Funny Car Racing in the Fog
By Pat Foster and Mike Cole
Fog racing? Sounds like the "Beach" or OCIR on many a Saturday night! If you've never been strapped in a funny car late at night, waiting to run, pulled out behind the bleach box, fired up, and as the crew lowers the body, discover they had forgot to cover the windshield and are running for the starting line to pick your spot and back you up, not noticing you are just sitting there unable to see anything, then you haven't lived.
Then they realize what happened, run back and wipe the Lexan with greasy shop towels or their equally dirty tee shirts. The other car is backing up from its burn out. You still can barely see and you have to do a really short burn out to catch up. This is unsettling because the reason the windshield fogged up in the first place was because the fog was rolling in and you know the track is damp and slippery. Hang on, sit low, and hope to God she sticks. It wasn't always a fun deal -- kissing the trophy girls, fan adoration, big money, etc. Many nights it was "What the Hell am I doing? Other folks are enjoying a movie and drinks afterwards on Saturday night!"
Fog races? -- I'm in!
I was helping the Condit Bros. at OCIR one night. As those of you who were ever there know, sometimes it could get pretty foggy as well as "damp." As Patty said, you had to make sure the windshield was covered pretty early in the evening 'cause there was no drying it off when it was time to run if it had gotten wet. Anyway, there was a haze of fog in the air but not too bad and Dave did his burnout. I think Jim Dunn was in the other lane. About the time they finished their burnouts and were backing up, the fog rolled in like, INSTANTLY! It was unreal... you couldn't see anything. I was sure they'd get shut off but as soon as they rolled forward, the header flames tickling the thick night air, you'd make out one amber bulb come on, then another, then another. Pretty soon, it starts counting down & they leave!
It still brings chills to my spine to even THINK about it. They run.... the engines shut off.... and you wait to hear any other crashing sounds as they try to get stopped in the soup. It was silent... eerily silent. We crept down the return road, trying to find our way, having a HELL of a time even locating them. And there they both were...A-OK. Just a normal deal I guess for these guys. Later Dave Settles came by the truck and asked if we had a sidecar for Condit's balls... He'd been at the finish line and had just seen the faint flicker of the headers pass by as they ran... He walked away shaking his head...<g>