BURK NEVER MET A MAN HE DIDN'T LIKE?
I read a lot of boards and try to keep up with what is
up in the world of racing. Some of the DRO articles make me yawn, however,
one thing is
SHARING A 'GREEK' MEMORY
I enjoy (Chris Martin's) article on Chris's "Chizeler" performances over the years.
The year 1964 Bonneville Nationals August meet closing
we said our farewells to our associates from California & Nevada
that were taking our other cars & trophies with them. Dave Babler
and I (David Gilliland) set off to the East with our AA-Fueler loaded
on an open air trailer and a handful of performance dates with small
guaranteed show-up money and a chance to compete in the elimination
programs, throughout America's Bread Basket.
Everyone was so nice & accommodating, providing garage, equipment & quarters with nothing in return. I mean stayed with families of other racers that wouldn't let us pay a dime and would have been offended if we pressed our efforts. Many, many people don't believe that California racers or anyone else would be treated with all this compassion but it stands alone in my memory as a brush with this large group of gracious people.
All in all, we couldn't have asked for a better time as that summer we won some, lost some and purchased some 471 windmills for resale in the West. Oh yes, also a spare Chrysler engine. Forty-seven hours later we were rocketing down the San Bernardino Freeway now know as "Interstate 10" to Santa Monica and home again, again, where Route 66 ends.
Now close to forty years later here we are, older and some wiser but there is a burning fire for the competition of wanting to make that machine do more than it was designed to do!
YES, we do need some kind of traction control and I think a good start would be a real RACING TIRE.
NHRA BORROWS IDEAS
The pyrotechnics at NHRA events are a direct rip off of the original Night Under Fire that IHRA has had for years. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this is just one example of NHRA flattering IHRA. The taking on of Pro Mod is another example, plus NHRA division 2 trying out Top Dragster is another attempt to kill off some of IHRA's local Division 2 track revenue by stealing some of their thunder.
I like an expanded venue for the racers to take advantage of, but do not act like NHRA thought up all these things, they just borrow the best, like every body else.
Chris Martin sounds genuinely shocked at the INDY food prices. Chris needs to speak with someone who attends MLB or NFL. Prices from Hell are part of the profit equation at all large events. Special fun when the food is cardboard.
The most astounding bit of information Chris imparts is the lack of improved lighting. The NHRA fuel drivers brought great pressure on all major event tracks to upgrade their lighting. To go backwards at INDY is truly amazing. What happened to the MUSCO equipment?
Anyone providing press coverage, spectator dollars or competition participation at NHRA races must remember rule #1: No good deed will go unpunished.
MORE INDY THOUGHTS
Got a big kick out of your (Indy) coverage. Couple of responses to Chris.
First, you were right, they didn't add the thousandth
until this year. As a
Second, the Musco temporary lighting hasn't been in place
since the permanent lights were installed a few years back. IRP usually
brings in some
I didn't make it up there this year for that event because
we were busy all the
The comment I heard most from them was, "Nobody here seems to really care about the racers anymore." That's a shame, because these week-to-week competitors are the ones who keep your facility going.
On the plus side, I talke to Gary Rowe of the London (Ky.) Motorplex, and he said he'd be glad to use me as an announcer if he runs any Sunday specials next year. That's cool, because he's right between our two tracks and we don't run many Sundays, and that will allow me to keep my membership in the NHRA Announcers Guild alive.
The comments about the event getting too, shall I say, homogenized, were very welcome and as far as I'm concerned, right on the money. Maybe the same thing applies to NHRA as a whole. The "When you pay peanuts, you get a monkey," quote hit home. Steve Earwood told me a couple of years back that they were hiring kids who didn't know the big tires go in the back.
Very enjoyable was Dale Wilson's recollection of his first
And if you had to park in Lot 3A, I know there is a downside, but one good part is the attendant, if it was the same guy. It has always been a guy named Sonny Moore, who also handles a VIP gate at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he can make your stay in that lot a bit more enjoyable.
Hey, keep up the good work and I'll keep reading.
Man, (Burk) hit it on the head in the blast! However, I only noticed empty seats on Monday. We were sitting in Sec. B, and Monday the seats around us were empty! As far as IRP? I think it's a joke! I wish I had a digital camera, some of the restrooms were a disgrace! I'd like to Email some of those to Tom Compton. I wish NHRA would be more pro-active in preventing Oil-downs! Sunday's Pro sessions were the pits!
IRP RETURN ROAD IS THE BEST
I've directed this letter to several recipients, because my goal is to offer my observations on drag racing without favoring one sanctioning body over the other. I can write from the perspective of a fan who has sat in the stands. I can also write from the perspective of a nostalgia match racer. I've traveled the country and driven at many tracks and events; from the US Nationals and Norwalk's Night Under Fire to small, local events.
