Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A glimpse from Dinwiddie

It occurred to me a few minutes ago as I was sucking it up on Tiger 07 that perhaps I just ought to come in and do something with this thing. (I played in a tournament called Fantasy Courses Challenge, and wound up +30 in two rounds. I particularly sucked in the second round at The Predator, which isn't very hard. Consider this: The longest major in golf history was at this year's PGA Championship at Medinah, weighing in at 7,561 yards. The Predator, to the best of my recollection, is a monstrous 8,500 yards - including two 700-yard par-5s. But I digress.)

So instead, I'll give you a quick look at the NHRA event I made it to a handful of times in the last 10 days.

First off, it's loud. I mean really loud. If you've ever been to a NASCAR race, it's much, much louder. At one point when the funny cars were running, I stood behind the media center, which shielded me from the starting line. Despite the protection, I still felt a vibration in my chest.

Our photgrapher, Jason DeMott, called me on Sunday when he was ready to leave.

"My God, that was intense," he said. "I was standing there when the funny cars launched - I may have shit my pants."

The speed is unreal. The posted speeds for the funny cars are usually well in excess of 300 mph; if they were travelling on a longer line and could maintain that speed, they'd pass five miles in a single minute.

As most of you know, my only basis for comparison is NASCAR. Of the 100,000 people or so that attend a race each week, maybe - maybe - 1,000 get pit passes. Those allow you to check out pit road before the race. Far less get garage passes, and only a handful get hot passes, which allow you to be in the garage during the race.

At the NHRA event, the garage area was completely open for anyone who wanted to pass by. Whether you wanted to see one of the top fuel cars or the funny cars or the pro stock cars, you could do just that.

Again, comparing to NASCAR: At the track, I've had a one-on-one interview with a Cup driver for maybe two minutes. Prior to going to Dinwiddie, I had made arrangements to talk to John Force, a 13-time NHRA champion who has his own reality show on A&E, Driving Force. In drag racing, he is the rock star to end all rock stars.

I called his cell phone and left a message because I knew he was about to make a qualifying run and, because of some lengthy track clean-ups, I couldn't stick around to see his run. On my way back to the office, he called. I made arrangements when I talked to him to talk with him when I got in the office.

I was in the office for roughly five seconds when he called back again. A guy of his stature calling back - twice? Unheard of.

OK, I realize that my words can only do so much. So while I was down there, I picked a random run between two funny cars - random guys who aren't in title contention - and used my cell phone to tape it. So, here you go. And keep in mind when you hear the engines roar, I was inside the media center when I did this. Enjoy ... and by all means, let me know what you think.

1 comment:

ME said...

I don't have any sound on work PC, but I'm still amazed at how fast those babies made it to the end of the track.

When can we expect the Tiger 07 review?