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Wed, 13 Dec 2006, 06:33 AM

December Froscher's Forum
By Norm Froscher

Well, in case you hadn't noticed between last late August and now, the Christmas season is upon us. Thanks to television and those newspaper special sections, how could we forget?

But personally, that point was brought home to me yesterday when my wife Marilyn was home from work and asked me what that noise was on the roof?

Figuring it was too early for reindeer and that John Force's team were testing elsewhere and besides probably wouldn't be on our roof, because you can't see the Gainesville Raceway drag strip from here, I went out and checked.

Nobody in a red suit, just some guys in jeans, clomping back and forth doing some measuring, because it's probably time for us to have a new roof/

Hey, if it isn't one thing, it's another, right?


But since this is probably my last Froscher's Forum until the New Year, or just before, I can't go any longer without giving thanks to Bossman Rick Green and to Summit Drag Race Central for permitting me to offer my thoughts and from time-to-time what I consider interesting stories from the world of the quarter mile. That being said, here are a couple of observations.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to them and to all you readers.


Doing a best and worst of 2006 for another publication, I was tempted to include NHRA's new Countdown to the Championship, but let's face it, we won't really know in which category that falls until at least toward the end of 2007.

Many greeted the new format with disdain, but shoot, a lot folks saw NASCAR's "Chase" in the same light. So I guess we'll have to wait and see.

One thing is certain, it'll be tough to top the finish of "Sarge" Tony Schumacher and the Army team in capturing his fourth Top Fuel title on the very last run of the very last day of eliminations at Pomona.

On any other day, John Force's last-minute victory, Jason's Line's dethroning of his teammate Greg Anderson or Andrew Hines' flying motorcycle would be the top story.

Congratulations and a Merry Christmas to all those champions and the rest of the NHRA champions.


Forgive me a personal and I guess selfish reflection.

Hey, I understand they're going to tear down the Gainesville Raceway control tower, suites and the Norm Froscher Press Room starting the Monday after the Gatornationals, so here's a personal invitation to all those mentioned earlier to come by that little press area to touch base there for one final time. Don't know if like in NASCAR, which ended its tribute to Benny Kahn (press room) with an all encompassing "Media Center", that the new area will be just the (sponsor name) media center.

Or if Executive General Manager Don Robertson and staff will permit me to carry my plaque and name to the new "state of the art" press quarters.

Maybe NHRA's memory is a little better than NASCAR's. But like late friend Benny, however, I am very honored that for a time, my sweat, broken computer and deadline anxiety in that space was singled out.

So much for my little ego trip.


This is the time of year, beginning with Thanksgiving, when we give thanks, as I did at the beginning of this.

Actually, I start a month earlier, remembering my successful open heart surgery (performed by Dr. Jeffrey Snyder, in 2000. Now, it's basically just an annual checkup, through which I came with flying colors this year.

But also, you think of many other blessings.

Maybe, like talking law enforcement out of a speeding ticket.

Yes, I won some and lost some if this might help you, I am happy.

Once, I was pulled over by doing 15 mph over the speed limit in a 50 mph zone.

You know, it's not always easy to see those cops hidden in behind the bushes, with those new lowlights atop their cruisers.

But, really, don't you think if they wish to cut down on speeding, the best way would be make themselves very visible? Who will tromp down on the gas pedal when passing an officer parked on the shoulder of the road? Maybe, just maybe, there's another motive, right?

Revenue? You got it.

But on that first incident I mentioned. The officer checked my license and then asked me to step out of the car, which I did. Then he asked where I was going in such a hurry and I explained to a race and a very good friend of mine, Deputy (name withheld) said to be there early and so on and on.

"Oh, you're friends with Deputy So and So?" he asked. Oh, yeah, I gave a couple of remembrances.

"Then you can tell him, this one is on him," he smiled, tore up the ticket and we shook hands,

"Just be careful."

I will, I will.


No so fortunate in another situation, however, when I was pulled over en route to another race sometime back.

The Deputy (notice I capitalize that) said, "Oh, you're from Gainesville, do you cover University of Florida football? That's my team."

Seizing on the moment, I replied in the affirmative and offered any information I could provide:

* Yeah, depth won't be a problem, and to three deep for quarterbacks, running backs and defensive backfield.

* Oh, an excellent rookie class, some of them may even see considerable action.

* Special teams and kicking game, toughest home game coming up and yeah, the toughest road games will probably be so and so and so and so,"

"Any thing else, Deputy?"

"No, I think that covers it and here, sign this ticket for your speeding,"

I didn't think about it at the time, and it's probably just as well, but it occurred to me later that at that point, I might have said, "No, sir, I was just kidding. I'm not a writer and have never seen a Florida football game. I'm an Ohio State fan,"

He probably would have also ticketed me with resisting arrest without violence.


Don't know if those couple of incidents might help you one day, but I passed them along simply for what they're worth.

My real morale to the story is don't speed, even when you don't see a motorcycle or patrol officer. The city/county/state needs the money, but let them get it somewhere else.


And this wouldn't be complete without congratulations to Warren Johnson for being voted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, class of '07.

That is a very-well deserved honor for the six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion and thankfully he is being inducted under past Executive Director Jim Freeman's "62" rule, That allows a candidate, age 62 or better, who is still active, a chance to be voted in rather than having to wait five years, as is unfortunately, the case with Kenny Bernstein.

One of these days let me tell you about the first time I visited with W.J. away from the drag strip. That, indeed, is a story for another day.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All and Semper Fi.


(Editor's note: Norm Froscher's opinions are his own and not necessarily those of Drag Race Central, Daytona International Speedway, the Florida Highway Patrol, Alachua County Sheriff''s Office, Gainesville Police Department or Scrooge, who may say only Happy Holidays or Season's Best.)

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