Drag Racing Unplugged X

With the 2008 season over we are, for the ninth 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 Tog, Simon, Roger and Kirstie's Quotes of the Year and that of our good friend, Honorary Eurodragster.com staff member and reporter Christer Abrahamson.

Tog's Quote Of The Year

"You just nail it and see what happens"
-- How To Drive A Fuel Funny Car, by Thomas Nataas

Simon's Quote Of The Year

"It's simple, Simon"
-- John Atkinson explains the installation of his new Steve Schmidt engine

Roger's Quote Of The Year

"I'll take the one with no arm"
-- Darrell Gwynn, after the trophy table collapsed at this year's Don Garlits International Hall of Fame Awards

Kirstie's Quote Of The Year

"I don't care if it ends up on its roof, we are throwing the Alien down that track whether it likes it or not"
-- After a wretched series of events at which his car had not run, Super Pro ET racer John Everitt makes an executive decision

Christer's Quote Of The Year

"At Mantorp the sun goes from east to west"
-- Tog fills Kirstie in on the lighting conditions at the Veidec Festival

And the rest of the 2008 Drag Racing Unplugged collection in chronological order...

"It's a coconut-based absorbent which can take up oil, fuel, diesel, paint, even blood - or so the manufacturers say!"
-- But we didn't challenge Steve Wood of Motorshack to a fight to check that last point

"It's a whole new ball game because the car can take everything we can give it"
-- John Spuffard explains a clutch change on the Showtime Fuel FC

"This bike is pretty much a Fuel car on two wheels"
-- Anders Karling's description of his new Supertwin

"Steve Clark has increased his backing which will enable us to do all this testing, and we need to do it to catch those pesky Nitrous cars!"
-- And it seemed to do the trick for Nigel Payne as he won the 2008 UK National Super Modified Championship

"If we can translate the looks and reliability to results then we will have a successful year"
-- Similarly correct prophecy from Steve Clark of Eurodragster.com sponsor Nimbus Motorsport

"I had to hit the brakes hard. Juniors are not so good at turning!"
-- Junior Dragster racer Joe Kellett forced to run on a circuit at Autosport International

"I wanted the crowd to go "Wow! I want to see that!"."
-- Andy Frost fills the Live Action Arena with smoke from his street-legal Vauxhall

"I got a bit wobbly in the rehearsal but this one was a lot more controlled"
-- Super Gas racer Conrad Stanley probably meant that his Firebird got a bit wobbly, but you never know

"You have to be aware of the concrete wall at the end, and you have to realise that the surface is very loose"
-- Pro Mod racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson takes his chances with his own indoor burnouts

"In twenty eight years of racing I've had a total of eight crew. Two of those have gone to the USA, two remain, and the other four haven't survived the twenty eight years but they're still talking to us!"
-- Dave Wilson goes through the personnel records of his Top Methanol Dragster team

"If anyone needs help then they come to the trailer and leave their names and then I get on my pit bike and go see them"
-- Personal service from Tim Anderson of Racepak

"If it's electronic and it's a performance car then we want to be in on it"
-- Todd Ryden describes the ethos of MSD

"Last year for the first time we ran commercials for Gardermoen on local TV and radio and it worked, it got a lot of people out of their homes"
-- Sunoco Fuels' Norwegian distributor Lars Ruud lures the public to a race

"Over next winter we will be building a replacement bar and covered area for shelter from the sun. And rain!"
-- An unfortunate but necessary piece of work for Santa Pod Raceway's Track Manager David Lloyd Jones

"It's not just a case of taking a potential sponsor to the track to watch the racing - you have to feed them, and you have to get them hotel rooms and so on. It can very easily cost you several thousand pounds to land a sponsor"
-- Barry Sheavills explains what it takes to get a Top Fuel sponsorship these days

"I don't care what anyone else's intentions are but we are going there to win - we will not be treating it as a test session"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Andy Carter looks forward to the Easter Thunderball

"Do I look like I eat fruit?"
-- In Tog's day job, a well-meaning Director brings in a basket of fruit as a Thank You to the team in which he works

