‘Fire Breathing Monsters’ documentary gives up close and personal look at NHRA drag racing

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A new documentary does an outstanding job of capturing the essence, beauty — and oh yes, the deafening sound — of  NHRA drag racing.

“Fire Breathing Monsters” chronicles the action — primarily in Top Fuel and Funny Car — in February’s season-opening NHRA Winternationals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway. Although just over seven minutes long, FBM features extensive on-track action, interviews with top drivers like Tony Schumacher, John Force, Ron Capps and Antron Brown, and shows why the sport is so popular with racing fans.

If you’re a fan of IndyCar or NASCAR, you’re practically standing still compared to the speeds seen in NHRA’s top two classes, where drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car routinely cover the typical 1,000-foot dragstrip at over 320 mph and in under four seconds. It’s no wonder, to borrow a line from the sport’s marketing department, “NHRA drag racing is simply the fastest sport on the planet.”

That is oh, so true.

Drag racing has long been a popular subject for filmmakers, dating back to the sport’s early days in the late 1950s.

And then last season, the release of “Snake and Mongoo$e” — the true story of the sport’s biggest rivalry between former drivers Tom McEwen and Don “Snake” Prudhomme — proved very popular for drag racing fans young and old.

Brent Thomas, who directed the nitro-methane charged documentary, had been a long-time drag racing fan before he was even asked to oversee the making of FBM.

“It’s a thrill when you get the opportunity to relive one of the special pleasures of your youth,” Thomas said in an NHRA media release.  “As a kid, Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach was where we spent our Friday nights.  The sport has since grown to become an unexpected exhibition of technical awesomeness, but that added power of nostalgia is still like traveling back in time for me.

“My assignment was to point the cameras at anything that looked interesting and helped explain the attraction of this remarkable motorsport. A critical part of this was hours of interviews with drivers and their crews. By the end, we shot 24 hours of content – the digital equivalent to 140,000 feet of film.”

Check out the documentary below:

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Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

Photo: Getty Images
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Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.