Drag Racing Unplugged IV

With the 2002 season over we are, for the fourth year in succession, pleased to bring you the finest comments from the year's Eurodragster event coverage - and others we didn't publish at the time.

We open with Sharkman and Tog's choices as their own favourite quotes of 2002.

Sharkman's Quote Of The Year

"There's no point looking at the back of it, you will see plenty of that on the track, come and look at the front while you can"
-- Jon Webster's wife Jeanette to Custom Car Street Eliminator rival Steve Pateman, after Jon brought his new CCSE Mustang to the track for the first time

Tog's Quote Of The Year

"You aren't allowed to smack children in Sweden, so we have brought them all over here because you can do it in England"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Peter Lantz explains the real reason for all the Junior drag racers in his pit

And the rest of the 2002 Drag Racing Unplugged collection...

"This year was one of the best years of my life!"
-- Heikki Parviainen spends his first year as Michael Malmgren's Crew Chief

"All it needs is fuel and oil - and a towing hook for Jon's caravan!"
-- Custom Car magazine editor Kev Elliott appraises Jon Webster's new CCSE Mustang

"Last year Brian and I were like Stevie Wonder working on the engine!"
-- Funny Bike racer Dave Holland relieved that engine builder Martin Peck has returned

"The Swedish Top Fuel Tour is definitely going ahead too, it will be Monica, me and...someone!"
-- TFT contracts not quite ready for Micke Kågered and co to sign

"Without the computer data Rune can't use his expertise on that car, whereas he could tune the old car in his sleep!"
-- UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Barry Sheavills

"I've really got to get some sponsorship. I know I always say that but I mean it this year!"
-- UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Andy Carter

"The trophy is like a big fruit bowl! In fact we have fruit in it at home"
-- Andy Carter picks up his 2001 FIA Championship trophy

"About two weeks!"
-- How long it takes Swedish Pro Stock racer Michael Malmgren to miss racing at season's end

"John and I were looking at the remains of a shattered Lenco at Shakespeare County Raceway last year, and we agreed that if we saw another one of those things it would be too soon"
-- Why Darryl Bradford and John and Lesley Wright went Top Fuel

"Thanks to John and Lesley for allowing me to pilot what amounts to a semi-detached house!"
-- A neat comparison from Darryl Bradford

"Everything I've seen here today has passed - when I first came here eight or nine years ago, sixty per cent of parts would fail."
-- SFI inspector Tim Hyatt

"Lyndsay went off to a car boot sale, then there was a phone call to one of the crew - Can you bring the van, I've found something'"
-- Angie Bentley of Lyndsay Deuchar's TMD team reveals their new parts supplier

"I wouldn't want to send a new driver out with the idle like that. If it was Alan I would send him out and tell him to get on with it!"
-- Knut Soderquist sorts out an idling problem during Susanne Callin's Top Fuel licencing

"You've got to stamp on it - get real angry with it!"
-- Top Fuel tuner Alan Jackson's launch method

"I didn't feel anything wrong, although it felt like the car jumped up. I saw Knut waving at me to shut it off!"
-- Susanne Callin has time to look around

"We didn't find anything untoward"
-- Alan Jackson checks it out

"Martin has shown me how to set it up!"
-- After-sales service for Super Gas racer Paul Hudson

"I like to have the best and they are the best"
-- American Car Imports TMD owner Anthony Cohen about his team

"Luckily Dave is bloody good, we don't have a computer on it so Dave tunes it on what I tell him and what he sees"
-- Shockwave Fuel FC driver Gordon Smith about Crew Chief and co-owner Dave Bryant

"I feel like I'm bringing a knife to a gunfight"
-- Jon Webster's first outing in his CCSE Mustang

"I eventually took my hands off the wheel because steering was making it worse"
-- Super Modified racer Tim Garlick on how to control an errant car

"We did a run without changing anything and the car slowed down, then we worked out what to add in for the headwind and went 9.90!"
-- Super Gas racer Martin Curbishley's crew Spencer Tramm gets out the calculator

"I tried the transbrake for the first time and I love it!"
-- Super Modified racer Steve Rawlings finds yet another reason to smile

"I was threatening it!"
-- Super Pro ET Champion Martyn Jones' Crew Chief Crunch explains why he was talking to the dragster's engine

