Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mickey Thompson, The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend

Baja Racing News.com Book Review

By: Steve Parker

One of the great enjoyments for truck and car nuts, at least this one, are new and exhaustively detailed books on our favorite topic ... with plenty of photos.

When those books are about people and topics we know personally, that makes the books that much more interesting and exciting ... and they better be correct!

Recently I interviewed the author of the Mickey Thompson book.

"Mickey Thompson - The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend" by Erik Arneson, published by MBI and Motorbooks

This was a book just begging to be written since that awful day in 1988 when Mickey and his wife Trudy were, as the Los Angeles County Sheriff put it, "assassinated" in their driveway by thugs hired by a former business partner. That "partner" is now serving two life sentences in a California state prison; the actual hired shooters were never found.

Thompson defined and often dominated American motorsports from the '50s through the '80s; he operated the first professional ¼-mile drag strip in America, Lions Associated Drag Strip in Los Angeles' harbor area, set more land speed records than anyone else at the Bonneville Salt Flats, was so innovative at developing cars for the Indy 500 that many oldtimers shunned his efforts and, finally, brought the excitement of Baja-style off-road racing to major stadiums across the country.
2009-09-29-mickeythompsonbookcover.jpg

My connection? I knew Thompson well and worked for him between 1978 and 1980, during the time he staged the first major off-road race in the middle of an American city: 1979's Off-Road Championship Grand Prix in the Los Angeles Coliseum. I know the title well because I actually named the event in an office contest --- and got a $1,000 bonus from Mickey (or MT, as we all called him) for coming up with it ... big money for a 25-year old kid back then!

His natural enthusiasm, non-stop energy, impressive promotional abilities and some outrageous personal habits (such as setting his plane on 'autopilot' so he could take a nap, or eating his steak with an ice cream desert on the same plate) are all well-documented.

MT's dad was a big, tough Irish cop in southern California, where MT was born and raised and lived his life, and the kids in that family learned that running home to avoid a fight was much, much worse than actually getting your ass kicked by some bully.

But MT was also a warm and caring person ... something folks who didn't know him well would never guess. Under the obvious gruffness and the anger which would often result in a fistfight between Mick and his latest enemy-of-the-moment, Thompson was a loyal friend, loving husband, son, father and grandfather and would hire people for more money than they ever made after talking with them for five minutes. He was a good boss, too.
2009-09-28-mickeythompson.jpg Mickey and Trudy Thompson

Arneson, a former USA TODAY writer and now VP of media relations for SPEED television, wrote a book which covers the major sections of MT's life from teenage street racing to the professional drag strip, Bonneville, Indy and Baja and the stadium racing series; it has many pages of photos to document all those efforts.

There's a lot of space devoted to the murders and the subsequent court cases; while this might be a bit dull to readers who don't remember or know the story, the entire affair was so complicated, taking some 20 years from the murders until a conviction, that the details are welcomed to fill-in the blanks.
2009-09-28-mickeythompsonracing.jpg

If the book were fiction, it would be unbelievable. That one man could so dominate so many different aspects of one of the roughest sports in the world and for so many years is one of those stories "you couldn't make up."

But Arneson didn't have to make up any of it; MT did it all, and then some.

Gary Newsome,Editor

Baja South Off-Road Racing Clubs Continue to Drop Association



BULLETIN! EXCLUSIVE Baja Racing News.com

La Paz Mexico, Diego Vazquez Lucero.

"This time, the La Paz Automobile Club A.C., submitted its resignation letter to the AEABCS (Association of Racing in Baja Sur), dated October 5, 2009. In a document signed by its acting president Cinthia Murillo and addressed to the association President Mr. Salvador Carrillo, seconding the Coyote Pits Club, who did the same last June, claiming irregularities in the management of AEABCS.


Among the issues listed, "APPLICATION OF RULES AND STATUTES, LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE USE OF FINANCING AWARDS and RACING PROCEEDS (AWARD) FOR THE WINNING RACER, DANNY ANDERSON IN THE DOS 2 MARES 500 of 2006, among other issues."


After three years of Carrillo stealing the race winnings of Danny Anderson in the 2006 Dos Mares Race, the La Paz Auto Club finally calls Carrillo what he is, a thief.

By dropping out of the Association, the Club will now affiliate its races exclusively with promoters outside of the State Racing Association, headed by 'Savy' Carrillo.


