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got back from a local two-day drag race event Sunday evening (after being in 90-degree heat and 80% humidity) and wanted to see how the NHRA national event at Joliet ended up. I have written about this several times and so has Jeff, but I still love watching this sport and especially participating in it. It hits a nerve every time I turn on the DVR and watch the recorded event.
It seems so duplicated or generic (I am not sure what to call it really) in the manner they set up the introduction of the event, the interviews, the layout of the starting line and even the paint and big Full Throttle logos seem the same to me. I am pretty sure it upsets me because these events could be done so much better and appeal to a lot more people if they just made an effort to actually show something other than the tire-smoking, hardly any side by side drag racing they are always talking about.
There has to be something more interesting to talk about that “looks like he had a cylinder out” and that was the problem. Really? Maybe the REAL PROBLEM is they have so much fuel pump and clutch management, not to mention billet blowers, that if you miss by a .01 of a second on one of the clutch timers or the fuel slide valves you have a junk run, a fire, or just have to lift about 150 feet out.
That happened so often in the qualifying coverage I was trying to watch that I had my thumb on the fast forward button more than NHRA starter Rick Stewart waves his arms around. That was bad TV and not entertaining from a sport that could be so much more.
Then the race. Did anybody send a note to Chicago-area race fans that there was an NHRA national event on Sunday? Holy crap, it looked like maybe 2/3 (OK, 3/4) of the seats were empty when the almighty Top Fuel and Funny Cars were getting underway. How can a sport survive and grow with empty seats? Well, the answer to that might be the nearly $300 it costs to enter your sportsman car in one of the national events. If you can’t offer entertainment people will pay for, I guess you just shake the racers upside down until their pockets are empty. Looking at the weak car counts at national events this year, it looks like the racers are tired of being fleeced and then ignored in any kind of national exposure.