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It really makes you wonder where this sport is headed. (Burk's) remarks are right on. Must be the old age thing.

Frank Parks
Neil and Parks Racing

Obviously, I am in agreement with Jeff (Burk) regarding the axing of Pro Stock Truck.

Hey - does anyone remember when NHRA came out with the "spec" dragster for comp eliminator??? Well, I was in favor of it and e-mailed NHRA in support. When the program was axed, the response I received from Mr. Compton was that too many comp racers protested because they had hundred of thousands of dollars invested in their race programs and didn't want a "cheaper" entry into their class.

Okay, let's follow that logic -- trucks can run in comp of the super classes. Sure, trucks use small blocks, so their engines MAY be cheaper than the expensive pro stock car engines (NOT) and like the cars, they are driving a chassis that costs somewhere above $70,000. Now, add in a truck and trailer and I believe those racers have more than $100,000 invested!

Hell, we're just "Sportsman" racers -- even though racing is the only thing my husband has done for the last 12 years along with working for Aeromotive as the "fuel pump guru." I can easily verify that we have over $100,000 invested in our Aeromotive racing program of 3, soon to be 4, racecars, Kenworth tractor and 50-foot trailer, NOT to mention support equipment!

Every truck racer should be bombarding NHRA with complaints! Hey, guys, it worked for the comp racers (no spec dragsters in comp)! Unless you're a Rob Slavinski (that's a complement - not a slam), the super classes welcome the trucks into their class; we don't care, we're here to race! However, I'm sure the truck racers don't want to "lower" their chassis to our class (that was a joke).

At Denver this year, we had a 45 minute down time due to the lack of racing NOT rain! So, how is NHRA going to fill those 90 minutes between rounds if they continue to eliminate classes?

Entry fees - this is another open wound with NHRA. The "Sportsman" entry fees have continued to increase, but our small NHRA payout has not increased in 10 years! We understand that these entry fees help pay the track workers. Why not charge the trucks (and all pro classes) an entry fee with "gold" cards for the 10 ten (no fee)? This would generate a few thousand dollars for NHRA. (I doubt that NHRA added workers to help with the increased numbers of cars do to truck entries.)

Let's play fair NHRA! If comp can push out new designations in their class -- leave the trucks alone, or at least, let them run under the pro stock car rules!

This is a silly move by NHRA, trucks are an enormous part of the big 3's market! Why risk pissing off the automotive manufacturers? Along with Winston (who is leaving), the auto industry continues to support drag racing. However, that too may go away!

Debra J. Fickler, Esq.
Chicago, Illinois

I agree with Jerry Haas and Bob Panella Sr. that NHRA pulled the rug out from under them with their short notice of ending the class. From the start of the class, they (NHRA) lost the support from Ford which put the class behind. The GM trucks ruled the class and it's taken Dodge a long time and a lot of money to catch up. A big award should go to Allan and Todd Patterson for their work to make the Dodges competitive, and instead they get a slap in the face. Jerry Haas is right about the competition in the class being so close and it's fun to see whose equipment wins at each venue. If the fans don't think the trucks are fast enough, they don't know a damn thing about what it takes to make them run over 180 mph. When will NHRA stop catering to sponsors, stupid fans, and tracks that are looking for big gates, and reward the racers who have supported them for so many years.

Yeah, I know, never. The big BUCK always wins.

Dan Stitt

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your story about the good old days at York US 30 and the old Super Stock Nationals. Some great old memories and photos. I spent many Saturday nights there in the 60s.

Guy Hocker

(Lenny's Line was) a well written story. Both you and Burk have been professionally critical of NHRA for their moves here. As for PST, the fields were always full, as competitive as PS, and it provided a place for comp guys to step up to. Unless PS was expanded to 32 car fields, why would you want to throw your self into the fray with others trying to make the sweet 16? I would have liked to see more brand diversification, and I believe it was going that way, but to kill it because the on line fans complained about it? It was certainly more interesting than Super Comp.

