Monthly Archives: July 2010

Ardun-Merc Sets World Record

“theoretical limit”

147  AT  SANTA  ANA

Boy we’ve done it now, 147.05 MPH!  If you don’t think this is scary stuff, then read it right out of the gospel of drag racing.

DRAG NEWS……VOLUME ONE ……NUMBER 1……MARCH 4, 1955

Feb. 20th.   The Lakewood Auto Parts Special, driven by Bob Alsens, attained the fabulous speed of  147.05 today.  This, a new world record, is only 20 miles under the theoretical limit of 167 for the standing start quarter mile.  Powered by an Ardun-Merc, car has consistently turned in the 140 bracket.

Holy cow what are we going to do.  We must hurry to get our car over that speed before someone else does.  This would give us the world record, think of it, a WORLD RECORD!  But, then we have to be careful not to go over 20 mph. faster or … or what?  Is the sport ready for this?  Are the tracks, the operators and the public ready for something like this … but not to worry, we won’t be able to go over 167 mph anyway and it will be a long time before we even get close.  So we should be safe.

But what about the driver?  What will happen to the driver, if and when he hits that barrier.  Will he be OK?  Will everything just disintegrate or maybe just quit accelerating and everything will be fine.  God forbid if it should happen on a motorcycle.  We really don’t know because no one has accelerated to this speed before.  What about the Elapsed Time, (ET)?  Will a driver or rider be able to handle the G forces necessary for the acceleration needed to reach 167 in a quarter mile?  And just for talking purposes, what if … what if in an attempt to touch on the theoretical limit of 167mph, from a standing start, the attemptee goes OVER 167 mph!?  Will the ground shake?  Will there be some sort of an explosion?  Will we lose everything – car, driver, spectators?  This poses a real dilemma.  We need a fortuneteller and someone with a slide rule to really figure this thing out.

Well, fortunately we squeaked through this era but you can see the scary situations we ran up against back in the good ole’ days.  See ya’ at the races.

Ronnie Hier

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Update: John Force

A quick update regarding my post “How to destroy an empire … or “Lies”.  The tactic is clear; most everyone associated with the NHRA are using the strategy to “shuffle it under the rug” (as I stated) on John Force’s outburst.  That’s a classic PR move and one that may work – The Golden Goose and all.  A certain amount of fans will forget about it.  Whether that’s true of all fans remains to be seen.  Time will tell because right now in the blogosphere, Facebook and Twitter et al, people are seething at what John said … and that’s too bad.

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How to destroy an empire … or “Lies”

Sports are great.  And maybe motorsport is even better.  It brings people of all types together.  Countries come together.  Philosophies come together.  Religions come together.  Politics come together.  Usually when you are fans of a team or person, you can be diametrically opposed to each other but the sport brings us together.  Why?  We leave our baggage at the door.  We don’t talk about religion or politics in motorsports.  It stays behind the scenes.  We don’t want to know.

I will admit as a fan, I’m not the biggest rooter of John Force.  I, like many, don’t enjoy turning on a drag race and getting the John Force Show.  Or pick up a brochure on a NHRA race and there’s John Force or one of his drivers, crew chiefs etc related to the John Force empire, on the cover.  You know, there are other very interesting drivers and crews out there.  But maybe even more distasteful has been his manipulating races to take advantage of the points system for his teams.  Any racer will cringe at the idea of throwing a race.

With that said, I have always given John Force the benefit of the doubt.  Why?  His business sense and promotion ability.  Whether we liked it or not, he’s the face of drag racing and is known to many in the world and offers drag racing and the NHRA a high-profile unlike like any other entity in the sport.  He’s helped generate extra revenues which is why in part, NHRA and Force looked to be married; they are as their fortunes rely on each other.

But then in the thin air of Denver, everything came tumbling down in a brief moment.

