LAUNCH PAD with Phil Burgess
A Farewell, a Welcome, and a Look Down the Fire-Up Road
ow do you year. To celebrate our 50th year of publishing, we Wally and what he meant to us. I’ll always
H say goodbye
to the guy
who invented your
gathered some of the editors — including me,
Wells, George Phillips, and Jim Edmunds — and
Dick and I were the speakers.
remember that day.
Dick died 10 days short of his 76th birthday
and 23 days shy of the 50th Anniversary Kragen
job? Those who know me know that I generally O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by
On Jan. 18, the shun the spotlight and abhor public speaking — Valvoline, which I know he would have enjoyed
NHRA family lost there’s no erase, cut and paste, or grammar immensely because it involved so many of the
a precious member checking in live speaking — so, other than the friends he had gained along the way. We’ll all
and a longtime thrill of representing National DRAGSTER at this miss you, Dick. Thanks for everything.
friend to many in special opening, I initially wasn’t very thrilled
our world when Dick Wells passed away after with the speaking assignment. Initially, the plan ❑
battling complications from recent surgery. was for Dick and me to address the crowd
Wells was the first editor of National separately, but that quickly changed to a We continue to roll out the new stuff this week
DRAGSTER, handpicked by NHRA founder combined appearance at the microphone. with another new column, The Driving Force,
Wally Parks to oversee the creation of NHRA’s written by national-event-winning Lucas Oil racer
newly born house organ. Wells served in that role Luke Bogacki. Bogacki has a rich background in
through 1960 and returned for a second tour from
Woe be it to anyone who both racing and teaching others to race, and his
1961 to 1963 after our second editor, Bruce tried to mess with Wally’s ThisIsBracketRacing.com Web site offers
Tawson, left. beginner and advanced tips for racers of all
legacy, or with NHRA for
In my long career here at NHRA, including experience levels.
more than 20 years atop the National that matter. Bogacki kicks off his contribution by
DRAGSTER masthead, I’ve had a lot of father reviewing a little basic race math and in the
figures to guide the way, led, of course, by Dick and I exchanged e-mails in the days future will delve into theory, strategy, and other
Parks himself, all of who saw something in me preceding the opening to share our thoughts, insider knowledge that just might help get you to
worth helping and molding. Dick Wells didn’t and, ultimately, he said we should toss out any the winner’s circle. You asked for more racer-
fit that mentor definition, but he was more like scripted stuff and just wing it, to essentially riff oriented material, and we’re happy to deliver. You
the kind uncle always there to offer off of each other’s comments to compare and can find Bogacki’s first column on page 44.
encouragement and clarification, and one who contrast the job now and then. It went
helped show the way. smashingly well. ❑
With his passing, I’ve lost another one of the