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Since it was aired way after midnight Friday last weekend, even though I was attending the Mopar Max Weekend at Cedar Falls, I was able to leave the track and still watch the ESPN2 qualifying show from Dallas. After a five-hour drive I got home Sunday in time to watch eliminations from the Burk-a-Lounger.
I was happy to see that the Motorplex pit side grandstand appeared to be nearly full and the spectator side was about half full. It looked like the Texas race was one of the better attended in recent months.
I thought the race made very good television with all of the upsets in the nitro ranks and Bob Vandergriff’s win. In general the coverage was excellent, but a couple of things that happened at the race and during the broadcast are worth a few comments.
Deducting championship points from teams for oiling the track during the post-season is unwarranted and unfair!
I know the NHRA put the current oil-down rules in play in an attempt to reduce the time paying spectators might be forced to sit in 100+ degree weather watching the track crew repair the track after a major oil-down and to help make the television broadcast more timely and better. Frankly, I think that having those rules in place has some merit during the portion of the season that leads up to the six-race Countdown.
However, once the ten teams in each pro category have qualified for the abbreviated six-race Countdown, where virtually every round-win and point is hypercritical, is it really fair or reasonable to penalize the teams for something they often have no control over? Anyone who has ever been involved with racing on any kind of professional level knows that any crew chief/tuner for a team that has made the Countdown wouldn’t knowingly put a tune-up on his engine that might cause it to fail and cost the team a round-win and a points penalty. There is simply too much at stake for everyone concerned.
What if a 2011 Full Throttle professional class World Championship is decided, not by superior tuning, driving, or performance, but because a rod or crankshaft in a 8,000-hp rocket fuel-burning engine inexplicably fails – which is a common occurrence -- causing the track to get oiled. If NHRA deducts points, that team would lose a championship through no fault of their own. What if Bob Tasca or Antron Brown or any of the drivers and teams were to lose the championship because of points being deducted for a parts failure?
In my opinion, that would make the championship a sham and a hollow victory for whoever wins in that manner.
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