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When the American Drag Racing Association first burst on the scene last winter, everyone's hopes were high. Racers, unhappy with the payout at Goodguys nitro events, salivated at the announced prize money. Inland tracks, looking for a legit feature event to book, signed on for a spot on the tour. And fans, tired of the NHRA circus-come-to-town scene, looked forward to seeing something a bit different.

The ADRA, in its initial PR blasts, promised to bring back drag racing, "the way it used to be." Maybe they did too good a job of doing just that. Oh, they got front motored Top Fuelers, and old looking nitro floppers, and a bunch of the old gasser-type iron in the mix, but they brought back a time dishonored tradition that we all could have done without, thank you! You know the one where the promoter runs off with all the prize money.

Before we go any further, let me not paint the entire ADRA assemblage with the tar brush. Most of the people involved have worked their butts off to make the new deal go. Some are no doubt facing immediate financial woes, and I'm not just speaking of the investors who are out between $5,000 and $600,000, depending on who they are. They were guilty of one thing only. They believed in the ADRA. And they lent their good names to what will end up being a futile endeavor. Those who are involved with this fiasco, directly or indirectly, please have the good sense to recognize who is who in this.

So, on to the tarring already. By now, and certainly by the time this hits the zine scene, the main culprit has been identified. And that would be Bill Chapman. Looking back at the interview I conducted with Chapman for Drag Racing Online, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Most if not all of his answers seem ludicrous in the hind sight mode, but I never claimed to be clairvoyant. But I do claim to have at least heard of most people in drag racing, even if I don't know them personally. So I was skeptical of his claims to be well known, and influential within the sport. But I guess that wasn't enough of a red flag to keep the piece from seeing the light of day. Shame on me, I guess.

Truthfully, I doubt if anyone went out and built a nostalgia car based on that interview. No, everyone was pretty much a willing victim on this one, I'm afraid. Too often, we in drag racing put ourselves in harm's way simply because we want things to work out, regardless of how unrealistic that scenario might be. So shame on us all for not seeing this train coming to run us down!

Latest word, and the last word I'll have on this matter is this: Those of you who got a heater in lieu of payment, prosecute if you've got the energy for it. If you're owed money from the ADRA (as in no pay), forget about it. I hear they are headed for bankruptcy court. The thing is toast, over, finito! Don't linger over the cadaver, don't hold yourself up to false hopes. Get on with the rest of your life, and go SOON to a real drag race put on by real drag race people, be they racers or promoters. Don't bother to send me nasty e-mails that will "straighten me out." I won't bother with them, I'm over and out on the ADRA!

Speaking of real race people, let me pass along a good word to the media liaisons at NHRA. At the recent Topeka event, the folks who handle the credentials were able to straighten out my messed up as usual requests with no problem. They were even nice about it! Not too long ago, if everything wasn't according to Hoyle when one arrived, Hoyle wasn't getting into the facility, no matter who he knew. Just a little thing, perhaps, but maybe I will quit having those bad dreams leading up to my attendance at national events. You know, the ones where I can't get into the race track!

I really want to rant about ADRA a bit more, but there are plenty of you out there working overtime on that scene. So I'll leave it to you all, who no doubt have a bit more invested in the fiasco than I do.


photo by Jeff Burk


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