A Day at the Drags

National Hot Rod Association Sonoma Nationals 

My daughter Katy and I journeyed up to Sonoma on Saturday to see the drag racing championship event of the year. We arrived about 8:30, and by 11:30 had all the eardrum-busting 150 dB of the top fuel 11,000-horsepower dragsters. These awesome machines can go from a standing start to 330+ miles / hour in just under four seconds.

We wandered around in the pit area watching the teams work on their cars. These power plants  start as Chrysler “Hemi” 500 cubic inch engines. They are then “souped up” for maximum performance. So much so that after each race, the engines are torn apart and rebuilt for the next event.

As we watched the team working on Ron August’s car, I caught the eye of one of the mechanics. I asked him a few questions and was impressed with his pleasant demeanor. I asked him if he’d be willing to do a short interview. “Sure.” In ten minutes he gave us insight into this amazing sport. I’ve edited it down to four minutes. I think you will enjoy meeting Josh Kalich. Josh has his own “Pro Modified” car that runs the quarter mile in 5.5 seconds at just over 260 miles / hour. He finds the whole experience relaxing, “like sitting on my couch.”

10 thoughts on “A Day at the Drags

  1. Warren Harnden says:

    Those were, indeed, “The Days”. In the 70s and 80s, a hundred pounds out of the car resulted in a predictable 0.1 second reduction in that car’s 1/4 mile time. Pit conditions at the usual Fremont or Vaca Valley Raceways were dirt and dirty then and the light at night was dim for sure. Had one friend who raced the same “Big Block Vega” for a few years; many, many nights and days spent feverishly wrenching on that car, he spent. Did OK and was recognized for his independent and mostly worthwhile contribution to the “Local Scene”. It seemed an important vocation at the time; like so many, however, I was a wanna be who never was but I learned a bit along the way and that contributed to my ability I my workaday job. Yep- fun times! Glad you and Katy did that number, Rick!

  2. David Binder says:

    It’s always fascinating to hear what bring’s people passion. I am not into his sport at all, but I appreciate his excitement for it. We should all be doing things that bring us joy. Do what you love, and love what you do!

  3. Susan Page says:

    His excitement and enthusiasm was a total delight to see. If we could each feel that way about what we are doing, how wonderful it would be. And be able to express our joy that way. The part about being so relaxed during that 5 seconds was astonishing, hard to imagine, especially when he is highly motivated to set another record. Wow, you really opened my eyes on this one.

  4. JOHN WARREN says:

    I’d like to see what kind of couch Josh has – just for comparison! I was hoping that Don Garlitz would make an appearance!

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