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Winter Rod and Speed Show 2011
Another great show!
Sponsorship 101
How to find and
serve a sponsor
Thunder in the Pipes
stories by former PIR and SIR Promoter
Jim Rockstad

Don Garlits
The crash that lead to his last race as a full time pro driver

Northwest Nitro
A scrap book look past Northwest
Funny Cars

Johnny and The Distractions
A solute to one of Portlands greatest rock bands ever!

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Larry McFarland

NW Drag Racing

One Hot Chili Pepper


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Top Eliminator West topeliminatorwest.com




Bailey's Blog

More Compression Expected to Really Wake up the Capitol Dragster

While we have no regrets about entering the dragster into the Portland Roadster Show with a dazzling new paint job, It's late date in March set us back weeks as we had to go through the engine and get it ready for the season ahead. It's a moot point anyway since the Tulip Festival race rained out so we're now not so behind. But it would have been dissappointing had we missed it.

Hopefully we'll be ready to go for the Season Opener at Woodburn but there are still a couple issues that need to be sorted out first. One is getting my licence renewed (that's a long story and more on that in a blog to come) and second is my helmet just got recalled at the same time it's getting painted by Denis Lafferty. Otherwise, we'll start out at Yakima for the first DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder race of the new season.

As for me, while the engine has been out of the car the last few weeks I have been working out, getting the new t-shirt designed and doing a minor renovation project on the truck betwen rainstoms so it's clean and working good once we start racing this summer. Our schedule is ambitious as we have eight races on the road this summer from Yakima at the end of May to Idaho Falls in September. In fact, we have not had this many races on the road ever so it will be a challenge to do them all before the budget for the year runs dry. Along with a little luck, everything will have to go perfectly meaning no spun bearings or any problems like that.

That gets me to the point of this column, last year we ran our best ever with no breakage utilizing a low compression combination. Those pistons were down in the hole by a quarter of an inch yet it ran 206 MPH. One of my racing friends predicted we would be lucky to run 7.50 with that combo! Boy was he wrong! If anything, if a low compression engine is easy on parts and still has the power for a 200 MPH pass using a worn out blower, perhaps that's what everyone should be doing. But truth be told we were 2 tenths behind our top two competitors so we made the right choice to step it up.

So when Keith McCurdy started working on the engine he noticed those Wiseco Pistons had shrunk a little bit and recommended that we install the JE Pistons I bought from my friend Rick Kikes. Well those bad boys are right at deck height and should really give us some power and stability! Over the weekend Keith, Troy and myself had over 7 hours in the piston and rod assembly. I file fitted all the rings by hand and Keith had to shave the pistons for rod clearance and then re-balance the pistons. It was a lot of work but still a completely awesome day.

On Monday night we should have it all done. By the weekend we hope to have the transmission back from Jeff Marsh at Canby Transmission and the car fired up by next Sunday. On top of all that, Troy is loaning us his blower to use and if the compression doesn't make the car fly this will! I will keep you posted on the progress and any set backs that could arise getting the car back together.

-Rich Bailey


Time Reveals Individual Success for Even this Former Pit Rat

I went out to Woodburn on Saturday to get the car certified. It was wet, cold and miserable. While it was being looked over by an NHRA official, this guy walks into the trailer and says “remember me?”. To be honest I didn’t. Well, it turned out to be none other than Bob Rea, a former bracket racer that fell off the face of the earth decades ago!

I met Bob when I was just out of high school. I was doing hand lettering to make a few bucks before computers came along and I lettered his race car, a Plymouth Barracuda called the "Orange Express" along with several of his Ford construction vans.

At the time, I went up with Bob and helped him out at 64 funny cars where he went several rounds in the bracket class. It was low buck racing to the max! We drove late at night to get there and slept in his construction van the entire time with a pit bull. The field where everyone was camping in when we first got there at midnight was like Woodstock West with drums beating and loud music playing all night.

The next morning when we pitted I had a look around and the Snake was there, the Blue Max, the Hawaiian, McCulloch, Force, the Teacher’s Pet and even Paul Luppy were all there! I was in nitro heaven! At that event I almost got arrested but that’s for another story.

So, years later here we are talking about old times in the trailer housing my 200 MPH blown alcohol dragster. Time has revealed that this pit rat has come along way. The moral to the story is never give up on your dreams because if you give up your dreams won’t happen. If you don’t give up you’ve got a fighting chance.

-Rich Bailey



Confessions of a Carb-a-holic!

It's been a while since I have wrote a column on capracing.com and I promise to pick up the pace and do one every week to hopefully get you coming back more often. Facebook has dominated everyone's time online including mine but it's time to get back to the website and our racing program. Today, I have a confession to make: I'm a carb-a-holic. I'm a-pop-a-holic, a hamberger-a-holic, a pizza-a-holic, a fry-a-holic, taco-a-holic and the list goes on. It's been years of carb abuse and maybe what has saved me far is that I don't care for most pasta or anything with a creamy sauce.

The otherday my doctor finally told me to change my diet and start to exercising or else. You know "the or else" when the finger crosses the throat? yeah, that kind of else. So, I joined the gym and changed my diet overnight. It hasn't been easy but I'm proud to say I have not had a burger or any pop in two weeks. I have been working out regularly too but since I started this "New U" I have discovered it's okay to go back to some of my old haunts. At Burgerville I have been ordering a grilled Chicken on a wheat bun and at Wendy's the same. At Taco Bell two grilled chicken tacos and water. For breakfast it's crackling wheat sourdough toast with Smart Balance instead of butter.

So how are the workouts going? Good! It's great to be back doing cardio and weights. BUT! Just a soon as I began the new diet and started working out the kidney stones returned. I have been doing my workouts during the times I have not had an attack but this bad boy is going on two weeks now. I'm beginning to think that this is the one I was warned about. This may be the one that will not pass because it's too big. This one could be.... none other than STONEZILLA!

I hope not. But one way or another this will be resolved before racing season. Regardless, My new eating habits are a plan for life. Race cars can be replaced but drivers can't so I hope to stay on this new life style for the rest of my racing days. Being a Carb-o-holic isn't easy but racing the Capitol Dragster gives me an incentive that most over weight guys don't have other than staying alive. If you see me drinking a pop and eating burgers at the track, I give you my permission to remind me of this column.

-Rich Bailey


A Candid Interview with Cap Racing's Rich Bailey

Since we can't get an interview on the Mick Miles show, Flip Jones (FJ) from Acme Marketing, in Paw Paw Michigan was willing to take some time to talk to Rich Bailey (RB) the driver and owner of the Capitol Auto Group Race Team about what it takes to survive in today's relatively unstable world of motorsports.

(FJ) First, congrats on breaking the 200 MPH mark. That had to be a thrill!

(RB) Yes, that's the big one and yes the longer it took the more special it became. Some guys have the means to get it done right away. Not us, it took over 19 years! Unless you win the lotto, breaking 200 MPH is it. Breaking 300 MPH is top fuel territory and I'm certain we'll never get there without winning a hefty lottery. We were always close but never got there and finally we ran 204 and then my team backed it up with 205 on the same weekend. When I hit the chutes there was definitely a difference in the tug.

(FJ) Are their any past goals that rival breaking the 200 mark?

(RB) Yes the first was getting into the 6 second zone. The reason that was important is because it would have never happened without Art Mendoza. He believed in me before we ever knew each other and provided the engine to move up to blown alcohol when I was struggling on my own with an injected engine. The other was when I went to a Toys are Us and picked up a diecast dragster that I had designed right off the shelf. It was a Rhonda Hartman car and I had no idea they were selling them. My dad had recently died and I wish he could have seen that. Something that came out of my brain was being sold nationally at a major retailer. That's great stuff. I did four more that also became die cast cars. I refer to them as my hit records.

(FJ) Looking around your cluttered office I don't see any NHRA Gold man awards.

(RB) Sadly, you probably never will. As much as I love NHRA like a stock car fan loves NASCAR, their series is not conducive to how I run my program. Mostly, NHRA sportsman racing is all take and it has to be to pay their purse and overhead. But at least at a casino money comes back out of the slot machine once in a while to keep you going. Blown alcohol cars only workout financially in the Top Alcohol Dragster class and you need a giant budget to begin with. Also, the Top Dragster class which we could compete in doesn't have the class at the Seattle Northwest Nationals. And where are the fans at the divisional events? It's like SCCA club racing now. That's not the way it used to be.

A few years ago at the last NHRA race of the season in Medford I was told nicely that "I needed to put a golf cart on my Christmas wish list". I said why? we're not golfers. Well, that was the new rule we we're told - No full size trucks to retrieve the car or tow it around the pits. Here we were just barely getting over those Southern Oregon hills at 35 MPH and now we were going to add even more weight to the trailer. Plus, I didn't have an extra one or two grand sitting around for ground transportation. Since then, I have wrote NHRA a couple of times explaining that this is a bad rule because even if I could fit a golf cart in my new trailer which I can't, I'll be over weight and the law is cracking down on racers. I know I got whacked and that's another problem just getting your car to the track legally. By the way, I got no response from NHRA concerning my brilliant point. I guess they think pickups are passe' and everyone now has a $150,000 toter set up.

(FJ) So, how did you fill the void now that you were no longer racing in the NHRA?

(RB) That winter, after we were informed about the golf cart business, I was reading a column in Drag Racing Online where Jeff Burk said that NHRA wasn't the end all to drag racing and there are other venues to compete in. He's got a good point I thought. I had heard of this class based in California called Top Eliminator West. I thought California is a long ways to go but it's also cool so I called the organizer and we hit it off and I started racing with them. There was usually 8 to 10 cars at every race and they had a couple of races in Medford. We also raced at Sacramento and even Sears Point at the Pinks race! We finished eighth or ninth the first year, then we finished fifth. The last year we could have finished second but we lost to Steve Will in a double red light at the last race in Redding and had to settle for fourth. The next year the group disbanded just prior to the start of the season and so we were without a home.

