Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NHRA Women

Erica's car

Women have changed the course of history in many aspects of life including the NHRA. Shirley Muldowney, who was born in 1940, was a mother with a career in racing Gas Dragsters. She received her license in 1965. Ten years after making history as the first woman to do so, Shirley also became the first woman to break the six second barrier. In 1984, she nearly perished in a crash that left her in rehabilitation for eighteen months. Shirley claimed eighteen championships and nine runner-up titles in her career. Erica Enders was the first girl to race in Junior Drag Racing, a class for racers ages eight to seventeen. She started racing at the age of eight. In 2006, fourteen years later, she became the first woman to qualify number one in pro-stock. That same year, Erica became a team owner when she bought her car from Don Schumacher. She was the inspiration for the 2003 Disney movie "Right on Track." John Force's second oldest daughter, now Ashley Force Hood, earned her NHRA competition license in 2002. She was named Rookie of the Year in 2004. In 2006, Ashley received her Funny Car license, and in 2008, she became the first woman to win an NHRA Funny Car event when she beat her father in Atlanta. The fact that it was a woman beating her father was also a first. Without these women, Drag Racing would not be what it is today.

Ashley Force Hood

Shirley's Top Fuel Car

John Force

John Force is my personal favourite Funny Car driver of all time. He won his first race in 1987 at Montreal. Before his start racing, John was a truck driver for a living. At Maple Grove in Reading, Pennsylvania, he claimed his only victory in 1989. He claimed his first championship in 1990. His thirteen other championships were won in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995,1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2007, John sustained serious injuries in a crash at Dallas that took him out for the remainder of the season. Despite this mishap, he still managed to finish 7th in points. Three of John's four daughters, Ashley, Brittany and Courtney, and his wife, Laurie, are all licensed to drive in the NHRA. Ashley races Funny Car with John. Brittany and Courtney race Top Fuel, but not on a professional level like their sister and father. Laurie, however, does not race. In 2007, John's close friend and teammate, Eric Medlin, lost his life in a horrific accident. The cause of death was ruled an extreme case of "shaken baby syndrome." This event changed John's life and the NHRA safety regulations for ever.


Monday, May 18, 2009

First race, track evolution and memerable moments

The first National Hot Rod Association race was held in the parking lot at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pamona, California. The first drag cars were regular street cars that have been cut down to reduce the weight. By reducing the weight, the car's speed is increased. Since then, the track has undergone a six million dollar expansion. Pamona Raceway now hosts the season opening and season finale. In 1970, racing legen Don Garlits lost half of his right foot when his transmission, which sat between his feet, exploded. Tony Schumacher broke the broke the 33o mile per hour barrier in 1999. All of this, what is later to be said in my blog and much more was made possible by one Wally Parks born 1913 Oklahoma.