From the Staging Lanes | Dec '08BY: ISAAC DEHAAN
Well, it is that time of year again. Christmas is just a few days away, and I have about 2 feet of snow in my yard with only slightly less in my driveway!! Seriously, sand drags are about as far from my mind as it ever is. It’s bad cold outside, and summer seems like it is light years away. That being said, I thought I would go over some of the important and noteworthy things from this past sand drag season. These are presented in no particular order, and just my personal observations, as usual.
Well, it is
that time of year again. Christmas is just a few days away, and I have about 2
feet of snow in my yard with only slightly less in my driveway!! Seriously,
sand drags are about as far from my mind as it ever is. It’s bad cold outside,
and summer seems like it is light years away. That being said, I thought I
would go over some of the important and noteworthy things from this past sand
drag season. These are presented in no particular order, and just my personal
observations, as usual.
#1 Pro Truck
Series. Ok, this is really a 2009 event, but it needs to be mentioned. With
apologies to the NSDA traveling circus, this is the first traveling series of
its kind in sand drag racing. 4 different tracks, 2 classes, with a series
champ crowned at the finale. The IOK track in Cleves OH, Big River Sand Drags
in Bonne Terre MO, Ionia Sand Drags in Ionia MI, and WMSD in Mears MI are all
hosting events. Rich Simon has raised
the bar for ALL sand drag promoters by putting together this series and
bringing major sponsors like Goodyear engineered products, BAD Company Race
Apparel, Bad Frog Beer on board as well as Keith and the gang from Hillbilly
Proud Productions covering every race in video. NSDN is also planning on
covering the series in 2009 also. This is the kind of thing needed in our
sport, and should go a long way towards bringing more racers, spectators, and
sponsors to our sport.
#2 The Economy. I don’t know of anyone that would argue the economy had a big effect on the 2008 sand drag season. Track attendance was down across the board, both spectator wise and race entries. It was a challenging year for promoters to say the least, with most having to try new methods of promotion to get people in the gates. That being said, 502 entries showed up at the fall NSDA Primm race. That, to me, shows that in tough times racers are going to pick and choose which races to attend. No one is going to race a point series which pays out less than some race wins over a season long deal. That just doesn’t make sense, from any stand point. Racers that support tracks over a season deserve some reward, either at the gate, registration booth, or at the end of the season. Take care of the people that take care of you.
#3 Records. The year 2008 brought some amazing performances on the track.
Dennis Rieck once again stepped up as the quickest man on sand. Dennis ran a mind blowing 2.225 @ 167.14 pass in the finals of Primm, October race 1. However, Dennis was unable to back up the pass the rest of the weekend. Not to be out done, 2007 & 2008 NSDA T/F champ Scott Whipple went 2.318 and 2.338 to reset the national T/F record and take it away from Dennis. Will 2009 be the year that the “mouse” takes the T/F title, or will Scott make it a “three peat”??
opened the season going where only Richard “Top Dog” Montiel and his crew had
been with a TAD, the 2.40’s. Richard was the previous record holder at 2.49,
but at the first race of the year, in
Jeff Guillot in AA/Pro Bike, which is the record that was the most “controversial” of the ones I am highlighting. Jeff and crew ran a fine 2.740 @ 116.87 and backed up the ET with another pass of 2.748 @ 122.26 at Newtown Dragway in
As you can see, even in hard economic times, the racers still press forward with performance. Who knows what 2009 will bring??
#4 Ionia Sand Drags opening. This may not be big news out on the west coast, but in the
#5 RIP Richard “Top Dog” Montiel and Charlie Brown, Sr. The untimely passing of both of these men is a major loss to the sand drag racing community, not only from a racing standpoint, but also from a personal standpoint. Richard was a guy that was quiet, but loved the sport and used his abilities and resources to help out whenever he could. He pushed the bar in the T/A class and was a threat to win at any event the crew showed up at. He was a great friend to those close to him, and a much respected and classy guy to anyone he met or raced against. Charlie Brown, Sr. was the same kind of guy. While he had retired from the seat of his T/F car, he was still active around the races. I have heard stories of his bringing fresh salmon from
That’s all I have for this month, if the snow lets up and I see the sun again, I am supposed to be attending the scheduled NSDA race in January. There are lots on tap for 2009; the NSDA makes its way to
In closing, Happy Holidays everyone, from my family to yours!!
See you in
the Staging Lanes.