A Farewell, a Welcome, and a Look Down the Fire-Up Road

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					                                        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        
Description: Because of who he was and because of his grasp of the challenges of this job, I'd save those e-mails like little treasures. The week after that is a special treat, the National DRAGSTER Top 10 list special, in which your friendly scribes will present, after much haggling, bickering, and arguing, our picks for NHRA Drag Racing's top 10 Pro drivers, Sportsman drivers, crew chiefs, cars, innovations, rivalries, national events, runs, upsets, and moments.
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