I had no idea what to expect from the National Hot Rod Association or in all honesty, Drag Racing, Funny Cars, Rails or just about anything to do with Hot Rods. I managed to get into the NHRA suites as an Internet Photographer and ended up in the neighboring Suite to John Force! The pictures tell the tale, but I wanted to give you a little inside peek into my day at the Drag Races.
After a rough NASCAR experience last summer with triple digit temperatures and long tram rides to the car, I quickly adjusted to this VIP parking and a California, mid February, 75 degree day. Of course, there is always the usual male bonding; the packs of beer toting guys cracking each other up with adolescent humor. I particularly enjoyed watching theses 2 older gentleman with access to inside seating who chose to stick their fingers in their ears for every warm up and drag race. Such distinguished, silver haired men, whom I 'm sure shared some sort of automotive expertise, enjoyed the hair raising sound of Drag Racing so much, they chose not to use anything to mute the sound except their hands.
The father and son sitting next to us were betting each other a dollar a race and when the father said, "I think you owe me about $10 by now". His teenage son quickly responded, "Dad, I think you still owe me $20 from last week."
We also got to see Ashley Force for a quick second about 45 minutes before she actually raced. WOW! You would have thought I knew her, I screamed and applauded so loudly when she raced. And the pride on John Force’s face literally beamed into the crowd after a quick trip with a motor scooter to the end of the track congratulating his daughter on her qualifying speed. Ashley is absolutely beautiful in person, smart and well spoken and John Force seemed like a normal proud Dad who also happens the be the face of the NHRA.
But the one who stole my heart was a little boy named Anthony who was about 5 years old. I know his name because he was a mini version of his father who quietly but sternly reeled him in from leaving sticky hand prints all over the windows among other innocent mishaps. Watching him outside lifting his father's head gear away to be able to hear him speak and then intently listening to the answer to his question or just cracking up with laughter, made me understand a little bit better that this experience is not just about the sport. It's about the time spent with friends and family just relaxing, enjoying each other's company and the simplicity of waiting for the next race.