"We could change it to Assistant Pit Reporter and third Mrs Tog"
"Assistant Pit Reporter is just fine thank you"
-- Kirstie changes her mind over a review of her Eurodragster.com job description

"I have to go to work now, and this man has come all the way from England to work so leave him alone"
-- National Dragster photographer Richard Brady talks to Roger at trackside and then warns off photo-journalist and honorary Eurodragster.com staff member Andy Willsheer

"This thing says we're in the middle of nowhere"
-- SFI Foundation President Arnie Kuhns consults the SatNav in Sweden

"I absolutely love it! I knew I'd like it but not to this level"
-- Jon Giles goes for his Super Gas licence

"I started drag racing in cars when I was sixteen, but found that bikes are quicker and cheaper"
-- We wonder whether the latter still holds true given that Jerry Weide now races in Super Street Bike

"We missed a lot of sleep and had to throw everything in at the last minute"
-- Graham Ellis makes the Easter Thunderball with his new Plymouth Superbird Pro Mod

"That goes to show that the Wild Bunch can hit a Barn door at fifty paces"
-- Comment on Santa Pod Raceway's track radio after a stuck throttle linkage propelled Darryl Howells' slingshot into the front of the start line garage, formerly the Barn

"Steve Nash's team had a spare trans in Southend and Andy Robinson a third member in Hampshire. So we despatched two teams to do the five hour round trips"
-- The spirit of drag racing from B&H Automotive Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby and Team '56

"Oh dear"
-- At the Auto Trader Easter Thunderball, Kirstie looks out of the window to discover that the outside world has gone white overnight

"It was our first time on a track that cold and we didn't smoke the tyres, and we got a baseline"
-- Per Andersen of the Lucas Oil / Andersen Racing Top Fuel Dragster team has the Northern European advantage

"With temperatures like these, I didn't know what would happen when I hit the throttle"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Lex Joon not so sure

"You can't learn a huge amount from the conditions except that in the two runs so far, our sixty foot was too aggressive"
-- Jerry Clayton trying to tune Andy Robinson's Pro Mod for a track which not so long ago was under snow

"The old block failed on firing up the engine and I had to do a round trip on road from Calais to Kristianstad in twenty hours last Saturday. We brought back a new small block Chevy and stripped it down on Monday and got it running again by Tuesday afternoon"
-- Super Pro ET racer Nigel Turner goes above and beyond

"Our dream came true and we had a lot of goodwill at the event"
-- Blown-alcohol altered racer Bob Glassup describes running at the California Hot Rod Reunion

"Do you have diet soda water?"
-- ...and the waitress started to answer "Yes" before she realised what Tog had said

"After winning Hockenheim in 1997 I took some time out which ended up being longer than expected"
-- A bit of an understatement from Torstein Risdal who took ten years to return, albeit in Top Fuel Dragster

"I met Ton Pels at a motorcycle show. He talked about the new bike he is building for Roel Koedam and said he was looking for someone to ride his old bike, so here I am"
-- There's probably a little more to how Job Heezen came to be riding a Supertwin this year

"At the moment the car is sideways all the time, even in the burnout and we need to adjust the chassis to go straight"
-- But, Kev Slyfield, it's a Pro Mod - it's what they do

"I'm a bit nervous but it's really good"
-- Harry Elliott enters Junior Dragster

"It felt different. Like a rollercoaster ride!"
-- Lee Cohen gets a blown motor in his Outlaw Anglia

"The engine's still in one piece and the parachutes worked!"
-- Tim Mugridge goes for his Super Modified licence

"I have had a lucky dial-in all weekend which is 13.75. I changed it on my last qualifying round to a 13.65 and then I go and run a 13.75!"
-- Lesson learned for VW Sportsman racer Dave Bridge

"I'm really enjoying the class but I keep getting red lights"
-- Then we told Junior Dragster racer Rhiannon Bellenie what it means if you never pull red lights

"I heard this big bang and I was worried that I might have been on fire"
-- Hopefully Gabrielle McDonald meant her Junior Dragster's engine, not herself

"Dave Benjamin is in the middle of building a new Fuel Altered and asked for my measurements. If that's with a view to a drive in the US or to race it over here, I would obviously be interested"
-- Fuel Altered pilot Jim Usher gets greedy

"It wasn't the bike, it was me"
-- 9.50 Bike racer Martin Walker goes 9.41

"If you don't know what it is, go and look it up on Google, then come back in the morning and tell me how disgusting you think it is"
-- Andy Willsheer gets another bee in his bonnet

"It was a bad sixty foot time but a good speed of 149 at the eighth, I was on three cylinders three seconds into the run because of a fuel problem, and I shut off at half track"
-- Quite a lot going on for Pro Stock Bike racer Martin Bishop...