The following year my good friend Derek Snelson became the track manager at Yakima and to make a long story short we joined forces and started our own Pro Comp racing series similar to TEW called DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder. We are in our third season and we have more teams participating this year and I think our racers are happy. In fact, the regulars are like a family to me. We have done well too. We finished second the first year and third last season.

(FJ) Rich, you seem to have your fingers in a lot of pies.

(RB) Yes I do. I design racecar renderings, sponsor proposals, handout cards, t-shirts, event posters, public relations for other teams and websites as part of my ProMotion Motorsports Business. Everything is always the result of a need. Then of course on the flip side, I'm a race team owner, a driver, a race series promoter and a car show promoter. You have to do something in the winter right? How does it continue every year? I have no idea. I just don't watch any TV. My team members and other associates are a big help. And I want to give a lot of kudos to Brent Sanford. He's found himself running the mechanical end of the team again and has really stepped up his game.

(FJ) What's your secrete to attracting and keeping Sponsors?

(RB) First, good communication and long lasting relationships. Have I run a perfect ship? Heavens no. But I'm always wanting to change things up and keep it fresh, you have to if you want to do this long term. That means a new look every couple of years. I always worry I'm never doing enough to keep our sponsors interested enough. I know that's NOT the case, but I also know that if we become complacent or if we slow down, rest on our lorals and then hand the sponsors a dud proposal at the end of the year which outlines zero or few events, no photos of happy potential customers looking at the car and no racing success they will go a different direction. So from the start of January we are like a politician running for next season's re-election.

Racing on it's own can hand you a whole lot of lemons and if you don't know that you haven't talked to enough truthful racers. I've learned to make lemonade under some very difficult situations like when I crashed. We went out and bought the Rocketeer and look where we are today. The car has nothing to do with the movie but we kept using the theme and it's turned out to be a great marketing tool for us.

(FJ) Finally, why are racers both nationally and locally struggling to find sponsors?

(RB) This is nothing new but on a national level it's the economy. But I contend too that it costs more to run a Top Fuel dragster, a funny car or a pro stock then most sponsors are willing to spend. NHRA pro racing is a multi-million dollar investment but I believe that most big businesses looks at it as a half million dollar investment at best and that's about all businesses are willing to spend.

As for regionally, most guys are content to put a swirlly paint job on their car and not go after marketing partners anymore. I had a friend come up to me at the track and say that a lot of the guys out there don't like that I have corporate sponsors. I told him rather than worrying about me and how I do it they need to go out there and get there own. And that means doing all the same stuff I do. It's discouraging that here we have the Winter Rod and Speed Show and getting some of the racers to display their cars is like pulling hen's teeth. Look at the Portland Roadster Show, very few racers display their cars at that event. Look at the thousands of people that go to that show to view the cars close up. Until they start displaying their cars this trend will likely continue. And like anything else you have to keep going and never give up. Displaying your car wil open up a lot of impromptu one-on-one meetings with people wanting to help you. Trust me I know.




Bailey's Blog
Exciting Off-Season Developments! And Now Another Race to the Start of the New Season!

Wow! What an exciting off season it has been for the Capitol team! First, we went into the new year promoting the Winter Rod and Speed Show just a day after New Years without a minute to think about anything else! Then days after the show everything changed for the better! And everything was already looking good to begin with!

Already content with how the dragster was going to look like for the season, I got an email from our friend and rock musician Pat Gesualdo who offered to help out the race team with a new body and paint job. Pat wanted his organization Drums and Disabilities larger on the car and I told him there was simply no room unless we went with a new paint scheme and that wouldn't happen because I didn't want to paint over the Rocketeer and I had no extra budget for a new body. Pat agreed to help fund the project making the new design possible. And so the stage was set to order a new body from Gary Eickmann and then have the new body painted by Jeff Lewis.

The new paint scheme which I had already designed last fall also cleared the way to include enough room to pick up one more marketing partner. And, by mid-February Burgerville came on board! After talking to the person that has taken the lead on this project, Ashley Rae, I can tell you that the excitement is not limited to just the Albany and Monmouth Burgerville stores but even their upper management is excited to see how this new program plays out.

I was also informed that several people within Burgerville admire our title sponsor Capitol Auto Group, so I think this will be a very well balanced program. Both companies have a lot in common. They are each sensitive about the environment in a productive way and both give back a lot to the community including the United Way. Best of all, both companies are made up of great people that I really like working with.

As for Burgerville, they are not your typical multi unit restaurant chain. All of their food is of high quality and natural. The food they use is locally produced, free of hormones and the stock is raised on farms that employ good humane practices. They also utilize alternative power and their cooking oil is sold for bio-diesel.

Having two very respectable Northwest companies on the side of our race car is what dreams are made of for any racer. But now comes the hard part and that's earning another year of sponsorship for next season from not just Capitol and Burgerville but all of our sponsors.

Right now, as we enter the month of April it's another race against time. We found out that the BME rods that we were going to use are a hair too long, so I had to buy a new set and decided to stick with GRP which we used last year and it takes a couple of weeks to have them made. And then the engine has to be put back together, and brought back over to the valley from Bend where our crew chief Rick Klampe is assembling it. Then we have other issues that need to be addressed that includes re-stripping the blower and getting our transmission back from Jeff Marsh. Ryan Valentine from MV Detail is polishing the blower so it will look sharp.

Hopefully by the time all of this work is completed, we won't run out of weekends before the first race on May 2nd in Medford. We've been in this situation plenty of times before so I'm sure we'll come up with a plan to get it all done even if we end up putting the finishing touches to the motor in the staging lanes in Medford.

-Rich Bailey


Bailey's Blog
Medford Opener Reminds Me of Embarrassing Match Race Against Brent Jones Eight Years Ago

It's a race against time. Where have you heard that before? Well, in spite of our best efforts getting the car ready for the first race of the season, it's coming down to the wire again! We're not crying uncle yet, but were chomping at the bit to get the car finished. The engine is done, the transmission is done, but we're just waiting on one more key ingredient the chassis. I have faith we'll have everything ready to go in the nick of time. We're in good hands but I wish we had a couple of extra weeks before the first points race. I always seem to wish that. One thing for sure, we're experienced in getting out of these tight situations.

The line up is looking good with Brent Jones and Ralph Azbill coming all the way from Missoula, Montana with their Lawless Funny Car. I really like these guys a lot and I wish everyone was as committed to this series as they are and I know there won't be a free ride to the top three with them entering every event. Being ready in time for the first Blown Alcohol Thunder event on May 2nd at Champion is important on many fronts but Brent and I have some history in Medford that I have never really talked about until now. I need some redemption after the story you are about to hear.

About eight years ago we were struggling all season and we finally got the car flying in the sixes at Spokane in August but we were running out of races for the rest of the year. Well, Medford had a jet car race coming up the following weekend and in the past I helped then promoter Jim Taylor a little bit by supplementing his shows with some exhibition runs. This time I needed someone to race against and nobody locally was available to racing me in Medford. The guy I raced the year before who had the old War Eagle car quit so I had to find somebody else or not go.

In Spokane, I was running within a tenth or so of Brent Jones. So, not knowing Brent prior to the Spokane event, I promised him I would pay him $700.00 out of my own pocket to tow from Missoula to Medford and match race me. The rendering business was great back then and I had the extra budget to pull off such a stunt. This was the kind of monkey business that only John Force would have done back in the day. I did this to stir up some publicity and hopefully end the season with two races to go on a high note. Brent agreed to race me for $700.00 so Jim Taylor booked us both in. Jim would also throw in some cash for both of us if the gate was good so it would be a pretty good deal for Brent.

Around that time, we had someone in the metro area rebuilding our transmission as strongly recommended by our crew chief Jeff Lauener who sadly passed away a couple years later. The transmission guy got us where we needed to be with stronger parts but the problem was there was a defect in one of the internal transmission parts that obviously nobody knew about and our transmission was lasting only a couple of races before it would have to be rebuilt again. And you never knew when it was going to malfunction.

So, the big day arrived and it was a disaster! On every one of our three runs match racing Brent's Lawless funny car, my dragster would not hold at the line and would barely get down the track in second gear only. It was like the transbrake button wouldn't work and there was no first gear to boot! After every round the crew thought it was me, but I'd driven the car well the week before so why would I start screwing up then? I paid Brent at the end of the night as I agreed to do but I was very embarrassed to pay him after our pathetic performance. I knew Jim was disappointed too and I wasn't about to ask him for a dime so we just packed up and left the track ASAP after fulfilling my financial obligation to Brent.

The next morning Jeff and I met at the complimentary breakfast buffet inside the Medford Ramada Inn and I told him that our transmission builder was making us look like total fools out there and we couldn't keep racing like that no matter how much Jeff liked his transmission guy. I insisted that we go back to Don Kalina who always did a good job building my transmissions.

Jeff reluctantly agreed to change transmission builders but said there was one more guy he wanted to talk to who was a customer on his Mac Tools route and also raced drag bikes. The guy's name was Jeff Marsh who owned Canby Transmission. I was not aware of Jeff Marsh at the time but later in the week, Jeff Lauener called and said Jeff Marsh would not only fix our transmission but he would sponsor us too! That was all I needed to know and Canby Transmission has been with us ever since. Jeff found the defect and our problems were solved immediately.

The car ran better at the final race of that year, the Fall Classic. But most importantly, I was exonerated from being the one that caused that expensive and awful display on a hot August night in Medford racing against Brent Jones.



