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In the Christmas spirit

A look back at some Christmas-inspired Dragster Insider columns from years past.
27 Dec 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor

Ho-ho-hoping you’re enjoying some holiday time with your family. I know I am. In the spirit of Christmas giving –- and “guy shopping” (knowing and delivering the perfect gift within minutes) -– here’s a look back at some Christmas-inspired Insider columns from years past.

(It doesn’t hurt when your sport’s iconic starting device in called “the Christmas Tree.)

A Christmas (Tree) Story
Dec. 19, 2007: My first in-depth story about the Tree includes comments from “Big Daddy” Don Garlits about racer reaction at the time to the introduction of starting-line electronic gadgetry and a timeline of improvements. There was a brief follow up to this column here highlighted by a photo of racer Gary Cagle about t take a crowbar to a Tree.

Twas the blog before Christmas
Dec. 24, 2007: Back when I used to publish this column three times a week (read: back when I was insane), I didn’t want to miss my last column before Christmas. I was going to skip it, knowing y’all would understand, but I just couldn’t help myself. I put on my rhyming hat and redid Twas The Night Before Christmas in Insider style.

Twas the Friday before Christmas
Dec. 23, 2016: Nine years later, I was at it again, this time with a little bigger nod to my Insider readers.

Some Christmas wishes
Dec. 25, 2009: A letter to Santa, asking for some special gifts for some of my racer pals. The list might not make a lot of sense today but at the time those gifts were very much needed. Some of the recipients (like Dan Fletcher, Don Prudhomme, and Antron Brown) eventually got theirs; others (like Don Garlits and Ashley Force Hood) did not.

Happy Birthday, Christmas Tree
Sept. 6, 2013: Written just after the 2013 U.S. Nationals, which marked the 50th anniversary of the national event debut of the Christmas Tree. It includes a brief history of the Tree and comments from “Ohio George” Montgomery who won the 1963 U.S. Nationals and obviously had no problems adapted to the new-fangled device.

Chopping down the Christmas Tree
Sept. 20, 2013: A solid collection of photos of drivers demolishing the Christmas Tree, but not with their reaction times. And here's another smashing collection.

A Christmas Letter to My Younger Self
Dec. 25, 2015: A few years ago, it was all the rage, especially among sports stars and rock 'n' rollers –- of which I am neither –- to offer up a little something called “Letter to My Younger Self,” in which one shares the wisdom of a lifetime with one’s childhood self. So here’s mine, with a Christmas twist involving Hot Wheels and future heroes.

Enjoy, and I’ll see you in 2020. Again, my undying love and gratitude to everyone who follows these columns and contributes their stories, photos, insight, and suggestions.

Phil Burgess can reached at pburgess@nhra.com

Hundreds of more articles like this can be found in the DRAGSTER INSIDER COLUMN ARCHIVE