Mike Cavalieri:

Are We Going To Do This...Or Just Screw Around?

Mike Cavalieri (at right) is owner of Cavalieri Racing in Omaha and is the tuner for Paul Romine’s “Man O’ War” AA Funny Car team.

As the title says...are we going to do this or just screw around? That is a saying that a very good friend of mine, Jay Armstrong, used to tell me when we were racing together. There were so many other great one liners that could apply to mine or anyone else's racing career. Who could ever forget the late great Clayton Harris...he was always saying "Shouldn't outta done that" or another good friend, Marshall Topping, after almost dying 20 years ago in Gainesville..."Be Spectacular" or, wait, my all-time favorite..."Yes, officer, my name is Mike Cavalieri, and I must have left my wallet at home." That one is credited to Big Louie, a guy that a lot like the Riddler or Darth Vader, should have used his efforts to do good versus evil.

At any rate, are we going to do this or just screw around? This is a very apt description of where we are with the nostalgia nitro funny car movement at the present time. Sure, we are starting the 2017 season and the March Meet is upon us, but with the allegedly temporary departure of the IHRA for the upcoming season, there is a void in the schedule for quite a few racers. Fortunately, there is a revival of the Drag Racing Online series for this year, and I for one am looking forward to getting back out with a highly competitive group of racers that will hopefully come from all over the country.

While I know there are a considerable number of running nostalgia nitro funny cars, it seems that there are a myriad of reasons why there are low car counts around the US. Part of this is perception. By that, I am referring to the premise that everything should pay well, with very little up front expense. I remember when I raced motocross for so many years, and the ritual consisted of getting ready Saturday night, going to the track Sunday morning, paying to get in, paying to enter your specific class, and having a great time competing against your buddies and total strangers for an afternoon. You knew going in that you were going to spend "X" amount of money and that was the cost of having a good time.

Fast forward to today and the nitro funny car world. It is possible that with so many changes through the years, that the concepts that worked well in the '70s and '80s are almost unobtainable. And just because the IHRA went on temporary hiatus doesn't mean the world is coming to an end for all of us. Take the big show as an example; except for a couple of times a year, and without exception, there is nowhere else for any of these teams to race or make any extra money. The days of the AHRA Summernationals or any number of "Night of Fire" races have all gone away. So have so many of the privateer nitro racers of years past. While everyone bitches and complains about the Big Show and all the issues associated with it...the folks over there have learned to adapt to their surroundings and hopefully make the best of it.