Filed under: Feature Articles
I grew up in a family with a pretty rich history in drag racing. Along the way, I heard stories of how it used to be… The basic premise around all of them was diversity, personality, and character. It was a simpler time where racers, track owners, and fans all had very pure goals.
As with seemingly all racing endeavors, the entertainment value of the sport just became too much for the business minds to ignore. Capitalism took over and drag racing became the big business that it is today. While well meaning folks tried to equalize the sport for all players with the introduction of bracket racing and indexes, the character of the golden era has never really been restored.
This past weekend, I experienced drag racing like it was meant to be experienced. I saw all types of street and race cars built with ingenuity and creativity, I saw drivers pointing and stabbing with passion, and I saw spectators loving every minute of it. Frankly, I’m not sure I can accurately describe the overall feeling I left the 2007 H.A.M.B. Drags with. Not with a typical literary format anyway… Instead, I’ll try to explain a scene I stumbled onto and hope you guys can take from it what I did.
It was late in the day and I finally got the chance to cruise the pits. As I was crossing the staging lanes, I noticed two guys in nicely represented model-a street coupes getting ready to face off. Judging by their banter, they were obviously buddies.
What’s the count? One win each? That makes this the tie breaker.
Shit… Is it really necessary? You just got lucky on that last pass. I don’t wanna embarrass you too bad in front of your wife and kids.
Awe…. Keep talking with your mouth and I’ll keeping stomping with my foot.
Both guys smiled and belted up. I paused long enough to see each of them do exaggerated burnouts up to the staging lights and then kept walking.
Seems like a simple enough and rather common story, doesn’t it? And frankly, I guess it is when looked at singularly. It’s just… At the H.A.M.B. Drags, stories like these go down with just about each and every pass down the quarter. There are long-time buddies grudge matching, one-time strangers duking it out, complete racing teams pitted playfully against other teams, etc… Every car, every driver, and every pass means something to somebody and at the H.A.M.B. Drags, everyone is in on it.
1. The folks that attend the H.A.M.B. Drags make it what it is. Thank you all for making such an amazing environment.
2. The Drags couldn’t happen without the help of all my friends and family that work the tents. My wife Marcie, Jill, Ed, Katie, Kristen… They all work their asses off to make sure we can all play.
3. The Kontinental Car Club. They inspired the drags the first year and continue to give out the Kontinental Cup every year. Thanks Reggie, Steve, and Sean!
4. The Thunderbolts Car Club. I don’t know how else to say it – these guys are fucking RAD.
5. Jeff Sogge. He hooked me up on Saturday night and made my weekend… A long story I’ll save for a later date.
6. Dennis McPhail. The man behind the art and a class winner this year. One of my best pals.
7. Bob Klessig. He comes through with the hotels every year and we should all love him for it.
8. Stan Weber and all of the supporters of the silent auction. I’ll be honest – I had no idea what you guys were up to. Thanks so much to all of you.
9. Fred Williams, Glenn Hayes, and Federal Mogul. The last year for the engine raffle went off spectacularly and we raised a ton of dough for the AHRF. Thanks for everything the past 5 years guys.
10. Carl and all the guys at MoKan Dragway. We are close to 200 cars now and if it weren’t for some really hard working and competent track guys, there is no way in hell the Drags would fly as well it does.