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Agent 1320 heard at Gainesville and again at Rockingham that Ken Westbrook's Alan Pittman driven Gravedigger sponsorship was a product deal only. Meaning the team only gets the rights to sell Gravedigger apparel in return for painting the car in Gravedigger style. The Agent discounted that information as just sour grapes and ignored it. But when IHRA's Aaron Polburn mentioned the fact that Clear Channel was not going to provide cash to sponsor race teams in one Drag Review column and specifically mentioned that the Gravedigger program was a licensing agreement between Clear Channel and Ken Westbrook in a following issue, the Agent had to face the harsh realities. Westbrook's sponsorship deal was that he painted his car in the Gravedigger livery in return for the privilege of selling apparel! This is a good deal! This is a good deal? Sounds like a product sponsorship to the Agent. (April 4)


In his editorial DRO Editor Jeff Burk advocated that IHRA's Mike Baker make a rule change for Pro Modified. Burk suggested that Baker take supercharger overdrive away. Baker, as is his right, opted to add 100 lbs to the blown cars. While it no doubt will slow down the blown cars, it was certainly the most expensive solution and here's why. Many of the quickest and fastest blown cars spent a lot of money finding a way to compensate for the earlier 50 lbs that IHRA gave them.

Jim Oddy, for example, bought those new ultra lightweight wheels for the front and rear and had a carbon fiber door and front end built for his 2001 'Vette. He probably spent $7500-$10,000 to do that. Bob Rieger had a new Tim McAmis car built which probably cost in the six-figure range. Several other racers had new cars built because they couldn't get their current piece down to 2600 lbs. The point is, much money was spent after the minimum weight was reduced from 2650 last year to 2600.

After the minimum weight was raised to 2700 lbs, most supercharged Pro Mods had to, at a minimum, add weight bars and buy a couple of planetaries from Lenco at $1200 so that the car can still "sixty-foot." And most cars will need four new springs for the coil-overs. So once again the supercharged racers have to spend a lot of money to get legal again. And let's not even talk about the safety factor concerning the struts mentioned by Mike Baker in the February DRO interview with Ian Tocher.

The question is why not take blower away? The pulley costs about $100. The racers may have to buy new head gaskets or, at worst, pistons to make more compression but that would have been a little more fair if the cost of running a Pro Mod is really a concern to the sanctioning bodies. (April 4)


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