"If you don't change the parts when you should then it's bang and big money"
-- ...Martin explains that high costs beat higher costs

"Micke Lindahl and Micke Gullquist are close too but I'd like to be the first one!"
-- Andy Robinson wants to be the first European Pro Mod racer into the fives. As if being a Eurodragster.com sponsor wasn't enough of an accolade

"You could be a complete nobody with the right kit and come out of nowhere"
-- Andy explains one of the beauties of Pro Mod

"The main rivals will be Lex and Urs...as a driver Lex is almost as good as me!"
-- Andy Carter meant it as a compliment

"Every time I get in the car I want to drive it. The day I hesitate, I'm done"
-- Wise words from Martin Hill about driving the Fireforce 3 Jet FC

"What is this music? I've wanted to kill myself for the last half-hour"
-- SPRC Race Director Darren Prentice not overly impressed by Tog's Nightwish CD then playing on the PA

"I was more interested in looking at the data from that run than at the car"
-- Super Modified racer Tim Garlick unconcerned about a trip off the end of the track...

"We have to catch that Mr Hone - either that or kill him!"
-- ...because he has bigger fish to fry

"I like it here because everyone is real friendly and the Dutch coffee is good stuff!"
-- That's all it took to get US Pro Mod racer Chris Russo to work with with Marc Meihuizen

"It's the first time we've made round one of qualifying in forty years - we are late developers"
-- Roger Sinclair of the S&K Super Pro ET team, not the only team to run on racers' time

"It's so different to drive. With the altered you drive with one hand on the wheel and the other on the shifter and there is a lot of steering input"
-- Bob Glassup moves from altered to dragster...

"It's a lot more exciting than driving the dragster, you need to make a lot more steering input and you are aware of being part of the machine rather than being hung out in the front"
-- ...whilst Mark Flavell moves from dragster to Funny Car...

"With the altered you can see smoke from the headers but you have to hear the dragster to detect problems, and it's quieter"
-- ...Bob Glassup can't hear a lot...

"The noise is greater and to be honest it was intimidating at the start with all that horsepower"
-- ...whilst Mark Flavell can hear altogether too much

"Slicks are a bit counter-intuitive as they go where they want to and you have to do the opposite of what you think you should do to correct"
-- Maybe Ivan Birch spent too much time in Super Street Bike before moving to Comp Bike

"I guess if you want to make this sort of change to the combination, you shouldn't leave it to three weeks before the event"
-- Dave Wilson goes from blown-alcohol to injected-nitro

"We tested in Hungary on an unprepared track and Peter's throttle control was so good he didn't spin the wheels away from the line."
-- Team member Gittli Koller gives an early hint of Peter Schöfer's Top Methanol Dragster Championship form

"These days they all have huge trailers and employ six or seven crewmen, and they were impressed that we were able to run the car with such a small team and trailer"
-- Adam Flamholc goes Pro Stock racing in the USA

"I think the startline at Santa Pod is better than Valdosta"
-- Richard Sundblom likewise has been racing Pro Stock in America

"We decided to change classes as it is good for testing and we think we have a chance of being on the podium"
-- Tactical thinking by Werner Habermann on behalf of Comp Eliminator racer son Dennis

"It's a shame - we were expecting great things"
-- Ian Turburville doesn't quite qualify for Supertwin at the FIA Main Event, which is then rained out anyway

"I'm pleased with what I've seen and Stig has the potential to run in the 4.6s"
-- US Top Fuel Dragster racer Donnie Holbrook works with Stig Neergaard

