Are we having FUN now or WHAT?
Now that my Editor and good friend, Jeff Burk, has decided that I havent completely lost my mind (yet!) he has told me to get off the couch and write my third column. I want to thank all of you that sent in e-mails commenting about my last columns. As long as we can make you guys think enough to become involved in my opinions I am satisfied with that.
This month I want to cover a happening that has interested me for several years, the growth of the no-electronics brackets all across the country. I was part of the growth of the electronics class in the early 90s. The delay box made everyone confident they could win and the number of entrants at big money races exploded. That seems to have leveled off and even dropped recently. This has resulted in the fastest growing bracket at almost every track, No-Electronics.
Every geographic area is probably a little different, but I think all areas are seeing this explosion of No-Electronics bracket racers. Reasons? I think there are a lot of reasons, ranging from a desire to return to a more basic, less technically complicated form of racing; the racers dont have to purchase expensive delay boxes and timers; or it creates a personal type of racing. By that I mean it is basically one racer and his car against the other racer and his car. No electronics involved, no excuses.
I also feel there is a lot of pressure to win in S / Pro. Some of this pressure is self-inflicted. The high cost of a competitive S / Pro car and support equipment is one thing, but after you have spent the money and got all the good stuff now the pressure is on to PERFORM ACCORDINGLY. This pressure can take the fun away from racing for a lot of people and families. It does not apply to everyone, that is for sure.
In No-Electronics racing I see a different type of racer, still loaded with desire to win and perform, still under some pressure to do well BUT the main difference I always seem to notice is that the No-Electronics racers seem to be HAVING MORE FUN! Is this (fun) the missing link that has escaped the majority of Electronic Class racers? I dont know for sure. I do know that I have made both my cars so we can run either class and will be doing so in 2000.
Over the past couple years, I have talked to No-Electronic racers and the one thing they all seem to have in common is a true sense of having fun at the races. They are out there changing jets after their last time trial, trying a new tire pressure for eliminations. Sure, they know it might not help their chances at winning but that is secondary to having some fun trying to get a better e.t. or being faster than a friend that day. It is emotions like this that I had almost forgotten. Thanks to some of the young No-Electronics racers and the older guys too, I feel a bit rejuvenated and my juices are flowing again. I guess it never hurts to take a look at the past to get a clearer view of the present.
I am curious to find out if I can put some FUN back into my racing. Hey, Ive always enjoyed racing and I like the technical aspects to get all the electronics wired right and performing well, but I feel the need to get back to basics. If the increasing car counts in local No-Electronics classes is any indication, this is a common need for thousands of racers.
I think all the talk about cheaters and the many ways it might be accomplished have strengthened the No-Electronic racers point of view. Pretty damn hard to cheat if there arent electronics to start with. I would like to see tracks get together and standardize some No-Electronics rules. I have seen some track rules I like and my favorites are (in no particular order):
Like I said, these are my favorites and I realize every area is a little different. The key to any set of rules are the inspections. I really feel if the rules are kept simpler the inspection is much easier and that in turn makes for better racing. The simpler rules in No-Electronics are exactly why it is the fastest growing bracket across the country. Sure, lots of guys are building dragsters but their old door cars are being added to the already large number of No-Electronics entries. It is the No-Electronics that show up every week at their local track. The S / Pro racer has to go hit the big money events, Points Meets, etc. Hard to justify $40,000.00 for a new S / Pro dragster and race a local event for $750.00 winner money????
MAYBE THAT IS WHY THOSE NO-ELECTRONICS RACERS ARE ALWAYS SMILING!!
I hope you found this column thought-provoking. If you have an opinion I want to hear it and so does the Big Kahuna here at Drag Racing Online. Just email me at Jok@racingnetsource.com.
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