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Pomona, Here We Come (and not a minute too soon!) by ProQuest

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Parker Avenue, of course, is the nickname bestowed on the racetrack that is now known as Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, home since 1984 of NHRA's season opener and its curtain closer. While our reigning NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series champs weighed in with their thoughts for the season ahead and assessed their biggest challengers, we received interesting feedback on NHRA.com from some preseason polls I posted in the days leading up to the event.

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									                                       LAUNCH PAD with Phil Burgess

                               Pomona, Here We Come (and not a minute too soon!)
                               I
                                     n the world of    gleaming hot rods and tons of
                                     motorsports, a    new cars of every shape, size, and
                                     lot of hallowed   color.
                                ground is known           I didn’t attend another
                                by colorful names.     Winternationals until 1980, but I
                                Le Mans has the        haven’t missed one since. This
                                high-speed             year will mark my 21st straight
                                Mulsanne               Winternationals. I was so excited
                                Straight. Laguna       to attend that 1980 event that I
                                Seca has the           talked my parents into loaning me
Corkscrew. Brands Hatch has Paddock Hill               their camper so that I could hole
Bend. For drag racing fans, Parker Avenue may          up overnight in the holding-area
be one of the most revered patches of concrete         parking lots the night before to
and asphalt, perhaps second only to the                stake out a spot so that I could be
historic grounds in Indy.                              among the first into the place.                        would win each of the Full Throttle world
    Parker Avenue, of course, is the nickname             We’re always excited when the                       championships, and the numbers surprised me.
bestowed on the racetrack that is now known as         Winternationals rolls around, and not just for             In Top Fuel, Larry Dixon garnered a
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, home since                the chance to enjoy four great days of racing          surprising 55 percent of the vote, well ahead of
1984 of NHRA’s season opener and its curtain           after sleeping in our own beds. The excitement         second-place Tony Schumacher’s 19 percent.
closer. Named in 1969 in honor of Pomona               of seeing the beginning of a new chapter in            Antron Brown was third with 13 percent of the
Police Chief Ralph Parker, who played a                NHRA history (and knowing we’ll also be                ballots. What’s up with that? Dixon and
pivotal role in helping establish the                  there for the end of it) is quite a thrill, and this   Schumacher finished within two points of one
Winternationals, it even has its own Pomona            year’s gala 50th annual event is definitely one        another and Dixon is the runaway fan pick just
street sign to the left of the starting line.          for which you need, in the words of the                three months later? Just what “the Sarge”
    What makes the track so special — other            immortal Steve Evans, to “Be there.”                   needed: more bulletin-board inspiration.
than, of course, a penchant for fast times,                                                                   Granted, Dixon and the Al-Anabi team will be




                                                       “
incredible drama, and unprecedented                           I had been to plenty of other                   better this year than last, but that much better?
happenings — is its location. In a world where                                                                I think it speaks volumes to the fans’ belief in
home and business developments swallow up                     drag races from the time I was                  Alan Johnson magic and the unflappable




                                                                                                  ”
acreage like a hungry monster, Parker Avenue           10 or 11, but nothing matched                          driving skills of Dixon.
is an oasis, an anomaly. Surrounded on three         
								
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