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It’s Déjà vu all over again…or is it just Groundhog Day?
A press release from O. Bruton Smith’s zMax Dragway came into the DRO headquarters here in the Phlegm Building yesterday. The subject was the upcoming Pinks All Out episode to be filmed by the Speed TV crew. (I believe all of the “Pinks” programs are owned by Speed TV.)
Anyway, after reading the press release explaining the “new” format for the Pinks All Out at Smiths’s four-wide facility, I felt like I had gotten a peek into the future of what the old ringmaster (Smith) would like drag racing four-wide style to be.
According to the press release the Pinks All Out race held at Smith’s self-described “Bellagio of drag racing” last year played before a “sold out” crowd of 35,000 people. (Strangely, the words sold out are in quotes in the PR piece, which I found curious.) Anyway, since they only “sold out” the place last year evidently the Speed TV and SMI folks have decided this year to improve on the made-for-TV circus act that Pinks All Out is. They would make the racers race four-wide again but with an added twist! Who could have seen that decision coming?
Rich Christensen and his crew will pick the 32 cars for the eliminator just as they always do, then run the standard round-robin eliminations four-wide until they get down to four finalists. Here comes the twist. Then the four finalists will race four-wide one more time, eliminating the last car across the stripe, then three-wide, again eliminating the last car across the stripe, and then the two winners will immediately come back for a best two-out-of-three to determine the winner.
So, by my math, including qualifying and eliminations, the winning and runner-up car will have made at least 10 laps each in the event – which, by the way, pays the winner what the press release says is “the lion’s share of $25,000 in cash and prizes” but omitted any actual precise amount that is the winner’s share.
Whew that’s a lot of laps in one day, but if it’s what motivates fans to fill the stands to watch a drag racing circus -- and racers are willing to do for their 15 minutes of fame -- why not?
Maybe what NHRA drag racing needs to create more interest from the mainstream press, fill the grandstands, and make better TV is their own version of the same program. They could have eliminations on Saturday to get down to two cars or bikes in every category and finish with a great four-hour extravaganza on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
If Bruton Smith had been able to buy the NHRA when he made an offer, imagine how different professional drag racing might look today or could look in the future. I sure the hell hope not!
More Deja vu
In case you haven’t noticed, the 1,000-foot rule hasn’t worked quite as well as those of us who championed the idea would have liked. It seemed like the right idea at the time but now I’m not so sure.