Back to my playground…


After a fairly hectic work week, I curled up in front of the television and watched a favorite movie, Heart Like a Wheel; kind of a chick-flick for someone who once enjoyed tearing down a quarter mile at breakneck speeds. 


That would be…me.  

Later, my dreams had me drag racing through the night and into the early morning hours.  Today, I’ve been in some pretty deep thought about what I would redo in my past, if I had just one chance to return to what used to be…my playground.

Trust me, there is plenty and it’s difficult to focus on just one thing but…for fun’s sake, I’d walk, no run, back to the late 60’s and a chance to earn my NHRA Competition License.

I was close back then, very close.  A local speed shop owner offered me the opportunity to drive his AA/Gas Dragster to qualify at a local drag strip.  The requirements were not as strict as they are today even as dragsters started approaching speeds of 200 mph.  If you were a street racer and week-end competitor at a drag strip, having that important piece of paper gave you an edge, if not just bragging rights.   Aside from those rights, there were great memories of the various racing events which gave me the thrill of meeting so many big names in racing, among them, Shirley Muldowney, who advised me to follow my dreams and “show these guys what you’re made of…get that license!”

And I wanted one…badly.

In 1967, the NHRA’s requirements were as follows…”Known, qualified, competent drivers will be the first to receive their license upon the recommendation of their home strip manager. These experts then become the backbone of the entire program. Their judgement and experience, along with that of the strip manager, determines who shall be licensed later. Each strip manager will be a member of the Licensing Committee for his strip. Other members will be at least two licensed drivers at each meet.

The driver’s test will basically consist of a series of runs before the Licensing Committee, working gradually to a full quarter-mile under power and at progressively faster speeds. Should a driver not pass his first or subsequent tests, he can continue to apply at each meet, but is limited to single runs until he passes the test and receives his license from the Division Director.”

I was a ready-teddy, armed with a competitive and mechanical background, necessary signatures and that need-for-speed.  The only drawback was the dragster at hand and questions about the safety of both its design and performance.  As I said, I was close but those questions were to keep me from making what could have been a dangerous attempt to grab that precious license.

It just wasn’t meant to be and I gave up the chance only to learn, a few months later, the rail job exploded during a race and the driver was severely injured. 

That…could have been me.

But, if given that chance to go back to that playground and try it all again?  You bet your gas, I would!



From Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop… Tell us about a favorite side hobby you’ve had at some point in your life.

A favorite post from several years ago which fit this prompt…perfectly.  Drag racing, a hobby?  It was so much more than that, mostly one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done.  Mostly.  I’m sure there have been others but with everything involved in owning and racing a car, I can look back on so much knowledge learned and some sorrow with not having my GTO any longer.  But, I wouldn’t have missed it all, not for the world!