Volume X, Issue 5, Page 23

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Still Wondering

Just Wondering … Does the NHRA management team understand that they have a serious crisis in their Fuel categories, and it’s not just the availability and cost of nitro? 

Just Wondering … How will the under-funded teams in the IHRA or NHRA survive if the cost of a 40-gallon drum of nitromethane goes to $1800-$2000?

Just Wondering … Is there any better indicator that the cost of racing a nitro car has reached the crisis level than the fact that the Pro Stock class regularly has nearly 30 entries per race and the Top Fuel dragster class is now lucky to have a full field?

Just Wondering … I keep hearing that Tom Compton has said the NHRA had a profit of $6,000,000 last year and I tend to believe that number. As a “bean counter,” Compton has earned his raises and his salary, but the question is, why isn’t some of that profit being passed on to the professional teams who are struggling?

Just Wondering … How the NHRA would react if sportsman racers boycott a selected NHRA national event? Unlike their professional counterparts, almost no sportsman racers have sponsorship contracts that require them to attend NHRA national events. Nah, it’ll never happen!

Just Wondering … Will the NHRA events begin to have the fan attendance drops that the NASCAR tracks have experienced this year? Two weeks ago at the NASCAR race in Charlotte, NC, one whole grandstand section was closed down and reportedly the fan attendance for that event was down 40%. At NHRA’s Topeka race the cheap seats seemed fairly full but there were plenty of open spaces in the pricey “Top Eliminator” section.

Just Wondering … Wouldn’t it be a really good idea if, instead of hiring more “bean counters” to try and “monetize” every part of the NHRA, that the board of directors hired someone with actual race promotion experience to make their races more attractive to the fans and media? Just having nitro classes and racing alone isn’t enough!

Just Wondering … On that same theme, isn’t it interesting to think what the NHRA might be today if Wally Parks had brought in Bill Bader instead of Dallas Gardner or Tom Compton to turn the sanctioning body around?

Just Wondering … When will one of the wealthy businessmen/racers involved with the nostalgia nitro community take a leadership role and do what is necessary to insure a reliable supply of nitro for nostalgia racers? Don’t make the same mistake the NHRA has.

Just Wondering … Will the escalating price of nitro put the NHRA A/FD racers and the nostalgia A/FD out of racing?

Just Wondering … If nitro were to become unavailable for racing purposes what does drag racing replace it with? I hope the folks at the IHRA and NHRA are making contingency plans.

Just Wondering … Has the price of racing gas and alcohol gone up with the price increases at the local filling station? If so how much and is that an issue for the sportsman racers?

Just Wondering … Did you know that certain NASCAR tracks -- at the urging of the series sponsor -- have announced that they are giving away tens of thousands of tickets and it is tremendously successful? The ADRL has proven it works in drag racing. Perhaps the NHRA and especially the IHRA could think about this.

Just Wondering … Same subject. The IHRA generally has terrible attendance on Sunday. What if they offered a ticket package that charged for Friday and Saturday and offered a free ticket on Sunday? The food and beverage sales from a full house on Sunday would be big!

Just Wondering … When are the promoters and sanctioning bodies going to get the clue that aside from a select few unique or special races  ticket prices for motorsports events are generally too damned high?

Just Wondering … Wouldn’t it make some sense in the world of $4.00 gasoline and $5.00 diesel that the NHRA consider allowing sportsman racers within a couple hundred miles of their national event tracks entry at the national events? They could lock in the first 20 entries to the top 20 points leaders, last year’s point champs and defending champs in the class, then open up the rest of the spots to the local racers.

Just Wondering … When will race series of all varieties realize that giving anyone a monopoly is bad for the racers and for business and in my opinion is un-American.

Just Wondering … When will Chris Karamesines get some recognition from the mainstream media?  The guy is almost 80 years old and he is still qualifying at IHRA national events in a professional nitro class. It’s an eight-car field at IHRA and 10-11 cars routinely show up so qualifying is no “gimme.” His accomplishments are unprecedented in the history of auto racing, period!

Just Wondering … To stop some of the obvious sandbagging in the Comp classes and Super Stock by some “touring pros,” why not give the number one qualifier in Comp and Super Stock a bye in the first round? Qualifying number one ought to be rewarded.

Just Wondering … Is the drag racing business the only business where if a race breaks even financially by most opinions that race is considered a success?

Just Wondering … Why is it that some racers think that if they pay an entry fee and break their car in time trials they deserve a refund? If you come and make a lap it’s not the promoters fault you broke your car.

Just Wondering … Does the NHRA’s new edict about no nitro testing on the Monday after a national event apply just to the track where the race was held or does that mean no testing at any track? If the NHRA really wants to save nitro and team operating expenses they would restrict the number of days in a season a team could test and ban testing anytime, anywhere between races.

Just Wondering … How soon before the NHRA and IHRA are forced to follow NASCAR, IRL and F-1 and guarantee teams that qualify for an event enough money to at least cover their expense for making the race? 


jeffburk@dragracingonline.com