Drag Racing Unplugged V

With the 2003 season over we are, for the fifth 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 Tog and Sharkman's choices as their own favourite quotes of 2003.

Tog's Quote Of The Year

"I can answer that in one word. Bollocks."
-- American Car Imports Racing Team Principal Anthony Cohen stops an off-season rumour in its tracks

Sharkman's Quote Of The Year

"All we have broken this season is a blower belt, and a lot of records!"
-- ...and that was before Top Fuel Bike racer Roel Koedam ran a 6.04

And the rest of the 2003 Drag Racing Unplugged collection...

"You go to Pomona, you see what all the new bits are, and if you see anything you like the look of you buy it!"
-- Anthony Cohen does Retail Therapy...

"I go to watch drag racers, not drag racing!"
-- ...whilst Driver Dave Wilson schmoozes the Top Alcohol pits

"My webmaster's computer has blown up and it is the only one with the passwords to get into the server."
-- That explains the lack of updates to Custom Car Street Eliminator racer Andy Frost's web site

"There have been a lot of open-mouthed people."
-- Custom Car Magazine editor Kev Elliott arranges an impressive drag racing display at Autosport

"I want to do as many runs as possible today, I need the practice!"
-- Øyvor Jacobsen returns to Top Fuel at a Santa Pod Run What You Brung

"There were black lines from the start line to 330 feet and then from there to the armco. It was a typical Johnny Mental pass!"
-- Supercharged Outlaw racer Johnny Hall does the Slingshot Slalom

"Last year I only had first gear and that's because we built the gearbox ourselves!"
-- Wild Bunch racer Alec Coe, Blue Peter viewer

"It certainly made up for getting up at five in the morning yesterday!"
-- Supertwin Gas racer Nick 'Shaggy' Daniels beats his personal best

"If you saw the webcam shot at lunchtime of Johnny's car slewed round by the Tree surrounded by people then don't worry, it was a photo session."
-- When Johnny Hall is on the facility you have to clarify these things

"Our bullshit department is to be sponsored by a toilet paper company this year, they have given us a year's supply."
-- The year's first performance of the comedy stylings of Knut 'Giggles' Söderquist, Carbon By Design Top Fuel Dragster team owner

"I was gobsmacked at how low it is!"
-- Dave Wilson appraises the new ACI Racing Top Methanol Dragster

"I can reach the pedals and that's it!"
-- Smax Smith gets fitted into the Carbon By Design 'red' Top Fuel Dragster

"I told Andy there are people who hold licences and there are drivers!"
-- Maybe not the best thing for CCSE racer Steve 'Splinter' Nash to say to car owner Andy Oliver

"To be honest I think he would rather let me ride his wife than ride his car!"
-- Super Modified racer Kev Perkins and another nervous car owner, Danny Cockerill

"The last time I was on the strip, it was a Run What You Brung and I ran a sixteen."
-- Super Street racer Peter Thompson's competitive début

"The last time I did it, Jack Brewster beat me to it!"
-- Sportsman ET racer Rick Denny pulls a 0.500 and this time takes the Eurodragster Perfect Light Award

"It's going to be a war - pedalling and going up in smoke - so this will be a smart race rather than a horsepower race and Eddie Corr is the smartest."
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Andy Carter at a chilly Easter Thunderball

"We will shortly be announcing a major deal with a sunglasses manufacturer. They come with little wipers for when it rains."
-- Knut Söderquist: still cracking jokes and first thing in the morning, too

"I don't believe in God but I have spent all night praying - for once we need good luck to get there."
-- But does God believe in Andy Carter...

"Something's going on in there."
-- European Top Gas racer Job Heezen doesn't need a dyno

"I drove down the dual carriageway and then onto the M50. I had lots of people staring!"
-- Andy Frost takes his CCSE Vauxhall out to bed-in new piston rings

"My hero."
-- Wild Bunch racer Chris Hartnell describes son and Crew Chief Lee

"A nitrous solenoid didn't pulse, it just jammed open. I thought I was coming off it."
-- Super Street Bike racer Steve Venables heads for Earth orbit

"I guess I should have got off it, but I had been sitting in the car for seven hours waiting to have a go!"
-- Gordon Appleton keeps his new Camaro Pro Mod spectacularly out of trouble

"The nitrous was set to come in after three seconds - I think I got off the throttle at 2.99 seconds!"
-- Super Street Bike racer Rachel Pattison saves an errant bike

"I was going through the gears and it went click...second...click... second...click."
-- Shaggy misses out on a PB this time

