Well, the boss said “Hey you haven’t written anything in a while”. My answer? “ I will write you a poem.” Well, that wasn’t what she meant.
I’m not going to bore you with details of my 30K worth of miles in road trips in the last 3 months. But I can warn you not to go on a diet and sit in traffic. You will be a bit edgy, Holly mother! I have been on a cleanser for 10 days then every other day. It works, but it is the consistency of sand. It is green powder and some other unidentifiable stuff. You don’t want to be in traffic after having your ‘sand’ drink.
I know everyone (Dina Parise Racing included) is waiting for the new Cadillac (CTSV Pro Mod) to debut. But right now it is under wraps being painted (by Paint by Bruce Mullins). It is coming out amazing. Perfection takes time and everybody involved in this project wants it perfect. For years I have had the better car, making it look easy to get down the track. I was told many years ago a bad car will make a good driver look bad. Well, I know my wife can drive better then me. I don’t like to admit it, but she can pedal much better then me and beats me off the starting line every time. It pisses me off so bad, yet I love racing her. I have beaten her many times and have the Wally and the AA/PM record to prove it (Yes, I love rubbing that in). This new car is going to be just like a real Cadillac except for the couple things. Engine, Seats, Rug okay more then a couple. But outwardly, there is no mistaking, it’s a Cadillac. You will all have to wait and see it for yourselves.
Have you seen the new DPR Logo? Everyday she is coming up with something new for us to do. Driving around the world, finding a shop getting things in motion and on top of it all, the boss decides it rebranding time. Sure, we have a huge employee list to take that on (uh, not) but really, we just need to hit the lotto. But seriously, when she is right she is right. I just don’t tell her that she is.
Rob Matheis (Matheis Race Cars Inc.) built the Cadillac and is one of the best in chassis building and fabrication. He builds everything from motorcycles to cars.Did you know he fabricated a lipstick holder in Dina’s new Cadillac? Yes. Seriously, who puts a lipstick holder in a Pro Mod? Well, my wife for one, but Rob provides such attention to detail that giving the customer what they request is key (as long as safety is not compromised). That seems hard to find today. We are a team that doesn’t play games, and Rob and his team are the same way. At the end of the day it is a business.
So, it has been a tough year. We haven’t been able to secure a shop so no racing for us yet. We are close to closing a deal but ’till I have the keys in hand I wont believe it. We have a lot of things going on as always but they are big things. I promise to let you know as soon as possible as it is going to be huge.
I rarely get personal, but I can’t help myself. In life we work, live, pay bills and try to be the best we can be. We have family and friends who don’t believe in our goals or our choices in life. How many people told John Force he should quit, or How about Bunny Burkett or Don Garltis. All of these people had a dream and worked to make a difference. How about Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates. These people not only had dreams but they had passion for what they believe in. They found people to support them and believe in their passion. The ones that didn’t well let’s say they are looking from the sidelines.
I always dreamed of driving for a team, but I had no family support. Growing up I was the baby. I have two older brothers. One is 6’ 5” weighing 300 pounds and the other 6’1” weighing 200 pounds. Me, I’m only 5’6, I was out sized and weight was not on my side. But I was a smart ass and kept things exciting. Plus I couldn’t do anything wrong in my mothers eyes (oddly still not to my Mother-in-law either!). My Mom got cancer and I had to take care of her for a while when I was 18, she died when I was 20 yrs old. It was a tough time for me, but I never lost that want to drive. My point to this story is here it is 25 years later and I still have that desire to drive inside me. Regardless of the people in life telling me to quit and walk away. Don’t let anyone and I mean anyone take away your passion or dreams. My mom was my life; she would do anything for her family. Not only was she a fighter but only wanted the best for her kids. Fight for what you want.
Well, lately we have heard a lot on the future of NHRA from many influential people. Now we all Know Larry Morgan is a very laid back quiet guy. So, here is my take on some things. Okay, forget NHRA for a second. Drag Racing on a whole I feel has so much more to offer marketing partners. NASCAR is good, but we (Drag Racing) are better. You can’t get within a ½ mile of a NASCAR driver unless you are the sponsor or you have a ‘golden ticket’ so to speak. The fans are what make the show. The look on there faces, hanging out with the kids and signing autographs. I was asked once by a gentleman, how I drive by both cars. I pointed to Dina and said my wife drives that car. He said have a nice day, sir and ran over to talk to Dina. That to me is priceless. Dina cooks Italian food in our pits and sometimes we feed 30 people. The fans at times become your family. We have the Best show in the world. Now, I know a lot of people dislike the man Former President of ADRL. Kenny Knowling. But one thing for sure, he knew how to keep you entertained. He had pre parties, race day parties and fan interaction; Something lacking now.
So, I am going to get myself into some hot water here (nothing new, frankly).Don’t take this as bashing, take this as TRUTH. Everyone walks on eggshells and is afraid to say what needs to be said. NHRA is a not-for profit but their upper management team makes high Six figure incomes. The cost to race at NHRA is ridiculous for teams and ticket prices are way too high for the average family. To race at an NHRA event you have to pay for a license AND your magazine subscription and of course your entry fee. Oh if you don’t have enough points you have to spend a ton of money on divisional races (Pro Mod). The payouts are a joke, but nobody is doing this for the money, we do it because we are crazy and we love it. NHRA will never change until you change management. I worked in Corporate America for 20 years, if you didn’t produce results you were gone. If sales went down, upper management was let go. The Indians listen to the Chiefs but if the Chiefs are lost then what happens? What would happen if Don Schumacher decided he is done racing? John Force cant drive forever, he will try. What is the answer for NHRA? It starts at the top of the chain. You can only sit in your Air conditioned office for so long till they close the doors. When a Reality racing TV show comes along and has more viewers then NHRA you know things have to change. I don’t think this is what Wally Parks had in mind when he said make racing affordable to keep racing off the streets.
Okay, now I am really going to shake things up. A major CEO just announced that they are sponsoring the IHRA but they want all classes to be pro classes. From Stock to Nitro. Everybody is equal and everybody is Pro. Racers would have to pay $200.00 per event to enter a race, fans would pay $25.00 to enter the race or weekend passes for $30.00. MAVTV will be airing all events. You think NHRA would be in trouble then? The point of this is (for now) NHRA the only sand box in town for the Nitro teams. For me, I hope IHRA brings it AND brings back Pro Mod . That is where Pro mod started and this is where it belongs.
Is our sport in trouble, no not necessarily. Is NHRA in trouble Absolutely YES. When you try and control too much and lose sight of the big picture it is time to cut the fat and make changes. IHRA, PDRA and other series are doing very well and it wont be too long before NHRA puts their nose into the PDRA. At the end of the day it isn’t a perfect world, you have to roll with the punches, but you can only get up some many times before you have to retire from the ring and close the lights for good.
Somehow I will be in trouble. But Hey that why they call me BamBam. We do have the best show in the world, the best fans in the world and the best racers in the world. What NHRA does or doesn’t do really doesn’t matter in the big picture. As fans, racers, team owners we need to fight for what we believe in.