Finally, a Solution to Snoring That Works For Me!

I snore and I snore nearly as loud as my Capitol Auto Group Dragster on a good burnout! While that's a bit of an exaggeration, my snoring can be loud enough that nobody want's to sleep in the same room with me. Finally, after much convincing I did a sleep study and at the end I was handed a CPAP machine and was told if I didn't use it I would die. Research has backed that up. How could something we have taken so lightly for years be a major threat to our health?

The bad news for me was that I tried using the CPAP dozens of times but I could never keep the mask on all night and it was hard to sleep with air blowing up my nose. Finally, I gave up on the CPAP and later found out the dentist could fit me with this thing that looked like a giant pacifier. No thank you. After getting more noise complaints from my wife I was about to turn to the "giant pacifier" which costs over $500.00 when you throw in the dentist visit for the custom fitting.

But then I was told about this little device called Snore MD that you put over your teeth. The device looks like a combination between those dracula teeth you used to get on Halloween when you were a kid but without the fangs and the grill on John Force's new Camaro. After you custom fit them yourself, you put them on and fall a sleep. Snore MD is FDA approved and simply keeps your mouth open slightly at an angle so you can't snore.

The good news is that Snore MD is just $119.00 and there was no additional dentist bill or a doctor prescription required. In fact, you get them directly from the manufacturer in California. And there is no risk, if it doesn't work for you can return it for a refund. It takes a few nights to get used to it but once you do you won't want to sleep without it.

It's been over a week since that bad boy came in the mailbox and I have not snored since! I highly recommend Snore MD to anyone that snores and can not or does not want to use a CPAP machine. These are great for people that want to stop snoring but doesn't have insurance to cover a sleep study or funds for an extra dentist visit. Save money and restore peace and quiet for those around you: ORDER YOUR Snore MD HERE

-Rich Bailey



News and Observations from the Auto Club Finals

Last weekend my crew chief Rick Klampe and myself took a road trip down to the NHRA Auto Club Finals thanks to our friend Derek Snelson who offered us a pair of tickets. It was a great race, probably the best since the 1975 event once held at the "Big O" in Ontario. We almost didn't make it out of Oregon due to a snow storm that hit. The chains worked for a little ways but started making a big racket and we almost turned around and drove back but the road got better as we drove south.

As always I heard some of the behind the scenes chatter. First everyone knows about Force so I won't go into that other than to say it was nice being at the last race for the 30 year plus Castrol deal. I'm not sure if we'll miss the green Castrol cars or not but everything in this sport is subject to change. I just hope I will keep on pace for keeping my sponsors for years to come and my great teammates. The good news for Duane Shields fans is that the new Peak deal which JFR recently announced won't effect Duane's sponsorship and he will be back in a Peak car in 2015. That's great news for yours truly as well!

Other changes to be noted is that the Taska Funny Car team doesn't have a deal next year and will be going at it on a part time basis as will Dexter Tuttle's Top Fuel team. Parts Plus enjoyed their last race with Tuttle Motorsports and driver Clay Millican at the Finals. Look for a well know driver to get in the Tuttle car next season which will be racing on a schedule that includes mostly southern state events. Millican will drive for a new team to be announced at the PRI Show. The Gumout sponsored Top Fuel car was absent at Pomona after a semi final finish at Vegas race. But it looks like they are good for next season. My sources also told me that it was rumored that representatives from Jimmy Johns was shopping their deal around the pits but no word of who if anyone got it.

I came away with a few observations as I always do. The first is that reserved seating is killing NHRA and they would be wise to expand their general admission seating and dump some of their reserved seating. Sitting on the opposite side of the track you could see that their were plenty of reserved seats available but the general admission area was crammed packed! The consumers have spoken and NHRA should listen. They will pay for the cheap general admission seats but fewer want reserve seats. So why not add more general admission seats?

General admission (above) was packed. The reserved section (below) offered plenty of empty seats!

Another observation was a general feeling of growing defeatism among some of the independent fuel teams. Many of the team owners I talked to have given up on finding a sponsor and are just holding on to what they have left. It was reported on Dragracingonline.com that it costs $1000,000 a weekend to race a well funded fuel car. That's crazy and not sustainable.

How about the race itself? Glad you asked. I think the Countdown is working and Pro Stock went down to the final round with Erica Enders taking the event win and the Championship. It couldn't have been any more exciting as was Funny car which was settled in the semi-finals between John Force and Matt Hagan. Hagan came back to win the race against Forcce in the finals. In Top Fuel Tony Schumacher won the World Championship by just qualifying. He then made it to the finals where he lost to Morgan Lucas in a tight race. In Top Alcohol Dragster, Duane Shields topped off his up and down season by winning the event and finishing in 6th place nationally. Local racer Joey Severance finished second nationally in Top Alcohol Dragster.

Perhaps the best part of the race was the legends event where Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Kenny Bernstien, TV Tom, and Ed the Ace McCulloch told stories and reflected on their careers. It was great going back in time and listening to some great stories told by the superstars of the sport. I was impressed with Bernstien who looks 20 years younger then he actually is.

Dave McCleland was the MC and was pleasant as always. It was good seeing this nice gentleman back after a bout with some serious health issues. The Snake was very candid and made some interesting revelations. Don Garlits told one of the funniest stories about a guy by the name of "Smokey" who staged an auction to sell off all of his car stuff after he got sick. Smokey didn’t like the prices he was getting for his stuff. So finally he ran up on stage and grabbed the microphone out of the auctioneer’s hand and said “OK you son of a bitches since you aren't spending any money this auction is over!” Later we met Shirley Muldowney and that was a delight as always! Her restored 1977 car was there on display and it’s incredible. You have to see it and maybe you will!

-Rich Bailey


A Wild Card NHRA National Event Could Mix it up while introducing More Fans to the Sport

Here's an idea that would be beneficial to NHRA in keeping its member tracks while putting an end to the stale Mello Yello series that everyone seems to complain about. Lets say Pacific Raceway is gone since it is curently up for sale. Why not have that date be a rotating race each year in some new market? Make it a full points race, and an 8 car field in every pro class just like they did at some selected events back in the day? This way some secondary markets like Boise, Bakersfield, Salt Lake, Mission, Woodburn and Sacramento could host a wild card national race on a rotating basis.

The benefit would be NHRA would have a new market to introduce for at least 6 years, until all six cities hosted a race. Plus, NHRA would retain these tracks so they wouldn't go to IHRA and these member tracks would surely make some improvements in order to get one of these wild card races.

Best of all, the fans would see a new national event both in person or on TV. And sportsman racers in these markets would have a national at their home track once every six years which might help them get a sponsor while racing in front of their friends and neighbors which is something they can't do now.

NHRA needs to think out of the box and do something exciting and different while encouraging the sport to grow and this would help.

- Rich Bailey

Generator Sales "Flare Up" at Harbor Freight Just Before the Big One is Set to Hit This Weekend!

Soooo, there I am at Harbor Freight looking at generators and this guy and his son came walking up and asked if I'm buying a generator because of the "storm" that's coming on Friday or Saturday night? And I said what storm? It's going to be 80 degrees this weekend! And they said "No, the solar storm that's coming and there are two EMT'S HEADING TWARDS EARTH RIGHT NOW! I said "no I'm buying a generator for my racing team. Mine is on the fritz and the replacement I got on Craig's list isn't much better" I said half joking.

So, the older gent who said to be a scientist proceeded to talk my ear off for 30 minutes about all this solar stuff and he claims to even have some solar discovery named after him! Well, I finally had enough as I feared the store was closing soon and so I asked him point blank the question we would all want to know in this situation: where on earth are these bad boys going to hit? He then informed me that these EMT's are bigger than the earth so everywhere! He also said that some of these are strong enough to burn down telephone poles and make us into crispy critters!

How's that for global warming, Al Gore? Generally, I would say if the one in the picture is heading our way and it's bigger than the earth then that would be a bigger threat to us then the earth warming one degree in 100 years from now. Wouldn't you?

But most likely the worst case scenario is that this one two punch as he called it could bring down the national power grid! At least he was sure enough that he bought a generator while I was standing there and even gave me the discount code to save me an additional 30.00 bucks! That sealed the deal for me and I then bought one too.

After this chance meeting, as I rolled the new Preditor generator out to the parking lot in a rickedy old Harbor Freight shopping cart, I began to wonder if he and his son might have been Harbor Freight employees acting as customers and I was the gullible shopper? Nah. They seemed to know more than anyone would ever want to know about this stuff, especially someone that would work at Harbor Freight.

I later walked into McDonald's just down the street from Harbor Freight beaming with this new found knowledge from my new friend when everything around me seemed so normal. I started thinking I was playing a role in a disaster movie, you know, the Tom Cruise charactor that just learns the truth that nobody else knows just before the big one is set to hit and destroy everything and he has 48 hours to stop it!! Yeah, for a split second in my mind I was that guy! I later came home and told my wife about this chance meeting I had with the scientist on isle 11 at Harbor Freight and she thought I was nuts. Of course I am, but you can't make this stuff up. Can you?

-Rich Bailey

A Pleasant Environment at the Track is Key to Keeping Sponsors Happy Both Big and Small

A few years ago the marketing arm of a national pizza chain accompanied by the team's PR person visited the pits of a top fuel team in need of a sponsor. The crew chief rudely informed them that they were in the way. When the PR person ran interference and told the crew chief who they were, the crew chief (who didn't pay the bills) informed them that it didn't matter and to get out. They did and obviously never came back. A big sponsor was lost then and there.

