TWO THINGS ON MY FEEBLE MIND

I’m still amazed at the one… make that now two… drag racers who have now won more money than any other drag racer has by winning one event. Steve Sisko did it earlier this year when he scored at the SFG $1.1-Million Dollar Race. While he didn’t actually win $1.1 because of the split though, it’s always been my contention that the amount of the split is no one’s business but those involved. But it’s pretty much been publicized that Sisko walked away with $400,000 from his win which is still the most money ever won. Not John Force, Steve Torrence, Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme… nobody has won more money for a single event win.

Then we have this past weekend’s Great American Bracket Race which also had a guaranteed $1,000,000 going to the winner, who ended up being Jeff Serra. I don’t know what the split was or what he ended up taking home but I’m sure it was still a boatload of money. If those two instances don’t make drag racing history, I don’t know what does.

On to the next subject… I was looking through some old photos from U.S. Nationals past from Richard Brady. Those can be accessed by visiting our webpage (www.dragracingedge.com/photos), but it brought up an interesting item, an item the Fling sort of rectified at their Fall Fling at GALOT a couple of weeks ago.

Due to the location of the GALOT tower and where the computer operator who plugs in the car numbers and dial-ins sits, he/she doesn’t get a look at the aforementioned until the cars have made the turn out of the staging lanes and into the water box. This makes it tough to ensure the correct info is plugged into the Compulink computer before a driver gets to the starting line,

That situation is different depending on the track. Such is the case at Bristol Dragway where Ms. Computer Operator, Sally Smith, sits. There she has the ability to see the numbers and dial-ins a pair back from those entering the water box.

The problem is somewhat amplified by us the racers. Naturally we all want to have our cars looking good, as such, we’ve gone to have either our car numbers lettered or vinyl stickered to match paint jobs or even just a unique design. Of course it adds to the look of our cars, but it doesn’t help from an identifying aspect.

Fling officials chose to rectify that concern at GALOT when they had 400 car numbers on vinyl stickers made up and handed to each competitor. Each car number was unique and in the same size font and size along with the Fall Fling logo ghosted inside the number. What that accomplished was the computer operator just needed to look for same design number on each car. Interestingly; selfless plug here; it was my daughter and her company, The Design Joint, who produced the numbers.

“That one thing made the tower run so much smoother,” said Fling co-promoter Peter Biondo, ”and we can’t thank each of the racers for cooperating with us in that regard.”

Truthfully, I did question as to why the Fling promoters; Biondo and Kyle Seipel, made the decision to use unique numbers, but once it was all explained it was really an eye-opener and made a lot of sense.

Back to those old U.S. Nationals photos… the one thing which intrigued me was the size of the car numbers on each car. In truth, from a design standpoint they were… can we say…ugly with a capital U! But they accomplished their task. The NHRA Rulebook used to specify that car numbers were to be six-inches tall and clearly legible; that was ugly. I think they’ve downsized that requirement to four-inches now which is a little more palatable, but racers, painters and designers have taken their own ideas as to what the number should look like. As I’ve mentioned previously in my daughter’s case, I’ve tried to impress upon her the need to have the car numbers legible. If you have a daughter you’ll understand, sometimes they listen and sometimes… you get the idea.