Drag Illustrated Issue 169, June/July 2021 - Page 59

D . I . COLUMNIST The Real Deal with Tommy D ' Aprile

How many of you love the sport of drag racing ? Well , I am guessing most of you do if you are already a subscriber of Drag Illustrated . And that ’ s a good thing . I have written columns before about perspective and how keeping the right perspective in racing can make it that much more enjoyable .

I am writing this on Father ’ s Day and would like to share a story about this weekend ’ s race my family and I attended . At our local track , Bradenton Motorsports Park , we have many races throughout the year and the great part is it ’ s only an hour from home . Bracket racing these days has been the hot ticket . To be able to race for the amount of money they are offering is a no-brainer , and the excitement of winning and losing by thousandths of seconds each run is just unbelievable to me .
When we first started racing , we thought close races were hundredths of seconds , and back then the money being made was by the professionals , not the sportsman racers . Well , all of that has changed for sure . Professionals are trading in their go-fast hot rods for bigmoney bracket cars , and I can ’ t say I blame them . One trip to the ladder at one of those big-money bracket races could cover expenses for a season .
So back to my race weekend with my family . It ’ s Florida in June , so it ’ s hot and usually rains daily . We get to the races and unload five of the seven cars we now have . Anyone who knows how to pack would love watching all of these cars come out of one trailer – it reminds me of a clown car with all the clowns climbing out of the smallest car known to man .
The air in these hot days can get to an astonishing 3,500-3,900 ft . Needless to say the cars slow down and certainly don ’ t breathe as good as when our stellar air is here . For the first time run I line up against my daughter , who proceeds to put a whooping on me as she is . 001 on the tree and leaves me behind . My son is racing the low 4-second dragster that makes me smile every time I see it leave the line . And my other daughters are racing in the Jr . Dragster division to round out the cars we had there .
We started at 9 a . m . and wound up racing late in the evening as my son and daughter almost both won the race in the ultra-competitive Super Pro division .
Being out all day in 94-degree heat and 80 % humidity makes you smell pretty bad by the end of the day , but then it hits me ! The smell I smell is the roses that blessed the day . I got to put into practice what I preach : Stopping for a minute and getting to realize how blessed we are to do this thing we call drag racing .
We didn ’ t have to win the race to have the true victory . It was Father ’ s Day , now that it was 12:30 a . m . when we finished loading the trailer , and I had gotten to be with the people I love most doing what we love . Does it get any better than that ? No way , not for me . I have seen a lot of selfishness in this sport , but along with that has come amazing selflessness and love that keeps our sport what it is : family .
Another great example of the family bond in our sport is the Caruso Family Racing team . Patriarch Joe Caruso and his family show the importance of lasting relationships in this sport . It ’ s all about family . Few , if any , do it better than Joe Caruso . He loves his family and certainly loves the sport of drag racing . Anyone who knows Joe would say the same and I , for one , am lucky to have a friendship with him and his family .
So , thank you to all the families who do life together at the races and show us great examples of love and victory through love . It was such an honor for my wife and I to watch our family race , and we can ’ t wait to get back out there and do it again . If you really want to enjoy this sport to the fullest , love before hate and just plain enjoy every trip to the races , rain or shine , hot or cold . Always remember how blessed you are to enjoy our sport . As always , the choice is yours to make . DI
June / July 2021
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