Fast forward to today when I bumped into a sponsor who was providing a team products. The products were a must have item and added up to hundreds of dollars in supplies each year. The car owner it seems wanted to keep his pit cordoned off to everyone but the crew including the sponsors. The team owner told this supporter and another sponsor at a different race that they were no longer welcome to hang around their pits and they were not needed. The sponsor chose to withdraw his generosity and took the sponsorship to another team who gladly excepted. The other team will now have to buy those supplies simply because of an inflated ego.

We all know that sponsors sometimes leave a team for one reason or another and often there was nothing that could be done to save the program. Perhaps it was A. a long stroke of bad luck on the track, B. financial problems within the company or C. the sponsor didn't think they were getting any return on their investment. But the one reason that can always be avoided is D. the team failed to represent the company in a positive manner or failed to make them feel comfortable.

It's very important to keep a positive and upbeat relationship with all of your sponsors and as a car owner or driver you should never feel like you are above even the smallest of contributors. Many of these sponsors help you because they want too and taking them for granted is simply wrong, especially when they are breaking their back day in and day out to help you out even if it's a very small percentage of the companies gross, it matters.

In the high pressure world of racing mistakes will sometimes be made by the driver, the team owner or a crew member since we all human and we may react to something in the wrong way. In 15 years of racing, I have made a couple of mistakes myself but I realized I was in the wrong and I saved that relationship. But it could have turned out differently. We love all of our sponsors and want to do all we can to be a valuable asset to them especially when we have had a stretch of bad luck like we have had this year. Showing some appreciation and even a simple email or a phone call goes a long way in keeping that relationship tight in both good and bad times.

But the best way to avoid a costly mistake is to realize that at the end of the day we are out here to have fun and we shouldn't take ourselves so seriously. There will always be one winner and if you were not it realize that if you got down the track, if you were friendly to the fans that stopped by your pit, and you represented your sponsors in the best possible light, it was a good day at the track and you did a good job for the sponsor.

- Rich Bailey



A True Story Every Racer Should Read:
CDL Received After Parade of Misfires
and Long Waits

They say ignorance is bliss and for at least 15 years it was for me and thank goodness the many law enforcement officers that passed me on countless interstate highways in Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho. Last November, just three miles from my house I was pulled over by a city police officer for not having truck plates while hauling my 44 foot trailer and then it was discovered I didn't have a CDL. A CDL? We're hauling a race car not furniture or a truck load full of caskets. It didn't matter. I had to pull the truck and trailer into the nearest parking lot and find someone with a CDL to drive it home. I was lucky that big parking lot was near by as the officer originally wanted to tow it!

What I'm driving is not a Kenworth but a Chevrolet Dually, my third one since I began racing 15 years ago. I had no idea that what I was driving in the eyes of the law was a "semi" tractor trailer combo and I was operating contrary to the Federal laws that Oregon had adapted as their own. After all, I have never seen a pick-up truck at a weigh station and a few years ago I had a conversation with someone at ODOT who told that if I weighed under 26,000 lbs I had nothing to worry about. I went and weighed the rig and it was under 26,000 lbs but the manufacturer's rating on the truck and trailer together was over 26,000 lbs so the rating is what nailed me. I had no idea that the law goes by both the Gross Volume Weight Rating or the combined physical weight, which ever is greater.

I took the matter to court pleading not guilty to driving a commercial vehicle and not having truck plates. I argued the best I could pleading ignorance but the judge found me guilty on both counts. My only recourse was to either down size my operation or get the truck plates and the CDL.

I decided at the end of the day, it was better to get the plates and the CDL. The truck plates were easy to get but very expensive to the tune of $600.00 per year and the CDL was not nearly as expensive but very time consuming. And what happened in obtaining the CDL could have made a great comedy screen play. Ever see the movie Ground Hogs Day?

By the time I finally got my CDL it took me four months of persistence. First, there was a physical to get a medical card and then a written test of 75 questions taken on a computer at the DMV office. I took that test and passed the first time after taking free practice tests on an online trucking site. Had it not been for those online tests I would have failed for sure.

Then came the drive test which took me five tries. And every time you must re-take the entire test over depending on how far into the test you get. This test includes a pre-trip inspection where you explain everything there is to know about the truck to the inspector which is more difficult then it sounds. Next, there is a trailer backing test and then finally the drive test. And if you fail any part of the test you have to wait seven days before you can call and make another appointment to take the test again. Appointments usually take three weeks before there is another opening.

The reason it took five tries was due to an intermittent brake module problem caught during the pre-trip inspection, a bad battery which would not hold the trailer brakes during the pre-trip inspection, an erroneous appointment time where I showed up on the wrong freaking day, and a failed drive test because I did not check my mirrors enough and then I gradually drifted over the speed limit on the freeway while checking the mirrors.

On the fifth try I did everything right and those mechanical gremlins which normally follow me to Woodburn Dragstrip stayed home. But there was still some drama. The night before the test I noticed the plug on the pig tail had broke in half which we were able to replace that evening. And during the test, a classic homeless man asked me for a smoke in the middle of the test instructions and then he wouldn't get out of the way of the truck while I was doing the back up test. In spite of all that I passed and that same instructor that failed me was impressed!

There is a silver lining to all I went through, because of this ordeal we are a lot safer now then we were before we were stopped by the police. And, I was glad this happened when and where it did. Had this occurred during the summer months south of Chemult on US 97 it would have been difficult to find someone with a CDL to drive the truck and trailer home and would have sidelined us during the season due to the time it takes to get in compliance.

If you are potentially in the same boat, you might want to get pro-active and get that CDL because once you are sidelined it can take a long time to get your CDL since appointments can take up to a month to get. As I have learned, not having truck plates is a neon sign that tells the cops you probably don't have a CDL either. The bottom line is if you know you need one or might it's best to get the CDL so you are not towed in the middle of the night two states away.

Trailer Q&A: What we know is Fact:

Q: As long as I have "Not For Hire" on the truck I'm OK right?
A: No. The law goes by weight or motor home exemption. Having "Not for Hire" on your truck won't stop you from getting pulled over.

Q: As long as I don't have advertising on my trailer I'm OK right?
A: No. Again, the law goes by weight so it has nothing to do with what is on the side of the trailer. The only exception to that is if it's a motorhome. And if it's a motorhome, it can not be registered as such if it's used for business. Having advertising on the trailer pulled by a motorhome makes it for business purposes.

Q: So how do I determine if I need truck plates?
A: If the trailer you are hauling weighs over 8,000 lbs loaded you need truck plates also known as "T" plates.

Q: So how do I determine if I need a CDL?
A: If the the truck and trailer weighs over 26,000 lbs OR the GVWR (the manufacture's gross volume weight rating is over 26,000 lbs then you need a CDL. To find out look on the door of the truck and the serial number plate on the trailer and add the two up if it's over 26,000 lbs you need a CDL.

Q: Do I need to stop at Weigh Stations?
A: In Oregon if the truck and trailer is over 20,000 lbs you do. In Washington it's 16,000 there but you don't have to stop unless directed to do so by a flashing sign. In California you don't if the vehicle pulling the trailer has a pickup truck bed. In fact a sign says "No Pick-ups" at the entrance of the scales.

The gray Area: Motorhomes

Q: I have a Freightliner toter and it's registered as a motorhome so I'm exempt!
A: That's what I use to think but I have learned that it depends on what the trailer you are towing weighs and how it's licensed. According to an Oregon DMV employee if your trailer is considered a heavy trailer (weighing over 8,000 lbs loaded) and towed by a vehicle registered as a motorhome that is an illegal combination. Therefore, a motorhome can not legally tow a trailer weighing over 8,000 lbs loaded so you would need a CDL and truck plates. The best way to tell is to see if you have UH Plates or permanent plates on the trailer.

The other interpretation is that if it's a motorhome you are completely exempt from needing a CDL and truck plates. But the person who will ultimately decide is the officer that pulls you over.

-Rich Bailey


Bailey's Blog
Junk at the Swap Meet and Other Tidbits

I went up to the Hi Performance swap meet in Vancouver with my good friend Robert Landsberg who had not been to a swap meet in over five years. Robert had a great time meeting his racing idols Garry Fauble and Chris Marshall that were at the meet. Other than those two guys we didn't see anyone else we knew.

There was a lot of junk at high prices and I wasn't planning on buying anything, but believe it or not I found exactly what I was looking for: a tall deck blower manifold and a couple of chute packs in excetlent condition. Both I needed badly but the manifold was long over due. We have been using spacers for the current manifold and used a whole lot of silicon just to keep them in place. It was a mickey mouse set up, since it caused leeks and wasted a lot of our time scraping it off but when you are on a budget what can you do? Every year I worry about spending all of our money before the season begins but we always seem to make it through the year some how.

Next on our list is a set of heads and we are switching to Brodex. We hope that this will be the end of the rocker stud problems that occurred last year and we have an appointment to get the block O-ringed. Once all that's done we will be ready to go and hopefully we'll not have any of the mechanical issues that we had last year. We have been strongly urged to go to the Cool April Nights race in Redding but I'm going to stick with Woodburn to reduce travel expenses. We have also been contacted by Spokane and I might go there instead of Boise just to save money.
Now you know why I do so many displays, it's to save money. Just a little inside baseball but we do what we have to do to pace ourselves to get through the season and still get the sponsors as much exposure as possible.

I'm really looking forward to going back to the Rocketeer paint job. After all it's good for the sponsors. I recently read a magazine article about Jungle Jim Liberman, the out of control funny car racer from the 70's. And he was all about the show. He loved to match race more than racing national events and made more money that way too. Revell sold a lot more models calling the car Revell's Jungle Jim and having a Jungle Jim character on the car rather than calling the car Revell's Russell James Liberman. I'm no Jungle Jim but the same thing applys here. The car and the sponsor's get more attention with the Rockeeter than a more corporate design like we have had.

