Monday, June 23, 2008

Drag Racing . . .

. . . seems to be uniquely American, although it seems to be spreading to the UK and to Australia. I use do do it a bit myself in this car, which I built myself.

The car burned pure methanol and generated something over 750 horspower. It was a matter of strap your butt into the seat, hit the loud pedal, and hang on for a little less than 9 seconds. Then, at about 175 mph (which is a bit over 281 kph), put it in neutral, hit the kill switch, and pop the parachute.

It's not without risk, though. Having sat in the seat - albeit at a much slower speed - I really understand the tragedy of this:

The driver was Scott Kalitta, 46 years old, and a 2nd generation drag racing veteran. He was the son of Connie Kalitta, one of the early pioneers of of the sport, and the one-time mentor of Shirley Muldowney (Heart Like a Wheel).

This was undoubtedly the worst accident I've seen in almost 50 years of watching and participating in drag racing. The fire en-route was undoubtedly from spilled oil. The huge explosion at the end was due to the load of nitromethane fuel on board. Seems to me that it's short-sighted of the raceway to put a concrete wall at the end of the shut-down area.

Speaking of fly-overs . . .

. . . this one really got to me, since I saw it in person as I was driving by NAS Oceana. In 2006, the Navy retired all of their F-14 Tomcats. The video shows them coming home from the carrier after their last deployment.

Please don't misinterpret. This is just a salute to the folks I work with every day, not a war commentary. I will add, however, that while I don't disagree with taking Saddam off the planet, I do agree that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et. al. magnificantly cocked up everything the military accomplished.