Volume X, Issue 2, Page 98


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NHRA-IHRA COMBO?

I don't see this as the horrible deal that some are saying. If done right it could be a win-win situation. Many are seeing the end of the road with the changes that could take place. First - it would reflect the NASCAR MODEL with the top series followed by a second (or possible 3rd or 4th) tier. There would only be one set of rules, one organization to answer to, one car or vehicle to build for the designated class. The series could be divided into regions and the tracks all run under one sanction. Think about it from the fans perspective. There would be more chance to attend the major event in their area and also see the local 2nd or 3rd tier racing without hocking the farm.

In 1957 when I made my first 1/4 mile pass there were those that wanted it different and those that said it was perfect, DON'T CHANGE IT. In 2007 when I made my last pass (until the March Meet ‘08) it was, and is the same story. To say that Bruton Smith will destroy drag racing is ridiculous. If it is said that Mr. Smith will change drag racing as we know it - then that is probably an accurate statement. Let’s face it, the top tier of drag racing (pro classes) is competitive entertainment. The 2nd & 3rd tier (index, bracket racing, divisional racing) are not spectator driven. They are for the "real" racers and I believe will thrive on a system that would lend itself to this.

Last October we took our "Cackle Car" to Fontana to a NHRA Divisional meet the week before the CHRR and the reality was the racers thought we were in the way. The place was full of participants, their crews, families and spectators that were interested in those kinds of cars & motorcycles. One week later at Famoso we were "IT" - "THE SHOW" - "The reason racing exists" or whatever else someone could come up with.

The point to this is that there is a place for each different section of drag racing (event), and when an event becomes a circus the purpose and integrity of the event is compromised. There is the possibility that Bruton can see that the time has come (He hasn't done badly so far) to re-structure what has worked marginally and make it the drag racing of today. The majority of the paying customers, whether they are casual spectators or hardcore fans do not all want the same thing.

Drag racing cannot just remain status quo and survive. It can remain a niche or progress, but I believe that it will be destined to failure if it stays a niche. Some of the reasons are that with someone like Bruton Smith at the head of one large organization the ever increasing obstacles of zoning, insurance, security, governmental regulations, media, and public opinion can be handled by people that are not self perpetuating; their jobs are on the line! It seems that his organizational skills can get highways built, move mountains and build facilities in less time than the existing associations can decide how to change or come up with a spec on a racecar chassis.

Though it may affect the positions of some of the executives of the NHRA & IHRA who seem to be satisfied with what they must feel is "Every thing is GREAT", I do not see the down side for Drag Racing as a whole. 

Roger Gates
Wofford Heights, California

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