"It's typical, I run a seven and qualify top and then I get Dave Beck"
-- Pro Stock Bike racer Martin Bishop checks the first round pairings

"I've had to eat humble pie this weekend because I didn't think we could run this quick in Europe!"
-- American Car Imports TMD driver Dave Wilson 'fesses up

"Andy said that the second run felt different to the first, but the car was tuned exactly the same. Weird"
-- Andy Carter's Crew Chief Eddie Corr

"It's good to be back in the office. It's a bit like breathing, you don't forget how to breathe"
-- Robin Read returns to the seat of a Top Fuel Dragster

"Oh yes, it has a tax disc. The last time I was here I rode into Stratford"
-- Super Street Bike racer Dave Smith has a street-legal race bike

"I'm after a mid eight, or an 8.40, or it's not worth doing"
-- Fellow Super Street Bike racer Mark Watkins' philosophy

"It was a frustrating weekend, we were dropping cylinders on every run and it wouldn't respond to anything we did"
-- Turner Racing TMD Crew Chief Steve Turner

"I have a new firesuit, and my helmet has been repainted and is my secret weapon. I've had no luck since painting the helmet black so I've changed it back to white!"
-- Dave Wilson lets slip a secret

"We feel like we've done two years of apprenticeship!"
-- She Devil TMFC Crew Chief Dave Milam

"We want to have SM1 on the car next year but so does everyone else!"
-- Super Modified racer Danny Cockerill

"It's a lot of fun to do exhibitions. You get a lot of media attention and that's the only way to get the sponsors interested"
-- Top Methanol Funny Car racer Lex Joon

"I found the parachute in my lap and I thought 'What is the parachute doing in my lap?'"
-- Wild Bunch racer Mark Turton has a spill at the top end

"The car went hard right, and you know what it's like when you know what's going to happen, it all went quiet...until I hit the barrier!"
-- Pro ET racer Dave Potter also has a spill

"My second run yesterday was the hardest thing I have had to do in my life, backing off when I was in front!"
-- Fuel Funny Car racer Smax Smith

"Gary done good - but they just get in and drive!"
-- North Herts Engineering Fuel FC owner Mark Hawkins on his new driver Gary Page

"The hand on the steering was in the wrong place to be heading in the right direction so I spun the car out backwards because a backwards crash is better than a head-on"
-- Rocket Funny Car pilot, the late Sammy Miller, goes ploughing

"When the tyre spun I had the choice of getting off it, then on it again and still not running very well, or putting on a show. So I put on a show!"
-- Top Fuel Bike Champion Steve Woollatt pulls an unplanned half-track burnout

"I've been racing since 1996 and the car has never done anything like it before, it just turned left on me. Luckily I found the chute handle!"
-- Super Gas racer Pete Creswell deals with a car/guardrail interface

"All the wax shook off the car so we had to polish it again"
-- AC Delco Pro Stock team member Tomas rues a day's worth of tyre shake

"We were using the names of characters from Rainbow but we have run out. Then we thought of calling them Rod, Jane and Freddy but Rod put a rod out at Shakespeare County Raceway"
-- American Car Imports TMD Crew Chief Andy Bissett names his engines

"We spoke to John Force Racing and Ford Motorsport - they said no. I don't know how but they changed their minds!"
-- Leanders Brothers Racing Top Methanol FC Crew Chief Jorgen bags one of John Force's Mustang bodies

"I don't want to waste any time on sixty-foot passes. I told Ulf that as long as it feels good he should stay on it."
-- Jorgen Leanders, a man who knows what the fans like

"We also changed the paint because we like to change the look every couple of years to make it interesting for the press!"
-- Media-savvy Vincent Pels about dad Ton's Supertwin Top Fuel Bike

"Next year we'll be competitors and I'll tell him nothing!"
-- Supertwin Top Fuel Bike racer Jaska Salakari oversees Kai Selkamaa on his old bike

"I thought it must be fast"
-- Top Methanol racer Dezsoe Krivan runs his first five

"I have had a bottle of champagne in the fridge in the trailer for three years, I can finally open it!"
-- Pro Mod racer Henri Joosten runs his first six

