Closing Out the Burkster’s 2011 Notebook

Good Moooooooorning, Drag Racing World! It’s a new year, I’ve had about ten days of rest and recreation, and I am ready to get back to what I call work, reporting and commenting on the confusing and often strange world of drag racing.

The only thing that drag racing has to offer in the way of news during the off season is who will be fired from or driving/tuning for the premier teams when the next season starts. If it weren’t for that speculation there would be nothing interesting at all about drag racing to report on between November 15th of one calendar year and February 15th of the next. 

Evidently there are a lot of amateur journalists who think reporting these rumors are unethical. Hogwash. It comes with the territory when you are part of a professional sports team. By the way, I can think of only one and just one “deal” in my long career in this business that was killed by the info  being circulated among the press prior to the official announcement. I can’t tell you to whom that happened, but here’s a hint:  “Sir, is that a pack of camels you have in your back yard?”

If the professional teams, owners and crews of the NHRA don’t want the working press to print the rumors they hear about them during the off season, maybe the teams should require their full-time PR types to develop and pitch some story ideas for the journalists during the off season.

Public Relations means more than drowning the press with pre- and post-race recaps during the racing season. Why not do controlled “leaks” to the working press with info about your team’s racing plans for the new season instead of making us get if from other sources and then getting mad when we find out. 

(Although any journalist worth his press card will balk at using a “canned” story and prefers to develop his own leads. That’s the nature of the job -- finding out the truth and bringing it to the public.)


I have seen a lot of lists recently about what writers thought were the biggest and most important stories of the 2011 season in NHRA, IHRA, ADRL and NMCA. Unbelievably, many of these lists have the second or third retirement of Kenny Bernstein, or the banning of some sheet metal around the DSR teams roll cages as their top stories. 

Sorry, but I think my peers have missed the mark. My top Drag Racing story of 2011 is the continuing drop in gross income for the once thriving NHRA. The 2010 tax returns proves that, and from all accounts the gross income of the NHRA in 2011 continued that trend. (Not that they’re the only company to face that problem.)

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