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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Drag Racing's Musical Memories

By Robb Lowe

A few months ago, I was deciding if this was the year to go to the California Hot Rod Reunion drag race. Although I decided against it, I gave the whole thing a lot of thought. In fact, I gave a lot of drag racing-related stuff serious thought. We lost a lot of people this year. We have lost a lot period -- times, tracks, cars, people, and even ways of life. The year 2000 found me looking back and forward to where I've been and where I want to go. The "when" is out of the question it's a no-brainer to want to be somewhere in 1961-62 keeping time with a beach bunny at the drive-in deciding which digs to go to tomorrow.

The "where" part, hmm...

All my life it's been a curse/blessing to retain certain information. The good stuff -- stuff that might have made me rich -- fell out. The useless yet interesting stuff stuck like gum to the bottom of my shoe. One of the things that has become the Clark's Teaberry of my synapses is song lyrics. Usually they pop up in that blackboard of a mind's eye when a relevant situation presents itself...

Thinking about CHRR, the drag culture, and Bakersfield jarred one loose.

Bakersfield is famous for a few things.. most notably, drag racing's Mecca and Buck Owens. Buck said something in an almost forgotten 1972 song that sums up the pilgrimage to B-field...

"I came here looking for something, I can't find anyplace else... I ain't trying to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.." (Buck Owens - Streets of Bakersfield)

Man, that just sorta wrapped it all up in 25 words or less.

After thinking about the loss of all the drag folks this year and those past, plus the places/cars/shops/tracks etc., another piece of poetry to music came to mind.

"There are places I remember, all my life though some have changed. Some forever, not for better... some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall... Some are dead and some are living, but in my life, I loved them all." (Lennon & McCartney - In My Life)

Again, hits you in the head like mallet if you think about it. With those few words, every valley rat, every drive-in, every thrash in every garage, and every toolbox flashes by along with Lions, Fontana, Half Moon Bay... Sorokin, Mulligan, Jungle... Evans.

I had carried that tune around in my head for a long time as my favorite Beatles tune.. then I heard a few weeks ago that it was voted best-written song of all time by the Songwriter's Guild. I guess it means a lot to a lot of people. If you've never heard it and don't really want to buy a Beatles album (I don't own one either) it's used as the theme song to a TV show called "Providence" on NBC on Friday nights. You can hear most of it there for free although it doesn't have that "thing" the original does.

Thanks for readin',

Robb

 

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