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I know that it seems I keep going back to the ESPN-2 TV coverage of drag racing but you know what, THAT IS WHAT drag racing is to a lot of people. Not us bracket racers or sportsman racers, but people who may have some interest in drag racing and MAYBE could become a spectator at a local track. They watch that... ahem, "stuff" on TV and it has to put them to sleep. Very few side-by-side runs. Daddy instantly smokes his tires so daughter can walk into a final round to hopefully satisfy sponsors and the family ego.
After watching as much as I could stay awake through of the Sonoma and Seattle NHRA national events, I am wondering, "Where do you think drag racing will be in three years?"
Sixteen cars showing up for 16-car fields, meaningless qualifying, the track prep looks terrible as they seem to be "one-lane tracks" to an unbelievable degree. Pro Stock at Seattle was something like thirteen wins in left lane and two in right lane or something stupid like that, and racers in both lanes looked to be struggling to get down the track. I don't get it.
I just can't see national event track owners staying on board with the pro class prize money for what is typically a non-competitive looking race and small spectator crowds and shrinking sportsman entries. I know it is extremely difficult to get these nitro cars down the track consistently. OK then, change the rules so you have real racing and not just team dominance week after week.
I have always thought the national events and in particular the professional categories were supposed to be about "entertainment" and the sportsman classes about "enthusiasts." The non-racer people filled the bleachers to see the pros and were then treated to some of the finest sportsman race cars in the country. It was a gearhead's heaven to walk around at a national event and get an overwhelming feeling that you are in the middle of something special.
The sanctioning bodies have lost their way as I see it. The Manufacturer's Midway these days is just about non-existent and now the teams are isolated from fans by fences, tents and security. Even the sportsman pits are getting hard to access to enjoy the well-engineered and super sharp cars. I am not sure what has happened but I guess it is sign of what has happened across the country. Everything has to be secured or there is a fear it will be stolen. Can't blame the guys for not wanting to lose their stuff but it's a shame we have to live that way now.