The H.A.M.B. Gas Rails

H.A.M.B. Gas Rails

It started a few years ago… Kevin had the initial idea for a “parasite” digger and took the time to share his thoughts in what has now become a historically significant thread. Sam took it from there and started laying out what he thought would be appropriate rules. Fellas listened and three cars showed up at the H.A.M.B. Drags ready to duke it out.

I have no idea who won. Hell, I didn’t even have a trophy for the winner. In either case, I don’t think it mattered to any of the teams or spectators. We were all just happy to be a part of something that literally hadn’t happened in 50 years – traditional “bug styled” diggers going full bore down the quarter mile. It was a sight to behold and something most there will never forget.

The pictures from that weekend quickly spread throughout the world and people became inspired. Plans for HA/GR classes in Europe and Australia quickly spawned and news spread that up to 20 cars were being built in the U.S. to compete at the next H.A.M.B. Drags.  As the underground took grasp of the idea, the big time noticed the movement. Two teams were asked to run at Indy this year by Goodguys. It went off without a hitch and Goodguys wants as many teams as they can get next year.

Meanwhile and back on the H.A.M.B., people started talking, thinking, and mumbling…

“Do these rules suck?”

“Where can I find the rules? Who is responsible or leading this mess?”

“Let’s change the rules!” 

“Why can’t I run a SBC in my rail?”

“I’ve been around racing for 25 years and this won’t work!”

“The HA/GR will never make it. Eventually, the common racing denominator of MONEY will take over.”

For obvious reasons, I became pretty worried. Something that I didn’t create, envision, or even aid was seemingly becoming a monster that I was going to have to slug it out with. Every lesson in history says not to start a racing league as a media guy. And now here I am, a media guy, with this thing staring at me in the face. Fuck.

And then I realized something. Most of these mumblings were coming from guys that didn’t have an HA/GR entry and hadn’t been at the H.A.M.B. Drags the year before. They simply hadn’t been exposed to what the players in this deal had been – a weekend that brought back history, made those old black and white photos come to life, and made us all a strange and glorious kind of bystander to reality on and off the track. You simply can’t put into words what these cars do to you in person.

I’m not in a position to build an HA/GR car and frankly, I’m not the right personality to set and make rules. My role in this movement is to convert naysayers, report happenings, and spread the gospel. This class started with visions of the “bug” and audible memories of courageous old power plants bombing down the quarter mile. There is no big dollar pay out or trophy girl to bag and winning isn’t necessarily an act of running the quickest ET.

Depending on how the H.A.M.B. Drags go this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the HA/GR class become more organized and official with a common theme – Winning is bringing back history.