coming in from a midwestern demanding to remain anonymous said, "Hey Doc, the Classless F/C board as you put it, is only classless because of a couple of losers and liars who screw it up for everybody else, we're not all bad, you should give it another chance."-- I sincerely applaud Susan Wade for taking the time to speak with E'Town's David Napp and NHRA's Graham Light to set the record straight. Susan is definitely my kind of journalist, she makes the effort to promote truth!... My blog about the Raceway Park event name change from "SHAKEDOWN AT E'TOWN" to the "SHAKEDOWN NATIONALS" resulted in Andy from PA to write, "I don't care what you call it, I'm going for sure!"... My blog promoting the upcoming NOSTALGIA SUMMERNATIONALS scheduled for Raceway Park on July 29th prompted Barry from CT to write, "Thanks for putting the Olcott family's Gasser photo in your article. The East Coast Gassers are the major reason why I attend the show."... For those of you in my neck of the woods, I'll be showing my bronze bunny sculptures tonight (the final night) at the JuneBug Art Festival in Metuchen NJ. I put a photo below of preliminary wax work I did for one of my bunnies that I later sculpted into bronze. I always receive emails from you folks asking to see my sculpture work, so I figured I'd post this photo for you...  Keep those emails comin' (by using the "Contact Us" link atop the page), 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...

 

Here is a preliminary wax version of one of my bunnies that I've sculpted into bronze. Tonight (Friday June 29th) is the final night of the JuneBug Art Fest in Metuchen, NJ. You're invited to attend and see yours truly with my bronze bunnies on exhibit.

Photograph by Sophia Umpozio for Sculpture Scene United Kingdom. All rights reserved. Copyright 2012.


DEL "TRUE GRIT" WORSHAM NOMINATED FOR BEST DRIVER ESPY AWARDS...

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This news item arrived here at Drag Racing Underground headquarters, and I feel compelled to share it with you good folks, because I'm a longtime fan and admirer of Del Worsham. I know from personal experience that he's a true-grit drag racing personality, he's not a blowhard or one of those kind of sport stars who are all full of themselves, Del is much like yours truly, he's completely "down to earth" and has his feet firmly planted on solid ground, my kind of person-- Del Worsham is the real deal... Del has been nominated in the Best Driver category for the prestigious ESPY Awards. During the 2011 season, Worsham nabbed no less than eight victories as Top Fuel pilot for the Al-Anabi Racing team en route to his first NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel championship. After fulfilling his career goal of an NHRA championship, Worsham retired from driving duties, and then stepped into the crew chief position of the Kalitta Motorsports Patron Camry Funny Car team with driver Alexis "The Darkness" DeJoria. Del is genuinely honored to be nominated for an ESPY award, and he thanks his fans for all their support over the years. I knew that Del had "the right stuff" several seasons ago after watching him endure a nasty Funny Car fire at E'Town's Supernationals-- He certainly proved to me that he's a special breed of drag racer. The ESPYs is an award show hosted by ESPN, that is basically a celebration of the best sports stories of the previous calendar year, highlighting the year's best plays, biggest upsets, and most outstanding performances across all types of sports. Actor Rob Riggle will be the emcee of the event that takes place Wednesday, July 11, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, airing live on ESPN/ESPNHD at 9pm EST-- It's a "prime time" major media sort of "hip happening" event, and we're all pretty gosh darn proud of our good pal Del Worsham for being a part of it...


SUSAN WADE TELLS THE E-TOWN TRUTH!!...

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My longtime friend, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park's Michelle Marchese brought a cyber piece of press to my attention that I definitely want to pass on to you. It's an article written by Susan Wade for the COMPETITION PLUS cyber zine. Some of you probably remember that Susan Wade wrote about me awhile back, giving me props, and telling her readers about my "tell it like it is" approach to drag racing journalism. It's sort of a mutual admiration kind of thing between Susan and I, we both respect each others writing and "down to earth" journalism chops... That said, Susan's new article titled "ENGLISHTOWN WELCOMES EPPING'S PRESENCE ON TOUR" enlightens her readers to the fact that the recently announced addition of an NHRA event to the New England strip is in no way an indication of E'Town losing its Supernationals race, or in no way a confirmation of the completely bogus rumors of E'Town's demise-- Quite the opposite. As per E'Town's own David Napp, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park has no plans to close its doors, or cease to host its incredibly successful NHRA Supernationals event. David Napp tells Susan Wade that E'Town is the "quickest drag strip in the history of NHRA", and it's not going anywhere. Napp attributes the ridiculous false rumors and lies, to the seedier side of the drag racing internet, which I agree with, I know that's where false rumors originate. Even Drag Racing Underground's own Jim Sorensen told me he saw the same false rumor posted by a washed-up blowhard on the "Classless" Funny Car board about a month or so ago, and everyone knows that  "Honest Jim" always tells the truth. I have told you that the rumors of E'Town closing were a hoax, however, Susan Wade has taken it upon herself to really investigate the matter and provide her readers with a comprehensive piece of 100% fact finding journalism. Here's a link that will take you directly to Susan's article, I strongly suggest you check it out, and pass it on to any of your family or friends who've been misguided, and might possess any doubts regarding Raceway Park's continued longevity... Click on this link... http://www.competitionplus.com/drag-racing/news/21593-englishtown-welcomes-eppings-presence-on-tour

