Monthly Archives: April 2013

Currently, What’s Your Favorite Drag Race?

Drag racing has a storied past stretching back over 60 years.  During that time, certain races and tracks have become iconic in nature and to this day, are popular for fans of drag racing and even attracts casual fans that otherwise wouldn’t ever pay attention or see a drag race.  With that said, which one of these most famous races is your favorite? Or maybe you have one that you like that’s isn’t listed.  Let’s us know on the poll.

Note: You can vote once a week.

Check out books on drag strips here.

Daryle W. Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

Famoso Raceway - Home of the March Meet

Famoso Raceway – Home of the March Meet


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Not Necessarily “The Day Drag Racing Began” … But Could Be

There are many explanations of how the sport of drag racing began however, as an octogenarian and lifetime drag racer, I feel qualified to elaborate on the origin of this sport.

Fran Hernandez, circa 1949
– Jalopy Journal

Many of us seasoned veterans on the West Coast look back on the race in 1949 at the Goleta Airport (just north of Santa Barbara) between the late Fran Hernandez and the late Tom Cobbs, as the first “organized” drag race.  Both were dry lakes racers.  Hernandez was manager and engine wizard at the Edelbrock shop on West Jefferson Boulevard in Los Angeles and Tom Cobbs was the heir to a tobacco fortune from Santa Monica, California, and arguably the first to adapt a GM diesel blower to a Ford flathead race engine and use it as a supercharger in his 1934 Ford roadster.  The odds favored Cobbs with his 249 cu. in. flathead and the supercharger.  Hernandez’ engine was a bored and stroked 296 cu. in. Ford flathead with three carburetors but no supercharger.

Power of nitro

Tom Cobbs - Jalopy Journal

Tom Cobbs
– Jalopy Journal

Unknown to racers and the few spectators at the time, the Hernandez ’32 coupe was running on an experimental mixture of alcohol and nitro methane.  When the starter threw the flag, Cobbs’ machine with the blower smoked the tires heavily at the start while Hernandez charged ahead for the win.  The race became legend and was high priority at every racers “bench racing” session (see sources below).

The race was held on an access road next to a former WW II airstrip in Goleta and was legitimately organized by the Santa Barbara Acceleration Association, a local hot rod club.  In drag racing circles it was considered “the day drag racing began” … but was it really?

Drag racing

Have you ever wondered how the word “drag” became part of an acceleration contest between two means of transportation?  It’s historically interesting, let me explain.  “Tragen” or the shortened version “Trag” is a German word that goes back as far as the fifteenth century and means to draw or carry.  Later in the eighteenth century wagons and carts were drawn or dragged by horses, mules or oxen on dirt roads.  In certain instances a well used road in a town such as the main thoroughfare where most of the town’s commerce took place would be dragged by horses pulling a large heavy plank such as a railroad tie, to smooth out any ruts in the street — and the townsfolk would call it dragging the Main and thus the “Main Drag”.   When a man thought he could drive his horse and wagon faster than another he might challenge someone to a race.  To facilitate this competition they would hold the event on the main drag.  With the advent of the horseless carriage or “car” for short, the owners of these motorized contraptions would occasionally challenge a fellow owner to an acceleration contest.  The match would be held on the main drag and simply be called a “drag race”. (Source: Yahoo!)nhra-fourwide

Today’s drag races are highly organized events.  Marketing and advertizing have entered the arena making it a multi-million dollar monster.  The small percentage of nitro methane fuel mixed with alcohol used in the Hernandez coupe has evolved to 97-98 percent nitro including a blower three times the size of Cobbs.  The little Ford Flathead engines have evolved into purpose built 510 cu. in. hemi race engines reaching as high as 10,000 horsepower.  Top Fuel Dragsters reach speeds approaching 340 MPH in four seconds traveling 1000 feet from a standing start.  Cars like Tom Cobbs little ’34 coupe have morphed into “Funny Cars” reaching speeds and elapsed times insanely close to the Top Fuel dragsters.

I have enjoyed many years of drag racing, most of it legitimate and organized; I loved every minute of it but I can truly say, we are not in Goleta anymore.

See ya’ at the races.

Ronnie Hier

Additional sources: – High Performance by Robert Post


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April 15 2013: A Reminder Of What Really Matters

Sitting down to write on a Monday morning isn’t the hardest thing to do.  Yes, I have to decipher what looks like a better story than others when usually there are too many to choose from.  This weekend was a little light for racing but the young guns in NASCAR seemed to jump out at me and I wrote about the up-and-coming teenagers in NASCAR (source: Examiner).  Fine, I did that.

On a personal front, the vegetable garden is up and running and now for the next few weeks I have to watch for the seedlings and keep an eye on everything to make sure the watering is right.  Hey, I know, what’s a racing and football guy doing in a garden?  When you have your own fresh organic salad, pickles, peppers, beans, tomato sauce or salsa, then you might understand.  Yet, it’s fair for you wonder if I’ve lost it.  So back to racing.

Family based clean drag racing

Nostalgia, China and …

Now I’m thinking about what excites me writing-wise and why Nostalgia drag racing has such huge crowds yet can’t seem to find media outlet to showcase the incredible sights and sounds of these unbelievable happenings.  I write about college football and there are a few tidbits to write on but I’m preoccupied by the newswire saying China isn’t doing as well as can be expected.  What!? China!? What does that have to do with drag racing? Or sports, for that matter.

