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The sound is the show

Somehow, I just didn’t expect quite as much physical force behind the sound that ripped through me at the Texas Motorplex on Friday.
By comparison, Thursday’s racing action was like an alarm clock.
There’s just nothing that I’ve ever experienced that comes close to the sound of those cars as the drivers slam the pedals.

Now, I’ve been behind the wheel of a car at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour. I’ve done something in the neighborhood of about 110 miles per hour, actually, on a road in another state. I was amazed at the speed with which the trees blew by me — the visual was much like riding on a silver thread between two green walls.

The drivers at the Motorplex this weekend couldn’t have possibly noticed my presence. Or that of the ESPN boom video camera hovering over them, looking down into cars from above when hood latches were opened as the heat built Friday.

From about 15 feet away, separated by a wall no higher than my thigh, I was able to feel those cars fly by me, shaking my camera in my hands.
There’s something truly awesome about that.

It’s nothing like the glass packs and other artificial sound enhancements used by some of the street car enthusiasts who gained the limelight around the time of The Fast and The Furious came out in theaters.

This is literally like being hit by a wall of sound. You feel it vibrate through you. You feel yourself in motion after that split second as the sound waves careen outward toward the spectators in the stands. I’ve begun to understand they’re up there to catch a little piece of that explosive feeling, too.

I went last year, but I didn’t go out on the Friday afternoon of the Fall Nationals in ‘09. It was one of those days where a good amount of breaking news and other engagements pulled me away from the track.
We’d recently shrunk the news staff to myself and one reporter, and I was still getting used to managing the workload.

Now, I have the time to devote an afternoon to a once-per-year spectacle like Fall Nationals.

Not that it wasn’t easy to want to be elsewhere Friday when the track temperature gauge at the starting line read 140 degrees at around 3 p.m.

I’d been out the day before in a tie, but the track only reached a tepid 118 degrees before it was too much to handle.

One of the photographers for National Dragster magazine came up to me Friday and chuckled about the tie.

He recognized me in my dressed-down,casual-Friday-at-the-track jeans.
“Tie was a little much, eh?”

Robert, you just don’t even know.

It’s worth encouraging those of you among our readership who may not have invested the time and capital into a trip out to the Motorplex for Fall Nationals.

You really should see it, even if just once.

It was one of those kind of “things to do before you die” type of experiences that wasn’t obvious until it was over.

Feeling that impressive force of solid sound waves thumping into me as my trigger finger squeezed off photos was something that won’t easily be forgotten; not in the short term, anyway.

One thing still irks me about the Motorplex’s annual race extravaganza. Call me prideful, but the “Dallas” billing that it receives in most publications and advertisements does a disservice to the people whose tireless effort and vision made the Ennis-based facility possible.

We are far enough from Dallas that race fans book their hotels here so they don’t face the drive after a day of dehydration and exciting, high-octane motorsports. We should get our name on those placards and in those magazines. It’s not right.

It’s easy enough to understand why — being billed as a Dallas event brings that many more curious onlookers, but the diehards know what’s happening and where it’s happening.

Those diehards are the ones that make the event successful every year. Lying to them isn’t going to make them any more enthusiastic about the speed, the energy and the excitement of the event.

It’s just going to annoy the curious onlookers when they have to boogie down I-45 for a half hour and then spend another half hour making their way across Ennis and down U.S. 287 to the track.

Nick Todaro appreciates the efforts of everyone involved in making the NHRA’s Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex as success. He can be reached at nick@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Sep 29 2010. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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