Who’s to say?

(Editor’s Note: Nicholson must have been channeling Burk, but who are we to say?)

ho’s to say… if I wanted to write a column about a subject that has been close to my heart for decades it would be a good thing or a bad thing?

Who’s to say… I can’t write about just anything that comes to my mind. Of course it needs to be about drag racing and not politics (which I am sick of anyway).

Who’s to say… you couldn’t use an editorial column like this to give a little push to some ideas that just may not stand out like they should?
(The answer is easy. Nobody can say I can’t. That is why writing for Jeff and Kay at DRO is the best thing for me.)

Who’s to say… why thousands of drag cars are sitting in garages instead of supporting local tracks? I don’t think it’s all about the money. Sure, some of the owners have been strapped down a little with the struggling economy but not all of them. I think it is a general “lack of enjoyment” they get when they go to their local tracks.

Who’s to say… that going to a local track shouldn’t be fun AND affordable? Unfortunately, the trend of bracket racing over the last 10 years or more has been going in the opposite direction: more money, less fun and fewer people in almost every venue.

  1. Turnouts are getting smaller so entry fees and pit passes cost more?
  2. Racers complain about less prize money so entry fees and pit passes cost more?
  3. Cost of opening a drag strip and operating it have gone up so… entry fees and pit passes cost more? (See a trend here?)
  4. Big money races put the pressure on tracks to perform better. That meant better track prep, better timing equipment that needed to perform perfectly… entry fees and pit passes cost more. Years ago it was a standard deal to pay $100 a day to race for $5,000 to win and round money started at second round winner. Some tracks might be doing it but most have given it up as being too risky.
  5. Cost of fielding a car that can repeat run after run and be relatively easy on parts started the dragster generation. That cost tracks a lot of cars when door car owners chose not to run against dragsters. Basically, it is like taking a knife to a gunfight. Before you freak out, yes, I know a door can still win -- many do -- but hundreds, if not thousands, of door cars sit idle.

Who’s to say… those cars and their owners will not come back to the track if they felt like they could be competitive or at the very least the cost of going to a race wasn’t going to empty their pockets of $150 for a weekend? Nobody knows that answer for sure, but there will soon be that alternative for thousands of racers.

Who’s to say… a bracket racing organization could not be put together that focused on one major goal? That goal would be to attract racers who have been staying home to bring their cars out for a fun event. Low entry fees, good payout and some entertainment put on by local racers. This could make them feel welcome again instead of feeling like they are behind times or out of touch with the “new world drag racers.”

Who’s to say… this is happening everywhere? Not me. I know some regions of the country are filling the pits and racers are enjoying the events. To those track operators, I tip my hat to your efforts, congratulations. You are the tracks that probably treat racers like CUSTOMERS and work to find out what they want.