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Locked, as I am, in the frozen bowels of the Midwest, it always seems as if nothing is happening racing-wise during the winter months. But in this, my forty-sixth winter of discontent, I know this is not true. Near and far, pots are boilin', teams are working, ride-less drivers are maneuvering, sponsor-seekers are back stabbing, and new rides are in various stages of readiness. In other words, everything is just as it should be!

Indeed, some very big things have been happening-one of them so big you probably missed it, unless you read the business pages. There's a heck of a statement! Ya gotta read the financials to keep up with motorsports! In case it got past you, Daimler-Chrysler Corporation posted a fourth quarter loss of over a billion dollars, prompting the board (and probably all existing shareholders) to reevaluate how the money gets spent, and on what. I can think of a whole lotta Pro Stock, Sportsman drag racers, sprint car teams, and other racers who should probably be afraid, very afraid indeed! Don't think for a second that the Winston Cup program will go begging. No my friends, it will be our sport that will most likely take it in the shorts. Yo, NHRA, don't take it for granted that your Mopar money is safe either. In today's biz environment, contracts are made to be broken.

And how about good old NHRA finally taking the first step towards preempting those good old boys down IHRA out of their flagship program, Pro Mod? True, it's a limited commitment at this time, but my guess is it won't take NHRA too long to compare the number of entries from Pro Mod teams to those from say, Alcohol Funny Car and Dragster teams and take the Darwinian approach that always rules in the end. As it applies to drag racing, it goes "to the most prolific enterers go the eliminators." Or more simply, "car count, car count, car count!"

The testing season is hard upon us, and for once it holds real promise of relevance. In Pro stock, many teams are expanding to two car efforts, switching body styles if not brands, and/or experimenting with all-new power plants. Wow, I'm getting excited about Pro Stock! Oops…it didn't last. Seriously, the top dogs will still be the top dogs, they'll just be wearing different collars. A car feature or two should handle it.

The nitro guys-I just don't know what they can do to top last season. Maybe they should try 85% nitro. They could probably speed up the day's events so they can compress the tape-delayed coverage-or something.

Seriously, what IS the PRO organization gonna do about the blatant stealing (masquerading as oil-down fines) that NHRA has foisted on the nitro racers? But ya know, the only thing more disheartening than the policy itself is how certain racers knuckle under and support the deal in print and through NHRA's electronic outlets. Come on guys, get a spine, or pretty soon there won't be but about eight pro teams in either Top Fuel or Funny Car. Or maybe that's what you really want!

I am just about to get on a full tilt rant here, so I'm gonna click it at the first light and cry uncle for now. Christmas seems to do that to me these days, but I'm not gonna apologize. And I'm not gonna quit being political in my drag racing dealings, and I'm not going away! Although I do find myself dealing with a new obsession involving dirt late model stock cars lately. Just an innocent segue into mentioning the company's new, soon to debut online publication, Circle Racing Online. See you later, on one side of the street or the other!


photo by Jeff Burk




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