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Drag Racing Unplugged XVI

With the 2014 season over we are, for the sixteenth year in succession, pleased to bring you the finest comments from the year's event coverage on Eurodragster.com - and other quotes we didn't publish at the time.

We open with the Quotes of the Year of the Eurodragster.com staff:


Tog's Quote of the Year

"I've driven half a mile today, I'm knackered!"
-- One qualifier and one round of eliminations in one day does for eventual UK National Pro ET Champion Rick McCann

Simon's Quote of the Year

"I've got a lump in my throat - it's ridiculous, but that's the way I feel about the sport"
-- British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Chair Stu Bradbury gets emotional at Dragstalgia

Kirstie's Quote of the Year

"I don't want to do more lawnmowing and I am not driving a tractor"
-- Top Methanol Funny Car racer Danny Bellio has seen enough sward

Julian's Quote of the Year

"It all seems to happen a lot faster in an A/Fuel car"
-- Eurodragster.com sponsor Pete Walters licences in a Top Methanol Dragster


And the rest of the 2014 Drag Racing Unplugged collection in chronological order...

"That's Tog. Say Hello"
"You've got a big belly"
-- Eurodragster.com sponsor Matt Wright effects introductions to one of his daughters

"The doctor has given me all sort of strange tests, like asking me to spell words backwards. I can't spell most words forwards, that is why there is spellcheck"
-- Late, great Eurodragster.com Staff Member Ed O'Connell takes on the medical profession

"We were convinced the bolts we could not reach or required a special tool were revenge for the war"
-- Ed and his buddy Tony carry out engine work on a Mercedes

"How they do without one is beyond me"
-- Super Comp racer Paul Watson returns to four wheels and acquires a throttle stop

"The car is guaranteed to draw a crowd even if we parked it in an empty field"
-- Jason Phelps' TeamRock.com Fuel FC is a looker

"Without them I wouldn't have a chance"
-- Super Pro ET racer Simon Gough appreciates crew and sponsors

"Eventually we found the problem elsewhere so at last we are using the part originally intended for it"
-- Iain Malcolm puts the Honda torque converter back in wife Liz' Pro ET dragster

"It will be switched off at Dragstalgia"
-- Super Comp racer Jon Giles has a throttle stop, too

"We ran as quick as 6.49/216 but on the second run just after the finish line there was a terrible noise and the engine had thrown two rods"
-- A good and bad day for Super Pro ET racer Rod Harrison

"It was my lucky day and it was nice to get the round wins"
-- Chris Andrews looks back to a Top Fuel Dragster event victory

"Each car needs a team of eight and including drivers and cooks, there are twenty altogether, but getting time off work is a problem for many of them"
-- Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher explains Top Fuel Dragster logistics v practicalities

"Nick's right foot only has two positions, on and off!"
-- Can't see why Chaos Fuel Altered owner Lawrie Gatehouse would want anything else of driver Nick Davies

"My dyno is the street"
-- Hopefully lots of straight roads on Malta to test Shawn Buttigieg's Super Street Bike

"I still get a tremendous thrill driving one of these cars"
-- Barry Sheavills climbs back into a Top Fuel Dragster

"It's a handful"
-- Jayne Kay gets a blown-alcohol altered

"We will need to climb the ladder again"
-- Manty Bugeja has a new tune-up in Joe Carabott's Top Methanol Dragster

"Who the **** is this?"
-- What Rune Fjeld heard when he called a sleeping Jari Halinen with an emergency offer to drive a Top Fuel Dragster

"There are nine cars racing this weekend and I don't want to be ninth"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Tethys' first competitive outing

"Last season we were going through a motor at each event"
-- Gordon Smith and the travails of Fuel Funny Car

"We're being smooth and are doing nothing crazy"
-- Walter Sprout tunes Shawn Buttigieg's Super Street Bike

"The challenge with Pro Mod cars is that, with shock absorbers, the car gets unstable if the driver lifts so it is a very difficult driving class"
-- Tuner Dick Koster's set-up secrets

