EPPING, N.H. (July 4) — This weekend’s return to New England Dragway provides a peek into the past for Top Fuel pilot Scott Palmer and the fun-loving CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel
“There is so much history here,” Palmer said. “Bobby Lagana Sr. (teammate Dom Lagana’s father) raced here in his Funny Car, ‘Jungle Jim’ Lieberman raced his Funny Car here, ‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits raced dragsters here; all of the legends have been down this track at one point or another. That’s a very cool thing about this place because, you know, there aren’t many legends left.
“Professional drag racing has turned into a big money deal. It’s no longer guys who live and breathe it every day. It’s just not like that anymore. You don’t have driver’s driving their own rigs anymore. If you do that nowadays, everyone’s like, ‘What’s wrong with those guys?’ But back in the day, there were lots of people that racing was their life.”
The NHRA itself returned to New England Dragway just six years ago and the fans have responded with sellout crowds every event. It’s caused such a buzz in New England that a local crew from Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM) caught up with Palmer at a rest stop on the Mass Pike where he was resting in his rig, just like the old-timers used to do.
“The reporter saw our two rigs and he asked us to do an interview about holiday traffic,” Palmer said. “When he found out what we do and that I drive the racecar and one of the rigs, the guy just went crazy. He’s like ‘You’ve gotta be kidding. The driver drives the truck?’
“They knew about the race and had looked us up but when they saw I was driving to the event they changed their story from holiday traffic to one about us. For our team, this is normal. It’s part of the adventure. Being on the road; it’s something we like and enjoy.”
Of course, getting there is just half the battle for Palmer. With their 1,500-mile journey from their home base in Missouri now in the books, it’s time to focus on racing.
“They’ve said it’s going to be cooler than the original forecast so that will make for some great racing,” Palmer said. “Our goal will be to make sure we go down the racetrack the first run, get ourselves in a good position and then build from there.
“We’re in the top 10 but it’s close so in between the last race and here we worked hard. Jason McCulloch (crew chief) and the guys went back to Indy and worked on this car. I worked on a different car we sold to another racer because we’ve got a new car coming in three weeks and we need the room. Hopefully, the new car will debut at Indy. We’re a small team so we have to work harder than everyone else but we like it that way.”
Video link: http://www.westernmassnews.com/clip/14464995/pro-drag-racer-among-those-traveling-the-pike-this-holiday-week
Credit: Geiger Media Global