BURK'S BLAST w/editor Jeff Burk

Wondering and more about the new season

There were just a combined 31 nitro-burning Top Fuel and Funny Car teams at Pomona for the opening race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season with just 14 of those Top Fuel teams. That situation was never publicly addressed or acknowledged by the NHRA or its media department. I think the reason for that is after a couple of years of dealing with short fields in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock and a verifiable increase in ticket sales, NHRA management has come to the realization that most of their fans come for the total drag racing experience and not just to support a specific class.


Make no mistake, the main attraction for NHRA drag racing remains the Funny Car and Top Fuel classes and the NHRA knows this. But it is fair to believe that without the fans who came to NHRA national events just to watch the Top

Fuel Harley, Pro Mod, Pro Stock Bike, and Factory Stock classes NHRA probably wouldn’t have had so many “sold out of ticket” days during the 2017-18 seasons.


I think the NHRA has come to the conclusion that full fields of nitro cars at every event isn’t necessary or a reason to go into panic mode because the majority of NHRA fans in this era for the most part aren’t buying their tickets based on how many nitro teams will be in attendance.


I believe the NHRA management decided that the best solution they had to offer was to put more money into the hands of the poorly or non-sponsored teams that generally fill the 12-16 spots and alternates to try and encourage full fields, but they are no longer going to spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to save the nitro racers from themselves.




Just Wondering … Who would have ever believed that an NHRA Winternationals --one of the sanctioning body’s four unofficial “Major Events” (Indy, Gainesville and both Pomonas) held in the hometown of the NHRA in the largest media and corporate market NHRA and its pro teams offers their sponsors -- would only get 14 Top Fuel teams? Isn’t California where Top Fuel and the NHRA was invented?





Just Wondering … Is either an eight-car qualified field or a 18-race championship schedule on the horizon for the NHRA Top Fuel class? The answer is, to quote Stone Cold Steve Austin, “Hell, yeah!” Unless the NHRA takes drastic steps to reduce -- not maintain but reduce -- the cost of NHRA Top Fuel racing they will have to do one or the other or both.




Just Wondering … Do the majority of today’s NHRA drag racing fans actually give a damn about the speeds and ET’s of the nitro classes? Doesn’t look that way, judging from the number of fans who seem to leave after the first and third rounds of qualifying and the fact that the NHRA has removed any bonus points or money for any kind of speed or ET mark.




Just Wondering … And this is a serious question: What classes do a majority of the current generation of NHRA fans, many of whom drive to the track in a pickup or SUV that often is not made by a Detroit automaker, come to a national event to see and be entertained by? Follow up: Do any of NHRA’s current lineup of doorslammer classes have a large enough fanbase to sell a significant number of tickets?




Just Wondering … Who in the NHRA management team approved using the slogan that calls NHRA drag racing the “World’s Fastest Motorsport”? Even the booth talent who should know better parrot that phrase. Wonder if any of the suits at the NHRA have ever studied the history of the sport? Maybe if they had they would have heard of the land speed record racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats sanctioned by the SCTA. It should be noted that NHRA founder Wally Parks was once the general manager of the SCTA and instrumental in organizing the Bonneville Salt Flat meets. Races that feature internal-combustion, wheel-driven race cars that have recorded speeds approaching 140-mph faster than the current speed kings of the NHRA Funny Cars have recorded.




Just Wondering … Since the NHRA Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle teams don’t have to race at every one of the first 18 events of the season to qualify for the “Countdown” why does the NHRA make the nitro classes attendance mandatory at the first 18 races of the season? The way the rules are now, qualifying at the first race and going one round basically determines who will make the Countdown.




Just Wondering … Who have thought there were enough cars and racers to support three successful Nostalgia Funny Car series? There are two quarter-mile only series (NHRA Heritage and UNFC) and the eighth-mile only Texas-based Funny Car Chaos series. The Chaos series allows both current and nostalgic bodies but also allows competitors to burn nitro or alcohol.   

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