"It's quite a long way for the crew to tow down here - in fact I will be taking a flask and sandwiches with me today!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Darryl Bradford heads down Shakespeare County Raceway's long shutdown area

"It just goes to show how everyone pulls together, all of your competitors want you out there. I thought I was out for the season."
-- Fellow Super Street Bike racers rally round Tony Clark

"It's a new pair of slicks. They recommended a big burnout from new so that's what we did!"
-- Cath Napier explains why husband and Pro ET racer Tig fogged the start line, Long Marston Airfield, and Stratford-Upon-Avon

"Some of these Wild Bunch racers will ease off if they're winning but we won't! We don't care about breaking out!"
-- Bunt Willcox reveals the Dorset Horn Wild Bunch team's strategy

"The brackets hold the wing supports, the wing could have collapsed and the chutes could have pulled the rear axle off."
-- Turner Racing Top Methanol Dragster Crew Chief Steve Turner, grateful for brother Rob's sixth sense for shutting off

"Quite often it's not, but I didn't need much more of that."
-- Dave Wilson, asked if an out-of-shape pass was as violent as it looked

"The bike moved a bit and I leaned to keep it straight, I made sure I got on the clutch before I got off it, and then I forgot to brake!"
-- Pro Stock Bike rookie Paul Watson learning his craft

"Do I get forty nine pounds?"
-- Pro ET racer Steve Good to the Eurodragster staff after pulling a 0.501 Reaction Time

"The rule with tyre shake is that you get off it if it hurts!"
-- Smax Smith, quick learner

"Only a 6.9 will do!"
-- Top Fuel Bike racer Chris Hannam's first outing

"Of course, because it is all new, that means that we don't know anything!"
-- Top Methanol Funny Car racer Ulf Leanders has been shopping off-season

"When they come out the rush is almost as good as the pass."
-- Gordon Appleton loves his new gas-released parachutes

"They are very helpful even though we're faster than they are now!"
-- Comp Bike racer Jerry Collier overtakes the Americans

"You can't see much in this car. In the Pro Stock you can see all around you but not in the Funny Car, but I was not worried."
-- Top Methanol FC racer Niclas Andersson experiences his first wild ride

"We will leave the car and the tune-up. You're a little guy Tog, you can drive it."
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Kim Reymond can't make the next test session

"I hope that all the strange things have now finished happening!"
-- Supertwin racer Ronny Aasen due some good luck

"Get your arse back here Paul because we can't find anything!"
-- Fuel Funny Car racer John Spuffard missing a crew member

"You don't have time to be nervous."
-- Lex Joon unconcerned by the switch to Fuel FC

"It shook a little and so I had to lift although I hated to do it!"
-- Kim Reymond, not wanting to waste a test run

"If it doesn't choke in the first sixty feet, then it should run a five. If it doesn't then I am going home!"
-- Jet FC pilot Martin Hill has been burning the midnight oil

"Because I have not raced for about a year and a half I wasn't sure whether the wheelie was too much or not. But Tommi said that it was perfect!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Anita Mäkelä returns to the track

"We're anxious to get out there to see if we are completely wrong or if we got it right!"
-- Kenneth Lorentzon has a new set-up in the Lorentzon and Möller Top Fuel Dragster

"Then I'll get into the sixes and start screwing with it!"
-- Plan A if Pro Mod racer Henri Joosten's test pass works out

"This is Lars. It's his fault!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Tommy Möller introduces The Man Who Left The Throttle Stop On

"The Brits are fighting back!"
"What was that you said?"
-- Exchange between Christer Abrahamson of Svensk Dragracing and Tog as Andy Robinson and Roger Johansson duke it out in qualifying

"It's got more people interested in drag racing in Europe and that's what we need."
-- Top Methanol FC racer Leif Andréasson's Alfa Romeo body gets plenty of coverage

"You sleep so well when you are number one qualifier."
-- Pro Stock Bike racer Roger 'Rip van' Pettersson

"I'm not here to run a slalom on my first full pass!"
-- Øyvor Jacobsen dodges timing reflectors

"A pulley has disappeared, we don't know where it went. It made three holes in the body on the way out though."
-- Steve Wilson of Top Methanol FC racer Dezsoe Krivan's team makes with the fibreglass

"I need a heavier foot, the car is better than I am at the moment!"
-- A modest Norbert Kuno takes it easy with his self-built Pro Mod

"I have no eyelashes and no hair on the back of my neck!"
-- Tommy Möller: Clothes by Simpson, Hair by Blown Head Gasket

"It sort of went into neutral, and went up to 8000 revs on a stock crank - not good! My crew were having kittens on the start line!"
-- CCSE racer Ian Hook has Powerglide trouble

"I haven't seen my tracks but I certainly felt it!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Susanne Callin hits one-sided tyre shake...

