AND THEN I NOSED OVER IN THE LIGHTS
Actually, I was on the sofa at home. No,I didn't have a heart attack, though some days that looks like an attractive option. I was watching the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations at the NHRA race at Gateway International Raceway, relaxing a bit after a hard day of hosting an open house at a new home in one of the area lake communities. That's right, Jeff Leonard plays real estate agent. It was a rainy day, and only a few brave souls ventured out, none of which were going to buy that or any other house in the greater Kansas City area.
Anyway, there I was on the couch, watching Top Fuel cars traversing the Madison macadam when it happened. I fell asleep - nosed right over! Awakened by my Loving Wife's inquiries regarding the laundry, I began to ask myself the Relevant Question. And that would be, "How did that happen?". Was it having endured the arduous task of watching non-buyers pass before my eyes that wore me out? No, that wasn't it. Was it perhaps the stupefying dose of cholesterol I had swallowed at the fast food joint on the way home from my adventure in real estate? Maybe, but I don't think so. Maybe it was the weather. Fifteen hours of of-and-on rain tends to sap my energy. Does it do that to you too? All of the afore mentioned factors could have been the reason for my loss of consciousness, but they weren't. It was something else.
It was the racing. Or rather, the televised racing. To say it was uncompelling would be to damn all other uncompelling content by comparison. In a period of time when there are story lines in play that have never been in play before, with competition in the nitro classes having seldom if ever been as close, it all comes across the boob tube as a big fat nothing! No sound, no fury, no zing, no yin and/or yang. For my money, they could scrub the mission from here on out, and I wouldn't shed a tear. That won't happen, with contractual obligations being what they are. Besides, plenty of entities are making money hand over fist, and that's pretty much as it should be. Lenny begrudges no one an honest buck, however they come by it!
And I will waste no virtual trees advising the producers on changes that should be made to the televised product. They seem very happy with the end result, and are most likely checking their bank accounts as I punch the keyboard. More power to them.
Maybe the TV guys aren't even the real problem. Maybe I'm just tired of watching the same set of racers slug it out week after week. Years ago, my original editor, Steve Collison, God rest his soul, complained about the sameness that was the national event circuit of that time frame. I disagreed with him then, but from the vantage point of twenty plus years of observation, Old Steve may have been on to something. Give or take a J. R. Todd here, and a Melanie Troxell there, the same people win the races, and dominate the air time on national event televised shows. Why do millions watch 24 every week? Because they want to see what will happen next. Conversely, why don't more racing fans watch drag racing on TV. Maybe it's because they already feel they know the story line.
Since nobody's going to fix any of this, why am I going on so? It's just something I like to do. I'd rather sell a house (it's a more profitable undertaking), but what the heck! I also like to ponder on what I would actually watch in the way of televised drag racing. All kidding aside, there is a great body of drag racing action out there that nobody will ever see. And that is a low down, dirty shame. I would love to see a Wide World of Sports styled TV show featuring a different facet of the 1320 sport each week. If it's only a half hour in length, so be it. A half hour of fuel altered's, nitro Harley's, Nitro Coupes, front motored Top Fuel dragsters, Top Sportsman rigs, Outlaw Pro Mods, nostalgia gassers, heck, even drag boats would be a welcome change from the usual national event fare.
Seriously, I think such a show would work. In the age of a thousand (million?) cable and satellite channels, Lord knows there is room somewhere on the programming landscape for a drag racing anthology show. And considering what currently gets on TV, there is probably a money man somewhere that could help make it all happen. Want something new to take on, Bruton Smith? Have I got an idea for you!! I can picture it now- The Wide World of Drag Racing Action! That's just a working title, Mr Smith. You can call it anything you like. Just sign this here check, and I'll send you the details later. Much later!