When Mr. Compton ascended to his NHRA presidency the U.S. Nationals had a big part determining the World Champs because of the extra points awarded at that race. Before he came to power the Nationals  was the last event with 32-car nitro fields, and it was one of just a couple of races where Top Fuel bike fans could see those monsters. Even though he had nothing to do with the 32 car fields and T/F bike class going away he did nothing to replace those attractions. What he did do was add seats and luxury suites. Getting an entry into the U.S. Nationals wasn’t a given for the sportsman racers. Those racers had to fight just to get enough grade points to enter and they had better enter early or not at all. In those days before the NHRA added a lot more seating, Saturday, Sunday and Monday usually found the stands full of fans.

Sadly that is not the case any longer and unless some radical changes by the powers that be at the NHRA are made the U.S. Nationals is going to remain just the last race of the season where racers can qualify for the shootout of the last six races of the year. The problem is, I think, that no one in a management position currently at the NHRA ever attended the “Nats” in its heyday, so they have no idea how great that race used to be.

Just Wondering... I’m going to beat this dead horse one more time! When will the NHRA admit that the fines and points deduction for oil-downs is an abject failure? Ditto for “little points” and provisional qualifying. For the most part those programs punish the underfunded teams and racers. Case in point: Tony Pedregon got a 25 point deduction and a $7,000 fine for oiling the track at Indy. He has already skipped one race this season and fines like that won’t encourage him to attend more events. Then there is the “provisional” Friday night qualifying. That program absolutely favors the mega-teams who have proved they can run 3.70’s day or night and in 100-degree weather if necessary. That rule makes most budget racers either sit out Friday or make just one lap. It really makes no sense when there are generally about 18 entries in these classes. Finally, the so-called “little points” programs have no use or are of little benefit to the racers not in the top five in points. Additionally, the “little points” make it nearly impossible for fans to follow or figure the points at a race and does nothing to enhance competition.

Just Wondering... Why were Pro race drivers the only people on the ESPN broadcast telling the fans over and over and over that the U.S Nationals is and was the most important and special race on the calendar? Couldn’t the ESPN guys have found a real fan that spent their hard-earned money buying tickets and traveling to the race because it is so special? How about someone from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce to promote the race for its economic impact on the area?  

Just Wondering... When is enough, enough? It just seemed to me that on the Friday and Monday ESPN broadcasts of the Nationals (I missed Saturday because I couldn’t wait for U.S. Open tennis to be over) a family member or someone connected with John Force Racing was on the screen in every “segment”. I’m a big JFR fan but if I have to hear John talking about sponsors and sponsorship one more time I swear I will put a brick through the screen of my Magnavox.

Just Wondering...Why not issue a directive that when doing an interview the pro race team drivers and owners cannot just recite a laundry list of their sponsors but rather they must talk about something the viewer at home gives a damn about. No current fan or first timer watching drag racing wants to hear a racer rattle off a list of sponsors as part of an answer to a question about a race that was just finished.

Just Wondering... Why have the fans vote on the “wildcard” selection for the Traxxas Shootout when the real determining factor is a ping-pong ball with the driver’s name on it that pops out of a bingo machine? I will always wonder what driver actually won the popular vote.

Just Wondering... When will the NHRA management and the pro racers understand that drag racing fans want a show to go along with the racing on the track, especially when nitro cars are on the track for four seconds or less. When the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock cars were at the height of their fan popularity they all did across-the-line smoky burnouts, “chirps” and dry hops. Those were part of their fan attraction. All serious racers just really don’t care nor do they have a clue about what their fans want to see until there aren’t any fans. They are all about going as quick and fast as they can. If not doing a burnout or putting mufflers on would give nitro cars an advantage, all racers would do it. Today’s pro racers -- including that consummate showman John Force -- seem to have forgotten that entertaining the fans, not winning races, is what made them and the sport popular.

Just Wondering... Why not give the sponsors of the Indy shootouts a promoters option choice for the last car to make the field?

Just Wondering... As part of the U.S. Nationals TV broadcast (or any race, for that matter) why not interview more fans, sponsors or local politicians and ask them what the race means to them or the local community? Ask them why they spend their money to buy a ticket to Indy every year. The NHRA broadcasts of each NHRA national event should have a few segments promoting the benefits of sponsoring NHRA races and race teams. As a viewer I’d rather see some of that than a lot of meaningless driver interviews.

Just Wondering... Why didn’t the ESPN broadcast devote some air time to the possible fiasco coming to the Pro Stock class? (If they covered this issue on Saturday’s ESPN broadcast I apologize – I missed it.) Current and future Pro Stock teams have about three or four months to build a completely re-designed Pro Stock car with an entirely new engine combination. Maybe ESPN pit reporters could have asked Pro Stock team owners Ken Black, Allen Johnson, or Johnny Gray how much it was actually going to cost them to convert over for the 2016 season and is there time enough to do it by February 1. So many questions … so few answers.

Just Wondering... Is it a sign of the times that the management at Maryland International Raceway (IHRA) decided to eliminate any bracket classes at their mega-successful Haltech sponsored Import vs Pro Mod race later this year? I think not ‘cause for most of us watching bracket racing in any form is boring!

Just Wondering... Why the NHRA has released their 2016 national event schedule and it didn’t list the races that would host the RPM Pro Mods onit? Does that mean they are possibly adding or subtracting Pro Mods to the NHRA schedule?

Just Wondering... Whatever happened to the program between the IHRA and the NHRA RPM Pro Mod group tosupport some of the IHRA races where Pro Mods were part of the program? As far as I know the only RPM racer to cross over to IHRA was
Steve Matusek driving for Danny Rowe.

Just Wondering... Did you know that over 500 cars attended the Yellow Bullet Nationals last weekend while the U.S. Nationals were being run? That race features the best “Outlaw” doorslammers in the U.S. plus huge support index and bracket classes. I think it is the most important, least reported race in drag racing!