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The latest update as of August 28, 2014

We're in Indy baby!

Not knowing my way around the Lucas Raceway Park facility, I arrived very early this morning, got my credentials, found the media parking lot, and made my way to the media center on the ground floor of the Wally Parks tower. Since I'd missed the first day of sportsman racing, I immediately headed to the starting line and proceeded to observe and photograph the third round of Stock eliminator qualifying. 75 minutes later - with minimal downtime - it was over as 187 cars paired up and ran.

I can hardly wait until they run Super Stock this afternoon, as "only" 174 cars ran in that eliminator yesterday, including 26 of the legendary 1968 Hemi Darts and 'Cudas. Out of that group, just ten cars qualified for the 128-car field as the bump spot after their second session was -.632 under the index, and even Lloyd Wofford's 8.67 in his Barracuda wasn't quick enough. Wofford and 15 of his hemi compatriots were in the same boat going into today's final qualifying session.

The only saving grace for the pachyderm-powdered Chryslers is the "Hemi Challenge" that will be one of the features of tomorrow's show. It should be well worth the price of admission to watch these very exotic 8-second 160-mph cars go through their paces. Later today we've got the first two rounds of Competition Eliminator qualifying and the "Factory Stock Showdown" for all the late-model Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers (yes, there is one entered), and Challengers.

It's time to get back to work, checking things out in the pits and getting ready for another session on the starting line before the real work begins with all the photo-editing and writing back at the hotel. More news later and much more news at SpeedZone Magazine.

The latest update as of August 27, 2014

One more leg - from Sioux City to Indianapolis

Day four of this epic roadtrip begins in Sioux City, Iowa, the largest and most modern place I've seen since passing through Spokane. It's uniquely situated against the Missouri river and borders on three states: Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. But it's time to hit the road and keep heading east to that big motorsports mecca known as Indianapolis. We'll arrive there this evening, missing the first day of sportsman qualifying at the "Big Go", but that was unavoidable unless I wanted to drive 1000 miles a day from Vancouver to Indy.

Our next update will be tonight from Indianapolis. We'll also be adding more text and pictures to the travel blog on the "Bob's MORE Xcellent Adventures" page.

LATE UPDATE: We've arrived in Indianapolis but time constraints (ie. lack of) prevents anything more than today's pictures being posted. Maybe tomorrow? You've certainly heard that one before, haven't you?

The latest update as of August 26, 2014

On the road - in Sheridan, Wyoming

No time for an update this morning as we're running late as usual, but here's a (very bad) snap of what Mapquest thinks of my roadtrip routing. It looks like an itinerary designed by a three-year old with ADHD, doesn't it? But that's partly due to drag race scheduling, partly due to my home base location, and partly due to wanting to see even more of the U.S.A. in one big trip.

There is a "MORE Xcellent Adventures" page started in the FEATURES section, but it`s blank until tonight`s pit-stop in Sioux City, IA. Until then, there`s another 1100 kms of hard driving on the schedule. Time to fire up "Big Red" and head out on the highway...


The latest update as of August 25, 2014

On the road

What possesses people to do strange things? Ask a mountain climber why they risk their lives climbing up the side of a large rock and the answer is invariably "because it's there!" Similarly, why would someone jump out of a perfectly safe airplane and hope their parachute opens before they collide with the earth? "It seemed like a good idea at the time" is the obvious time. So how do you explain why someone would decide to hop in their car and drive across America, zigzag back to the midwest, head north to Canada, drive back to the east coast of the U.S.A., then for kicks - WARNING - bad pun ahead - drive Route 66 all the way to California and then up the west coast to home.

If anyone has an answer to that question, let me know as two days into my latest "Xcellent Adventure" I'm just starting to doubt the wisdom of this journey. There's all sorts of good reasons to do it: attend the 60th anniversary U.S. Nationals, see a PDRA race in the heart of Pro Mod country (Rockingham), see one of eight wonders of the drag racing world, The Texas Motorplex, check out the social scene in St. Louis and join in one of the true happenings of dragdom: the California Hot Rod Reunion.

All good reasons, but when you start connecting the dots the reality of the task become evident. Let's start with 2500 miles from North Vancouver to Indianapolis and just three and a half days to do it. Do-able, but that leaves me with just a few hours to recharge my batteries before the tour-de-force known as Indy will keep me going full-tilt for nearly a week. After that, the races are much closer together and the long days behind the wheel get much shorter.

Until the leg from New York to Bakersfield that is. But I've got five whole days to cover the 3000 miles between the coasts while traversing as much of the original Route 66 as I can find and for as long as I can handle the slow pace on ancient roadways. There are a few respites along the way though, like four days between the Rockingham and Charlotte races and just 70 miles between them. Plus 12 days off the circuit, with a sidetrip to Peterborough, Ontario to connect with my girlfriend who's flying out from Vancouver, so we can spend some time visiting her relatives, and then a full week in New York City before the banzai charge to Bakersfield.