Everything should be ready to go in March which means it will be ready in April. But I guarantee the car will be ready sooner than it was last year



Bailey's Blog:
The 4.2 Million Dollar Batmobile that Wasn't

The Batmobile that was at our show. It's not the one that sold for 4.2 Million, but it's a close match.

You may have recently seen numerous stories about the the original 1967 Batmobile being sold by the "King of the Kustoms" George Barris for 4.2 million to a businessman who's going to display the famed car in his living room. The story made headlines around the world and God bless him, Mr. Barris deserves every penny.

Two years ago, I had my own Bat encounter but it was a little different. you see, I caught wind that the Batmobile was going to be at the Portland Roadster Show, but there was little fan fair about one of the greatest american iconic cars of all time being displayed there, which I thought was odd. How could the promoters miss that publicity opportunity? Well,
it turned out that it wasn't the real Batmobile but a replica owned by a local car collector so the car didn't get the billing it normally would had it been the original. But this car was still worthy of beeing the center piece of any car show.

So, I thought "hey let's see if we could get it for our show". After doing some research, I was able to track someone down who knew the owner. After a three week wait and a lot of phone calls, we received word that we could have the "Bat Mobile" complete with the real working flames and the blinking red light for our Winter Rod and Speed Show. There was one stipulation: we could not call it the Batmobile since it was not the real car and they didn't want any trouble with trademark issues. This was why the Portland Roadster Show didn't publicize that it was there.

Months later, the posters were taped on store windows around the state and the ads were produced that the Bat Tribute Car would be at the show. One afternoon while I was on my computer a call came in for Rich Bailey. It was George Barris himself after a brief introduction from his secretary. I was thrilled! George Barris was right up there with the "Don Prudhommes of the world" but why would he be calling me? It turned out that our Bat Tribute car as we were asked to call it had put a bee in Barris' bonnet.

As Mr. Barris explained, even though he built the original car, he had to pay Warner Brothers to show his own car. And if he has to pay to show his own car then I should pay too! He explained that "Warner Bros. had three lawyers with nothing to do sitting around their office and these clones were being impounded and destroyed" I was then asked to take our Bat Tribute Car off the posters and not to have the car in the show. However, if I wanted to have the real Bat Mobile and Mr. Barris at the show it would be possible (for a fee).

The pitch for an appearance made me a little suspicious so I did some investigating and it turned out that there are Batmobiles all over the country. And, I could never find a documented incident of a replica Batmobile ever being impounded or destroyed. It also turned out that a company produces a few Batmobiles per year under licence from DC Comics which is owned by Warner Bros. After a call the next morning to the company, I learned we had car no. 12 and it was legal to show it, Batmobile name and all.

We had our Bat Tribute Car at the show but never claimed it was the real car. There were no incidents as George had warned. Two months later the King himself was at the Portland Roadster Show signing autographs. I got in line and went over to George and asked for a signed autograph poster for a small fee of course. I told him to be sure and make it out to Rich Bailey.



Bailey's Blog
So, What's New at Capitol Racing?

The season's over other than two final NHRA events in the Southwest. For our team, we have the Christmas parade coming up on the second Saturday in December and a couple of other events that are pending. Between the rain storms, we are planning to display the dragster at Stuart's Auto Parts for our friends at Royal Purple, King Engine Bearings and NGK Spark Plugs.

In January, we will have the car at the Winter Rod and Speed Show which is an event that we promote along with Jim Billings. Right after the show we will be pulling the vinyl off the car as we will have a new look on the Capitol car next year. Our other project is to O-rign the block so we don't have any more problems pushing out the head gaskets. We are also looking at getting a new set of heads. Then, next spring we will do some pre-season testing so we don't fall behind at the start of the season. We all want a strong trouble free car next year and some early season testing should help us sort out any potential problems. I think though that the racing gods owe us a trouble free season, especially at Woodburn.

It appears that most if not all of our sponsors will return in 2013 so we can take a deep breath before hitting it hard next season. I want to thank marketing partners Capitol Auto Group, KYKN, Walery's Pizza, Clear Signal, Marsh Canby Transmission, Royal Purple, Supervinyl, King Engine Bearings, NGK Spark Plugs, Adam's Rib, Competition Printing. Image Acton wear, Hillier's Tire, MV Mobile Detail, and Odyssey Batteries for their support, a big thanks to everyone that helped this year including Rick Klampe, Richard Lytle, Dave "Cookie" Cookman, Josh McGuire, Brent Sanford, Larry Lava, and our new display guy Adam Bradford. Also, thanks to our families for letting us go racing. Our team worked very hard this year and I'm very greatful for all of their help. It's harder than it looks but that's what we do.



Bailey's Blog
Media's Branding of "Drag Racing" in Unrelated Street Deaths Necessitates a Name Change

I look at Google News everyday. For those not familiar with Google News, it's a collection of news stories where you can actually control the news content by adding any subject matter you want. Google news then takes your key words and provides you stories matching those words from across the country. So, I have a number of racing terms such as "Drag Racing" "Top Alcohol" etc. listed on my Google News page.

Sadly, instead of receiving stories about the SPORT of drag racing, I often get daily stories about deadly street racing crashes and headlines such as "Drag Racer kills father of two" "Drag racing crash leaves two dead", etc. So, I start reading these articles and every time they are about some punk in his little import car racing around the streets, going out of control and killing someone. Never is it about a real drag race, it's always a street race or someone driving at a high rate of speed but some how they become "drag racers". They don't have an NHRA competition license and they probably don't even know who John Force is.

None of these tragic and deadly events that happen throughout our nation are caused by card carrying members of the NHRA. They are caused by people that have never set foot on a dragstrip, often involved in a spontaneous speed contest induced by testosterone. If they had they wouldn't be carrying this deadly practice out on to the highway. The term "drag racer" used by the media in describing an irresponsible punk that hit a family in another car at a high rate of speed is like calling a duck hunter a serial killer.

The NHRA use to take these matters very seriously and the organization was the catalyst for forming organized drag racing. Today, I don't see these anti-street racing messages publicized very often. I believe NHRA must start focusing more on this growing problem besides just preaching to the choir. There have been to many of these stories lately and as a result NHRA needs to take an aggressive stand that the media will notice. Our image is hurt every time the media uses the term "drag racing" to describe a fatal car crash caused by kids fooling around.

Of course, everyone knows the difference between street racing and the sport or drag racing but NHRA can do themselves and the sport a big favor by calling a big news conference and announce they are changing their product's name to "Straight Line Racing", "Speed Racing" or some other catchy name at the end of the year and tell the media why they are leaving the term "drag racing" behind. Look at NASCAR, the term NASCAR is used to decribe their product even thought it's stock car racing. But who in the media still calls it stock car racing? They don't they call it NASCAR. A similar move won't hurt NHRA. The blaring difference of suddenly changing the name will become instant awareness to the public via the source of the problem the news media. NHRA can still use their "NHRA" brand name but the story would earn the sport some new credibility and positive ink that it so desperately needs and it would set the story straight that this is a professional sports property and to the kids out there that street racing is for loosers.

I am convinced we will never win the media war otherwise as this has gone on far to long. Changing the term will officially disassociate NHRA, their racers and sponsors from this extremely negative and deadly outlaw activity. This would be the best thing NHRA could do. Sure, people and other racing organizations would still call it drag racing and fans would grumble about it for a while, but everything in this world is subject to change and this would be a change for the better. The way I see it, if NHRA wants to be professional, they need to ditch these deadly armatures even if it's loosely guilt by association. We have tried everything else to educate the media but they are set in their ways. It's time to take actions and leave the old terminology "drag racing" in the dust.

-Rich Bailey



Bailey's Blog
Will Small Tracks Go the Way of the Drive-in?

At one time in this country drive-in theaters were everywhere in America. Towns both big and small had them. Locally, there were three drive-ins now there is just one. Drive-ins went hand in hand with the car culture, dating, and a source of cheap entertainment for the family strapped with three or more kids. There was something great about watching a movie from your car on a hot summer night regardless of the lack of sound quality or the picture on the big screen. It was fun to honk the horn when the film skipped off the real. But truth be known, most of us didn't go to watch the movie. Drive-ins we're the hub of things to do on a saturday night, a unique form of entertainment.

Then around the mid eighties the local drive-ins began to disappear. The high cost of property, new luxury theaters, and the availability of home video have all but doomed many drive-ins nationwide.

So, what does this have to do with race tracks? I'm afraid that many race tracks will go the way of the drive-in if this economy continues to lag and today President Obama didn't help things by denying the permit to build the Keystone pipeline for no legitimate reason.

Case in point, after reading of the closure of tracks this year in Kansas City, Dallas Texas, Medford Oregon and Tulsa OK (which got a temporary reprieve) I worry that many more smaller non-national event tracks are at risk of going away. I use this analogy of the drive-in because these small independent tracks and drive-ins have a lot in common and economics seem to be the underlying cause of why these tracks are closing. In Kansas City, the city that bought the track only to destroy it to make it into a park, in Tulsa, a gravel pit bought that property but chose to keep the track open temporarily, and in Medford and Dallas the reasons were strictly economic. Medford has a track in need of repair while the Dallas track was repaired but failed to come up with the money to pay the paving bill.

I hate to say it but I think a perfect storm could lead to more closures and in the end only a few small tracks will survive, just like the few drive-ins that have gradually closed over the last few years of our economic malaise. Look at it this way, you are sitting on a million dollars in property and meanwhile you're bleeding in property taxes and operating losses, selling out makes a lot of sense if you are the track operator or theater operator. It's just business. Only those with genuine dedication would continue on.