"I would go back to racing in the US if they want me back"
-- Moot point after Jimmy Ålund beat three NHRA Pro Stock racers in one go

"Rather than make small changes we have decided to get big steps"
-- The time-honoured Big Stick approach for Pro Mod racer Roger Moore

"The weather here reminds me of the rain, which I was happy to get away from, at my home in Indiana"
-- The attempt to make Pro Mod tuner Brad Personett feel at home falls flat

"There is a 6.0 in the car but trouble off the start line spoils the run"
-- Mark Balzaretti on shake-reduction duties for Andy Robinson's Pro Mod

"I like to have cars that are somewhat different and British"
-- Steve Neimantas returns to Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator with his stunning Bentley

"The class has changed in recent years and there are plenty of cars to chase now"
-- Street Eliminator legend Steve Pateman also returns

"For the first time the bike wanted to go straight on two runs yesterday, so it looks like we solved the problem"
-- Job Heezen tames his wilful Supertwin

"All we changed over the winter is the oil, fuel and some British air in the tyres"
-- Funny Bike racer Rikard Gustafsson goes easy on the adjustments

"All the pieces came together now I have the right stuff on the bike"
-- Martijn de Haas' latest shopping trip puts his Supertwin way into the sixes

"I do a lot of match racing and here in Europe too racing is for the love of it and everybody celebrates it and enjoys it"
-- Dom Lagana of the old school tunes Anita Mäkelä's Top Fuel Dragster

"Can you watch my car? I have to go back for Ramon"
"Yes of course, but next time put your chutes out love?"
-- Kirsten van Croonenborgh leaves Suzy Q with two top end photographers and vamooses for her quick change act

"He had both chutes out, brakes full on, two kitchen sinks on chains, I would imagine his eyes are smeared on the inside of the windscreen"
-- Witness statement as Ramon van der Weurf succeeds in stopping his Nostalgia FC from 209 mph before Shakespeare County Raceway's cross runway

"How about some Gilbert and Sullivan? That's pre-1973"
"Pre-1973? It's pre ****ing 1873!"
-- Tog observes the NSRA Nostalgia Nationals cut-off but Shakeysounds DJ Paul Wright is unmoved

"I thought "I can do this" and started thinking about buying a Sportsman ET car"
-- Dave Rudd moves from crewing to racing in Pro ET

"I did all the work by myself which meant I could call all the shots"
-- Bob Doyle puts his Super Pro ET Datsun back together after a Guardrail Experience

"It's been the highest of highs and lowest of lows"
-- Persistence pays off for Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson after a wretched time

"We're taking baby steps but we're happy"
-- Spencer Tramm and Eurodragster.com sponsor Chris Isaacs taking it easy with their new Pro Mod

"We can run well but everything has to be right"
-- Fellow Pro Mod racer David Vegter sets the criteria

"Things were good to that point"
-- Andy Wright suffers a broken chassis in the B&A Racing Pro Mod

"Since I stopped racing I have been carp fishing and scuba diving and returned to the sport at Dragstalgia 2012"
-- ...but drag racing calls us all back in the end including drag bike legend Jeff Byne

"I wanted to prove that British-bodied Funny Car is not a dead species"
-- Bob Glassup comes full circle, having started racing in a Capri and now unveiling a Capri FC at Dragstalgia

"I first raced in 1964 with the Dragfest and attended the opening of Santa Pod. I raced until 1981 and in eighteen years missed only four meetings"
-- Ken 'Mr Flathead' Cooper's exemplary attendance record

"Custom Car wanted a serialisation of a simple dragster build that anyone could do but I got carried away and built a blown Ford V6 sidewinder which was hard to continue to serialise monthly"
-- 1970s racer Ian Fraser, not the first to change plans in mid-build

"We are planning to have a UK base for Rat Trap and to run it here and on the continent"
-- Fuel Altered racer Ron Hope uttering the words we all wanted to hear

"We had some major repairs after rolling the car at Shakey last year but only minor damage from our latest brush with the guardrail here"
-- It's almost as if someone is trying to tell Supercharged Outlaw racer Jürgen Schomann something

"This is the biggest thing that has happened to me. Getting in all those Halls of Fame was great but that's not as good as the people coming up to me and telling us how much they appreciate it, because it's a lot of work - just getting over here was a lot of work"
-- Rich Guasco brings Pure Hell to Dragstalgia

"A lot"
-- The horsepower of Nick Edwards' All Torque VW Beetle

"It becomes a competition of who can back the cars down the most"
-- Rob Inglis of Micke Kågered's Top Fuel Dragster team on the initial struggles with the Hockenheim surface...

