Drag racing is a completely different beast from stock car racing. I would not consider myself a novitiate any longer, but I am still quite new to the experience of drag racing. The Niagara Frontier has three good places for drag racing, and Nachmu HQ is nearest to the eighth-mile track at glorious Dunn Tire Raceway Park.
DTRP has its history, and, as is true with almost everything in the Buffalo region, its history is an albatross. As is true with almost everything in the Buffalo region, however, the people make the ruins of a once-great facility into a near-great facility. Thus the local drag racing scene.
Nachmu the Elder was bicycling up and down the sidewalk on Nachmu Street, and he bumped into Tony Madonia. Nachmu the Elder is quite the gregarious creature, which is worrisome in many ways, so when he returned to tell me that he had found “Tony,” who was his friend now, and he had a race car, I thought I should take a quick walk down to the end of the street to introduce myself to this Tony character in an effort to ascertain whether he was a freak.
Tony Madonia, it turns out, is one of the nicest fellows you could want to meet. He owns GAM Trucking here in Tonawanda, and he also owns a badass 1969 Pontiac Firebird, fully outfitted for Top Sportsman drag racing, with a monster power plant under the hood (not the crazy stuff of the ADRL, but getting there), and a chassis that’s IHRA certified. He’s had the car forever, carefully upgrading it (“freshening,” he calls it) over the years until it has just now come to run the squirrely DTRP eighth-mile in just under five seconds. Of all the cars that come out regularly, his is in the top ten in raw speed.
We hit it off right away, and he began to teach me the ways of Top Sportsman drag racing, which is considerably different from Top Fuel style racing that I was familiar with on TV, like John Force in his Funny Car, or like those rail-style dragsters.
Well, I just got back from the track, and I have some things to share, but I need to sleep. I’ll post more tomorrow. Trust me, I have some other writing I have to do, and this will be the perfect procrastination place. Pictures, stories, and opinions are incubating even now.