So what is the perfect storm? A bad economy, lower car counts, fewer spectators, higher operation costs, insurance and property taxes. Will the sport be able to continue in this environment? Yes, in pockets it will but parts will be more expensive and harder to get. Just like the top fuel and funny car classes, the sport will contract to a few geographic areas mainly down south and in the east. In California, the birthplace of our sport, drag racing only survives on the national level as tracks with weekly or monthly events are almost gone. And in Oregon, Medford's demise leaves only one track where you will see a nitro burning or blown alcohol race car.

So, times are a changing, especially on the west coast. Whether it's a drive-in or a dragstrip, America's car culture and automotive related entertainment is slowly disappearing from our landscape and I'm not sure what we can do to stop it other than support these facilities with our hard earned dollars and provide the folks running these tracks lots of encouragement.

-Rich Bailey

Bailey's Blog
Tons of Interest and Lots of Fun Down on the Farm

The racing season for most of us is over. So now we're doing a few events here and there that are mostly weather permitting. One event we always like to squeeze in is the Bauman Farms' Fall Festival which is the Disneyland of all such fall events that includes hay rides, mazes, zip lines and the like.

Bauman's is always one of the best static events we do all year in terms of interest and turn out of people. It's one of those leisure events that's just the right setting for the Capitol Dragster. And it's at the most unlikely of places to see a six second race car! In fact when I sprung the idea on my wife after taking the kids there five years ago she thought I was nuts but in reality this event has been a big hit for our sponsors year after year. Why? because the logos get seen close up year after year. In fact, one guy came up and looked over the car and said that he patronizes all of the local sponsors he saw on the car. Bingo! For those of you without a sponsor, you need to read the "Bauman effect" at the bottom of my ProMotion page

Bauman Farms annual festival was simply off the hook in terms of exposure again this year. The event went as well as an event could with a steady flow of people throughout the day.
It was a busy day and the time went by fast. It's a fun place to be matched with a positive atmosphere. I wish we could have the car there every weekend but that might be just to much of a good thing.

What really made my day this year was when a real tall guy walks up to the car with his family and joked he probably couldn't fit in the car. He was right and that started a conversation, it turned out that the guy I was talking to was none other than former NBA star Scott Haskin, who played for Oregon State as the starting center and then center - power forward for the Indiana Pacers!

As a fan and college student I remembering watching Scott play at OSU with the likes of Gary Payton and that's all it took for me to be my star struck self. I can still remember a game where OSU brought down Arizona, a number one ranked team in front of an ABC national TV audience at Gill!
I have some great news concerning Scott that I will be announcing soon on this web site!

I want to thank Bauman Farms for allowing us to be a part of their event and thanks to Richard Lytle for his valuable help once again. I can't say enough about Richard's dedication and what a great friend both he and our crew chief Rick Klampe have turned out to be. What a fun year the three of us have had both on and off the track.



Bailey's Blog
Even a Move to Keizer Can't Stop The Festival of Lights Holiday Parade From Being a Giant Success

Richard Lytle, Rich Bailey and Rick Klampe Goofing around in the staging area before the parade.

I will admit that when I heard they moved the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade from Downtown Salem out to Keizer I thought it was a step down. A step in the wrong direction, a step out to suburbia, Big Boxland and McDonalds. From a route with the State Capital in the background and Macy's to the land of strip malls, Keizer doesn't cut it for such a grand event. But then I thought hopefully it's going to be a big parade and it's always a fun one so why pass on it just because they changed locations? And the parade chairwoman loves me, so, how could I say no?

The parade was canceled last year because the sponsor walked and it cost big money to stage the event in Salem. For some reason the City of Keizer could do it at a reasonable cost so it was either move it to Keizer or quit having the parade all together. At one time this parade was televised live all over Oregon and it was even syndicated in a few other markets including some areas in the south Pacific and even Prague.

With a new team in place we went to town on the lights and boy did it turnout good. Even my daughter gave us a rare compliment so the car and truck had to look nice. The route and the staging was like the Iris Parade which we have done a bunch of times so it was going to be nothing new to me. Once everything was in place and all the lights were working, we started to roll out right around 7:15 PM. I was quite surprised as to how many people lined the street sometimes 5 or 6 deep as we turned the corner from the staging area to River Road. There was easily 30,000 people lining the street. It was obvious that the locals in the Salem-Keizer are support this parade.

Brent Sanford returned as the driver of the truck and Richard and Rick were taking it all in from the tailgate. My daughter Acacia and her friend Tabby along with "Cappy" the Capitol Bear walked behind the car. Richard's family rode in the bed of the truck. The crowd was really lively on this cold December evening and we received a lot of cheers from the crowd. Acacia, who is a Sprague cheerleader, was doing cheers and her friend was even doing some cartwheels along the route to the delight of the crowd. It was really something.

In comparing the two parades I realized I was all wrong about the move to Keizer. About all you see in downtown are wreaths hanging on street lights and some nice old buildings as you are led around the downtown streets. The Keizer route was much different as you pass lighted christmas tree lots, colorful lighted decorations on street poles and even a big lighted Christmas tree next to Domino's Pizza, spearheaded by one of our sponsors, Dave Walery, who was also the parade's Grand Marshal.

Yes, I liked the downtown route for a number of reasons but the Christmas Spirit is alive and well and more jovial in Keizer, the town I grew up in. Keizer's civic pride was all over the parade from the local Fire Department to McNary High school, the event was well supported and the parade committee made the right choice to move it out there.

Hats off to the parade committee for bringing back this great event after a year's absence. Even though there was a little drizzle it was a perfect event and the crowds were big. Now we're really in the Christmas spirit!

Bailey's Blog

BIG Changes Expected in the Top Alcohol Classes in 2012

Clint Thompson does a burnout at this year's NHRA Divisional at Woodburn

The big news is that NHRA is looking to consolidate the Top Alcohol classes from competing at most existing divisional events to just 14 regional events in the western and in the eastern United States and Canada. In the Northwest my guess is that Mission (Vancouver BC market), and Woodburn (Portland market) would get a regional for sure and perhaps Seattle or Spokane, but that would be it as these tracks are safe and have traditionally been supportive of Top Alcohol.

Of course we are a blown alcohol team not a Top Alcohol team so this news doesn't effect us since we now race in the Pacific Pro Comp Series but there is a reason for that as our kind of car isn't conducive to the NHRA format and they don't draw much of a crowd at divisional races anyway which is one reason NHRA is taking action to eliminate top alcohol from divisional events. One of the issues I have with divisional racing is that it's become a marathon to attract as many paying sportsman cars as possible and then rotate them through as many times as they can. As a result of this the show and spctator attendance has declined and dumping the top alcohol cars will just make everything much worse than it is now.

I understand that NHRA needs to do something to keep the class alive. Basically they are going to throw the marginal smaller markets under the bus that aren't safe and can't pay the purse. Just a side bar but maybe there wouldn't be a problem funding the alcohol cars if NHRA didn't take such a big cut from these divisional events as they already do.

I can remember when they took the pro classes: Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock out of NHRA divisionals for the same reason. And was it a good move? Well, when that happened there was a shift from the independent guys having a place to run a fuel car in their own backyard to having to travel to national events. And the result was the regional fuel teams dropped like flies nearly overnight while the already touring national hitters like Don Pruhomme and others marched on. The good news was that the pro classes survived but on a NASCAR like circuit. Then you could run a fuel car on a $500,000 sponsorship and those guys did fine....for a while until it got to expensive for even popular names like John Collins, Dale Pulde and Rolland Leong to attract a national sponsor willing to spend 1 million plus. And now 5 million isn't an unual price tag for a season of fuel racing.

I give credit to NHRA for addressing the elephant in the room. However, what happens to these divisional events without top alcohol cars? They loose any prestige they had left and division races become lame to the spectators, and guys in other classes are racing in front of zero spectators at events without alcohol cars. Who wants to sponsor a deal like that? At that point why even run divisionals unless you're content with divisionals being like SCCA sports car club racing where an event is limited to just the racers only? These events become like National Opens that are largely not on most people's radar screens. In fact, some might recall we were to loud to race at the national open in Portland.

What has been lost over the years is the creativity to make these NHRA divisional events a spectacle that will attract a big enough paying crowd. You and I know watching an A/fueler or any kind of a blown car is spectacular but why isn't the word getting out to draw new people in?

I say bring back the jets, the wheelstanders and add a budget Pro Comp class to supplement the declining Top Alcohol cars. Then at races where you have short fields there will still be some blown cars to keep the action going if indeed they want to attract a big crowd again.

Kudos to NHRA for addressing the problem and wanting to keep the class going BUT they better have a plan B for those events that lose the alcohol cars because it's going to be a BIGGER ghost town than it already is at NHRA divisional events.




NHRA Needs to Revisit Cost Cutting in Top Fuel

One of my long time clients who I will not name told me this week that he's given up on racing in Top Fuel. This guy is a gifted driver and a hustler when it comes to sponsors. With IHRA no longer running a series and no companies in site willing to invest millions into a top fuel race team, the writing is on the wall. To my friend's credit, he's not giving up and is instead looking at competing in A/Fuel, a step below Top Fuel but costs fractions less than Top Fuel to compete in and you still run in the fives. Hey, Duane Shields races in A/Fuel and he's about as professional as they get so I think my friend's idea is a good one.

This week we are also hearing that Doug Herbert is passing on his home town race in Charlotte because he can't raise up enough money for just that one race. And when Don "the Snake" Prudhomme gave up for financial reasons the sport changed forever.


