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I forget exactly what The Ides of March were, but I know it wasn't a good thing. So far, it's been a bad March for the old Lenster. The family kitty ran off, ending a beautiful 11-year run of humorous cat activities. Not only that, but try as I might, I couldn't find the NHRA Phoenix race anywhere on the satellite. I know what the sked said, but it wasn't anywhere I could find! Given the state of televised drag racing, maybe it's just as well! Maybe NHRA has secretly developed the world's first "stealth" TV package.

TV foibles aside, NHRA has done a couple of things right recently. They FINALLY added a Federal Mogul Sportsman section to their website - long overdue in my opinion. I love nitro racing beyond all reason, but the sportsman racers really are the backbone of the sport and deserve any break they get.

The NHRA brass also improved the insurance coverage for their competitors, doubling the catastrophic medical coverage to $500,000. Not many people, racers or otherwise really stop to think about what happens if and when it all goes wrong, and somebody ends up in the crash house. Can NHRA afford it? Yes. Should they be congratulated for the boost? Hell yes!

And about those fines the nitro racers are generating. Or more to the point, about where the money is going. Reinvested, is it - for the development of the sport, you say? Being a world class cynic, I won't even go into how that sort of statement sounds. Just let me lay out an alternate idea for ya. Howsabout putting all those fines into the well intentioned coffers of DRAW? You know, drag racing's benevolent arm that has been looking out for injured drag racers for years. They have a track record that cannot be questioned, and they would most definitely put the money to the best use possible. As for you, NHRA, doing so would be the kind of positive PR move that money can't EVEN buy!

So what have you liked about the early season NHRA action? I've liked the strong start posted by new T / F shoe Melanie Troxel. The 27-year old has qualified in the top half both times out and already has a round win. No real sponsor so far, so it might be a short ride. You may or may not remember, but Old Lenny had Troxel listed as a live longshot in the mythical John Force T / F sweepstakes. No digger for Johnny, but I had the talent part figured out. Now if someone can get this gal some dough, maybe it can develop into a yearlong good story.

That was a nice "get back on the horse" effort by Ron Krisher at Phoenix. A guy writes off a Pro Stocker one week, he fights his way to the semifinals the next. Guts go a long way in this business, so maybe this will mark a turning point for Krisher's career.

And how about young Jamie Yates, an upset winner over Kurt Johnson and Greg Anderson at Phoenix? Most outsiders had this deal figured for a "test n tune" special, but maybe we've got a New Young Gun instead. Only time will tell.

With any luck, I'll see a few Drag Racing Online folks at the NHRA Las Vegas race. God and the IRS tax refund system willing, I plan to be there for the first ever duel in the desert. See ya later!

That's enough for now. Don't forget to e-mail with any and all rants.

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photo by Jeff Burk


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