On TV, John was asked a simple question related to a list Mike Dunn created of greatest drivers.  John seemed agitated (seemingly at the idea that Mike would rate John higher – John didn’t want to be that high?) but then in my own view, he’s seems to have become more chippy since the controversy surrounding his purported throwing of races.  Anyway, during the conversation with ESPN’s Dave Rieff, John turns away but then out of nowhere, comes back to the interview and says: “You’re like FOX News, Hannity and Beck. All lies. All crap.”  Whether you agree or disagree with John’s political view – and yes, it’s political since Hannity and Beck are political commentators – he should never have uttered these words.  Why alienate most of the fans?  Why alienate any fans?  Business-wise, this was a huge blunder.  His marketing and PR people jaws must have dropped clear to the ground.  Those pits in their stomach must feel like boulders.

What do Auto Club, Ford, BP (Castrol), Brandsource and other sponsors do?  They have an investment in him now but what happens when contracts come up???

What happens now?  If John’s people around him are smart (& he goes along with it), they’ll have him defuse this fast or his empire will shrink to a much smaller following and bye-bye super team.  The NHRA, ESPN and related businesses of the organization will manipulate the story for ratings but then quickly shuffle it under the rug and hope this devastating instance, doesn’t have any long-lasting damage (ie losing dollars).  They don’t want to see their little empire burned to the ground by a silly unneeded comment.

I still love drag racing but then again, it’s why I really love Nostalgia drag racing.  The politics are essentially non-existent.  No one has a microphone in your face every other minute, to find out.

This is very disappointing to me personally.  Not because John Force is this or that politically, it’s that I now know … and I shouldn’t.

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Which decades are the best for classic cars

Whether it’s Model T’s, Merc’s or musclecars, everyone has a favorite classic car era.  Which decade do you believe had the best decade for classic’s?

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Is it safe outside?

It hard to make “funny” about a situation like the death of Mark Niver, this past weekend at Seattle, so obviously I won’t.  Which is kind of sad.  I’m like any other that likes to be sarcastic at times.  Having been around drag racing all my life, the dangers involved with racing almost go without saying.  Crashing gets glorified at times, which I detest. But we all need to laugh a bit because we know it (danger) exists but want to do everything we can to prevent death or injuries.  There’s no laughing in Mudville today.

So: Why be unsafe?  I’m probably repeating the same thing that many others have said but why?  Why do I have to bring the same point as pontificated by many more knowledgeable than I?  Why take unneeded risks?  Whatever the “reasons” for why this latest tragedy happened, is not my point.  Yes, I know his chutes ripped off after deployment.  He hits the netting (take a look at the video) at what looks like a reasonable speed – it wasn’t.

Click to see Mark Niver's crash

I want all of us to be able to race under the best of conditions.  From what I read plus many comments from other drivers, Seattle wasn’t the best of conditions, and I’m not talking weather. Why was the track questionable to so many drivers including the Pro Stockers who refused for a short time to even race?  Did this have anything to do with the Niver crash?  Don’t know but see; we shouldn’t be speculating.  There should be no question as to the safety when considering prep or any other track regards.

We can’t keep losing drivers folks.  No more striking out.  It not only is killing our drivers, who are some of the best athletes in the world, but it will kill the sport.  Yes, I’ve said before that I’m not fond of the NHRA and how it operates but since they are the biggest operator and controller of the sport, we have to work with them and they have to work with the teams – NOW!  No more words.  We need action.  And if we think shortening the track is going to make a difference, do it, but we may be fooling ourselves.

Friends, associates and  fellow competitors have died in the past and it can’t be in vain.  No more excuses, let’s just get it done and make it safe to go outside again.

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Lebron James is going to …

Announcement will be right shortly, but first this short interlude. 

Have you ever seen so much made of where someone is going who has yet to win anything except a lot of money?  The Cleveland Cavaliers were so bad they made the mediocre 1970 Lakers look good.  Also, the Lakers had to have “Ball Night” (I know, I was there) so people would come to see the Lakers.  I would like to think racing and in particular drag racing, could come up with some made up hype like this Lebron James fiasco.  They have sold more tickets in the NBA for teams that will never see Lebron so heck yea, I’d like to think up of some PR for drag racing.

OK, here’s the announcement:

Lebron James is going … oops, having technical difficulty’s.  What?  Martians are invading Pomona fairgrounds?  And Swooped up John Force?  Hmmm, this might work out yet.  OK anyway, um where was I…


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