The tale of two seasons in one year.
s we all know, Scott Kalitta’s death spurred NHRA to provide more top end safety to the drivers, by ending the race at 1,000 feet. This obviously decreases mile per hour speeds and elapsed times. Pundits, writers, fans, blogs, experts, and web forums were full of speculation about what this was going to do for the sport.
I’m going to write about some of the items that were discussed and share others with you. I divided the season into two parts: twelve events before Denver and the nine events where the nitro cars have raced to a thousand feet, including Denver.
- More holeshot wins/losses… the thinking being cars going less distance would have an opportunity to win by holeshot. The thoughts I heard previously, when cars raced to a quarter mile, were that bigger horsepower overcame bad reaction times.
- Less racing where one or both cars would go up in smoke… the thinking is racing to 1,000 feet there is less chance of this happening, since there is less track to race on.
- More drivers showing up at more events… would more drivers show up at more events since they may have more opportunity to win racing to 1,000 feet or there may be less parts breakage? (Remember, this isn’t what I thought, but what I’m reporting!)
- Tony Schumacher/Alan Johnson REALLY dominating. The thinking was that if drivers had more real estate, they have more of a chance to win.
- Intangibles… more or less fan interest, safer racing, less parts attrition, and so on…
I’ve learned not to comment on intangibles, I will only report on what I have found quantitatively. However, I will say I’ve seen fuel cars this year cross lanes and nearly repeat the horrible type of crash between Bernstein and Force from last year. You just can’t prevent that, and in other words, we all know some parts of drag racing will always be dangerous.