In 2005, Savy Carrillo was forced to resign from the Association for similar charges. He is currently working with tainted El Pato Rojo in racing promotions. El Pato Rojo has been busted by ProBaja Racing Association of Baja Sur, for losing $10,000 per race during the 2006 racing season. That year, Pato Rojo and ProBaja were promoting races together, the partnership broke up after charges of heavy financial losses by ProBaja, in 2006.


BULLETIN Baja Racing News.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SCORE Desperate, Goes Berserk! Posts 2009 Baja 1000 Waiver of Liability and Indemity, Tells Racers to Shut The F-Up


Baja Racing News.com EXCLUSIVE

SCORE International must be desperate, they go berserk and demand racers sign a "2009 Baja 1000 Waiver of Liability and Indemity (Indemnity)", that on its face is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!


Is this the END of SCORE?
SCORE International is now requiring all racers to sign and submit to indemnify SCORE International from any mistakes of ANY kind.

Any racer who wishes to race in a SCORE sanctioned event, will have no right to PROTEST any rulings by the sanctioning body! SCORE is demanding the racers keep their big mouths shut, under penalty of threatened litigation by SCORE against the racers in question.

Baja Racing News.com has received reports that this NEW legal document is the product of Oscar Ramos, the attorney for SCORE and was drawn up in Mexico by a non-english speaker and in a non-American legal stature. Looking at the spelling errors alone, shows this reporter, some flunky in Tijuana wrote it.

The constitutional rights of the signee would have to be waived for any agreement of this type to be valid. In Mexico it could be considered legal. There is no way this document could be legal in the United States, even if signed by the participant.

Here is the language "Godfather" Sal Fish is now demanding racers sign, before racing in this years, 2009 Baja 1000:


"I CERTIFY THAT I HAVE READ THE 2006-2010 SCORE RULEBOOK AND THAT I UNDERSTAND AND SHALL COMPLY WITH ALL RULES CONTAINED THEREIN. I
SPECIFICALLY AGREE THAT SCORES INTEREPREATION (INTERPRETATION) OF RULES, DECISIONS ENFORCING RULES, INTERPRETATION OF PENALTIES IN CONNECTION WITH ENFORCEMENT OF RULES, TIMINING (TIMING) OF EVENTS AND DECISIONS AS TO WINNERS AND PLACEMENT POSITIONS SHALL BE FINAL AND NOT SUBJECT TO PROTEST OF ANY KIND. NO DECISION OF SCORE WITH RESPECT TO RACE RESULTS MAY BE CHALLENGED BY LITIGATION OR OTHERWIESE (OTHERWISE). I UNDERSTAND THAT ANY STATEMENTS MADE BY ME OR ANYONE ACTING ON MY BEHALF WHICH CHALLEGES (CHALLENGES) THE INTEGRITY OF SCORES DECISION WITH RESPECT TO RACE RESULTS WILL CAUSE IRREPARABLE HARM TO SCORE’S BUSINESS REPUTAION (REPUTATION) AND SUBJECT ME TO DAMAGES UNDER APPLICALBE (APPLICABLE) LAW. I ALSO CERTIFY THAT I HAVE READ AND WILL COMPLY WITH ALL SUPPLEMENTAL OR AMENDED RULES SPECIFICALLY PUBLISHED FOR THIS EVENT IN THE RACE BULLETINS."

Here is the text of the document in its entirety:

""2009 TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000
WAIVER OF LIABILITY & INDEMNITY AGREEMENT
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY - DO NOT SIGN
MUST BE SIGNED AT BAJA 1000 RACE REGISTRATION IN ENSENADA

I UNDERSTAND THAT IN CONSIDERATION AND EXCHANGE FOR, AND AS A CONDITION TO MY PARTICIPATION IN THE 2009 TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000 OFF-ROAD
RACE ACTIVITIES, I KNOWINGLY AND FREELY RELEASE AND INDEMNIFY SCORE INTERNATIONAL ("SCORE"), TECATE BEER, RED BULL, MICHELIN TIRE COMPANY,
INSTANT MEXICO INSURANCE, SUNOCO RACE FUELS, AND ALL OTHER SCORE SPONSORS, FROM ALL RESPONSIBILITY TO ME, MY HEIRS, EXECUTORS AND
ASSIGNS FOR ANYTHING THAT OCCURS DURING THE RACE. IT IS MY INTENTION THAT THIS RELEASE AND INDEMNIFICATION EXTEND TO MY PARTICIPATION IN
THE RACE, USE OF ANY AND ALL EVENT RELATED FACILITIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, MY USE OF THE RACE COURSE DURING THE EVENT AND PRERUNNING (PRE-RUNNING) OF THE RACE COURSE PRIOR TO THE EVENT.

