The Mongoo$e Journals
MY FRIENDS, THE 2016 DRAG RACING SEASON HAS FINALLY WRAPPED UP. I say “finally” because from
California Hot Rod Reunion (CHRR) ’til the Finals at
Pomona, the season seems to hit its busiest period.
The 25th anniversary of the biggest nostalgia event, probably the granddaddy of them all, the CHRR, took place the middle of October. Hosted by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, it’s an amazing event. If you’re into nostalgia drag racing and drag racing history in general, it’s a must-attend show. The race is always first rate, and you won’t believe the number of historic drag cars that have been restored or recreated. As always, it’s the people who show up, the old racers, that make it an amazing reunion. I hate to say it, but the herd of us old drag racers is getting thin, so you need to attend while we’re still around to jaw with. You never know who’s gonna make an appearance.
Following the CHRR and the NHRA Vegas race, SEMA gears up. I’m amazed by the number of people who attend, more than 160,000 in 2016! It’s so crowded, you can hardly walk down the aisles. The NHRA Breakfast is always one of the highlights. This year, NHRA’s celebration of 50 Years of Funny Cars was closed out at the breakfast. The Snake, John Force, Del Worsham, “Jungle Pam” Hardy, your old Mongoo$e, with Bob Frey MCing had the honor of “entertaining” the more than a thousand in attendance. Force brought his A-game. He’s one heck of a driver, but friends, if you’ve ever seen him in front of a large crowd, you know he missed his calling. He should have been a TV preacher, politician or stand-up comic. Between Force and the rest of us, we shared some great tales. After the breakfast the five of us did a signing at the NHRA booth.
During SEMA I had a chance to meet and talk with a ton of you folks. In addition to the NHRA signing session, I had the opportunity to do the same at the McLeod booth with the owner of the company and accomplished flopper driver Paul Lee. The NHRA Motorsports Museum had a display, and the museum’s Executive Director, Larry Fisher, and Marketing Director, Rose Dickinson, invited me to visit and sign. Also, my old friends at Danchuk, purveyors of just about anything imaginable for 1955-57 Chevys, had me in their booth for a signing. If you recall, they were the major sponsor on my ’57 Chevy Funny Car. I attended the first SEMA event some 50 years ago. Back then the “SE” stood for “Speed Equipment.” It’s hard to believe how it has grown.
Of course, everything wrapped up at the AAA Finals at Pomona. The NHRA Motorsports Museum folks asked me to, once again, participate in its Night of Champions. This year it featured Paul Lee, Roland Leong, Jungle Pam and myself, hosted by Jack Beckman. The stories and goodnatured “lies” flew fast and furious. Roland took a lot of heat! It was good seeing Jungle Pam again. Here and at the SEMA NHRA Breakfast she shared some great Jungle Jim stories, as only she could.
During the race, I hung out at the Redline T-Shirt Club tent, and again, got to talk with a lot of you, which brought the 2016 season to an end. But friends, the racing New Year isn’t far off. I’m looking forward to meeting you once again at the famous Bakersfield March Meet, hosted by Good Vibrations Motorsports, March 2-5 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. As my old friend, Steve Evans, used to yell in his drag race radio ads, “Be There!”
/ There were a lot of luminaries in attendance at SEMA’s NHRA Breakfast (L to R): John Force, Snake, ’Goo$e, Jungle Pam, Del Worsham and Bob Frey.
/’Goo$e and company owner/F/C driver Paul Lee manned the McLeod booth at SEMA.
/The Danchuk booth at SEMA was hopping all week long.