The Mon­goo$e Jour­nals

Drag Racer - - CONTENTS -

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 Nitrore­

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 Nhra­mu­

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.

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