"Tyre shake on one side! Weird!"
-- ...and even Crew Chief Alan Jackson hasn't seen the like

"I'll be the biggest coward in Super Gas today!"
-- Super Gas racer Frank Mason taking it easy after a wild ride the previous day

"It was a bad call on my part, I let too many ponies go too early."
-- Ian Jackson takes the blame for CCSE racer wife Sue's 'Vette/guardrail interface

"If you are going below 230 then it flies, but if you are going 250 or above then you have the momentum to get across it."
-- Martin Hill gives 'speed bumps' a whole new meaning in Shakespeare County Raceway's shutdown area

"It's just as well that my wife doesn't come racing or she'd find out the money I spend!"
-- But we know that Steve Good's wife reads Eurodragster's Event Coverage...

"They told me that I didn't have to fire the car up and I asked them, why?"
-- Pro ET racer Malcolm Motler takes his Morris Minor pick-up to a school fete

"Chris thinks that he is here to work on our chassis, but actually he'll be going for the tea and bacon sandwiches!"
-- Super Pro ET racer Dave Moore enlists the help of race car builder Chris Isaacs

"Jon Webster will do anything to get out of cutting the grass!"
-- It dawns on Jeanette Webster why her husband races and crews so much

"The only problem is that it was this event last year when I did the engine, so we were a bit worried yesterday morning!"
-- ...and we remember Super Mod racer Steve 'Cheerful Chappie' Rawlings laughing at the time

"I would like to do that every half-hour or so for the rest of my life."
-- Eurodragster News Editor Tog to car owner Paul Marston after driving Grumpy's Dodge to a 10.66/126

"With a few more full passes under your belt I'd be happy to take a passenger ride with you driving."
-- Santa Pod Raceway's Race Director Darren Prentice books a date with Tog, and destiny

"Yesterday we pulled the sump and we found a paper towel in there."
-- Super Mod racer Paul Brooks traces his oil pressure problem

"I left the line and shifted - I've been told not to do it again!"
-- Top Methanol FC racer Steph Milam gets over-excited

"I was calling 'Lex...Lex...Lex...' and he didn't call back, and then you start to think bad things."
-- Lex Joon's partner and Team Manager Gerda Dijsktra tries to raise Lex on the radio after his Fuel FC fireball

"If I remember to change gear today I might go quicker!"
-- Top Fuel Bike rookie Steve Carey's first competitive outing

"It's a rough area anyway so no-one complained!"
-- ...but Martin Canto was standing behind Crew Chief Peter Knight after they fired up the Top Fueller in Peter's shop at midnight

"It was the first recorded instance of Jon Webster swearing!"
-- Jeanette Webster reveals Jon's stray adjective after his first Top Fuel Dragster pass

"Once we walk away and leave Dave on his own there's nothing better to do!"
-- ACI Racing Crew Chief Andy Bissett runs the Christmas Tree for Dave Wilson at Press Day

"Tommi isn't going to win Mr. Finland but his legs are OK now."
-- Anita Mäkelä's husband and Crew Chief Tommi Haapanen removes the bandages

"I have a few things to try to beat Hkan Nilsson!"
-- Pro Mod racer Roger Johansson takes advantage of Press Day

"He is very cool, and he has been racing for too many years to get too excited."
-- Team member Gittli Koller describes Peter Schöfer's state of mind as he goes into the FIA European Finals neck-and-neck with Dave Wilson in the Top Methanol Dragster Championship

"We know what we have to do, and we don't need to get too excited."
-- Dave Wilson of a similar mind

"If it doesn't at least try to shake then you are not trying hard enough: the trick is to be right on the edge but not over it."
-- Andy Bissett gives away one secret of TMD tuning

"We're going to bang out a big one to start with and then relax for the rest of the weekend!"
-- Fuel FC racer Gordon Smith's qualifying strategy

"There was doom and gloom for about thirty minutes - and then we got on the phone to America!"
-- Steph Milam breaks a rear axle

"It's scary that you have to qualify!"
-- Pro Mod racer Andy Robinson, one of twenty racers after a sixteen-car field

"We have new tyres and just like I did before the Main Event I have cut my hair!"
-- Top Methanol FC racer Urs Erbacher tries his luck

