First off I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the Top Alcohol and A-Fuel winners in each division and at the national level, especially Frank Manzo and Karen Stalba (go Division 1 woo!!). I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and ate every piece of pumpkin pie because wasting tasty dessert should be a felony. I'm a huge fan of jellied cranberry sauce -- if it doesn't look like an aluminum can when served it shouldn't be on the table, that's my opinion. I would also like to give a shout out to Brad Littlefield and thank him for the opportunity to write something for National Dragster --I was totally honored!
2011 was a season of firsts for me -- lots of things learned for the first time, lots of things put on the car for the first time, and it was the first season we didn't cause severe damage to a motor (YAAAAY!!). There are a few things I'd like to repeat next year: qualifying, good burnouts, and having fun with friends. My performance at the Maple Grove national can willingly go unrepeated, thank you very much. The only cones I wish to see that closely next summer will be topped with two scoops of ice cream haha. Ah the learning continues!
I'm gearing up for the winter holidays at work -- lots of Christmas and Hanukkah themes to get my patients ready which includes holiday scrub top and matching festive footwear!! It's interesting to see how children evolve during the holidays, with everything from the songs they want to sing to the books they want to read, to what motivates them in conversation and what foods they want to eat. My patients continue to amaze me every day and I can't help but love going to work just to be inspired by them...even when they are repeating what their parents have said the night before -- sometimes the message is jumbled or they'll use jargon language, but you still get the, may it be embarrassing, point (Santa is not the only one with a red nose then haha!!).
I did a small photoshoot a few weekends ago and when I put on my firesuit it smelled like sweaty feet, probably because it was stuffed in a bag with my driving shoes. I aired it out and now it's safely stored away with my helmet and other driving equipment. I spent so much time this season mentally preparing myself for the next race there's a part of my brain which, I'm assuming, has gone into off-season hibernation.
The only things I'm focusing on right now are keeping up with an exercise routine, not going overboard on the holiday sales and catching up on gossip. There have certainly been a lot of rumors flying around about the changes in Top Fuel and some of them have actually come true.
Along with that, and more importantly I might add ;-) are the changes in Alcohol. It's hard to accept some of these changes and imagine what life in Alcohol will be, but part of that is due to the fact that I still call the national event at Maple Grove "The Keystones". Regionals vs. Divisionals...everyone has expressed their opinion and I'm not going to lie -- I'll probably always state "I'm in Division 1" first because it's a habit. I'll adapt I guess.
I'm very grateful to still be racing out of New Jersey because our team is still centrally located for most of our regions races. It was shocking for me to see Atco and Englishtown had withdrawn from our schedule in 2012. I'm sure the track owners had a justifiable reason to exclude our classes from the regionals and national next year but I can't help but wonder....in 2012, where's this New Jersey girl to call a home (track)?
Marie Ferriolo is the driver of the Division 1-based Ferriolo Motorsports Top Alcohol Funny Car. You can follow her on Twitter at @MarieFerriolo.