Francis Ford Coppola produced his epic Apocalypse Now, later adding 49 minutes of original footage creating essential new moments, re-naming it Apocalypse Now Redux.
ESPN's five-hour broadcast extravaganza of the 58th Annual MAC Tools U.S. Nationals captured a drag race redux worthy of the wait.
The story lines of the day wove their way thru eliminations' brackets with as many turning twists as a Wild Mouse roller coaster.
Consider Erica Enders' GK Motorsports Cobalt. Click-click-clicking up the starting pinnacle of her coaster ride, the broadcast noted "(She is) on the threshold of history" while Clio the muse of history hitches a ride.
She already notched a historic No. 1 qualifying position here, and now was shooting not only for three-in-a-row wins but also the first woman to win Pro Stock at Indy.
Numerous times in the broadcast the three previous women winners here in the pro ranks – Shirley Muldowney, Angelle Sampey, Ashley Force-Hood – were listed and their images shown. Enders and Courtney Force both were very aware of the possibility they, too, might join this trio.
Disposing of Kurt Johnson's Mark Christopher Auto Center GXP she clickety-click rode the coaster to its first big step to the finish. Enders unselfishly noted, "I'm a blessed girl."
Her crew chief racing his own Cagnazzi Racing Chevrolet in the class, Dave Connolly, admitted her hot road "is running on mean."
That something special was brewing became apparent when Connolly pasted a reaction time of .001 seconds on past Indy winner Mike Edwards' Penhall GXP for an easy win.
Enders ET, though, was easily the quicker of the two.
She then powered by Rodger Brogdon, killing his Kent Services Trucking Camaro's chance to earn the Countdown to the Championship hunt. In doing so, she ratcheted up that slope.
Connolly easily parked Ron Krisher's Valvoline Pontiac, a victim of a sleepy RT, but his Chevy hot rod's performance remained below Enders.
Meanwhile, basically out and done from last weekend, Larry Morgan's luck came through. His Lucas Oil Ford, now locked in to the Countdown, dueled double .007 RTs with Greg Anderson's Summit Camaro. Color commentator Mike Dunn exclaimed, "Greg blows up! Don't see that too often in Pro Stock."
V Gaines' Kendall Oil Dodge "gave payback for the Denver finals," lead broadcaster Paul Page noted, when he jumped all over Allen Johnson's Mopar Dodge on the launch.
That made Gaines new fodder for Enders as she stayed on the coaster, her pinnacle coming into view.
When Connolly spooked Vincent Nobile to a redlight start ("pulled the trigger too early" wrote FastNews Network), the historic finals were set, just not necessarily in the way the broadcast saw at the beginning of the day.
A Pro Stock crew chief faced the car he tunes in the other lane at the finals at Indy.
ESPN, meanwhile, covered fathers/kids Indy winners in a special segment listing Don and Tony Schumacher, Warren and Kurt Johnson, John Force and Ashley Force-Hood, and then Hector Arana Sr./Hector Arana Jr. as the current group.
An addition to the list loomed possible as No. 1 Funny Car qualifier, sizzling to the top as the sport's answer to Danica Patrick, young Force showed the performance to win.
Johnny Gray, racing Force in the quarterfinals, launched his Service Central Dodge off the line first. When Force hazed her tires, he left her dazed with no Wally, no chance to join the other three women winners at Indy and no joining Force-Hood on the father/kids list.
How did John Force handle that outcome with her, comforting her? For a clue, look at his impromptu soliloquy when Matt Hagan's Aaron's Charger lost his bid to make the Countdown a little later, meaning no chance to win the title, and no stage time at the November awards banquet for the 2012 Full Throttle champion.
In the semifinals, Mike Neff – later winning Indy for the second year in a row with his Castrol GTX Mustang – avenged his teammate Robert Hight's Auto Club Mustang quarterfinal loss to Hagan. The Dodge boiled smoke right at the hit while the Mustang went straight down the track.
Force was emphatic. "That's drag racing. Losing is part of the game; if you can't take that you can't take winning."
When asked about Hagan's predicament after he lost his spot in the Countdown to Jeff Arend's DHL Toyota, Force really laid it on the line.
"I'd trade everything to be Hagan's age" and get to be at the forefront of where the sport is going.
One can only take that thought to mean drag racing – ever how big it is considered to be now – remains in its growth phase, still in early rounds of potential from what it may become.
That projection on the sport from its biggest name must be the chief reveal I heard throughout the spectacle of 2012 Indy.
When Connolly edged Enders on the tree with a slim .011 RT, Clio flew the coup. The race's outcome, though neck-and-neck, seemed etched on the start line.
Connolly rode the winning coaster to the Wally as Enders' twisted a switchback leaving her empty handed, sickened, slumped over in despair while sitting on the ground, back against the front left wheel of her Cobalt.
"I let the clutch out, and the car was freaking hot. It sucks."
Just nine inches separated the two, approximately the difference between his advantage off the line and her better ET of .009
Statman, Lewis Bloom, nailed it when he said, "Connolly is money in a Pro Stock car."
The number nine had more consequence to come than just their finals, though.
Andrew Hines won his first Indy Wally for the Screamin' Eagle Harley team, but this secured his 29th national event victory.
Just winning at the light as the broadcast showed over new Countdown celebrant Tim Wilkerson's Levi Ray & Shoup Mustang, Neff tallied his ninth career Funny Car victory. "I had that thing mashed to the floor!"
Schumacher, sending semifinalist Shawn Langdon's quicker Al-Anabi dragster home by shocking him on the tree, wheeled a beauty of a pass in the late sunlight, grasping infamy over teammate Spencer Massey's Fram ride.
Schumacher earned this historic ninth win at Indy. With the true class of a legendary champion, also with nine wins, Don Garlits told Statman, "I hope he gets the win (to tie) because I like the canopy" referencing the new DSR Top Fuel driver's cover.
Dunn added, "He always likes innovation" as Garlits changed the class forever by taking the engine off the front and putting it behind the driver.
Schumacher added that with this achievement, "(We) won No. 9 on 9/9, my wife's favorite number," the number some say represents achievement.
Now all know the real reason the rains came, pushing the race out to this date. In the process of creating drag racing's only deluxe redux, ESPN viewers were winning the whole nine yards.
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