Out of the fray for the summer
"You either surf or fight, is that clear!?"
What a difference a month makes. In last month's spellbinding edition of this column, I was bellyaching about how one racer association had handled one event.
Can I get a big ol' Moon-Unit like, "Whatever!"? I'm so over it, I really don't care anymore. The timing couldn't be any better, what with my new found apathy and the fact that we (Pisano Racing) are taking the summer off.
None of that group's posturing and hollow threats matter to me anymore, the statements from an officer on an online radio show about the "unsafe cars, unproven drivers, etc." regarding the entries at Vegas notwithstanding. Think I'm making this up? Take a listen for yourself:
www.speedsceneracing.com/arch.shtml click on 05/06/2008.
This really doesn't affect myself or my team now that we have parked the car for a bit, due to some business and family matters coming up this summer, not to mention the cost of traveling. We will probably hit a few car shows and fire it up to burn some of the nitro that I have stockpiled (Attention NHRA: I only have enough for myself and Hansen's Cacklefest car - no need to call!). But, when we get all of our ducks back in a row, we will be back at it.
I don't think the Pisano team is the only bunch that is stepping back to make sure that whatever challenges come calling, due to our economy, don't jeopardize our family or business lives. Look at the car counts from our most recent events. Some of that could be due to the scheduling conflicts that have come up this year, but I think most of it has to do with the cost of fuel getting to and from the events.
I can't speak for everyone out there, but the chassis shop is doing just fine. My car owner's business is doing fine also. It's just because of the current climate of not knowing WHEN our business is going to slow down that we have gotten a little more conservative in our approach to our hobby. Also, it will soon be summer time. Which, for me, involves Cub Scout camp and some of that surf music stuff I dabble in.
I tend to believe a lot of nostalgia racers are thinking the same way. Meaning taking a more conservative approach to when and how they spend their hard-earned frog-skins. At Bakersfield they had 12 Top Fuel cars show up for a 16-car show. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but that hasn't happened in a long time. These guys typically run their hot rods as much as they can, and running at Famoso is a pleasure because of the Bowsers’ continued dedication to our sport.
It's a little scary that after losing LACR last year, the car counts in the Heritage Series sportsman ranks haven't grown at Famoso. Where is everyone? Are you folks elsewhere in the country getting this decline?
Back to the Famoso event, I talked to a buddy of mine who was at the track when I called Friday evening. He told me the pits were paved to the first turnout and the amount of money they spent was considerable. He told me a figure but I can't count that high to write it here. Hats off to Blake and John Bowser.
I have also seen a few comments here and there about the lack of advertising for the latest race run at Famoso and some bellyaching about the spectator turnout. They did advertise. I saw the ads. My opinion? This was a new event at a different spot on the calendar regarding a nostalgia event. Add in the public's distaste to travel right now and you get the low spectator count that they had. Can I also ask, why does that matter to you the racer? They gave you a first class facility, a first class track surface, newly paved pits and free beer. Okay, I made the last thing up. But still, you could go run your heap and have a good time doing it.
One comment I read was something along the lines of, "it's hard for me to get excited and put on a good show when there are no spectators in the stands." First of all, good for you that you made the decision to go run the event under the current fiscal fiasco. Second, you need to heed the words of the great but sometimes cuckoo, Jerry lee Lewis, aka the Killer! No relation, by the way. I'm paraphrasing here folks, so bear with me. The original quote was in a Kicks magazine (extra credit if you know about this rag) that I have hidden under the piles of Hot Wheels and Legos that populate the sprawling Utterback estate. The quote, "It don't matter if there's five or five thousand, they get the same show!" So, after that sage advice, what's your excuse?
Rumor control checking in:
Las Vegas Motor Speedway will have another NHRA Heritage event in 2009 that will feature both Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car as the headliners.
Rock Mountain Raceway near Salt Lake City, Utah,, will have a Heritage event of their own in 2009.
Enough of this. Times are tough. Or we perceive them as tough. Whatever. Car counts and spectator attendance are down.
Take the summer off. I am. Well, actually getting back to the first sentence in this month's edition, where I borrowed Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore's quote,
"You either surf or fight, is that clear!?"
Actually, I'm going to surf. No more fighting, no promoters, no associations, no drama. At least until we are ready to run again.