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On the Road Again… Still

It’s the time of year when you would think the pace might slow down just a little and allow the Burkster to catch his breath and get ready for the 2011 season. But that’s not the case, as the end of the season brings big races for nostalgia, street, sand drags, the NHRA races at Las Vegas and Pomona, not to mention the upcoming SEMA, IMIS, and PRI trade shows. I’ve been living out of a suitcase and hotel rooms and a motor home for the past two weeks, and it looks like I’ll be on that routine until at least the first week in December. 

But being on the road has been interesting in that I’m spending a lot more time with racers, promoters, and manufacturers than I have in quite a while. While I think my extended road trip has been bad for my bankbook, back, and liver, it has been very interesting and the old reporter’s notebook is full.

Not one journalist, drag racer, fan or sponsor rep that I have talked to on this trip -- other than those directly connected with the two teams still in the running for NHRA’s Full Throttle Championship -- knew anything about nor gave a damn about the NHRA’s Countdown series. Ditto for my NASCAR pals, who for the most part are bored with that series’ Countdown.

Isn’t it about time the “suits” who gave birth to this lame aberration realize that auto racing isn’t a stick-and-ball sport, and that what works in stick-and-ball sports doesn’t usually translate to auto racing, which really isn’t a team sport? How much time, money, and labor have been wasted on this attempt to gimmick up the points?

There were close to forty nitro-burning AA/FCs on the grounds at the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield. And there were at least four or five that we could name that didn’t come to the race, and 37 actually attempted to qualify. There is absolutely no doubt that “budget” AA/FC is the most popular new hobby class to come along in drag racing since the IHRA invented Pro Modified. There are more and more alky Funny Car racers switching over to nitro and they are fast right away.

One thing that was really cool about the AA/FC class at the Bakersfield Reunion was that there were three different factions of racers. You had one group that basically only ran the West Coast Hot Rod Heritage Series. Then there were those that had competed in the DRO Challenge series in the Midwest and those that ran almost exclusively with the IHRA tour. There was some real rivalry, and for the first time in many years there was a national event that had more than one or two series represented. 

AA/FC is a rapidly growing class with a growing base of sponsor support. And it actually is a place where a hobby racer you never heard of can show up with a nitro car and qualify. Now that is old school nitro drag racing!

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