"We could have changed the clutch for one that is more suitable for here but if we change it too much it won't work"
-- ...creating dilemmas for Super Street Bike racer Leif Larsson, too...

"We and other British SSB racers have used our experience to make decent runs, two years ago I couldn't get down the track"
-- ...but slightly less of an issue for Super Street Bike racer Graham Dance

"We took so much power and clutch out of the car it was incredible we could go so fast. But it will go down the track like that although it was on the limit"
-- Pro Mod racer Mats Eriksson gets an early handle on the conditions

"I did have a spare engine, I don't now"
-- A tale of woe for Danny Cockerill's Super Street Bike

"The more load we put on it the less it wants to go"
-- Pro Stock Bike tuner Chris Hope scratches his head

"It's old school racing and you can feel the torque of the engine"
-- Ove Kröger moves from a roadster to a Super Pro ET slingshot dragster

"It has made sure that one of the team goes through to the semi final"
-- A stoic Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher after losing to protégé Noah Stutz

"We started Friday behind the eight ball and Saturday we were behind the nine ball"
-- The US' Jerry Darien 12.5% more exasperated with Chris Polidano's A/Fuel Dragster

"We have broken the German record for Super Street Bike and have had to tune virtually everything differently from usual to do so"
-- Shawn Buttigieg and Walter Sprout go outside the envelope

"We don't know what happened, the bike lost drive and he drove past, that's racing"
-- Philosophical Christian Jäger's Supertwin quits on him

"The shifter and footbrake are completely different from my car but the engine is still in the right place"
-- i.e. in front of slingshot dragster driver Sarah Howells

"The car went right suddenly and violently and hit the wall, I tried correcting it but it was too far gone. It was not a nice noise and it took a while to realise what had happened"
-- Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Mark Todd has a gorgeous-GTO/guardrail interface

"A/Fuel cars have a disadvantage on marginal tracks as they set up to leave on full throttle and we can't roll into it like blown methanol cars can"
-- Tim Read and another on-off concept, this time on Jonny Lagg's A/Fuel Dragster

"The car likes it so much it is breaking out"
-- Paul Hudson's Super Comp Camaro and the new Dominator

"Then I realised I didn't like the look and moved the roof back two feet to turn it into a van, which Hillman never made"
-- The ever-inventive Butch Wilkins explains his unique Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator entry

"It happened in the shut down area and I felt it as soon as I pulled the chute"
-- Rod Harrison's book-ends his Super Pro ET season with an almost identical engine failure

"The solenoids operating the nitrous stuck open and it was probably the biggest nitrous purge in history"
-- Liam Jones' Super Pro ET dragster certainly disappeared as seen from our seat in Race Control

"At the Main Event we ran once and it rained. Then at the Mopars the engine kicked a rod out. We fixed it then went to Hockenheim and were still working on it and did not run. We fired it up yesterday and did a half pass but found third gear had broken. We worked to 04:00 rebuilding the gearbox with parts from Danny Bellio and will now do a full pass"
-- By any chance, is Super Pro ET racer Marck Harteveld's nickname "Lucky"?

