Clearing out a cluttered notebook and some season-ending wondering too

I want to give props to NHRA pres Tom Compton and his management team for the following: 1) Industry sources tell me that NASCAR’s attendance figures for the past couple of years are down around 40%!  The good news for NHRA drag racing fan attendance under the guidance of Compton for same period is only down about 20%. 2) Compton has persevered and found a way to keep the Pro Mods a part of the NHRA professional show. and 3) As I understand it, the NHRA is going to make a profit in the $1,000,000 range in 2013 and believe me it is absolutely imperative that the NHRA makes a profit if professional drag racing (Nitro, Pro Mod and Pro Stock classes) are to survive. I don’t always agree with his decisions but I do believe without Compton’s business acumen the NHRA would have probably failed when this country went into the current recession.

It’s been a rocky road and neither side got everything they wanted but there will be Pro Mod racing at selected NHRA national events in 2014 and beyond thanks to the hard work done by Tom Compton and the NHRA Pro Mod racers’ willingness to fund the class on their own if necessary. I believe what the NHRA Pro Mod team owners have done is going to be a template for many professional classes in drag racing going forward.

Just Wondering… Could the reason for NASCAR’s and professional drag racing’s decline in attendance be due in large part that racing fans just aren’t getting much other than the racing itself for high-priced tickets for a weekend of racing? No matter how good the racing is, a majority of racing fans are paying $60 and up for the right to sit on a wooden or aluminum plank for 4-6 hours watching racing in the blazing sun. That is after they have probably driven for an hour or more to get to the track and then required to pay for parking and often a ticket upgrade. To make matters worse those same fans are often then asked  to stand in line for 30-45 minutes to buy a $10 burger, $6 fries, $5 bottle of water or a $9 12-oz beer in a cup.  I have personally experienced all of those issues recently.

While other major spectator sports like baseball, football, basketball and hockey offer their fans stadium seating, cocktail lounges, gourmet food and other amenities that makes attending an event something the wife and kids can enjoy, motorsports including drag racing seems unable or unwilling to do that for their rank and file fans.

I’ll say it one more time: auto racing venues are nothing more than outdoor bars/restaurants and when the cost of the food, drink or entertainment at a bar or restaurant is not up to par, paying customers eventually go somewhere else to spend their money. And that is what auto racing fans are doing these days.

Just Wondering… Does anyone except the competitors and their small cadre of fans really think that fast doorslammers classes in professional drag racing attracts mainstream sponsors or sells a significant number of tickets?

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