Peter Kumble

I have been a member of the NHRA since 1980, I went to my first drag race in 1972 in Columbus, OH. I will be 34 years young in 2002. I have been attending the US Nationals since 1981. I can honestly say this is the MOST EXCITED I have ever been for an NHRA national event. I just read on your web-site that Big Daddy Don Garlits is planning to run at the MAC Tools US Nationals. This is AWESOME!! I hope that it all comes together and he gets to run. What a curve ball this is going to throw to the other guys, and gals in Top Fuel. I think it's real neat that Big, Shirley, and the Greek, are going to give those young lions a run for their money at the Big Go!! Shirley Muldowney always said she loves to get in there and shake things up!! Now there are three of them. There is going to be a lot of shaking and stirring going on in Indy over Labor-Day Weekend.

As far as I'm concerned-Indy can't get here soon enough. If you haven't got your tickets yet, you better hurry. I don't care if you have to sell your house... GET TO INDY!!!!

Kevin A. Bennett
Wilmington, OH

Dear Jok,
Do you really think that the trucks aren't "cookie cutter". Tell me that seeing 30 or so S10's run 7's in a strait line with the same engine combination for an hour isn't somewhat boring. I can certainly relate to the owners that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment and now have to go back to sportsman racing but hardcore fans that get a thrill of watching just about anything go down a drag strip would fill maybe a couple of thousand seats. As for the alcohol classes being "cookie cutter", I personally would rather watch 12 of those then 35 trucks. Sure they are expensive to run but I can't imagine they are that much more than running a "competitive" PST. The sanctioning body should enforce rev limiters to keep them from killing parts trying to run 5.40's or 5.60's. They don't need to run that quick to deliver a good show. By the way I can't remember the last time I saw a truly unique nitro FC or TF, so perhaps they are "cookie cutter" and should be dismissed also. What a great show, 50 S10's and a Dodge Dakota. Can't wait!

Adam Zangara

Again I reiterate, the mandatory use of Metalax, or some other stress relieving system on fuel car chassis is necessary. Just look at the carnage from Gary Scelzi's crash at the NHRA race. These cars need built in pivot points rather than flexing the frame as they are doing now. It just isn't safe. How often can a piece of metal be flexed before it cracks, unless it is a spring, and even these fail occasionally.

Richard Burbick

Chris Martin,
What I would do if I were in head honcho at The Drag Racing Association (TDRA)

1st I would split TDRA into two groups. The real-estate group (RG) and the operations group (OG).

I would turn the real estate state group (RG) into a real estate investment trust (REIT) which are very popular in the investment industry now. REIT's now pay about 9% interest to the bond holders and sell for around 10 times earnings. If an event produced just $1,000,000 in profit you could allocate $500,000 to track rental and get $5,000,000 from the offering. Now if you owned 5 tracks that would give you a pie of $25,000,000 to buy other tracks (or build). It appears that other associations (not drag racing) have and are doing this. This should be fairly easy and is not rocket science. Opening the books should not be a problem as the interest paid is governed by law. Ninety-five percent of profits must be paid back to the bond holders yearly. Usually in quarterly dividends.

The running of the Operations Group (OG) would be a privately held corporation to start. I would trim as much unnecessary and repetitive jobs and eliminate all fiefdoms. The key to TDRA survival is getting OG profitable so that it can be taken public similar to CART or NASCAR. CART ( symbol MPH ) sells at a multiple of 22 times earnings. $1,000,000 of profit converts to $22,000,000 in stock.

Now that we have TDRA financially responsible, we can tackle some of the other problems.

One representative of each pro division owner would be elected to the board with a equal representation from the TDRA plus one. All money matters would be on the table. All decisions would come from this board.

Some of the changes might be as drastic as having the national events split into separate weekends, with the pros ( dragster, funny car, stock, motorcycle, and pro-mod ) run one weekend and all the other class another weekend. The possibility of an all fuel only events could b explored. Nostalgia type vehicles would fill the time in-between rounds.

Sunday shows could be shortened to three rounds only. The possibility of qualifying only 8 cars for each field could be researched. The total payout would stay the same, but round money would increased. Running 3 round only would reduce running time to 3 1/2 hours or less. If the show where split into different weekends the unused space in the pits could be used for auto shows, parts meets and other automotive events. This will bring in new faces and income. Maybe a multi tier type ticket allowing access to the non drag racing section only.

And I know you have many more ideas to add. Let's hear them.

Ron Pellegrini

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