This is Russell , I am driving, and Yes it is a standard transmission! That picture was taken at the Old Time Drags held at Mission Raceway Park back in 1999. MY VERY FIRST PASS EVER!. I can drive this car pretty good on the street, but a drag racer I as not. I was a total rookie. On the street I was used to lots of wheel spin, the track was all new territory for me. I didn't let any air out of my street tires, and it still looks like it launched pretty good!

I was nervous, which made no sense at all considering that, I was the one who regularly shifted this car at 7500 rpm and higher on the street for 15 years. I rarely, and I mean rarely ever missed a shift! So why was I so nervous. Well maybe because watching from the stands was at least 100 or more people that I knew personally and and I didn't want to make a fool of myself right there!. I remember thinking, "OK, I just have to do this once!... and then I'm out of here!" My friend Joe-48 had lent me his helmet and he kept on bugging me and saying " ok, Joie the bullshit stop right here" now this wasn't meant to make me nervous was it? well as I got closer and closer to the staging lanes all I could think about was all those people watching me, and what if I stalled it right there on the launch pad, or worse missed a shift, or even worse than that, what if the car was really slow, heck I would never live this down!

It was a very very hot day! and I was not used to wearing a helmet or having the window rolled up either. Plus I was wearing a racing jacket and they make you do it right up, I felt claustrophobic and I could feel the sweat rolling down my back. Well by the time I got to the staging lanes I was white as a ghost and the guy flagging us into the right lanes pulled me out of the line up. And I was trying to avoid embarrassment, everyone was watching and wondering why isn't Joie going, what did she do wrong??? Well the guy said it looked like I was going to pass out or throw up, so he thought I should get out of the car and breath for a bit! He walked me right up to the staging lights, showed me how it worked and let me watch a few cars go through until he thought I was going to be ok, Then he asked me if I preferred to go by myself down the track, and I agreed that might be best!

Well, I was still very nervous, but I chose to stay focused and the hardest part was not really knowing how the car was going to react on that soft launch pad, I didn't do much of a burn out at all, at this point I was sick to my stomach and I just wanted to get it over with. The staging guy told me not to worry about the light, just to go when I was ready. I saw green and I knew if I just sat there I was going to be the laughing stock of Langley, so away I went, I tried to launch the car at 3000 rpm, which is what I would have done on the street, It got a bit of wheel spin then it bogged down and kinda disappointed me, suddenly I remembered giving my head a shake and thinking to myself hey I know how to drive this car, I shifted at 6500 just to be safe. Getting 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear rubber, I guess I was so excited that I forgot all about being nervous and I also let my foot off the gas before I got to the end of the quarter mile! My very first ET - 14.0 @ 101 mph. I was higher than a kite and I couldn't wait to get back to the staging lanes and do it again. My second pass was 13.73 @ 103 mph, and my 3rd pass 13.40 @ 106 mph. That was all the racing I got in for that day, when I left the track it felt like I was floating on a cloud for the next few weeks. I even got away with leaving the white shoe polish on the windows and drove it till it washed off about a week later.

I attended the Old time drags event the following year. Mt first pass was kinda slow as I had clutch trouble. The dam thing stayed to the floor and didn't come back up until the rpm's came down below 5000. After some adjustments in the pits I made a good pass but broke the axle in the process! I spent the rest of the day fixing it right there on the spot, (try to find one of these axles at a moments notice) the next morning on my first pass, I would try to launch the car real gently as it was only a temporary repair. It was now the first round of eliminations and I was really nervous, because I knew if I blew it I wasn't going to sitting in the stands for the rest of the day! We put 13.40 on the window because this was the fastest I had run from the year before to this. I launched the car at 1500 rpm , no wheel spin but I broke out with an ET of 13.10 @ 110 mph. , darn, no more racing today, OH well at least the car went faster I won but I lost because I went to fast! and this makes sense to some people?