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After some time away and a great letter from a reader asking why I have so doggedly devoted so much time and energy commenting on the politics and business of drag racing and specifically the business of the NHRA, I have some thoughts to share.
First, as far as I can tell, nothing has fundamentally changed in the way the NHRA and their business partners run the sport. No NHRA national event tracks have actually declared bankruptcy or even threatened to not have one of the NHRA’s events.
Secondly, I have not noticed any serious reductions in ticket prices for the fans or entry fees for their sportsman racers at NHRA national event.
There is only one logical conclusion I can come up with and that is NHRA national events are still profitable despite the apparent drop in fan attendance and racer participation. If the tracks are making money now, imagine how profitable an NHRA national event must have been back when Indy, Pomona, E-town, Dallas, Houston and Chicago actually sold 20,000 tickets or more per day. The fact is that if you can afford the ticket, either as a spectator or racer, NHRA drag racing is still the real big league of professional drag racing.
Drag racing must be or have the potential to be successful and profitable based upon the huge amount of money the new owners (IRG) have poured into the new IHRA They’ve bought several large tracks including Memphis Motorsports Park, and Cordova Dragway and have made it known they are looking to buy others.
So until something drastic occurs I’m going to try my best to find other subjects not related to ticket pricing, back gate fees, attendance or Tom Compton’s salary because I’ve come to the conclusion that most of you are tired of reading about those issues and, as I said up front, I can see nothing changing soon. So my advice is join in the racing because evidently resistance is futile.
As for finding some great affordable drag races, the next three weeks here in the Midwest is jam-packed with races. They are running the annual Fuel Altered Championship in Eddyville, Iowa. They’ll have 16-20 niro/alky burning altereds plus some other cars and a daily ticket is around 20-25 bucks. Then the following week at the 61st Annual World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova Dragway in Illinois where a ticket for that two-day extravaganza is around $35 a day.
The following weekend is the 60th U.S. Nats at Indy: just give the guy at the ticket booth your plastic and shut up. It is the U.S. Nats after all and NHRA has the best Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Cars in the world.
A week later the DRO AA/FC Challenge series and Jim Oddy’s AA/GS series are featured at historic US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Mich., and the ticket will be in the $30-35 range.
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