NHRA had been looking at ways to reduce costs and scrub speeds with a spec engine combo consisting of just one mag and a smaller fuel pump but they apparently abandoned the program or put it on hold after some teams made some test runs with the new spec engine combination. But the truth is that NHRA can make these cars more inexpensive to run but I think they are afraid to do anything that could risk a decline in attendance or prestige. Plus, there are some teams that want to leave everything as is, teams where apparently money is no object.

Well, IHRA's pro series is over so NHRA can do what they want and keep their superiority in the market place. So, why don't they? Again, nobody wants to risk their livelihood to do anything that might hurt the series in the short term. But the truth is that now is the time to slow the fuel cars down, cut costs, and reduce ticket prices. Other than nostalgia events, where else are the fans going to go since there is no longer a competing IHRA or AHRA pro series to speak of?

Nostalgia nitro funny cars have proven that the independent racer can survive and thrive in this economic climate for well under $500,000 a year or even less, way less!

Are the current big show fans getting any more thrills at an NHRA event that costs an estimated $10,000-$30,000 a lap by the big pro teams once salary and overhead is factored in vs. a nostalgia nitro funny car event where a trip down the track costs between $1000 and $2000 a run? Nope. The nostalgia funny cars put on just as an exciting show, the cars run in the fives, going the full quarter mile rather than 1000 feet for a fraction of the cost. We saw Zeigler and Sander's cars wow the fans at Woodburn under the lights. It might as well have been Force vs. Hagan out there, it was just as exciting with the header flames and the noise.

Everyone has had to cut costs and deal with this ugly economy. Sadly, the recession is alive and well with sign holders on every corner. Maybe NHRA and it's pro teams should get back together and cut their costs like everyone else has been forced to do before there is nobody left but four of the big multi-car teams. I know it's not a simple task but those at the top get paid very well for their expertise and not doing anything meaningful and effective is a failure of leadership just like it is in Washington.

-Rich Bailey


A Never Quit Attitude is the Key to Longevity

After I dropped my trailer off following the AC Gilbert event I spotted a face in the Capitol lot that I had not seen in a while. It was Tom Dalton, the man that landed me the Capitol sponsorship twelve years ago to the day. I had to stop and thank him for getting the company to sponsor me. At the time, I was content with what I already had in the way of sponsors and never imagined I would ever have a title sponsor lasting twelve years. It's been a blessing and I have worked hard to keep it going all of these years.

After a simple thank you to Tom I said "can you believe this sponsorship has been so successful and has lasted so long?" Tom replied that it's fascinating it has lasted as long as it has but he also said that it's been great for the company and it will be even better as the company moves to their new facility this fall. That was music to my ears. I truly love Capitol and I want to service this company as long as they will allow me to do so. Tom also attributed the longevity to the non stop exposure we deliver each and every year. "You've been here this long because you are always out there" Tom added.

Capitol and this race team have separately gone through a lot of changes over the last few years and I feel fortunate that we have been able to keep our program relative enough that we continue to earn our keep. I'll be honest and say that I haven't run a perfect program but who has in this sport?

This year we have had more turn over in one season then the last four years combined. But even with all the turn over we have landed on our feet after struggling with some bad tires to begin the year. I'm very proud of my crew chief Rick Klampe. He's awesome and has done a fabulous job. He's understands the nature of the sport and doesn't give up. He's also a lot of fun to be around which reminds me of Nyles, his uncle, who captured my interest in racing years ago.

Then there is Richard whom Rick brought on early in the season. He's as dedicated as they get and i really appreciate him as much as i do Rick. Richard has a big heart and I sure hope I don't burn him out as he's doing double duty helping with displays as well.

Rick, Richard, and myself work perfectly together. Just look at the predicament we were in just a few weeks ago when we put together an engine between races and then went to the finals in Medford. Sure the car wasn't running in the six's in Medford but the engine ran perfectly on a marginal track with a corrected altitude of 4,500 feet. The guys had really busted their tails all week and I'm glad we could reward them with a successful outing. We missed the win by inches. With these guys behind me our day will come.

I know some nostalgia teams that are sitting out the rest of the season or are done for good after experiencing problems similar to ours. I sat and watched a qualifying round at the Hot Rod Nationals and saw the carnage. We could have been in that situation in Medford if the motor wasn't put together right or we could have run out of time putting it together but we returned after just one week and the car ran as flawlessly as my checkbook would allow. I was a brutal week but a rewarding one that I'll never forget.

It's that we don't quit attitude and the willingness to go the extra mile and make our commitments that have kept this team going not just this year but the last twelve before it. We have a great thing going and as long as I can keep our marketing partners happy and keep the great team I have now. The great future that Tom predicts indeed looks bright for years to come.




Bailey's Blog by Rich Bailey
Goal Obtained: the Engine is Done and in the Car!

I don't know where I'm finding the time or energy to write this. It's almost 11 PM and I've been at it since 5:00 this morning. Actually since 9AM TUESDAY morning. Since then, I've been to Woodburn, I've been to Wilsonville, I've been to Madras, Sandy, Sweethome and even Bend twice! As I sit here to write this blog I'm dirty and in need of a shower. But the bottom line is we got the car just about done.

The goal was reached...it was a triumph! But it wasn't easy and took just about every resource this team has. I took the engine parts to Bend on Tuesday to assemble the engine at Rick Klampe's place. Sadly, I overlooked a part that was on the block we hurt back at a machine shop in Sandy. So I had no choice but to go back home and then on to Sandy the next day to retrieve the part and then it was on to Bend...again.
After getting to Rick's house via a pleasant drive over Mt. Hood we noticed that we needed new copper head gaskets. You see, after talking with Art on the phone we realized that what we had just wouldn't cut it. So we got some of gaskets overnighted from LA to Woodburn, Oregon which was where the racecar was. Meanwhile, we needed some galley plugs that could have put us behind again and after getting a little creative I was able to get them at Ace Hardware when O'Reillys, the only part store open late in Bend, didn't have them. Finally, at 10 PM on Wednesday night the short block was done. Thanks to Mr. Klampe and his wife Sue for feeding not only the monster but me too.

At 5 AM the next morning, I drug my sorry caraculs out of bed at 5:00 AM and headed back over the mountains to where the car was. Richard Lytle and I got the short block and the transmission in, and low and behold the copper head gaskets arrived right on time! I was betting they wouldn't because so far my luck with UPS delivering anything overnight hasn't been stellar.

This was all getting too easy until I realized the lifters were....GONE! And I still have no clue as to were they went. This stopped Richard and I dead in our tracks. So, we started hunting down some lifters but with little luck! How could this happen? I thought. Then we gave Richard's friend Keith a call and I'll be dang if he didn't have a complete set of Crower lifters and the price was right too. So we ran out there and grabbed them and went back to work. Finally, at about 9 PM we loaded the trailer and headed for the Night of Fire show.

We still have a little work to do but this "Dennis the Menace" (me) should be ready to rock by dark in the famous ring of fire during the NIght of Fire car show and then on to Medford to fulfill a race obligation there. Thank to everyone mentioned in this story as well as Keith McCurdy for making the impossible possible. Most people would have given up.

Part 1 (Below)

As expected the first night race at Woodburn in 25 years lived up to it's hype as a big Saturday night crowd filled the stands with the biggest attendance record since the Pro Stock race during the era of Bob Glidden. Sadly for me I was in the stands crawling out of my skin wanting in the baddest way to get out there. So what happened? Late in the afternoon we swaped head gaskets after a leak was discovered between one of the heads and block. On the side of the engine that didn't leak, we discoved a crack in the cylindar wall. It was border line wheather it would hold up or not but it still bad enough that we decided not to take the chance and have it all come a part in the middle of a pass so we chose not to run.

It was a wise decission to make if we expect to race beyond this weekend but still a very painful one as we wanted to run so bad. I'll admit that I was bummed out but I still had fun, I just wished that it wasn't this race but it was and at least we have another one to look forward to this coming weekend. The good news was that our new shirts and handout cards were a hit and we sold out of all of the mediums and small size shirts and sold a lot of the larger sizes. I also went through half of the box of handout cards.

So, with the Night of Fire (my show) and the Medford race coming up in four days what is the game plan? Well Plan A was to hope that we get the block repaired by Thursday and my good friend Keith McCurdy was going to do what ever it took to make it happen. Still that doesn't leave for much time so we are going to rebuild our spare block which is a sister to our current block. There isn't much time and the clock is ticking but if anyone can do it, it's the crew of Rick Klampe and Richard Lytle. We have all the components completely stripped out of the block so everything should to go back in as soon as we get the spare block so don't count us out!

Drag Racing Action in California Slowing to a Crawl

California might be known to racing fans and the country at large as the state where drag racing was born. For many outside the state, drag racing in California is alive and well. After all, California hosts the famed NHRA Winternationals and the Auto Club Finals and is the home to superstars like Don the Snake Prudhomme, Tom "the Mongoose" McEwan, Roland Leong and TV Tommy Ivo, now all of them senior citizens. The name "Pomona" is nearly as recognizable as Daytona in the auto racing world and California hosts three NHRA National events, more than any other state. So what could be better than that?

But, once you take away the three national events and the two nostalgia events in Bakersfield the sad truth is anything beyond watching a street car race is in short supply in this once great state. After the demise of Orange County International Raceway, fans and racers have been waiting for a replacement beyond the two nationals events a year in Pomona. So far, 28 years later, the only thing that has materialized is talk.

Since OCIR closed, a track in Irwindale has been built but it's a short eight mile facility and supports nothing more than muscle car and import racing. Another facility has sprung up near San Diego on indian reservation land but that facility is also a short eighth mile track and can't host much more than street cars. Finally, a track was built in Fontana which showed plenty of promise but noise issues with the surrounding neighborhoods have limited the track to nothing much faster than street cars. While these tracks are doing a yeoman's job at keeping the kids off the street it has not filled the void for sportsman and professional drag racing.

