The Mongoo$e Journals
HELLO, MY FRIENDS, I APPRECIATE YOUR STOPPING BY AGAIN. We’ve finally reached the time of year when racing goes coast to coast, and recently, I got to experience some serious Midwestern action.
Once again, I was asked to participate in NHRA’s Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois. Chicagoland has always been special to me. When I first started touring back east, The Greek invited me to work out of his shop. Through the years, I raced extensively in the area—U.S. 30, Union Grove, Oswego and Rockford—but Route 66 Raceway is nothing like those tracks. Scott Paddock, the president of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, oversees the facility, which encompasses several hundred acres and looks more like a golf course than a racing operation. I’d like to thank him and his staff, especially Sarah Palya, for taking such good care of me. And of course, I always enjoy the opportunity to talk to the fans.
Back on the West Coast, Rick Lorenzen, owner of Pride Transport, hosted the Spirit of Lions Event, with the help of Rob Marchese, Dave Mandella, Steve Gibbs and Steve Davis. It featured at least 30 nitro-burning nostalgia race cars. There were a ton of familiar faces, and many of the fans who watched me race at Lions were there. It’s always good to reconnect with those who have supported me through the years. Speaking of which, there are some events coming up that I’m looking forward to attending, and I hope you can make it to at least one, if not all of them.
My good friend, Steve Gibbs, is putting on the inaugural Nitro Revival and Racer’s Reunion at Barona Drag Strip near San Diego on Sept. 30. To learn all about this new event, visit Nitrorevival.com.
And one event I always enjoy attending is the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway, north of Bakersfield, California; this year it’s Oct. 20-22. The folks at the NHRA Museum are really working hard to make this one a real barnburner. Tickets are now available at Nhramuseum.org.
Next, I head for SEMA in Las Vegas, Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Even though it’s not open to the public, I get plenty of opportunity to talk to old friends and business associates. I’ll also be spending time at the
McLeod Racing booth with owner Paul Lee, and at the NHRA Motorsport’s Museum Booth.
Then, my season wraps up at the NHRA World Finals at Pomona, California. I’ll be there with my friend Randy Ranew and his wife Suzan at their Redline T-shirt Club booth.
For the unfortunate news, we’ve lost more friends and associates. Terry Chandler (Johnny Gray’s sister), the patron saint of Don Schumacher Racing, who sponsored the Infinite Hero and Make-A-Wish teams out of the goodness of her heart, passed recently.
We also lost the very crafty Chuck Beal, who raced both alcohol and nitro floppers, and Pro Stock pioneer “Akron” Arlen Vanke.
On a more personal note, my friend John Collins passed away. John established himself as a formidable T/F shoe before joining me as teammate driving my second Navy Duster. You might remember the photos of me racing a Navy F-14 Tomcat jet, well, John was right in the middle of that project. He was a good guy, and an excellent driver.
Good things for good people. My buddy Mike Kuhl’s shop was damaged during spring rains, but a bunch of his buddies did a museum-quality reconstruction. Mike’s better half, Lynn Rose, put together a suprise open house for him to celebrate the completion. A great time was had by all in attendance.
One of many Route 66 race events, an interview for the fans (L to R): Tony Schumacher, ’Goo$e, Tanner Gray and Arnie Beswick; Gary Dyer is in front of ’Goo$e.