NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Decembers to remember

Every December is a time to stop to reflect on the past 12 months: What went right, what went wrong, what we can do better in the next year. Or, if you're the author of a long-running column about drag racing history, a look back at some memorable December stories.
24 Dec 2021
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Decembers to remember

It's late December, and we've all got a lot on our plates. Maybe you're thrashing on the hot rod in your garage before winter shuts you down for a few months, or maybe you're headed to a sunny beach somewhere to escape the cold. Or maybe you're still just methodically working your way through a list of Christmas gifts for family and friends (spoiler: It's tomorrow).

Every December also seems like the time when we stop to reflect on the past 12 months: What went right, what went wrong, what we can do better in the next year. Or, if you're the author of a long-running column about drag racing history who's having a bad week, maybe you're looking for an easy out of this week's deadline and think that a trip down Memory Lane looking back at previous December columns just might do the trick.

So, I hopped into the Dragster Insider Archive  (now more than 800 columns!) and scrolled through all of the December articles I've been creating here since 2007 and cherry-picked a few: Some remembrances of heroes lost, some historical stuff, some fun stuff, and, because I'm a word nerd, a couple of attempts at rewriting "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

A Christmas (Tree) Story

Dec. 19, 2007: The story behind drag racing's Christmas Tree, and the improvements since.

Leonard Harris, drag racing's shooting star

Dec. 15, 2018: One of the sport's most promising stars was gone way too soon; the story of the Albertson Olds superstar

A Munstrously Good Time

Dec. 22, 2008: The Munsters TV show heads to Lions Drag Strip for a memorable episode; the story behind the Munster Coach and Dragula cars

Fan Fotos: West Coast pits

Dec. 22, 2009: Cliff Morgan's photos from San Fernando, Lions, Orange County, including Don Garlits' Wynn's Liner, Ed Lenarth's jeep and sidewinder, OCIR roller starters, and more.

It's in the cards

Dec. 21, 2010: A look back at the Fleer drag racing cards that were available in the early 1970s

Stalking the Night Stalker

Dec. 9, 2011: Implausible as it sounds, John Force's first Funny Car was a chain-driven, rear-engine hand-me-down.

Roaring with appreciation at the Lions Reunion

Dec. 6, 2012: Reminiscing about "The Beach"; great banter between Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, and Ed Pink

Ivo's four-engine enigma

Dec. 20, 2013: The definitive history of "T.V. Tommy" Ivo's four-engine, four-wheel-drive Showboat

I went to a garden party

Dec. 19, 2014: Sharing the night with drag racing legends at Don Prudhomme's holiday party (lucky me!)

A Christmas Letter to My Younger Self

Dec. 25, 2015: Advice from me today to 10-year-old me in 1970

NHRA Funny Car champs over the years

Dec. 2, 2016: From Gene Snow (1970) to Ron Capps (2016), a look at the top flops of the years

Remembering Bob Glidden

Dec. 22, 2017: A tribute to the Pro Stock great who passed away Dec. 17

Remembering Dick LaHaie

Dec. 7, 2018: Many Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers have gone on to become crew chiefs, but there aren’t a lot of guys who not only won a championship as a driver and crew chief. Dick LaHaie, whom we lost Dec. 5, won the crown as a driver then tuned not just one but two drivers to a combined four Top Fuel championships.

Rodney Flournoy: Still nitro after all these years

Dec. 13, 2019: Rodney Flournoy was a Southern California fan favorite in the 1980s with his family-run Funny Car. Nearly 40 years later, he's still burning nitro in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series, now with his daughter at his side.

89 questions about Chris “the Greek” Karamesines (or should there be 92?)

Dec. 24, 2020: Drag racing's legendary "Greek," Chris Karamesines, ended his driving career at the close of the 2020 season at age 89. Or is it 92? There are so many questions, but we'll try to answer them all.

And, with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore …

Twas the blog before Christmas

Dec. 24. 2007: Putting a National Dragster spin on the classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

Twas the Friday before Christmas

Dec. 24, 2016: Twas the Friday before Christmas, and all ‘cross the Nation, Insider fans were fretting, thinking Phil’s on vacation. Not to worry. More bad poetry.


This will be the last Insider column of the year. NHRA HQ officially closed Wednesday through Jan. 3, and while it's supposed to be "Christmas break," I'll still be working in some form or another, adding content logs to keep the NHRA.com fire burning and beginning work on Issue 1 of National Dragster for 2022, a double issue that will also encompass the annual Souvenir Program so you never know what you might see.

Thanks again for another year of following along and contributing to this wonderful column. Have yourself a happy holiday and keep working on those hot rods and dreaming about nitro in Pomona in February.

Phil Burgess can be reached at pburgess@nhra.com

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

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