Writing columns can be tough. With races being run and records falling every weekend, "Leading Edge" is usually the last thing I write. Consequently, I am under the deadline gun 99.9 percent of the time. In my zeal to make the deadline, and in the case of some recent columns, unifying the world of import drag racing, oversights can be made. In my October column, I talked about the controversy of alcohol-burning Quick Class cars and said the following. "I am struggling over how to address the controversy or even whether to address the controversy. At the center of my thoughts is the role of Turbo. Should we take sides or stay neutral? Can we stay neutral? How can we get involved and make it better for everyone? Stirring up emotions is easy, but finding solutions should be what it's all about. I believe in the racers. I believe in pushing the limits of performance. I realize the advantages of pushing the limits and I am aware that the controversy is justified.
Ultimately, I have decided that the magazine should steer clear of direct involvement. As always, we will report the facts in our race coverage, but going head-hunting will benefit no one, because the core of the problem is in the rules, not the racers. Turbo has no control over, or vested interest in, any race organization. It is my view that the magazine should represent the readers and the readers I have talked to want a level playing field. This episode illustrates that a unified set of rules are needed."
Unified rules were the thrust of the October 2000 column. In my January 2001 column, I discussed breaking the 8-second barrier and stated, "I hope that it is a four-cylinder engine and it has to be running on gas in my opinion to get into the record books. I am against uni-body cars running alcohol. By virtue of their stock chassis, Quick Class cars are the Pro Streeters of import racing. Retaining their resemblance to the factory OE offering and running on gas not alcohol or nitro-methane gives spectators an easy trail to trace back to the cars in the parking lot. The Quick Class is the grassroots center of import drag racing. It is the only class that can draw its lineage back to the earliest days of the scene. Pushing technology to extract more and more performance from high-spirited gasoline burning racers is what it's all about. Outlaw classes represent the next wrung in the ladder where tube-frame chassis and advanced fuels come into play."
I am against alcohol cars running in the Quick Class. This opinion is philosophical and drawn from a desire to see unified rules, but saying only gasoline cars should get in the record books was wrong and discredits those racers running alcohol-namely Chris Rado and John Brown. I would like to take this opportunity to say I stepped over the line on this one, apologize to them in print and assure them that no malice toward them was intended. If one of them were to break the 8-second barrier, Turbo magazine would be all over the coverage. Racers want to go fast and Turbo magazine plans to be there to document the achievements and when the action shifts to the track and it comes to e.t.s-running alcohol is not an issue period-only the clock matters. Should have made that clear the first time, huh.
Well, all I can say is I do care about the scene and want to see positive things happen. I've been writing this column for more than eight years and this is the first time I've let tunnel vision get the better of me. I hope Chris and John realize this and accept my apology.