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Track-prep notes from an old timer


Jeff, I agree with your comments about track prep, and might even advocate a more extreme reduction in the amount of grooming during a race day.


I went to the NHRA Reunion at Epping in 2015, my first full drag race weekend since Gainesville, 1983. My, oh, my.....


The entire culture of track preparation, and race car setup, was very intriguing. What I did notice was that, especially for the top-tier cars, the burnouts universally sucked. Go up on the tires, create a little smoke, and cross the starting line at about 70 mph due to the extreme stickiness of the track. It is obvious that the burnout has evolved from a show piece into a tool - setup the car for the run, but don't hurt anything.


It is impossible to do an "Old Time Smoky Burnout", and if a racer tried, it would simply hurt parts or affect their performance on the run.


That is very unfortunate.


When I mentioned this on the Connecticut Dragway Memories FaceBook page, that kicked off a long thread about what funny car drivers did great burnouts and how the fans loved those guys, whether or not they actually won their races. Back at Conn Dragway in the late '60s and early '70s, Charlie Allen, Roger Lindamood, and Tom Sneden were virtually unbeatable when they were booked in for a flopper show. However, the consistent fan favorites were Jungle Jim, Louie Arrington, and the late, great Frank Federici of "Shark" fame. Why? Massive, smoky burnouts, got the fans screaming (even before Jim found Jungle Pam) and in Frank's case, total unpredictability when the 'Tree went green. It was the "show", not the "go", that resonated with the guy in the stands.


Freddy Frey commented that the current tires are also engineered for treated tracks, making smoky burnouts even harder to pull off.


I realize that the Pandora's Box of Track Prep has been opened, and the sport will never go back to untreated tracks, especially for events where winning is everything.


However, I would LOVE to see some promoter bring in match racers (T/F, F/C, blown alcohol, Nostalgia, AA/FA, Pro Mod, whatever) and run the event with NO track prep, with the idea of "do BIG burnouts, and don't destroy the car during the run so you can come back next round".  Maybe the tire companies could make a "burnout tire" that was slightly harder and had more rubber depth in order to allow more burnouts before replacing.


Fans that were not privileged to see 70's and 80's burnouts would go nuts, and the resulting photos and iPhone videos will (hopefully) resonate throughout the world of social media. I would consider making a trek to see that show, and maybe even pay to get in...


Aw, you know, the "privileged photog" mentality.  ;-)


Keep up the good work,


Clay Taylor

Conn Dragway Track Photographer 1972 - 1981 now living in Calallen (Corpus Christi) TX



Spread out the race payouts


A simple way to spread the purse would be to pay the same amount for each round win. Say you start with second-round winners. At that point you know how many total rounds are left. You just divide the available purse by that number and pay each subsequent round winner that amount for every round they win.


The overall winner still makes more than everyone. Since I believe, after running many races, that each round win is no easier or more difficult than any other, that payout system is equitable. This may aggravate the “professional” bracket racers, but they are not the backbone of the sport.


Such a system would certainly spread the cash. If you want to make the prize money top heavy, you might as well have winner-takes-all races.


Ron Burke



He’s getting used to us


Just wanted to say that this old curmudgeon is getting used to the new layout of DRO. Not fully on-board with it yet, but it is growing on me.


I guess my bottom line in all this is that I have enjoyed DRO for a long time, and want to see it continue as the go-to site for drag racing info and stories.

Now.. if you can only get Jok and Jon to write now..... LOL.... and tell us what they really think....


Dale Tuley



He just doesn’t like our changes


I believe the reason you didn’t get a lot of responses about the new web site is because of people’s respect for what you are doing for the sport of drag racing. But between us girls, the new site is awful. Very confusing to navigate, disjointed, and not intuitive.


(Burk) said he felt the future was mobile device access. That may be, but I think your core audience is still desktop/laptop users. I have seen posts from many other people that feel the same way. I used to go to your website 3 or 4 times a week. I now have to go to a competitor’s site that has a more conventional layout.


By the way, I did try really hard to warm up to the new format; just couldn’t bond with it. Sorry.


Ed Helm

Salt Lake City, UT



Him neither


1. Find whoever it was that redesigned your webpage.

2. Kick him (or her) right square in the balls.

3. Get whatever money you paid for the redesign back from them as they lie squirming around (and maybe even take a little more, just because)

4. Redesign the page again so that it doesn’t look like a high school computer art class project.


Seriously, were the orders for the redesign something along the lines of “Make it as visually unappealing and difficult to navigate as possible”? I used to visit the site several times a week, sometimes a few times a day. Now I try to look at it once a week, maybe, and then just exit out because the page is just so bad to look at.


You HAD a good thing going.


Charlie Nichols



One more ‘thumbs down’


Sorry, folks, but the new website transitioning between stories to ads and back to stories with fading from one to the other is horrible IMNHO.


When I read Agent 1320 I want to be able to see the whole picture/story without the fading transition silliness. That stuff is for kids and it doesn't add ANY value to DRO. In fact, it makes it difficult to read and less desirable. Lose the fad to silliness and the site will be far better.


Jorge Meister




Is this ‘trending’?


I just do not understand how to use the new format. It took forever to figure out where to locate the Email link. PLEASE return to before. I used to read daily, now I have just given up.


Just cannot figure it out. Guess I am old.





Here we go again


Been reading your site for several years now and I finally this morning have to comment on the latest version. I understand the need for ad revenue but the ads so fill the screen that it makes it hard if not impossible to read the articles.


You were my number 1 go-to website, but lately  I have been reading your site less and less. I would love to spend more time as I like how you resent the drag racing news, no BS, but I hate to work at my reading.


Just a comment for you.

J.D. Bohlman



Doesn’t like the changes in NHRA racing


I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 NHRA Summernationals on Saturday. I first attended in 1976, some 41 years ago. I have some observations and a question: Where is NHRA headed?


In 1976 I was in awe, I finally got to an NHRA national event and it didn’t disappoint! The classes, ALL the cars, the manufacturers’ midway, and the people.


I had the opportunity a few weeks before on the day I graduated from high school to go to SRD Race Cars in Malvern, PA, with a friend where I got to see a new, unused Bill Jenkins’ “Grumpy’s Toy” Monza hot off the press…boy, the car sounded sweet. I got to see it in action at the summers (Found out they were just tools of the trade) anyway, I went from going hardcore the first six years to now strictly going on qualifying days.  THE LUSTER IS GONE!


I’m a bracket racer (non-electronic) who loves Stock Eliminator, (Modified) Comp, and Pro Stock. I like Funny Car but I’m into what makes the beast tick.


It’s ALL about the show, somewhere along the way through the many class changes (some that appear not to have been thought out for the long-term effect).


I can add more; what do you think?


Harry T. Garland III

Philadelphia, PA



Guess Burk is no Donald Trump


Just curious about your remarks on the new website – Yes, it is different and will take getting used to and tweaking – but how is it better? Same old site, editorials and interviews seem to be going to that place where Ford Pro Stockers are hiding!


At this stage we need OPINIONS ON HOW TO MAKE DRAG RACING GREAT AGAIN, not a rearrangement.


Harve Kruza

Frankfort, IL


Harve, where have you been for the last 17 years? We make plenty of suggestions on how to make drag racing great again, but does anyone in charge ever take our advice? It’s like trying to get something through Congress. – Ed.



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