The travel "blog" isn't set up yet but there should be enough time to do it tonight when we get to Sheridan, Wyoming at the end of the second leg of this roadtrip to remember. Tune in regularly for daily - we're really going to try to stick to that schedule - updates. For all the drag racing news from this trip, as always go to the Northwest's source for drag racing news SpeedZone Magazine.

The latest update as of June 9, 2014

Two updates this year... and counting

It's late, and it's been a long day at work - doing my day job and editing most of the photos from the 27th annual Langley Loafers nostalgia drags at Ashcroft's Eagle Motorplex. There's a gallery of shots on the SpeedZone Magazine website, but here's a peek at one of my favourite shots from the weekend. More to come in the following days. Words and pictures.


The latest update as of June 6, 2014

Of all the places and times to come out of hibernation and put something on this site...

We've let more than a year elapse with nothing but a few national event reports on SpeedZone - and absolutely nothing here - but it's the first, and possibly only, drag race of the season at the venerable Eagle Motorplex in Ashcroft and here I am up in the desert for the first time in about 20 years. This weekend was to be the first big race of the season at Mission Raceway (the LODRS regional) but the ongoing issues with the new concrete racing surface have put that event off until after Labor Day.

So we've traveled up through the Fraser Canyon to the 27th annual Langley Loafers B.C. Old Time Drags at the Motorplex. With the additional features of some late-model Pro Mods and the Blown Alcohol Thunder circuit (Pro Mods, Altereds, Dragsters, Funny Cars), along with a host of nostalgia-themed events throughout the weekend in and around Ashcroft and Cache Creek, it's going to be one big three-day party.

Tomorrow evening there's a burnout contest in Cache Creek, a Poker Run into Ashcroft in the afternoon, a show and shine, a sock hop, and literally something for almost everyone. The weather looks good, the pits were well stocked with nearly 200 race cars as of last night, and the staging lanes will be filling up in an hour's time. Let's go racing!

The latest update as of March 13, 2013

Blink twice and another year has slipped past....

The drag racing season is really starting to heat up as the NHRA is into it's third national event of 2013 this weekend with the traditional East Coast kickoff party at the Gatornationals. The ADRL held it's first race of the year at Rockingham last weekend, the new X-DRL is just a few weeks away from it's debut, and the IHRA is readying for it's first Nitro Jam event of the year at Tucson's Southwestern International Raceway next Saturday.

One common thread running through all four of the major North American sanctioning organizations is the re-invention, or re-branding of all of them, from the NHRA's new major sponsor, Mello-Yello, to the new owners of the IHRA, which has passed from the circus folks at Feld Entertainment to the owners of the Pam Beach (Florida) and Memphis (Tennessee) dragstrips. The ADRL is now under new ownership as the original founders of the association, the Nowlings, have bought out Sheikh Khalid Al Thani of Qatar.

Hot on the heels of that acquisition was the sudden and hasty announcement of a competing sanctioning body, the X-DRL (Extreme Drag Racing League), formed by a breakaway group of ex-ADRL racers and their apparently rich backers. With their first event scheduled to run three weeks from now, the comparisons between it and the ADRL will be eagerly awaited by racers and fans - and most of all - the media. Based on the great spectator turnout and sometimes spectacular competition at Rockingham last weekend, the "X-men" are going to be hard pressed to top the ADRL's season start.

Our racing coverage at Northern Thunder will be commencing next weekend, with reports and pictures from the IHRA opener at Tuscon, then ramp up further with on-site reports and pics from the NHRA Western Regional race at Las Vegas the following week, and the SummitRacing.com Nationals at Vegas on Easter weekend. Most of the coverage from The Strip at Las Vegas will be appearing on SpeedZone Magazine, but after months of inactivity here, it's going to be a virtual blizzard of bytes with myself and Bob Snyder behind the cameras and me on the keyboard.

The latest update as of October 25, 2012

We've been just too damn busy with real life to be around here much

No excuses, other than the usual. There's just so much time available each day to get things done and when the priorities are laid out in a LOGICAL fashion, this website has to rank lower than most of the ones that really have to be attended to. Like going to work and earning a living to pay all the bills that come with being too ambitious with a car, a home, all the bells and whistles that "we really (DON'T) have to have".

All I really have to do to get this place moving again - any movement at all - is to just set aside 10 or 15 minutes a day, or even better, one hour a day to updating and posting. Easier to do when I'm on the road as I am now in Las Vegas, but just so difficult to make it happen at home without having something else suffer.

As it says on the front page, just go to SpeedZone to see what we're up to on this month-long trip and when there is some free time, as I've found myself with tonight after the first day of the Big O Tires nationals. Starting tomorrow morning it's going to be all hands on deck when the fast cars start running and we have to keep up with all the action and try to snap the occasional staging lane picture between rounds. No photo pass for this event so I'll be hunkered down in the photo dungeon with all the other media peasants.

Then it's off to Los Angeles and on to a plane to San Jose del Cabo for a relaxing week in the sun on the Baja before returning to L.A. for the season-ending NHRA AAA Auto Club Finals at Pomona. And after that... let's not even think about what six months in Vancouver winter weather will be like before the 2013 drag racing season kicks off in British Columbia.

To see previous updates, go to the What's Old page

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