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Welcome to No. 500

28 Feb 2012
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider

In May 2010, I reached the big 5-0, a milestone age for most males who begin to realize that maybe the ride they’ve been on has well passed its halfway mark. I’m more a glass-half-full guy and never thought much of it and continued doing what I loved doing – writing about drag racing – but I have to stop today to marvel at another milestone I’ve reached: This is the 500th DRAGSTER Insider column.

For those of you who have been here with me since the beginning (July 2007), you remember that I used to do this THREE times a week (what was I thinking?) but had to scale it down to two to keep my sanity and, I hope, the quality of the material.

I keep a searchable file of all of the column’s contents back to the beginning, so I can find things quickly, and even I’m amazed sometimes at the ground we’ve covered. What really brings that home to me is the collection of thumbnail images that have accumulated for the home-page teaser for the column in just the time since we went to the new-look NHRA.com in February 2009. With each new column, I’ve posted a small photo on the home page to alert readers of the content they can expect, and I think that combined they make for an interesting tapestry of the ground we’ve covered.

(The idea to include an ever-changing thumbnail actually came from my longtime pal Dave Wallace Jr., who really liked the content of the column but was afraid I was underselling it on the home page. He even convinced me to put my name on the column with the hopes of further legitimizing its content. It all worked, and the number of viewers skyrocketed. Thanks, Dave!)

As I laboriously coded these pics (260 in all!), it was a cool walk back through time. If you scroll down, it’s kind of like being an archaeologist sifting down through levels of ground to discover lost eras. “Oooh, look: 'The Age of Wedge Dragsters' or 'I see we just hit The Ramp Truck Era.' " Pretty cool.

Anyway, to bring this introduction full circle, let me tell you that, with any luck, 500 is not anywhere near the halfway point of this ride. On to 1,000! And thanks, as always, for your support.