Thursday, March 14, 2013

Racing at Farmington Dragway in 2012

Racing at Farmington Dragway in 2012

You know how you listen to everyone talking about how drag racing is
doing good or doing bad and you normally hear more bad than good?
Well, everything I had heard about IHRA and their 2012 points races
for most of the year was not good! Mostly what I heard were lots of
complaints about how the tracks were way low on their car counts. In
August, I got a chance to go to Farmington Dragway's IHRA points race.
I only went on Saturday but boy, was I shocked when I got there! It
was…as usual…wall to wall race cars. The joint was packed and jumping!
I couldn't believe it after all the bad things I had heard.

I didn't go to any other IHRA points races so I don't really know how
the car counts were but there was NO shortage of race cars at
Farmington! It was the first time I have been to a race there since it
has new owners, but I actually went to two more races there later…both
in September. As always, new owners have things to learn but overall,
I was almost impressed with the job they were doing. I really enjoyed
seeing so many people I haven't seen in a long, LONG time. I had a
blast. The main reason I went to that race is because my friend
Jeannie said, "Hey, Frank Teague is going to race at the IHRA race at
Farmington…wanna go?" And of course I jumped at the chance.

The race was in August and I knew I would be able to go to Frank and
Debbie's and rest and get out of the sun…or rain as the case was at
least one time…any time I needed to. The rest of the day, I was
walking around talking to people, getting lots of hugs and "How are
yous?" There is ALWAYS that one question, "Are you going to get back
into racing!" The answer, "NO!" is always the same but I'm beginning
to wonder. If you keep checking this blog, you will understand what I
mean later on! Sandy and Everett and all the folks at the track were
really nice and helpful. I even went to the tower and did a little
question and answer session on the PA.

Yes, it IS hard for me to get in the tower but I am NO stranger to
stairs since I have to go down and up my own stairs at least once a
day and most times more often. It is good exercise for a crippled up
old lady! I can't tell you how much it meant to me to be there that
day and to see everyone. You have to remember, I haven't been to many
races since my wreck! I have been going to the Shuffletown Reunion at
Mooresville each year for four years and I went to the Legends Race at
the Farm in 2011. In September, I went back to the Farm for the
Legends Race. Yes, I suppose I AM a legend! HA! Sometimes it isn't
good to be a legend, sometimes it is! I had a great time and got to
see a lot more old friends. I enjoyed the first Legends race better
than the one in 2012…for a couple of reasons, in 2012, it was only one
day.

In 2010, the first one was three days and they allowed me to set up in
the game room with plenty of table space to put out my books. I didn't
have that in 2012. It was really windy that day and those old scrap
books of mine had to remain closed most of the day because those old
papers are so frail, I was afraid they would rip to pieces. They are
all I have left of my life during those years. I was also a lot more
comfortable in the game room because at least the floor is level…it is
hard for me to maneuver on gravel and grass! I really hope they will
go back to the three day 2010 format in 2013 and put me back in the
game room!!!

I did not get to attend the Legends Race in 2011 because I was
paralyzed due to a blood clot in my spinal column on September 30,
2011 and I was still in rehab during the race. I don't know what the
format was in 2011 but I think it was pretty much the same as 2010.
Still yet, the 2012 race was a blast and everyone there had a great
time and if you ever get a chance to attend the race, please do. Mike
Boyles, who everyone knows as the guy who drives that wheel standing
Charlie Brown '57 Chevy wagon, was racing everything he could drive in
every class they ran that day and I think he won several of them!

Talk about having a blast…he was probably the happiest, as well as the
most tired, person there. He did more running back and forth finding
out which vehicle he was going to have to run the next round than most
people do in two or three racing weekends! I think he won two or three
of those eliminators in that one day! Ken Regenthal brought out a
'new' gear jamming 'street' (yes, street) Corvette which is running 5s
and everyone got a kick out of seeing him run that car. One of the
things I REALLY enjoyed that day was taking pictures. And, yes, I
broke out the old Canon AE1 film cameras and all the other folks on
the starting line looked at me like I was crazy! But I know what
always worked for me and even though I do have a digital camera…I
don't trust it for racing pics!

I haven't taken many racing many racing photos since my wreck in 2003.
I did take quite a few at the Shuffletown Reunion Race at Mooresville
Dragway back in the spring and was surprised MY reaction times on that
camera button are as good as they ALWAYS were! I think I had two
blurred shots from that race. None from Farmington's Legends race! If
you see me somewhere in 2013, I will have all the photos with me I
took in 2012! When Jeannie and I learned there would be a Pro Mod
style race at Farmington two weeks after the Legends race, we decided
to attend it, too.