"It rolled a couple of times and I ended up upside down, hanging from my straps. I thought, I wonder if I should undo them?"
-- Super Pro ET racer Paul Davies after crashing at the top end

"It was pretty good for a checkout pass, wasn't it?"
-- Andy Carter clocks 297 mph in qualifying

"We have a new throttle stop - we worked out that we would have to put 14 seconds' delay in it for Super Gas!"
-- Super Comp racer Dave Day needs a new approach

"The old crap works best. Now we're in the race to the sixes and we don't care what we break!"
-- Funny Bike racer Dave Holland

"This one is so smooth that when I got near the finish line yesterday I was able to look at the scoreboard and see my reaction time!"
-- Karl Larcombe has the new Krazy Kat Super Street Bike under control

"The track is the best I've ever known it. Not just the start line but all the way down"
-- Super Street Bike racer Pete Bellenie compliments Shakespeare County Raceway on their track prep

"It's an all-new chassis with a Williams back end - I like to have something no-one else has got!"
-- Competition is everything for Custom Car Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby

"This weekend I've got to get used to the clutch...but I'm not looking forward to tyre shake"
-- Rookie Top Methanol FC racer Dennis Wratten

"Roger found parts of Steve Venables' engine in the turbo"
-- Super Street Bike racer Karl Larcombe, in the other lane when Steve Venables had a little problem

"I got back to the pits and Nigel Payne's crew were waiting like vultures to nick my gearbox!"
-- Super Modified racer Steve Rawlings can still laugh even after putting a rod out

"Your stickers did the trick!"
-- Super Modified racer Andy Hone applies Eurodragster stickers and promptly runs a personal best

"We've done the big-improvement bit before and we did two engines in two races!"
-- What Andy Hone had been doing up to that point

"It's got a mediocre Nitrous tune-up and we're launching on 50%. I try to make Jon launch on 100% but he won't!"
-- Engine builder Jeff Bull, about Super Modified racer Jon Hogarth

"When I was stopped behind the start line, the car slid sideways on its own weight. I couldn't believe it!"
-- Pro Stock racer Michael Malmgren opens the Goodwood Festival of Speed in pouring rain

"I tried to do rolling burnouts but it wasn't happening. And I didn't realise how sharp some of those bends were!"
-- Pro Modified racer Andy Robinson tries to take the limelight at Goodwood

"You race to win - if not then there is no point"
-- Legendary Fuel racer Peter Crane explains why he retired from racing

"I could run in the Wild Bunch, but I don't want to slow it down"
-- Fellow legendary racer Russ Carpenter wins the 'That didn't come out how I meant it' award

"There were no signs telling us where to go, so we left the car in the trailer. Someone came over and said 'You shouldn't be here, you're the first car to drive on the cricket pitch in four hundred years!'."
-- Custom Car Street Eliminator racer Steve Neimantas' crew Dennis breaks a Goodwood course record

"Since we destroyed the last engine"
-- How long Super Pro ET racer John Parkinson had been away before the Super Series Fallnationals

"If it wasn't for them then this package wouldn't be there"
-- Top Methanol racer Doug Ripley loves his crew

"The car has a wheelie bar now, so we can launch in first gear!"
-- Dennis Wratten's tuning consultant Charlie Draper

"It's an enjoyable class to race in because we all get on so well"
-- Funny Bike racer Tim Blakmore likes it where he's at

"As usual there was a last-minute rush to get it together - we've only had eight weeks!"
-- Stu Chamberlain and the Predator Funny Bike crew take their time

"It took several late nights to take it apart and put it back together again - we have come here for a rest!"
-- Pro ET racer Malcolm Motler after a scraps-of-metal-in-the-pan episode

"There were that many helping that I couldn't get near the car!"
-- Super Gas racer Dave Townsend pushed out of his pit whilst his competitors rebuild his car after a fire

"I was strobing it and then suddenly got a huge belt. I've got a huge bruise on my chest"
-- Fuel tuner Alan Jackson gets an MSD 44-amp shock

"Everything takes forever with these cars!"
-- Smax Smith on the joys of running a Fuel Funny Car

"We are pleased with what the car did with the throttle stop on!"
-- Top Methanol FC Crew Chief Dave Milam forgets one of the post-burnout steps