 

I recommend reading Susan Wade's excellent piece at COMPETITION PLUS so that you'll be enlightened to the fact that the false rumors of E'Town's demise are nothing more than blowhard banter from the drag racing internet's seedier side...

Photo of the historic and "quickest NHRA strip in history" (E'Town) by yours truly.


Hey folks, I'm going to be mighty busy recording Big Stick (my music thing) this Summer. So on occasion I'm going to be posting guest journalists' racing related stories and also special guest editorials by some people in the biz (some anonymously and others with authors' names disclosed). Today I'm printing drag journalist Jeanne Linke's recap of the recent ".90 Nationals" at Numidia Dragway... This is an event that definitely deserves some cyber ink... Diana "The Doc"


NUMIDIA DRAGWAY KICKS OFF .90 NATIONALS AND AWARDS RACERS WITH HUGE PAYOUTS

Jeanne Linke

After a season-long postponement due to poor weather, Numidia Dragway, Catawissa, PA, hosted its 2012 .90 Nationals in conjunction with the Combo In The Hills Stock/Super Stock event.

 Consisting of three NHRA championship categories, Super Street, Super Gas, and Super Comp, the event kicked off on Friday, June 8, with a special Comp Cams Top 32 Shootout, which awarded each event class winner with $500 along with product gift certificates complimentary of Comp Cams Inc.

 Event winners included Rich Price over Keith Mayers (Super Street), Iggie Boicesco over Bernie Weaver (Super Gas), and Jeff Livezey, Jr. over Jason Hoff (Super Comp).

 On Saturday, June 9, the main race awarded Mayers, as well as Franklin DiBartolomeo and Al Dimino with $2500 each for their class victories.

 In the Super Street category, past IHRA champion Mayers improved on his final round Comp Cams Top 32 Shootout runner-up by claiming the main event. Mayers, Fruitland, MD, defeated Bob Silfies during a double-breakout final round. Mayers ran a closer 10.893 e.t. against Silfies 10.877 e.t. for the well-deserved weekend win.

 Dimino, Allentown, PA, earned the final round win against Jake Barbato in Super Gas. Dimino’s day began with a perfect .000 reaction time against Weaver in the first round. His string of reaction times continued earning him elimination round wins, and gave him the advantage off the starting line against Barbato in the final. On the top end of the drag strip, Barbato broke out with a 9.882 e.t. against Dimino’s safe 9.910 e.t.

 In the Super Comp eliminator final, DiBartolomeo, Beaver Springs, PA, defeated Christopher DePascale. Just days after earning a national event win at the NHRA Toyota Supernationals, Englishtown, NJ, DiBartolomeo earned the win-light during a double-breakout final round race against DePascale. DePascale ran a quicker 8.859 e.t. against DiBartolomeo’s 8.890 e.t.

Event coordinator Robert Keister and Numidia Dragway thanked all of the event’s racers for their participation. They have already begun planning a 2013 event.  Keister also thanked all the event sponsors which included Comp Cams Inc, Total Racing Components, Ken Moses Race Transmission, Insinger Performance, Select Performance, Auto Meter, S&W Race Cars, Goodyear, NitroPlate, Brodix Inc., Motorsports Innovations, ATI, Advanced Control Devices Inc., JE Pistons, Crane Cams, Hoosier, FAST, Accelerated Travel, California Car Cover Company and Jiffy-Tite, along with the many other sponsors that made this event possible.

 

Super Comp standout Franklin DiBartolomeo heats 'em up in the burnout box with his winning dragster.