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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

The Stories of the Drags

By Laurie Watts
Photo by Earl Watts

Laurie Watts racing at dusk, 2000. 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 listen. 

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 one. 

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...

Laurie Watts


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