I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BY SIGNING THIS DOCUMENT, I AM ASSUMING RISKS, AND AGREEING TO INDEMNIFY, NOT TO SUE AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY THE
ORGANIZER OF THIS EVENT AND SCORE INTERNATIONAL ("SCORE"), TECATE BEER, RED BULL, MICHELIN TIRE COMPANY, INSTANT MEXICO INSURANCE,
SUNOCO RACE FUELS, AND ALL OTHER SCORE SPONSORS, AND THEIR RESPECTIVE AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, VOLUNTEERS, MEMBERS, CLUBS, SPONSORS,
PROMOTERS AND AFFILIATES (COLLECTIVELY “RELEASEES”), AND THAT I AM GIVING UP SUBSTANTIAL LEGAL RIGHTS. THIS RELEASE IS A CONTRACT WITH
LEGAL AND BINDING CONSEQUENCES AND IT APPLIES TO ALL RACES AND ACTIVITIES ENTERED AT THE EVENT, REGARDLESS WHETHER OR NOT LISTED
ABOVE. I HAVE READ IT CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING, AND I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT I AM AGREEING TO BY SIGNING.

I UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT OFF-ROAD RACING IS AN INHERENTLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY AND FULLY REALIZE THE DANGERS OF
PARTICIPATING IN THIS EVENT. I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT BY PARTCIPATING IN THE RACE AND PRE-RUNNING ACTIVITIES, I AM EXPOSING MYSELF TO THE
POSSIBILITY OF SERIOUS INJURY OR EVEN DEATH TO MY PERSON AS WELL AS DAMAGE TO MY PROPERTY. I KNOWINGLY AND VOLUNTARILY ACCEPT THESE
STATED RISKS AND FULLY ASSUME THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SUCH PARTICIPATION.

I HEREBY FOR MYSELF, MY HEIRS, EXECUTORS, ASSIGNS, AS WELL AS MY SPONSORS OR ANY AFFILIATED COMPANY WITH WHOM I HAVE ANY BUSINESS
RELATIONSHIP, AGREE WITH SCORE AS FOLLOWS:

I HEREBY WAIVE, RELEASE, DISCHARGE, HOLD HARMLESS, AND PROMISE TO INDEMNIFY AND NOT TO SUE THE RELEASEES THEIR OFFICERS, AGENTS,
OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES FROM ANY AND EVERY CLAIM OR RIGHT OF ACTION OF ANY KIND OR NATURE, INCLUDING CLAIMS ARISING FROM THE RELEASEES
OWN NEGLIGENCE, WHICH ARISES OUT OF OR RESULTS FROM MY PARTICIPATION IN THIS RACING EVENT. I ALSO AGREE TO INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS
SCORE AND ALL SCORE SPONSORS FROM ALL SUCH CLAIMS OR RIGHTS OF ACTION, AS WELL AS COSTS, LOSS OR EXPENSE IN ANY WAY RELATED TO OR
ARISING OUT OF THOSE CLAIMS OR RIGHTS OF ACTION, INCLUDING ATTORNEY FEES.
IT IS MY INTENTION THAT THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY AGREEMENT AND THE INDEMNITY AND HOLD HARMLESS PROVISION DESCRIBED ABOVE SHALL COVER
ANY CLAIM OR DEMAND FOR INJURY TO OR DEATH OF ANY PERSON, OR ANY DAMAGE TO OR DESTRUCTION OF ANY PROPERTY, OR ANY CLAIM OR DEMAND OF
ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, INJURY TO OR DEATH OF ANY PERSON OR DAMAGE TO OR DESTRUCTION OF ANY
PROPERTY, ANY DAMAGE TO MY REPUTATION, BUSINESS, OR BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS WHICH MAY ARISE OUT OF ANY ACTS OR OMISSIONS OF SCORE, ITS
OFFICERS, AGENTS, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, EVEN IF SAID ACT OR OMISSION WOULD BE CONSIDERED NEGLIGENT UNDER APPLICABLE CIRCUMSTANCES.
BY SIGNING THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY AGREEMENT, I DO NOT RELEASE ANYONE FROM ANY DAMAGE I SUFFER FROM INTENTIONAL ACTS DESIGNED TO HARM
EITHER ME OR MY PROPERTY. HOWEVER, I DO KNOWINGLY RELEASE SCORE AND ALL SCORE SPONSORS FROM LIABILITY THAT MIGHT BE IMPOSED ON THEM
BY LAW FOR SUCH ACTS OF THEIR OFFICERS, AGENTS, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES THAT HAVE NOT BEEN DIRECTED, ADOPTED OR RATIFIED BY AN OFFICER
OR DIRECTOR OF SCORE.