Up north, Sacramento Raceway has been keeping the sport alive with popular events like the Governor's Cup, Funny Car Fever, Fox Hunt, Nitro Night and others. But sadly, in the last few years the track's management has slowly paired these events back to the point that there not much left to see in Sacramento other than an occasional jet car race. Just 50 miles west of Sacramento is Infinion Raceway in Sonoma, a great Brutan Smith owned facility. Since the facility is more of a motorsports track, drag racing events are reduced to a minimum and there is not much interest in the promotion of mega shows like 32 funny cars or a similar event. Sadly, national event tracks such as Infinon are content with one national event per year and a perhaps a points race along with some weekly bracket racing. It's a pattern or curse that seems to be common with national event tracks all around the country in the last decade including Seattle.

This leaves just two tracks, Redding Dragstrip and Samoa Raceway near Crescent City. Samoa is a small eight mile that that is holding it's own but it's not big enough to host a major event. Of all the tracks in California, Redding Dragstrip seems to be the only track that is showing signs of improvement and is not on the decline. The track hosts several big races per year and has the blessings of the city to continue. The track will host two Pacific Pro Comp races in 2011 and had a national open in early June.

So what does all of this all mean? It means that if you race anything faster than a street car your choices are slowly slipping away in California for a whole host of reasons.

If you live in Oregon and you're a fan or a racer, you can't help but appreciate Woodburn Dragstrip. On a smaller scale this much improved track has had as big of an impact on the Willamette Valley and Oregon as OCIR once had on Sourthern California. The high performance industry in LA revolved around OCIR. At Woodburn there is racing every weekend between March and October, they host spectacular spectator events, and have the following of some of the best fans found anywhere. Woodburn owns the Portland market like OCIR owned the LA market.

We have seen what has happened to racing in California and lets hope it never happens here. They say that California sets the trend for the rest of the country. Let's hope not!

-Rich Bailey

Close Rattlesnake Encounter Likely to Baffle Local Skeptics!

For some reason rattlesnake encounters often come up on capracing.com. Why? Because we're big Don "the Snake" Prudhomme fans! And because they make a great story like the character who was arrested for having 32 rattlers in a motel room in Idaho! And who can forget the snake charmer in Portland who tried to impress his girlfriend and got bit on the lip when he kissed his "pet" rattler?

But Seriously, there is a growing debate about just how prevalent rattlesnakes are west of the Cascades, making these rare and sometimes lethal reptiles fun and interesting to discuss. We once did a story on the existence of rattlesnakes in the Willamette Valley which I'm sure generated some thoughts from regular readers of capracing.com that we finally jumped the shark.

Even when there were multiple sightings of rattlers in Wren (near Corvallis) the "experts" claimed that the snakes were transported into the area and then let go. The fact is that many locals know that the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake can be found in rural areas in Polk, Benton, Linn, Lane and even Marion County. More specifically near Mahema, Stayton, Dallas, the Eola Hills near Salem and even in Eugene at Spencer's Butte where a child was bit a few years ago! The photo above was taken in Marion County and the show Oregon Field Guide on OPB documented rattlesnake dens near Mahema during one of their past episodes. The Oregonian once had a story claiming that more people are treated for snake bites in Western Oregon than in Eastern Oregon.

Well, well, well, here is the latest rattlesnake sighting that hit very close to home! Cap Racing's own Kris and Patrick Cary were driving two miles west of Lyons on Thomas Creek Road when they came upon a snake sunning itself on the country road. Thinking that they ran over it and not knowing what kind of a snake it was, they backed up to get a close look. Out of the pickup comes Patrick with his friend Aaron. Not sure if the snake was dead or alive Patrick walked up to the coiled snake and poked it with a stick! The snake which was described as greenish brown in color with an octagon pattern on it's back, began to hiss and rattle! It then strikes two feet at Patrick, narrowly missing him!

His mom, Kris, was sitting in the truck watching all of this and believes that had Patrick not jumped back quickly enough he would have likely been bit. The ticked off rattlesnake then slithered across the road and ended up in someone's yard. Are there any more skeptics? And for those that still don't believe this story, the North Pacific Rattlesnake also known as the Western Rattlesnake is listed as a resident of the Thomas Creek Watershed by the BLM which is located in the same area the rattler was seen.

- Rich Bailey



Bailey's Blog
A Rock'n Trip Not Far From the Speedway

Hanging out in my new friend's jeep outside of Red Rocks.

My brother-in-law Dave and his family live in the hills not to far from both Bandimere Speedway and the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado just above Denver. We had not seen them in a while and the family was itching to get out out of dodge so we took our first extended road trip as a family which looped around the western United States. In the past we have flown to LA where they go to Disneyland and I go to Pomona. Not this time. In seven days we stopped in or drove through Portland, Boise, Twin Falls, Ogden, that arm pit Rollings, Wyoming, Fort Collins the home of Dan's Bake Sale, Golden, Denver, Grand Junction, Provo, Salt Lake City, Windover, Winnemucca and finally Bend.

We Started the trip by driving from Salem to Twin Falls with a stop in Boise where the kids went to an upscale mall. Anyone that thinks Idaho is no man's land or fly over country wouldn't believe their eyes in this place as I thought for a minute that I was in Newport Beach. After a couple of hours in Boise, we went on to Twin Falls where my side of the family is from and we stayed in a hotel not to far from where Evil Knevel attempted to jumped the Snake River Canyon in 1974. Today, people can legally base jump from the bridge there. No thanks! That's a hell of a long ways down if the chute doesn't come out.

The next day we made it to Denver via the biggest arm pit of North America, Rowllings, Wyoming. Half the town is out of business and the only one hiring is the local McDonald's. Once we got into Fort Collins, we ate at the Cracker Barrel which was another great experience. From there it was on to Dave's place and we arriver there at 10 PM. My daughters were so excited to see there cousins Tori and Shawn who are about the same age.

Acacia and Christine on the ride of their lives as uncle Dave towes them around the lake.

On our first day in Denver we went out to Red Rocks as well as the Speedway where we bought some shirts. The folks in the office were nice enough to go out of their way to take us up to the t-shirt shop inside the track on a day when the facility is usually closed. Then we drove up to an old mining town for lunch. That night we went out to listen to Dave's wife, Sabrina, perform with her rock band at a pub up in the mountains. She belted out some great numbers and had the place dancing from everything that included Led Zep to the Stones. Just before we got there a bear was seen in the parking lot. On the way back to their house around midnight we saw plenty of deer and even a fox.

The following day we had a blast boating and did some tubing. The kids have never had the chance to go boating or tubing and they hung on for dear life. I stayed on the tube for what seemed like 15 minutes but eventually I fell off and that was enough for me although I really enjoyed it. That night I was able to talk Dave and his son Shawn into going to the Broncos game where they disposed of the Seahalks with a field goal with two seconds left in the game.

Some deer that hang around the property and were checking us out as we were leaving.

On Sunday, we got to go to Elitch Gardens Amusement Park on Lockhead Martin's dime. It was a great day of fun and the park reminds me of Knott's out in California. To end our whirlwind trip in Denver, Susan, Dave, Sabrina and I went to see Def Leppard and Heart on Monday night. Before the concert we hiked up to Dinosaur Ridge just above the speedway where there are dinosaur tracks and bones plus plenty of rattlesnakes according to the warning signs posted around the area but we didn't see any although I had my camera ready. That afternoon, Dave took us over to a friends shop to meet a couple of local drag racers. One of them drives a super comp dragster while the other successfully races a 9 second Pontiac door car. They were very surprised to learn I drive and own a blown alcohol car which made me feel pretty fortunate to be in this position.

Oh, and the concert? It was phenomenal. Heart was great as an opening act and played such hits as Magic Man, Heartless, These Dreams, and Alone among others but they played to many old covers when they should have been singing their own songs, especially when their set lasted only an hour. Next up was Def Leppard and the night clearly belonged to them. They had a giant stage with an incredible light and video show. They played all the hits and were a clean first class rock act. There was no raunchy BS during the entire concert because they have nothing more to prove. That Vivian Campbell rocks on guitar and Joe Elliott was great on vocals. One of the guitarists had a camera on his guitar and you can see his fingers move up and down the frets on the big screen. I almost got into it in the parking lot when a bootlegger selling cheap bootleg T-shirts called me "Pops"...Pops? when I told him his $20.00 price tag was too high for a shirt that will fade after the second wash.

A nice sunset over the Great Salt Lake.

The next morning we headed over the Rocky Mountains through Vail, Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, then on to Nevada where we stayed at the popular Nugget Hotel and Casino. On the way to Nevada, I saw this beautiful sunset over the Great Salt Lake. Once at the casino, after buying an expensive dinner that wasn't very good, I realized I had thirteen bucks to get home on or use the credit card. Fortunately, I won over $100.00 playing penny slots! Rather than gamble the money away I cashed out right in front of the pit boss and used the cash to get home on. I guess there wasn't much he could say but you could sense that the casinos are not doing as well as they once did and he would rather see the money go back in the machine rather than in my pocket.

Before we headed for home the next morning, I went out to Bonneville Speedway to check out the salt flats. Not much was going on but a few time trials and one was five miles away from the entrance. Bonneville is a more laid back experience than the dragstrip and is full ex-drag racers looking for something new and fast with fewer politics. I tasted the white ground below me and yep it was salty. The salt flats are cool but I'll stick to the pavement. From there we got on the road and returned home close to midnight.


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