"To be honest it was an own goal but you learn from experience"
-- Fellow Super Pro ET racer Mark Flavell explains early-season engine damage

"Sportsman racing is about more than competition, by coming here we meet more people and get into our hobby more deeply"
-- Nicely summed up by Pro ET racer Alex Mahl

"The transbrake is also great fun but you have to make sure your head is all the way back on the launch"
-- Jake Handy first-foots, more accurately first-buttons, in Eurodragster.com sponsor Jacksons MoT's Super Gasser

"I am really excited but a little nervous, but if you can drive, you can drive"
-- Gabby McDonald prepares for her final Top Fuel Dragster licencing pass

"It's hard to take in how much we have improved this year and a great start to the event for us"
-- Magnus Petterson into the 6.6s and into #2 in Pro Stock qualifying

"I'm over the moon about that - I will have to short shift later to make sure I run within the nine-second cut-off point"
-- Mark Bailey runs 8.893 but wants to stay in Pro ET

"As well as blowing the floor open, the rear shocks became banana shaped"
-- Paul Marston explains what happened when the third member of the Whoopass Monza went bang out of order

"This is great, I have run more than twenty 6.0s and it is fantastic to be in the fives at last"
-- Bruno Bader joins the rapidly-expanding European Pro Mod Five Second club

"Next time we will try to keep the ponies inside and not put the power in too fast"
-- Tero Laukannen's Pro Mod gets wayward off the start line

"The car was moving around the track just like a Funny Car and we had tyre shake too"
-- If it moves like a Funny Car and shakes like a Funny Car then it's probably... actually it's Micke Kågered's Top Fuel Dragster

"That was one for the books. Thanks Ed"
-- Karsten Andersen texts Tog minutes after Thomas Nataas clocks 3.949/316.40 in Top Fuel Dragster qualifying accompanied by some of Ed O'Connell's ashes

"I usually ride a Comp Bike and this is lower, a lot lighter and goes much harder off the line"
-- Allan Davies gives Pro Stock Bike a shot

"It was my first time running in the dark and I wasn't going to be a hero"
-- Just the launch for Kevin Kent in the West Ten Fuel Funny Car

"We found part of the sponge in the diaper"
-- Wendy Baker crosses lanes in the Timewarp Nostalgia Funny Car

"Funny Cars are meant to be driven at night"
-- Wouldn't argue with Jason Phelps over that one

"We need to do it our way and hope we are good enough. We aren't looking at anyone else"
-- Mattias Wulcan's game plan for the FIA European Pro Modified Championship

"I'm back. If it doesn't break, you're not trying hard enough!"
-- Paul Hudson and Super Comp team thrash to replace an exploded transmission

"We have gone for two chutes this year to save the brakes but obviously that didn't work this time"
-- Said chutes actually deploying is an essential part of Martyn Jones' cunning plan to stop his Super Pro ET dragster

"It is useful to have an extra person to help at the track and we are trying not to overwork him"
-- Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson reunited with former crew member Andy Bissett

"No more non-paying passengers"
-- After Filippos Papafilippou used his Top Fuel Bike as a taxi, Steve Woollatt is not going south of the river at this time of night

"The track is awesome and it's good not to have a headwind"
-- Super Street Bike racer Graham Balchin hails the customary and the rarity

"It's for being second quickest in my family"
-- Former Pro Stock Bike racer Chris Hope's coffee mug now sports a #2 courtesy of son and Pro Stock Bike racer Alex

"The crew know what they're doing"
-- Funny Bike racer Lizz McCarthy perfectly content to ride

"It's been an up and down year, gremlin after gremlin"
-- They multiply when they get wet in the rain and then come back to haunt Comp Bike racer Tony Clark

"When I saw my name at the top I thought this can't be me, this is serious stuff!"
-- Robin Orthodoxou goes to the head of the class in Comp Eliminator

"You know why it was - if they went back to the quarter mile and reduced horsepower it would help the budget guys"
-- Big Daddy Don Garlits fingers the Big Teams in NHRA's decision to stay at 1000 feet

"Why aren't you wearing a tie?"
"Because there are people in this room who would take both ends and pull"
-- Tog does Self Preservation at the Hall of Fame Gala Dinner

"Can I have an Americano?"
"What's that?"
"It's, like, black coffee with water"
"Oh, well I think I know how to make black coffee"
-- Heaven & Hell Pro ET team member Grace Roaf presents her order to driver-barista Carla Pittau


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