Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 4, Page

Our Mission
DRAG RACING Online will be published monthly with new stories and features. Some columns will be updated throughout the month.
owes allegiance to no sanctioning body and will call 'em like we see 'em. We strive for truth, integrity, irreverence, and the betterment of drag racing. We have no agenda other than providing the drag racing public with unbiased information and view points they can't get in any other drag racing publication.

Jeff Burk
Managing Editor
Kay Burk
Senior Editor
Ian Tocher
Matt Schramel
Asst. Managing Editor
Marissa Gaither
Bracket Racing
Jok Nicholson
Mike Bumbeck
Cole Coonce
Cliff Gromer

Darr Hawthorne

Bret Kepner
Jeff Leonard

Dave Wallace
Dale Wilson

Editor at Large
Bret Kepner
Senior Photographer
Ron Lewis
Adam Cranmer
James Drew
Todd Dziadosz
Steve Embling
Steve Gruenwald
Zak Hawthorne
Bret Kepner
Tim Marshall
Mark Rebilas
Ivan Sansom
Jon Van Daal
Tech Contributors
Dave Koehler
Jay Roeder
Jim Salemi
Wayne Scraba
Mike Stewart

European Correspondent
Ivan Sansom
Jon Van Daal
Poet Laureate
Bob Fisher
Director of Advertising
Darr Hawthorne
Accounts Manager
Casey Araiza
Editor at Large Emeritus
Chris Martin
Website Hosting
Website &
Ad Design
Matt Schramel
Technology Consultant & Site Programmer
Adrienne Travis

Just wondering in April


Just Wondering… Since it is almost a dead certainty that the current NHRA ET and speed records in the fuel ranks won’t be broken, wouldn’t it make some sense to retire the old records and start over? This time around award points for a record Top Speed too. Those bonus points the racers can get for setting records definitely make for some drama during a points chase and are one of the signature differences between drag racing and oval track points chases.
Just Wondering… Since some promoters and track owners seem to not give a damn about making sure there is enough safety and fire equipment at certain tracks, why don’t the major insurance companies just publicly deny those tracks insurance? Maybe the sanctioning bodies ought to drop the sanction of any track they find has held racing events without adequate safety, regardless of circumstances.

Just Wondering… Do you think that if a company or person were to pick up the tab for one of the NHRA’s professional classes like Evan Knoll did with the IHRA Funny Car program that the NHRA would roll back ticket prices? The IHRA gave their fans a break and didn’t raise their ticket prices according to their president, Aaron Polburn, when they added Funny Car.

Just Wondering… Can someone explain to me why NHRA still hasn’t made head and neck restraint devices a mandatory piece of safety equipment?

Just Wondering… How long it will take Harley-Davidson to use their influence as a major sponsor of NHRA to get the rules changed to make Harleys more competitive with the non-official sponsor branded bikes.

Just Wondering… What rule guy didn’t foresee that giving the two-stroke racers more cubic inches than the four-stroke racers would make them faster? Haven’t they heard of the old “there's no substitute for cubic inches” rule?

Just Wondering… Still on a bike roll. Why didn’t someone try to use one of the Japanese V-twin engines in Pro Stock?

Just Wondering… Why doesn’t some manufacturer step up and start a 200-mph club for the Outlaw doorslammers that race on the eighth mile?  The 200-mph eighth-mile pass for doorslammers is about the last reasonably attainable “barrier” left in drag racing. 

Just Wondering… Why are some people so hung up on quarter-mile racing and act as if racing any other distance is bogus? Throughout the history of the sport track distances have varied from 330 feet to a half mile. Drag racing isn’t dependent on distance but on competition. If shorter tracks means more and safer tracks, what’s wrong with that.

Just Wondering… Aren’t the nitro classes beginning to resemble an exhibition class? I mean, just like jet cars they have a de facto speed limit, and the team and class get hammered if they exceed it. 

Just Wondering… For the truly hardcore fan (including yours truly) aren’t IHRA, NHRA or ADRL Pro Mods or Pro Stockers more exciting to watch than nitro classes? As a confirmed nitro-junkie I can’t believe I'm saying this, but at least in Pro Stock and Pro Mod fans know there is a good chance to see records broken and see side-by-side qualifying and elimination passes.

Just Wondering… When is some smart promoter going to stage a real race for jet cars? I mean a qualified eight- or sixteen-car field, charge an entry fee, pay a decent purse and race. The NHRA used to tell promoters they couldn’t race exhibition cars, but if I’m not mistaken aren’t NHRA’s Pro Mods and Nitro Harleys an exhibition class? They’re allowed to really race, so why can’t the jet cars race? 

Just Wondering… Why won’t promoters take the time to email this magazine when they book in nitro match races or send us the results for 1320 notes? It’s free PR for the racers and free advertising for the track! 

Just Wondering… Whatever happened to the investigation of the Darrell Russell death the NHRA was supposed to do? Where is the report that was promised?

Just Wondering… Why is Danica Patrick still leading the motorsports segments of television sports shows when she finishes a race in sixth place while Melanie Troxel, who has been first or second in four straight NHRA National Events, sometimes doesn’t even get a mention? I’m starting to get steamed about this slight of drag racers.

Just Wondering… Why is it that racetracks like Bakersfield and others have to get so bad that racers crash and destroy their cars, sometimes putting them out of racing, before promoters fix the tracks?  

Just Wondering… What would happen if another Top Fuel driver has a crash and gets hurt as a result of a supposed tire failure? I’ll bet the NHRA and Goodyear folks have some sleepless nights thinking about that possibility.

Just Wondering… Who says Goodyear Tire and Rubber isn’t making any money from selling tires to Top Fuel and Funny Car teams and, if forced to make a better tire, might get out of the business? Here’s a little math that might indicate just the opposite. The Top Fuel/Funny Car rear tires cost about $1,100 a set. Most teams say they use a set of new tires almost every lap and, just for the sake of argument, let's assume an average of 40 fuel teams make every NHRA national event. Let’s also assume that each car

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Burk's Blast "the publisher's corner" [3-21-06]
Big Fun at Big's Bash

averages five laps per race. That puts the total money taken in at each of NHRA’s 23 events for fuel tires in the $200,000 range (allowing for some freebies). Multiply that number by 23 NHRA events and the gross sales end up being around $4.6 million annually -- not taking into account testing, match races, AFD teams or the fuel racers who compete on the IHRA circuit. Now let's assume that all of those other races and testing adds another $2,000,000 in tire sales over a year, and it becomes easy to make a case that Goodyear sells in excess of $6,000,000 a year in tires to nitro racers alone.

I grant you these numbers aren’t huge for a company such as Goodyear. Add in the revenue from selling tires to sportsman racers and who knows what the bottom line is, but you can bet the company isn’t losing money. It’s a pretty safe bet that if Goodyear opts out of any part of the drag tire business another tire company will happily replace them, don’t you think?