"I decided it wasn't going to come down. I thought it would just about make Mark's weekend if I'd hit the guardrail!"
-- Fuel FC pilot Gary Page saves owner Mark Hawkins' money and nerves after a huge wheelie

"I thought that was a quick one when I looked round and saw everything going past real quick"
"I want to know what on earth he was doing looking round! There could have been another tenth in it!"
-- Exchange between Top Fuel Bike racer Steve Woollatt and Crew Chief Chris Powell

"After that I sent Darryl Bradford a text message to tell him that we didn't need him to drive the car any more!"
-- Wildside Inc Top Fuel Dragster co-owner Lesley Wright sits in the car during a warm-up

"We're going to try stupid stuff which you can't do at races!"
-- Pro Mod racer Håkan Nilsson puts a Press Day to good use

"We're going to try very silly things!"
-- Fellow Pro Mod racer Roger Johansson goes one better

"I'll run 7.30 or burn it!"
-- It's coming together for Funny Bike racer Shaun Branch

"We put in new springs, freshened the heads, and I cut my hair!"
-- Top Methanol FC racer Urs Erbacher prepares for the FIA European Finals

"Usually at this time of year we look to see where in the top ten we are going to finish, but we have come here with a chance of the Championship!"
-- Gerda Dijkstra of the Lex Joon Racing Top Methanol FC team has the calculator ready

"We did some bearing damage at the Fallnationals so we hooked that engine out and put in another - it was easier"
-- Showtime Fuel FC Crew Chief Bob Jarrett makes it sound so simple

"I can tell you what it isn't, but I can't tell you what it is!"
-- Top Methanol Dragster racer Lyndsay Deuchar half-way to sorting things out

"We won't be trying anything silly, of course"
-- Magnus Cato reveals why the AC Delco car runs in Pro Stock, not Pro Modified

"It would be good if the title was decided in the final round as long as we win!"
-- Pro Modified racer Patrick Wikström's philosophy of competition

"If we lose it I'm going down fighting!"
-- Funny Bike racer Shaun Branch has a shot at the National Championship

"I did wave, but they didn't see me!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Peter Lantz says hello to his kids at 270 mph

"I'm going to have Roger Pettersson for breakfast"
-- Pro Stock Bike racer Anders Larsson hasn't given up on the FIM/UEM title

"A cam lobe cracked and then fuel got into the rear cylinder, and then..."
-- Supertwin Top Fuel Bike racer Anders Karling's Crew Chief Christian says all he needs to say

"We're not used to tracks this good"
-- Pro Modified racer Roger Johansson likes Santa Pod

"We've taken some downforce off to get more speed, it's a bit more lively which I don't like. But what the hell, we're Champions now!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Kim Reymond ready to have some fun

"Towards the top end it fell flat on its face and I turned away in disgust. But then I turned back and saw the scoreboard!
-- Tuner Cannon almost gives up on Neil Midgley's Funny Bike

"I told her to stay on the other side of the bed, but I think she moved over in the middle of the night"
-- Custom Car Street Eliminator racer Jeff Meads blames his wife for a cold

"I would love Neil to run a 6.9 and then put it on the trailer for the rest of the day and say 'There you go guys!'."
-- Cannon's game plan in Funny Bike qualifying

"We're going to run it to within a quarter of an inch of its life, and then run it even closer next weekend!"
-- Pro Modified racer John Ellis' Crew Chief Ray White making plans for the Doorslammer Shootout

"The bike needed a new paintjob anyway!"
-- 10.90 Bike racer Sandra Chaplain sees the up side of falling off her bike

"It's been a very long time since it's shaken so badly that I haven't known where I was on the track, which lane I was in, which way I was pointing, or even if I was upright. But at least we've learnt that that's one setting which didn't work!!
-- Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson shows fans both sides of the dragster on a test run

"I fixed it, put in the same settings, and the bike just upped and went. It broke loose at half-track, but I had it covered and I wasn't letting off it for anybody!"
-- Funny Bike racer Tim Blakemore wants to be the first to run a six

"The stick we are going to hit it with this weekend is so big, it's coming on its own trailer"
-- Ray White arrives at the Doorslammer Shootout with John Ellis' Pro Mod

"Guess the stick was too big then!"
-- Ray White five melted pistons later

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