There's something about the drag strip that traps memories like prehistoric flies in amber. Race tracks exist in all sorts of locations and time frames but the basic paradigm is always the same so they make an immensely powerful place to measure the passage of life against something relatively solid. It's always two cars racing against each other in a straight line for a quarter of a mile in front of other racers and spectators. The intense sounds and smells must also have something to do with it, remember the quote from Ministry, "No human sound can stand up to this, loud enough to knock you down..." I remember the first time I went down the quarter mile like it was yesterday. I had no idea what I was doing. I had to watch a few cars run to figure out the starting line and it was night drags so I was plunged into total darkness at the finish. It's a good thing I was in a street car with functional headlights!
These days I may have the luck of piloting some of the baddest (at least the biggest) big block Mopars on the planet but I do sometimes get nostalgic for the days when I was a young idiot. I used to drive the race car to the track and bracket race without any money for anything at all besides gas and the gate fee. I almost never won anything but I loved being there so much that it didn't matter. Today I am a pro racer and my car comes on a trailer but I still love being there. It's true that you can never go back so I scratch that itch by putting total novices behind the wheel of one of our slower (and safer) cars at the strip and basking in the golden glow of their wide wonder. I give tips and encouragement to new racers. To me it feels like some kind of guilty pleasure but it's really not. Everyone's got to start somewhere.