"All I want to do now is go home and sleep"
-- Pro Modified racer Robert Joosten has a hard weekend

"There are fifteen other people any of whom could beat us, so we will take each round as it comes"
-- Andy Robinson takes nothing for granted

"Lots of the crowd believed it and we were happy to take the reception they gave us"
-- Pro Modified tuner Magnus Lindahl watches a 5.96 come up on brother Micke's scoreboard

"Nice suntan, I guess the supply of fifty pence pieces hasn't run out yet"
-- A Eurodragster.com staff member has their first 2008 encounter with a racer. Both had best remain anonymous

"Oh for heaven's sake Tog"
-- Kirstie, frequently

"What the hell are you doing here?"
-- Jöran Persåker's Top Fuel Dragster tuner and California native Jim Brisette encounters Eurodragster.com US Correspondent and New Hampshire resident Ed O'Connell in Linköping, Sweden

"Kids get their friends to come along and they want to buy a car"
-- Lena Andersson explains why Junior Dragster is so popular

"The Chevy Monte Carlo used to be owned by Michael Callin and was successful three or four years ago and then run by Adam Flamholc for a year, so there was pressure on me to do a good job with it"
-- Comp Eliminator racer Petri Nagy doesn't want to let the side down

"Once you know the basics in Junior Dragster, you can apply them to other classes"
-- Joonas Pesonen gets into a Super Comp dragster

"My problem here is I have no parachute and it's tough trying to stop the car from the 240 kph speeds it runs"
-- No prizes for guessing at which track Anders Holmberg is racing in Super Stock

"My goal is to do big wheelstands, get the car down into the eights and have fun!"
-- The admirable intentions of Super Gas racer Jans Petter Linstrøm

"This one was built for driving on offroad courses but I found that too boring so I put in a 350 ci supercharged Chevy and took it drag racing"
-- Jon Olsen sees the light and goes Super Gas...

"It puts out 1160 horsepower but I call it a "Coffee engine" because you drive it and then you can sit down and have a cup of coffee"
-- ...but not for him thrashing into the small hours

"I realised the chutes had failed when I crossed the finish line and as hard as I stepped on the brakes, they weren't enough"
-- Paul Ingar Udtian: Top Methanol Dragster racer and psychic

"It's just too hot and while there is a sweet spot with the tuning, it just gets narrower"
-- Top Fuel Dragster tuner Eddie Corr complained about hot weather once in 2008, and Simon was there

"It may be that the car that wins is not the quickest"
-- Urban Johansson looking for consistency in Pro Modified

"If you leave it too late you will head for the wall and then you have two options. I chose the option of staying on the bike which turned out to be the best one"
-- A scrape with the guardrail for Top Fuel Bike racer Eric Teboul

"Others on stand-by"
-- The roll call of the rest of Jonas Staflund's Top Methanol FC team

"When we raced the car in the US we tuned it to the smooth tracks there with concrete for the first 660 feet. Now it is very difficult on the bumpy asphalt tracks in Europe"
-- Adam Flamholc harks back fondly to his US Pro Stock trip

"I shortshifted in one gear on the last run which was a mistake, but you have to be prepared to do that in these conditions"
-- Not often will you hear anyone admit to mistakes but Pro Stock racer Kenneth Söderström is honest enough

"The modern cars handle better in these conditions but only if you are in control of the set-up which we are learning"
-- Pro Stock racer Micke Callin similarly admits to not knowing everything, yet

"You have to race the race track here and do the best you can"
-- Jimmy Ålund finds a hot Mantorp Park track a little tricky for his Pro Stock

"The whole experience of the European Tour is something you just have to do"
-- Richard Gipp living the dream with his Pro Stock Bike

"We had a new anti-roll bar fitted earlier in the year but it made the car unstable and it was almost undrivable at Alastaro as it reacted badly to loss of load at the finish line"
-- Crew member Tommy Olsen explains what actually happened when Patrick Wikström thought his Pro Mod was just being a Pro Mod

"Some say the track is different between the lanes but we don't know which is best"
-- Possibly the one in which Jöran Persåker's Top Fuel Dragster went quicker?

