Is the ‘passion’ still there?

When I watch the so-called improved TV package for NHRA events and the live coverage of IHRA events I can barely stay awake unless I record it so I can jump from round to round. Is that just me losing my passion for the sport that has been part of my life for 40 years or is the “pro racing” just getting to be the same old show week in and week out?

Same racers, same winning teams, same commentary by the announcers (except I do like Bruno Massel’s pit area commentary) and the shut down interviews of winners is about as exciting as watching paint dry. The WEAK turnout of pro cars also is discouraging as the pros seldom have to really qualify. They show up, they are in the show so it’s a bunch of test and tune runs by millionaires; do you find that interesting? My big highlight is hoping the Greek or McMillen will clip the #1 qualifier first round, if that doesn’t happen it becomes the Force vs Schumacher Show.

After watching that several times this year how can FS1 not even try to add the Sportsman Final rounds to its package? Can you imagine a Sportsman racer who just won his first national event as he climbed out of the car? If he remembered to put it in Park to keep it from rolling out of the camera’s view to the honest interview as he or she would not have a “scripted plan” of what to say. C’mon FS1 and NHRA….step outside of the box a little. Nobody but NHRA die-hard members are watching anyway, give us Sportsman racers a “taste” of the exposure of TV.

See what I mean? I can’t get very positive about where I see national event style drag racing headed. It’s basically the same racers for the last 20 years as they are the only ones who can afford to drop $75-100,000 in a new COPO stocker, S/Comp dragster that flatout can probably go 7.30s not 8.90s and S/Gas cars are getting crazy fast speeds using throttle stops for 3 seconds to slow the cars down. They are willing to drop $2,000-$3,000 in travel, missed work and entry fees, etc., for a week to race at a national event.

Of course it will be the same guys turning on win lights -- shouldn’t surprise anyone really as these guys have the “experience” with the national event procedures and track prep, and they are very good racers to boot.

When I see the large number of high-dollar bracket race events taking place across the country I can’t help but think why don’t guys like Rampy, Fletcher, the Emmons boys and dozens of others enter two or three of their cars in a race that will pay $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 and even up to $100,000 to win? Instead, they race LODRS events that might pay $2,000 if you have the right decals and yet entry fee is $150+. National events are probably $350 by now would be my guess and it looks like if I had every sticker I could get on the car and scam the contingency guys I might win $5,000.

Is it the difficulty of winning the big money bracket races that keep some of the finest drag racers in the Country away from those events? I guess we will never know as I don’t see them or hear of them being at those type of events.

There are still a lot of national event winners who do run brackets: Laboose Jr., Bertozzi, Miller, Bogacki and more. I can’t imagine their racing budget for parts, travel, entry fees etc to run the amount of races they race each season. THAT is PASSION for drag racing!

I also share an opinion with my DRO editor, Jeff Burk, that one of the biggest disappointments we have about the big bucks bracket races is the absolute LACK OF RESULTS being made available to interested people. Why is it that a race promoter can guarantee three $10,000-to-win races, put on a terrific event with the pit area full of some of the nicest and fastest drag cars on the planet and yet NOBODY KNOWS WHO WINS? Guarantee you that if the track sent the results to our two magazines those results would be printed and that is FREE EXPOSURE for their next race. Hell, send them to me and I will forward them to the magazine. or