The Stories of the Drags
By Laurie Watts
Photo by Earl Watts
Here is my car. We have been through a lot
together... from our first wheelstand... to where we are today...
going rounds and winning events. Photo by Earl Watts
It was created in 1964, welded with perfection. Meticulously measured
and created by a magician, who wore a welder's helmet and would work all
hours of the night, showering sparks over the shop floor while "See
Ya Later, Alligator" blared on the transistor radio that sat nearby.
It was a 140-inch slingshot dragster... one that would inhabit the drag
strip for the years to come... one that would create magic to all who
would climb in her cockpit.
It is 30 plus years later... she sits in a shop, perched
upon jack stands, ready to assault the quarter mile. Within the confines
of her chrome moly frame, she has many stories to tell. She sits now
silently... waiting... a purple frilly thingie adorns the butterflies on
her scoop. She is quiet. She is waiting. Inside the rails of her body are
stories to tell... stories from a bygone era.
Within the confines of her small cockpit, there are
presences... 13 ghosts that have guided her down the asphalt aisle,
thirteen warriors of the quarter mile. They are active only when nightfall
comes... they are shrouded by the black velvet twilight, but yet within
their eyes there is a twinkle. There is an energy. Much like the stars
that sit in the night sky. Yes there are stories to tell... sights to be
seen and magic that will happen... but only if you sit quietly and
There is much to be said by the diggers that sit in so
many shops... they have so many stories to tell... so many tales are
entwined in the chrome moly skeletons that sit... that sit and wait...
patiently for their time. When they can return to the quarter mile, when
the restoration process is completed... then the stories will begin...when
they once again find themselves at the drag strip... with all the familiar
smells and sounds we have all grown to love.
So in the fall of early October, these diggers will make
their way to their homeland... to Bakersfield... to once again weave the
stories of an era that so many crave for... that so many strive for. When
nitro filled the air... when the air was thick with tire smoke... and
emerging from the brownish haze of fumes and smoke they came... the
diggers... the funny cars... and the fuel pilots who drove them... and the
chassis builders who built them... and the painters who adorned their
bodies with vibrant colors... giving unique personalities to each
And with that would come the stories... the stories that
make us laugh, that make us cry... that make us stop and enjoy with
revelation the things that we like best... the stories of the Drags...