"There are a lot of trees"
-- Jim Brisette likes Sweden...

"We don't pay the crew and tell them they can only eat when they have finished the job"
-- ...but notices the differences to racing in the USA

"It's only small things that are preventing us from running well"
-- But neither Kirstie, Tog nor Colin Lazenby have been anywhere near Stig Neergaard's Top Fuel Dragster

"My sponsor is my wife Mika. She took ten per cent out of her beauty box to spend on the car"
-- Mika is still beautiful even though Johnny Jørgensen runs in Pro Mod

"Don't all the race teams in the US have a complete pizza oven in their pit?"
-- An incredulous question of Ed from Eurodragster.com sponsor Jörgen Leanders

"We arrived here at 3:15 am and we finished fitting the parts at 6:30 am. I then slept for an hour"
-- Slug-a-bed Pro Modified racer Mats Eriksson

"We've been pleased with our performance and the team have given me a bracket car to race"
-- Niclas Andersson rattles off the 6.2s in Pro Modified

"I have been fighting the bike during the weekend as it has been wiggling"
-- Supertwin racer Svein Olav Rolfstad should just give it a good hard slap

"But you have to try to get down the track, not worry too much about the other person and hope that he beats himself"
-- Jim Brisette tuning Jöran Persåker for a race against Andy Carter

"The car was slipping and sliding and I had to drive it through that, but I'm used to it and we've had worse"
-- Looking at the guardrail is no big deal for Top Methanol FC racer Arvid Grødem

"Running nitro is an interesting challenge"
-- Probably a certain amount of understatement from Dave Wilson

"You can't adjust the clutch like on a fuel car and if you take too much out you cannot get off the line"
-- Jörgen Leanders walking the tightrope on his Top Methanol FC's tune-up

"Jari really did his thing by reacting so well on the line, he is the best"
-- Simo Patoharju watches his charge Jari Halinen take out Tommi Haapanen on a holeshot in Top Fuel Dragster eliminations...

"I saw the green and the car reacts well"
-- ...but as far as Jari's concerned it's just what he does

"Due to a slight misunderstanding, I was wanted by the police in Linköping on Monday"
-- We just knew that Ed would fit comfortably into the Eurodragster.com team

"You have to go back to the Shell station, they are looking for you, you didn't pay"
-- The Avis Car Hire guy informs Ed that the Swedish police have put out an all-points alert

"I put my credit card in the slot, filled the tank, checked the map and drove away. Apparently there is another step in the Swedish process, and I failed to pay for the gas"
-- It was an innocent mistake officer, honest, now please stop hitting me

"We cannot start until ten on Sunday morning because next to the track there is a cemetery"
"What? It's not going to wake them up, is it?"
-- Tog learns about curfews at Hockenheim

"That is Peter's dinner you're eating"
-- Gittli Koller, five minutes after Tog had accepted her offer of a second turkey escalope in the Schöfer pit

"Stopping a bike like this with a slider clutch is a little more tricky that a lockup clutch as the clutch disengages and there is no engine braking when you get off the throttle"
-- The trick is not to go 184 mph, but Ivan Birch was on a speed record

"I left first as I didn't want John Wright to beat me, drove through tyre shake and kept away from the centre line"
-- Jim Usher fails the third Fuel Altered criterion

"We have to look to the side of the track to steer the car"
-- John Everitt fits a new injector to the Alien to train for NFAA competition

"The car is street legal and I love to outdrag Lambos and Ferraris"
-- Sportsman ET racer Graeme Sanne does not, of course, street race

"I feel it's more luck than judgment that I qualified third"
-- Modesty from Eurodragster.com sponsor Jon Webster on Tim Blakemore's 9.50 Bike

"With the nitrous off the line there is plenty of power and I need to drive it a lot more than before"
-- Richard Colby steps up his Outlaw Anglia

"It has been used for about twenty years on my dad's car and now this, so it is probably time it needed changing"
-- The third member breaks on Joe Bond's blown-alcohol altered

"I went sideways and lifted but no matter what I did I couldn't miss the blocks. They were like magnets"
-- Ian Turburville and Mister Spokehead play Punt The Timing Reflectors - note the plural