I have not seen a Pro Mod race since 2003!!! I did see Tommy Mauney
and Charles Carpenter run a best two of three match race at the first
Shuffletown Reunion race and that was IT! Since I consider Pro Mod, as
a whole, MY baby, I TRULY enjoyed it. I took photos there, too! (I
missed the front end of one car and it was someone I don't like so it
didn't matter! After I found out who it was in that car, I didn't take
any more photos of it anyway!) I got to spend lots of time with lots
of other people I haven't seen in years…a whole different group of
racers.

That time, I got to park my car right beside the staging lanes just
like I did for so many years at so many tracks all over this country.
That put me right in the thick of things because I have always known I
could visit with more racers in the staging lanes than I could any
other way! I guess you could say I 'haunted' the staging lanes at most
of the races I attended during the 25 years I published QTRN. I walked
the staging lanes several times at the IHRA points race as well. I
took some old photo albums and put them out on the hood of my car on
my Kodak beach towel during the Pro Mod race just like did for so many
years!

There are always folks coming by wanting to know if I want to ride
around on their golf carts and see people and I really enjoyed that,
too. Especially when there are some people who don't come to the
staging lanes! Ken Regenthal…who had not raced his Pro Mod Corvette
all year came to this race, too and I got to visit with their whole
family…a family I have thought the world of for many years…I even got
to meet Ken's mother for the first time! The members of this family
have never forgotten me during these years of my absence, they
continue to send me photos of the kids and grandkids and every once in
a while, a box will show up on my doorstep with their return address
on it. I love that family!

I actually managed to get a good shot of Ken, in the right lane,
between the water box and the starting line FROM the left side of the
track! Speaking of taking photos at the Farm…I got a lot of strange
looks from people who don't know me, as this old crippled lady used
her crutches to help her scramble across those VERY high guard walls
so she COULD take photos! And as always, spring time is the BEST time
to take photos at the Farm because in the fall of year, the sun
crosses the track by 11 am and you can no longer take photos on the
right side (unless, of course, you have all the latest trick camera
equipment!).

You can't take photos of race cars with the sun on the opposite side
from you and you can't take photos of race cars with the sun glaring
on the quarter panels or directly on one side of the car even WITH the
latest trick camera equipment OR the old stuff! The neatest thing
about taking the photos was…the first week of December, I got an email
from Mark Joyce…a call for help, if you will! "Becky, did you by any
chance get a good photo of Ken Regenthal's blue Corvette at the
Legends Race? Lisa wants to make Ken a t-shirt for his birthday…which
is Sunday and we can't find a good enough shot!" The email came on
Tuesday! So I called Mark and told him, "YES, I DID get one!!!"

So I got the photo to him, he made the shirts and EVERYONE was happy!
Especially me! Here I am, I basically have not taken racing photos in
NINE years and I end up being the one person in the world Mark thinks
of to call to see if I got a shot good enough to put on a t-shirt…and
I had gotten one! I felt ten feet tall and bullet proof!!! I was so
proud of myself! And somehow or another, I ended up with two or three
of those great shirts! YAY! I've been wearing them everywhere!

All in all, I went to four drag races in 2012. I did some other
things, too and if you just keep reading this blog…there will be
stories about those experiences on here, too. I already wrote about
receiving the Jeff Byrd Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award in January
but there is a LOT more to come from this old racing lady! So stay
tuned and keep reading…Becky White just might stir the pot and get
things interesting in drag racing once again! As for Farmington
Dragway, I wish the 'still new' owners the best of luck and another
GREAT racing season in 2013! I will see you there!

Becky White…I am now, I always have been, I always will be "DRAG
RACING'S MOST DEDICATED FAN!"

2 comments:

William said...

Becky, it is always great seeing you at the track! I had a great time looking through those old photos of Dad's car. I hope to see you again this summer!

Bill Bader, Sr said...

You were "dead-on" with your comments about the "youth" market. If a track operator asked just one person (his wife, son, friend, racer's wife, whomever), to invite one youth group each week to attend a race at his track, what a difference it would make. If he started doing that in 1981, as you suggested, wow! Today he would be rich in fans, racers and sponsors.

I remember reading your columns back then and your wisdom was outstanding, ahead of it's time. You truly looked at our sport as a business and wanted it to grow. You were looking at the future.

It was sad to read you need so much help to get around. That accident was horrible and really changed your life. Just let it strengthen your faith. There is always some "Sunshine" (that's you) in everything that happens.

Bill Bader, Sr.