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- National Dragster Magazine - Sept 01 Issue -
On the Run
by Russ Parker

Letís just throw subtlety right out the window. This column is going to include blatant promotions of our new website, www.russparkerracing.com. After all, is there anything subtle about NHRA championship drag racing? Look at the size of any event, national or divisional level. Weíre talking serious hardware with magnificent trucks, trailers, motorhomes and racecars. Many of the racetracks with their multi-story towers rival any stadium other major sports have to offer. Bob "Iíll eat anything" Frey (he seems to prefer eating his own words) recently wrote about the wonderful cuisine (thatís "food" for you wrestling fans) that is offered at these events.

Speaking of wrestling, have any of you contemplated (thatís "thought about" for you wrestling fans) the irony of when Jerry Toliver or Jim Epler wins a national event for the WWF? Remember that the trophy given to NHRA event winners is called an "Oscar". Though recognized as some of the best actors around, I donít recall seeing anyone from the WWF receiving an Oscar. As Bob Frey would comment, "Go figure." One thing I am sure about is that when Jerry Toliver or Jim Epler wins a race the only staging going on is when they pull into the beams.

When you check out russparkerracing.com you wonít find recipes for fine cuisine, or tips on wrestling and acting (though they would both be under the same navigational bar heading). You will find the results of some very cool work done by my friend and webmaster, Larry Lulay of www.lulays.com. When you are putting together a website it is somewhat natural to check out the competition. So I did some surfing around and ended up at www.johnforceracing.com. There is a lot to take in, but I must be honest and say that I thought the navigation bar is kind of weak. If you havenít seen it before go ahead and check it out right now. Iíll waitÖ Ok, now check out the navigation bar at russparkerracing.com. For those of you who are not yet on the net, letís just say that our navigation bar will be the cause of "injector envy". At russparkerracing.com you will also find team profiles, photos, race apparel, sponsor links and great motorsport gift ideas. We will also have a full line of "Got Milk" products available as well, so look us up for your Christmas shopping.

I have driven a variety of racecars, and currently hold a NHRA license in Federal Mogul Funny Car and Dragster. Recently, however, I had a completely new experience. Let me explain. At my home track, Woodburn Dragstrip, we have a junior dragster racing series sponsored by the Don Rhyne Painting Company. My kids, Tyson and Kia both participate in that series along with many other kids and parents who have become great friends. We had a "fun day" at which time parents could participate by actually driving junior dragsters and race other parents and kids. My kids wouldnít let me drive their cars (never mind that I couldnít fit in them). There was however, a car owned by Brian Carpenter of Medford, Oregon and he was gracious enough to allow me to use it in competition. I then partnered up with Mike Elliott of Yakima, Washington and we became co-drivers, alternating every lap down the 1/8 mile. Now Mike really knows junior dragsters. His daughters, Amanda and Michelle have both proven to be excellent drivers and he knows how to extract a lot of power from a Briggs & Stratton. Iíve watched guys like John Force build a championship team (youíve got to surround yourself with the best), so I figured we had a good shot at winning this race. I had just driven our Dairy Farmers of Oregon funny car at a match race the previous weekend and during Sundayís eliminationís had cut a .413 and a .423 light. So you can imagine that I was confident when I strapped into Brianís junior dragster for my first run. The first thing I noticed was that they vibrate more than our funny car. Junior dragsters race on a full 5 tenths tree, so I staged and proceeded to cut a .732 light and boy did I hear about it. Determined to do better my next light was very red, something like a .380. It was becoming apparent who the weak link was in this team. Well, Mike did his job and won the 1st round. Then in round two I cut my best light, a less than stellar .624 and proceeded to break out by 5 hundredths. This experience really gave me an appreciation for the kids, and adults who race not only the other car, but against indexes, dial-ins, and handicaps. Racing at any level is tough. It also showed me that racing at any level is both fun and rewarding. I am thankful for NHRA racing that allows such variety and levels of participation.

As we head to Pomona for the Auto Club NHRA Finals I am excited to welcome Centennial Batteries to our team. We have put together a one-race deal to feature this up and coming battery company. Our family auto repair business has been doing automotive electrical for 30 years and this is the battery we sell. Their slogan says it all, "Start With The Best." We hope to make their start in NHRA drag racing the best by doing our best to win in Pomona.

Before I sign off, one final word about the website. Itís address may be russparkerracing.com, but it is about Parker Racing. Without my parents, Wayne and Gladys, I would not be able to do this. We are grateful to the Dairy Farmers of Oregon and our other sponsors for their support, but it took years of sacrifice on the part of my parents to allow my brother, Randy, and I to become funny car drivers. There is still a picture in my momís office from somewhere around 1972 of two young boys standing next to Roland Leong and his Hawaiian funny car. Those kids names were Randy and Russ. Mom and Dad, thank you.

Send comments regarding this article to russ@russparkerracing.com


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National Dragster Magazine - Sept 01 Issue

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