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Cleaning out a cluttered notebook

I’m calling out the ESPN guys. In the past few years our readers have raked the ESPN producers over the coals about too much Force family, friends, and employees on the race coverage. I’ve stayed out of that argument, but finally, I too have had enough. I watched last Saturday and Sunday’s broadcast from Phoenix and I was getting John Force’s take on the Oscars®, some kind of movie quiz from John. They miked a car owner on the starting line and, surprise, it was John Force!

Can we for Pete’s sake please get interviews with the Bob Bodes, Rob Passeys, Arley Langlos, IHRA's 2008 Funny Car champ Terry Haddock who qualified for Top Fuel at Phoenix, or any of the non-“anointed” professional drivers. Want to bring more sponsors into the sport? How about giving the unsponsored Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock guys just a little of the four-plus hours of the weekends broadcast.

We know all we are ever going to need to about Larry Dixon, Ron Capps, J. Force, A. Force Hood, M. Neff, R. Hight, T. Schumacher, A. Brown, Brandon and Kenny Bernstein, T. and C. Pedregon, and Jack Beckman. Do we really need to know what Dave Grubnic is doing or watch Ron Capps teach his son to shoot a pellet gun?

Understand that I’m not blaming the mentioned racers. It’s not their fault; just the ESPN guys doing lazy journalism. Why not give us one segment per race interviewing a privateer nitro racer or second tier Pro Stock racer for their benefit, their sponsors’ benefit, and, most important, the benefit of the viewers at home. We are officially bored with the same drivers, tuners, and team owners being interviewed ad nauseum!

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Just when you think the NHRA is getting to be a little bit less arrogant and self aggrandizing, they do something that shows that they really haven’t changed much at all -- and still evidently believe that they have control of all drag racing. I heard from ADRL president Kenny Nowling that the NHRA called him last night (Feb. 24) to inform him that unless he changed his rules regarding the nitro percentage allowed for the ADRL Pro Extreme class they would revoke the ADRL ASO status and not allow the ADRL to race at the five NHRA national event tracks that are scheduled to have ADRL events in 2009.

The absolutely worst part of the NHRA decision, from an ethical and business standpoint, is that the opening ADRL event at Houston is less than ten days away -- ten days!  Racers, fans, sponsors, track owners, and the sanctioning body have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting the race and building cars and the NHRA waits until this moment to take this kind of action. And some of you write me and ask me why I’m so hard on the NHRA at times. This is the perfect example why.

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