I DECLARE THAT I HAVE READ THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY AGREEMENT AND FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT NO OFFICER, AGENT, OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE OF SCORE
IS AUTHORIZED TO VARY ANY TERM OR PROVISION OF THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY AGREEMENT. I EXPRESSLY AGREE NOT TO RELY ON ANY SUCH VARIANCE
OR REPRESENTATION IF ANY IS MADE. I FURTHER REPRESENT THAT THE DRIVER/RIDER AND CO-DRIVERS/CO-RIDERS LISTED ON THIS ENTRY FORM POSSESS
THE STANDARD OF COMPETENCE NECESSARY AND ARE PHYSICALLY FIT TO COMPETE IN THIS OFF-ROAD EVENT. I FURTHER REPRESENT THAT THE VEHICLE
ENTERED IS ROADWORTHY AND SUITABLE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THIS EVENT.
I CERTIFY THAT I HAVE READ THE 2006-2010 SCORE RULEBOOK AND THAT I UNDERSTAND AND SHALL COMPLY WITH ALL RULES CONTAINED THEREIN. I
SPECIFICALLY AGREE THAT SCORES INTEREPREATION OF RULES, DECISIONS ENFORCING RULES, INTERPRETATION OF PENALTIES IN CONNECTION WITH
ENFORCEMENT OF RULES, TIMINING OF EVENTS AND DECISIONS AS TO WINNERS AND PLACEMENT POSITIONS SHALL BE FINAL AND NOT SUBJECT TO
PROTEST OF ANY KIND. NO DECISION OF SCORE WITH RESPECT TO RACE RESULTS MAY BE CHALLENGED BY LITIGATION OR OTHERWIESE. I UNDERSTAND
THAT ANY STATEMENTS MADE BY ME OR ANYONE ACTING ON MY BEHALF WHICH CHALLEGES THE INTEGRITY OF SCORES DECISION WITH RESPECT TO RACE
RESULTS WILL CAUSE IRREPARABLE HARM TO SCORE’S BUSINESS REPUTAION AND SUBJECT ME TO DAMAGES UNDER APPLICALBE LAW. I ALSO CERTIFY THAT
I HAVE READ AND WILL COMPLY WITH ALL SUPPLEMENTAL OR AMENDED RULES SPECIFICALLY PUBLISHED FOR THIS EVENT IN THE RACE BULLETINS AND ON
THE SCORE WEBSITE.

THERE IS ALWAYS THE POSSIBILITY THAT WEATHER CONDITIONS OR OTHER ACTS OF GOD COULD CAUSE SCORE TO POSTPONE OR CANCEL THE EVENT.
SCORE RETAINS THE RIGHT TO DELAY THIS EVENT FOR A PERIOD OF 24 HOURS.
ADVERTISING RELEASE: THE VEHICLE OWNER, DRIVER/RIDER OF RECORD, CO-DRIVERS/CO-RIDERS, AND ALL PERSONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE RACE TEAM
AGREE TO PERMIT SCORE INTERNATIONAL AND ITS ASSIGNS AT NO FEE WHATSOEVER, NOW OR AT ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE, TO THE USE OF THEIR NAMES
AND PICTURES OF THEMSELVES AND OF THEIR VEHICLES FOR PUBLICITY, ADVERTISING AND ENDORSEMENTS (INCLUDING PUBLICATIONS, TELEVISION AND
MOVIES) BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER THE EVENTS AND DO HEREBY RELINQUISH ALL RIGHTS TO ANY PICTURES AND VIDEO TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH THIS
EVENT AND GIVE THEIR PERMISSION TO PUBLISH, SELL OR OTHERWISE DISPOSE OF SAID PICTURES AND VIDEO AS SCORE SO DESIRES, WITH ALL
ADVERTISING RIGHTS RESERVED BY SCORE.""


Gary Newsome
Baja Racing News.com