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Just Wondering... What changed from previous years that has caused the nitro Funny Car class to become the most competitive division in all of motorsports. Racers in this division now have to run the guts out of their cars on every pass just to qualify. At the St. Louis race the final qualifying spot was determined by speed instead of elapsed time and two teams that ran in the 4.90's were on the trailer and gone on Sunday.
Just Wondering... Why several NHRA fuel Funny Car teams have thrown in the towel and switched to Top Fuel. The fields are a lot softer there and the $9000+ qualifying money must be looking good to some of those teams that are able to qualify.
Just Wondering... Am I the only person who finds the Top Fuel qualifying in both NHRA and IHRA a bore? Nine cars at IHRA events for an eight car field, 17 or less at many NHRA events for a 16 car field means that only teams that know they have a chance to win, run their cars. How embarrassing it must be for Top Fuel racers when the bump spot for the class is in the double digits. How long will real race fans and sponsors at either sanctioning body continue to support that kind of mediocrity?
Just Wondering... When are the track owners at national event tracks where the temperatures during the day regularly exceed 95 degrees going to figure out that they need to start building covered grandstands? Maybe if some of these guys were forced to sit on an aluminum bleacher in 95 degree heat and humidity for six or seven hours, buying $4 bottles of water they'd understand why the crowds are down on those kind of days. No one wants to pay $50-$60 for the privilege of getting a heat stroke.
Just Wondering... Am I the only person who wishes the announcers at national events would just shut up when the cars are doing a burnout or making a run? I just hate it when the announcers are saying something interesting or important and the engine's noise drowns them out and I end up not knowing what they were talking about. Attention announcers! Come out of the tower and sit with your audience and you'll see what I mean.
Just Wondering... Is there anything more boring or hard to explain to new fans than throttle stop racing? I say ban the throttle stop and put the racer back in racing.
Just Wondering... Why keep giving the Top Fuel and Funny Car teams more and more space for their support vehicles which translates to less and less space for the fans to actually watch the teams work? Isn't fans being close to the racers in the pits the one thing that drag racing is supposed to offer that other sports don't? Isn't that what the pit pass they sell is supposed to provide for the fan? Has anyone tried to get close to the ropes and actually watch the crew work on the cars lately? With all of the support equipment and hospitality crap only a few lucky fans on the front row see anything. Instead of all those buses and support trailers, why not make the racers park those rigs away from the actual pits like they do in NASCAR. That would make more room in the pits for the paying customers and the crews. Maybe it might even make it easier for the cars to get back to the pits between rounds.
Just Wondering... Does anyone know why NHRA doesn't allow injected nitro in the Federal Mogul Funny Car division? I'd bet that if the promoters of the division races had injected nitro Funny Cars and dragsters and promoted them, they might have more success attracting crowds than they do now. Call me crazy, but wouldn't that give NHRA track owners the affordable fuel show they want?
Just Wondering... Just how weak would the NHRA Top Fuel fields be if it weren't for the support of the three or four IHRA cars that attend nearly every meet?
Just Wondering... Why doesn't NHRA try scheduling all of the qualifying for Pro cars to start in the early evening? With the 75-minute rule in place the qualifying will usually be over at a reasonable hour. This would probably make for a more even playing field and better entertainment for the fans. Almost every Pro team agrees that if there is one late afternoon qualifying session when the air is cool and the track is hot and the rest of the sessions are run in the heat of the day, those sessions are usually unproductive. It was so bad at St. Louis that the Pro Stocks were given a special early morning qualifying session and many nitro cars just refused to make a lap on a hot and greasy track on Saturday. Changing the qualifying schedule would allow fans to spend less time broiling in the summer sun and maybe allow the crews to get a little extra rest. Everyone would benefit.
Just Wondering... How much money did Mac Tools give to Ms Muldowney to paint "Cha-Cha" on her dragster for the U.S. Nationals? There was a time when Shirley loathed that name. I personally miss the times when race cars had names on them. It gave them and the sport a little more personality. Shirley surely does that -- and by the way, I won't be calling her "Chac," thank you.
Finally I'm Just Wondering... Why doesn't the current NHRA administration, starting with Tom Compton, assume some of the responsibility for the NHRA history book fiasco? The evidence indicates that while Wally Parks had a lot to do with the Garlits omission, Tom Compton and other NHRA executives have to share the blame. I believe the responsibility for everything that happens at NHRA ultimately falls on president Tom Compton, just as the responsibility for everything printed in this magazine falls on me. When you take a job like President or Editor or Crew Chief, that's part of the job description. Does "The buck stops here" ring a bell?
Instead of throwing Wally Parks "under the bus" as NHRA has, it would show a lot more class if they would hold a press conference and apologize to Don Garlits for the omission. A pox on all concerned for treating my heroes the way they have! It's time to resolve this rift in the drag racing community and get on with celebrating the sport's 50th birthday. Because it is certainly something to celebrate.
photo by James Drew
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