"I like to run things that others don't and prove they can work"
-- Sean Mills uses the Big CC Racing Super Street Bike as a test bed

"I only just crossed the centre line and it was always under control"
-- One out of two isn't bad for blown-alcohol altered racer Dave Grabham

"It is huge fun that Rick and I can race each other once again. Many years ago we used to race on the street before we started doing our racing at the track and it has rejuvenated us"
-- Let's get this clear: when Carla Pittau talks about racing on the street she means jogging

"If we qualify it will be like winning the FA Cup"
-- Dave and Roger Moore make their first FIA Pro Modified outing

"The launch feels like being launched from a catapult and my stomach was left back on the start line"
-- Scott Barnes takes a turn in Martyn Jones' Super Pro ET dragster

"It would be a shame if the Top Fuel Championship was won off the track and we all want to run"
-- Gary Page speaks for us all whilst sheltering from the rain

"It is fantastic to come here; it feels like our home track and is 120% safe"
-- Pro Modified racer Ulf Rapp likes Santa Pod Raceway

"You have to watch the wind speed as it can blow the body down the pits."
-- Steph Milam's Top Methanol FC has an ultra-light carbon fibre body

"We started it at our workshop in Alton which fogged up the workshop"
-- Eurodragster.com sponsor Derek Flynn couldn't wait to get his new injected-nitro Top Methanol Dragster to the track

"It's a great car that runs straight and is able to run a 6.8 but it's hard to find the time to do it the proper way"
-- Kenneth Söderström's business keeps him a bit busy for his Pro Stock

"The engine is from the old car and is capable of running 6.2 or 6.3 but we have the brackets for a blower motor and this may be an option for 2010"
-- Robert Koper: Pro Modified racer and tease

"I told Tog to keep an eye on my kids at Santa Pod this weekend"
"That's funny, Tog told me to keep an eye on you this weekend"
-- Smax Smith encounters Ed at New England Dragway

"My role has just been to give a few bits of information that might help in the future and I'm just enjoying the fifteen minutes of fame"
-- Jim Brisette now in the UK and now with the Lucas Oil / Andersen Racing Top Fuel Dragster team

"We didn't step up as much as we should have and it bit us"
-- Arvid Grødem makes a first round exit

"It was one of our goals to run against Dave but he wasn't at all Grumpy at the top end of the track"
-- Derek Flynn takes a dream win over Dave Wilson

"If eliminations can't be run I will be Champion but otherwise I will need Lex, Urs or Micke to go out before me, so it's not over"
-- Andy Carter keeping track of a complicated Top Fuel Championship

"At Hockenheim it was like a double Friday the thirteenth and little mistakes came together to hit us in the face"
-- Robert Joosten had a mare in Germany

"We decided to smarten the team up for their later court appearance"
-- Terry Wratten explains why the Wratten Brothers blown-alcohol altered crew were wearing suits on the start line

"Having Rune Fjeld tune the car gives me great confidence in the performance"
-- Ever the gentleman, Thomas Nataas credits his Fuel FC prowess elsewhere

"I was fighting to keep it out of Gary's lane and then recover and stamp on it again but it was like a skating rink, Swan Lake had nothing on us!"
-- John Spuffard writes his name in rubber on a cold track

"I'm not that concerned about the Championship, I just want to go quicker"
-- Spoken like a true drag racer by Super Pro ET's Dave Ward

"Driving a Top Fuel car is difficult to describe with all the adrenaline and power that is involved"
-- We think Linda Thun Tønseth sums it up very nicely

"Umm, I don't think I want to read that"
-- Recording a batch of jingles for Nitro FM, Norwegian Top Fuel Dragster racer Siw Nystad reaches the last entry on the list which reads "Come on Tog, it's bedtime" in suspiciously different handwriting

"I'll keep this short. I'll stop after twenty minutes"
-- John Force interviewed at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona

"My computer says "Oh yeah baby, bring it on" about Hockenheim"
-- Micke Gullqvist's Pro Mod liked the Rico Anthes Quartermile

"They brought back memories of events I hadn't been to"
-- Simon finishes an epic series of DVD reviews

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