Cutting costs … and then some more wondering

By all accounts it now takes about $100,000 per event to race an NHRA Nitro car. I’ve been thinking about that figure and considering what could be done to cut the cost of racing a Funny Car or Top Fueler without drastic changes. Here is what I came up with.

Given that NHRA Qualifying sessions often are a relatively foregone result with the same teams qualifying in the top half of the field race after race and thereby rendering what used to be a dramatic and significant part of the NHRA entertainment as same old-same old, why not make a change that would not only benefit both the funded and underfunded teams but make the whole two-day qualifying process more entertaining and less expensive?

One obvious answer is fewer laps or days of qualifying or both. My suggestion is to reduce the qualified field to eight cars in all of the Professional classes so that qualifying becomes more than a two-day test session for the premier teams. Increase the fields to 16 cars at three races a year, say the U.S. Nationals, Gatornationals and the World Finals.   

Now here’s my twist to this deal. In order to keep less-funded or part-time teams in and interested, do three things. 1) Pay the 9-16 non-qualifiers first round loser money as long as they make two of the four qualifying laps. 2) Pay qualifying points for the 9-16 non-qualifiers 3) Allow the non-qualified teams to leave Saturday night.

All three of these suggestions could make NHRA Nitro racing much more affordable for NHRA’s many underfunded pro teams by making fewer laps, which means less parts attrition and lower travel expenses.

It is obvious that at many NHRA national events a large portion of fans are not hanging around for all four rounds of eliminations on Sunday. Maybe if an NHRA national event were just three rounds of eliminations on Sunday the fans might be more inclined to stay until the final rounds and it would be a lot easier to do live TV broadcasts of NHRA races.

Just Wondering... If Erica Enders-Stevens wins the NHRA Pro Stock Championship this weekend at Pomona will the NHRA PR department be able to capitalize on her accomplishment with the mainstream media? Let’s hope so. Can you imagine the amount of media attention Danica Patrick and NASCAR will get if or when she wins a Cup race much less a Championship?

Just Wondering... How much money has John Force Racing spent hiring elite PR companies to find sponsorship for John Force’s Funny Car and Brittany Force’s Top Fuel Dragster with little or no success? I believe that most sports marketing firms have no clue as to how to sell drag racing and its stars to Corporate America.  

Just Wondering... I wonder if those racing companies who affiliate themselves with product and signage on the cars that are part of the “Street Outlaw” TV show consider their liability should one of those guys have a bad accident street racing? (Which evidently they still do when not filming the “reality” show they star in.)

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