Okay, I buckle down and notice a story about Brad Keselowski in NASCAR — I’m kind of a Brad K fan.  However, I’m just not getting a good vibe on writing … but then it’s hard to get excited on April 15, Tax Day.  Whatever you’re political leanings, this day isn’t a good day to cherish.  There’s something about a capitalistic system that takes your money because you earn it that doesn’t seem right.

Back to writing, but as I start in on Brad K, the newservice I’m using says the stock market is tanking on news Gold is down 10%.  Ah, I used to be a commodity trader and I’d love to get into some of that.  Wait, shouldn’t I be writing about sports.  Yes, that’s right and I press on.


However, then a more important story pops up.  Uh oh, it’s finally happened again.  More than 11 years after our last and most horrific bombing on 9-11, we have another bombing (source: Boston Herald).  This time it’s in Boston at the Boston Marathon — one of the premier sporting events in the world.

Boston Marathon winners April 15, 2013.

Boston Marathon winners April 15, 2013.

April 15, 2013, becomes a day that we might not want to think about.  Taking money because we earn it.  A offshore power affecting what happens here.  One of our only safe havens nowadays with Gold is not so safe.  And speaking of safe, terrorist have struck again at one of our hallowed sporting events.

That kind of keeps things in perspective.  Is it important that we dilly dally about bullet trains, Beiber, the Kardashians, how Mike Tyson lost over 100 pounds or even whether a whacked job in North Korea is our biggest concern?

Yes, we have normal lives and we can’t obsess about things beyond our control.  Still, a day like today reminds us that there are bigger life and death issues than what were going to watch on television or the next party we’re going to or how the Kardashian’s butts are doing.

So now, like most everyone else, I’m preoccupied and concerned for those in Boston and their families.  Our American society will survive but we need to keep a little more diligent eye on what goes on.

Better go check on the garden.

Additional source: CNBC

Daryle W. Hier

Plants, Seeds & Bulbs

Plants, Seeds & Bulbs

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

I’m still learning, so go here for info on gardens

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Passing Of Sportsman Racer Should Give All Of Us Pause

It’s sad to hear of the passing of Derek Sanchez.  Sanchez was a Super Gas driver and that in of itself should be something we as Nostalgia drag racers should consider.  Just because we don’t go 300 mph in four seconds doesn’t mean that drag racing isn’t a deadly sport and that we don’t need all the safety equipment we can get our hands on.

Derek Sanchez at Pomona -- Tim Marshall photo (DRO)

Derek Sanchez at Pomona — Tim Marshall photo (DRO)

Often we complain — me included — about the expense of racing and because the sportsman classes are not nearly as fast or quick as the professional or nitro cars, that somehow we don’t need to be as concerned about our welfare.

The reason I bring this up is that it’s been said that Sanchez was not wearing a HANS device.  Honestly, I don’t know if that’s true or not.  And to be frank, we don’t know if a HANS or similar safety equipment would have saved him.  Regardless, I think it’s time we start taking this dangerous sport more seriously when it comes to safety.

I’m not saying that everyone needs to go out and buy the top-of-line stuff like the HANS Adjustable and Pro Ultra; still this accident and subsequent death five days later should give us pause and be an alarm along with making each one of us think about what we need to do to be safer.  This isn’t the 1950s, so we don’t have to play Russian Roulette every time we set out on the drag strip for another burnout and race.

HANS devices can be purchased here or at any a sundry places in your town or on the internet. I realize there’s no perfect world and danger is inherent in motorsports, but look into racing safety and find out for yourself what’s truly needed to be adequately safe.

Derek Sanchez was 47 and from from Yuma, Arizona.  He is survived by his father, mother, stepfather and sister (source: Yuma Sun).

Additional source: NHRA

Daryle W. Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

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NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor in Boise coming later this month

Tim Boychuck — NHRA Media

Sometimes we forget because of the long layoffs between races but the next Nostalgia drag race with the Hot Rod Heritage Series is the last weekend of April.  The NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor will be run at Firebird Raceway in Eagle, Idaho, near Boise on April 26-28.

There won’t be any Top Fuelers or for that matter any other class from the Heritage series — except there will be plenty of Nostalgia Funny Cars on tap.  Canadian Tim Boychuck, this years March Meet winner, is said to be one of the many Funny Car teams planning on being in attendance.  It should be noted that this will also be a Lucas Oil Division 6 meet; the first of the year for the region.


Eagle is essentially a suburb of Boise with the track only a half hour from downtown Boise.  The weather is Idaho isn’t always easy to determine but it’s normally on the cooler side in spring.  Expect high temperatures to be in the 60s and 70s with always a chance of a shower, but otherwise it should be pleasant even if cloudy at times.

File:Rocky mountain oysters.jpg

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Hey, if you’re lucky enough to be at the drags this year in Idaho, don’t forget to try the Rocky Mountain Oysters.  You’ve never had an oyster like this before — it will put horns on your head.

The next Nostalgia meet after this one on the Heritage series calendar is the National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  It’s one of the most successful Nostalgia meet east of the Mississippi.  Be there!

Daryle W. Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing



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