Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 2, Page



By Cole Coonce

generous mitten-full of Drag Racing Online’s editorial staff converged at a couple of watering holes and steak houses in Los Angeles last week. Whether it was over oyster shooters and beer or prime rib and martinis, we probed, prodded and discussed the state of modern media, motorsports, fuel cars and Hillary Will.

Despite the varying states of consciousness of the assembled, from shit-faced to buzzed to sober, it was a pretty cogent and coherent bench-race/bitch-fest.

One topic during our second session (at Musso & Frank on Hollywood Boulevard) was how both drag racing and media (be it electronic or analog) are in a state of flux, and why drag racing’s inability to ride the wave of change much less just grasp the “new media” as flawlessly as NASCAR insinuated itself into the mainframe of television is the reason (that drag racing) will remain a niche sport, with television ratings below that of an infomercial.

Over drinks (and drinks and drinks), and in response to I’m not sure what, drag strip journalist emeritus and former Nat’l Dragster staffer Chris Martin cited Marshall McLuhan’s epochal work “Understanding Media,” – with its immortal post-card ethos “The medium is the message,” as a primer to drag racing’s economic and iconic woes.

“So Chris,” I wondered, “you’re saying, ‘They don’t understand media, much less “Understanding Media”?’”


“Do YOU understand ‘Understanding Media’?”

“I didn’t at first,” Martin admitted, “but after I read it a couple of times I understood it.”

“Then maybe you should write a new book that will help us all: ‘Understanding Understanding Media.’”


More evidence that both motorsports and media are not only struggling to understand themselves -- and each other -- as well as shedding their skins and attempting to come to grips with 21st century meta-identity crises is the recent policy decision by Tribune Corp., now parent company of the Los Angeles Times, to ship off their more mature writers into journalism’s elephant’s graveyard. Among the jettisoned were Robert Scheer (syndicated editorial writer), Michael Ramirez (unfunny political cartoonist), Robert Hilburn (the unctuous, avuncular and hopelessly-unhip pop music reviewer) and finally, the LA Times’ motorsports writer, the man who has a permanent parking space at Pomona Raceway, Shav Glick.

(In fact, the NHRA Media Center at Pomona itself is named the Shav Glick Media Center.)

Yes, Shav Glick is getting the sack.

Glick’s tenure at the Times was underscored by what a red-haired stepchild drag racing is to the mainstream media. (Again, a status that shows no signs of improving, based on television numbers diminutive to even those of arena football…) Glick was once the LA Times golf writer, and was so low on the totem pole-slash-masthead, he was assigned to cover the 1969 Winter Nationals by default… or punishment (!)

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