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First off, I would like to apologize for not keeping up with the column. I know that thousands (well, six of you) read this column, and I regret falling down on the job. The truth is that I have chosen to further my education and have started a Master’s program. So getting a handle on the workload has been a priority.
With that under control, I can get back to writing about one of my greatest passions, nostalgia drag racing.
First off, I must congratulate Jim Murphy for his win at the Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and on the acquisition of his new Top Fuel dragster, which he took to the win at Bowling Green.
For the class this is a bittersweet moment, as Murphy gets a well-deserved new car, but the class loses a top-flight competitor in the Frank Ousley family, who have decided to concentrate on the “Crop Duster” Funny Car.
This brings me to the point of this month’s column. Is Top Fuel dying as a class? There are signs pointing to this.
There were nine cars at Bowling Green for an eight-car show. Four of those cars came from California. How many cars will be at the next stop for the dragsters at Boise? The fans at Boise have long supported nostalgia Top Fuel racing. How many will make the trek to Epping, or will a majority of the cars stay home and wait for the California Hot Rod Reunion?
The one thing that is puzzling about this year’s nostalgia Top Fuel schedule is the fact that the Heritage Series next event is in Boise, Idaho, then Epping, New Hampshire. Then the final event in Bakersfield?
From this journalist’s perspective -- and someone who is not unfamiliar with business -- this seems like an odd way to build a class or a brand that is on shaky footing -- by running them back and forth across the country. Nevertheless, who am I?
Will the allure of running at a new facility clear across the country reduce the amount of Top Fuel cars that might come to Boise or Bakersfield? Only time will tell.
And many of the nostalgia racers who own and race these cars have started to put on some age. Are the events getting to be too long and drawn out?
I have heard from some competitors that the Heritage Series should cut the number of days down to two. A Friday qualifying evening and Saturday night elimination affair, so that teams could then head back on Sunday, and be back to work on Monday. Thus cutting down the number of days lost from work and cutting the expenses of hotels and food.
These are valid concerns for all racers. In this time of an uncertain economy, it might be something to look at. This suggestion might be the one item that would possibly bring out more cars to an event.
Boise and Bakersfield have done their fair share of supporting the nostalgia Top Fuel racing for over fifteen years. I am not talking about the tracks, which have both been supportive. I am speaking about the fans themselves.
I would challenge any of the AA Top Fuel racers who have run at Boise or Bakersfield to name a year that on Friday or Saturday night the place is not packed to the gills with people.