"We're taking everything out of the trailer and putting it in."
-- Leanders Brothers Top Methanol FC Crew Chief Jörgen Leanders knows the track can take it

"I wasn't angry with Freddy of course, but I was angry that he lost the race!"
"Johan wasn't angry because the doctor was very good-looking."
-- Johan and Björn of Freddy Fagerström's Pro Mod and Top Methanol FC team discuss a finger injury caused by a jumpy Pro Mod

"If I run a 6.3 in the Pro Mod then everyone on the team, including the kids, gets a mohican haircut!"
-- Freddy Fagerström's weekend target

"When this car shakes I can't see anything. It's hard to drive but I feel good."
-- Niclas Andersson enjoying the Sandflex Top Methanol FC

"Maybe we should tune the car ourselves but he is the best. I would like to have him all to myself but that's another subject!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Micke Kågered covets Carbon By Design team tuner Alan Jackson

"We have put the 4.7 tune-up in it!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Kim Reymond the day before he ran a 4.64

"It doesn't scare me any more but you have to give these bikes respect."
-- Chris Hannam taking the sensible approach to Top Fuel Bike

"All the points count. If we need to, we will put pure nitro into the fuel tank."
-- FIM Supertwin Championship contender Ton Pels, ready to try anything

"I ran 185 mph at the eighth, reasonable for a crappy pass!"
-- Never-satisfied Top Fuel Bike racer Ian King

"I'm going to do a full pass straight away, kill the competition and make them scared!"
-- Sound qualifying strategy from Pro Mod racer Håkan Nilsson

"It would suit us down to the ground if it rained all day!"
Andy Bissett will have tuned Dave Wilson to the qualifying lead, then

"He never ceases to amaze me the way he drives out of these situations. He never fails to frighten me to death either, but he never ceases to amaze me!"
-- Shockwave Fuel FC Crew Chief Dave Bryant keeps the defibrillator on standby when Gordon Smith runs

"Tom's been telling me how to do it as usual!"
-- Showtime Fuel FC Crew Chief Bob Jarrett has Tom Hoover in his pit

"Nothing got singed, nothing snapped - nothing! It was almost a shame to have to take it apart again after the run!"
-- Martin Canto enjoys his first taste of Top Fuel Dragster crewing

"Maybe when they take my ET record away I will come back!"
-- Pro Mod racer Patrick Wikström spends 2003 spectating

"The crew wouldn't believe me but I showed them your report."
-- Eurodragster's Event Coverage held up as an authority by Steve Woollatt

"It is always easier to run quick in the pub than on the strip!"
-- Top Fuel Bike racer Sverre Dahl - not so much a bench racer as a stool racer

"Peter's years of experience prevented it being a lot worse."
-- Gittli Koller speaks for everyone who witnessed Peter Schöfer's sideswipe of the guardrail...

"The first person to our pit was Dave Wilson who offered us rear wheels, and the Turners offered us front tyres and help."
-- ...Gittli then describes how the spirit of sportsmanship transcended the Championship race

"You can lose the gap between first and eighth qualifiers on the start line."
-- Pro Stock racer Jan Murén sums up how close the class has become

"Do you know, I've gone quicker and faster than you have."
-- Tog displays his renowned diplomatic skills to Jan Murén after hitching a 6.90/201 ride in Gordon Appleton's Pro Mod

"It's like having an ice cream and dropping it on the ground."
-- Andréasson Motorsports Top Methanol FC team member Anders Magnussson watches Ulf Leanders run a 5.66

"It was in there all the time, the track brought it out."
-- Kim Reymond explains where the 4.645 came from...

"I had to!"
-- ...Kim then explains why he stayed on the throttle even though he watched a front wing fail at over 300 miles per hour

"I think we have made the same mistake which everyone else made during qualifying - trying too hard!"
-- Supertwin racer Per Bengtsson 'fesses up

"Two broken chains and one gearbox is not what we desired."
-- There's good luck, bad luck, crappy luck and Ronny Aasen's luck

"I will do it eventually, that's all I have to say."
-- Roel Koedam refuses to be drawn on a five-second pass

"Can someone tell that pick-up that it's required back at the start line?"
-- Santa Pod Raceway's Chief Starter Ian Marshall radios the Top End crew after one of Freddy Fagerström's burnouts

"It went quicker with fifteen stones of useless ballast!"
-- Shakespeare County Raceway's Race Director Richard Warburton and wife Rachel each take a ride-along with CCSE racer Trevor Kitney - Richard goes quickest

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