My letter is prompted by comments in Jeff Burk's column
My all-time favorite facility, as a fan and as a racer is Indianapolis Raceway Park. Why? In two words: traffic flow. The best feature of this track is the return road, where racers have a chance to take a parade lap in front of the crowd. Sitting in the stands, I always enjoyed having a chance to cheer for the drivers and crews when they came towing past. You just can't get much satisfaction doing that when they're on the track. As a racer, there is nothing more rewarding than having fans cheer for you and it's valuable exposure time for your sponsors, as well. Every article talks about the emotions of the US Nationals. It's because there is a stronger connection between the racers and fans at this event.
This relates to the traditional popularity of the stick-and-ball sports. The fans can see the competitor's faces, creating an emotional connection. This connection cannot be made with a fully-suited driver hidden in a car, but it can happen on the parade lap. Why take the stars of motorsports and make them disappear at the end of the track?
IRP will be remodeled someday. Let's hope that the best features do not get removed.
MORE INDY THOUGHTS
First, let me begin saying, my wife and I have been attending
the U.S. Nationals since 1987. We also have been attending the RT. 66
race since its debut. This year at Indy was the earliest we ever got
out of that track. Something to be said for T.V. scheduling. Did anyone
notice that the water fountains on the west side seating were off on
Saturday? You could always buy water at $3.50 a bottle or a Powerade
for the same price. Speaking of Powerade- No Free Samples. I was amazed
that we the fans can't even get a 6 oz. taste of this stuff. At least
with Winston I got some free stuff. Did the stands look empty on Sunday
or what? We had the good furtune to get a suite on the circle track
for the day. We had a good view of the west side stands, they were empty
by 3:00. I think the T.V. crew did a GREAT JOB. Mike Dunn looks so relaxed
and comfortable now. Parker Johnstone ( I hope that's right ) is GREAT.
The way he gets behind the scenes and finds out what else is going on
ids refreshing. Everything is new to him and he brings a wide eyed wonder
with him. GOOD JOB to all the people who are involved with the ESPN
coverage. Alan Schuette
WHERE'S THE 'GOOD NEWS?'
I decided to read all of your editorial coverage of Indy and NHRA. I know that you and your guys have some past issues with NHRA, but I was appalled by the negative coverage.
This is the biggest drag race on earth; most cars, most TV, most spectators. It is the super bowl. If somebody can only attend one race, this is it. Every driver wants to win it. In order for you to say something is bad, then there must be something good to compare. What race is that?
Nobody really gives a damn where you had to park your car, where you could ride your golf cart, etc. I know that negative journalism is practiced in many areas, but this is a spectator business, and when people attend an event, have a good time, then see some self-styled expert tell them it was a bad thing, it doesn't do any good for anybody.
You guys need to lighten up. If you don't enjoy the races, don't go; report on something you do like.
I would agree with you, Stan, that our coverage of this year's edition of the U.S. Nationals was in general negative. The reason was that the people who write for this magazine agreed that it was one of the worst that we can remember. I've been at every U.S. Nationals except one since 1976 as a competitor or reporter. Chris Martin covered the race for National Dragster for almost 25 years. I fell that qualifies us to judge the race.
We found this year's race to be lacking in most respects. Of the 25 U.S. Nationals I have attended, I have written up many of them as great races. Some of my absolute best memories in drag racing have come from attending this event. Unfortunately, the U.S. Nationals no longer is the biggest and best that NHRA has to offer the racers or the fans. It is not the best facility or the best track, it doesn't get the most cars, and in recent years Pomona is outdrawing it as far as spectator count. It didn't used to be that way.
As to the negative journalism, I would just say this: from the first issue of Drag Racing Online four years ago to the present, our credo has been and remains that we report drag racing from a different perspective. We'll stick to that and let the chips fall where they may.
You're absolutely right when you say this is a spectator sport and that people should attend races to have a good time. Judging from the number of empty seats at this year's event - and we can show you photos if you wish - people are simply not coming to the Nats like they used to. Monday's lack of attendance was a disaster from anyone's point of view. Too expensive a ticket for too little entertainment.
We hold the U.S. Nationals to a higher standard than the rest because it is supposed to be the showcase of NHRA drag racing. All of us who work here love drag racing and the U.S. Nationals. The point here is, if everyone praises a race that is, in reality bad, why should the management try to fix the problems?
As for a better race, read our reports on the World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova. Other races that we have enjoyed include NHRA events at Pomona, Sonoma and Las Vegas, the IHRA event at Rockingham, and the World Street Nationals at Orlando. Most of the race reports we put up for all sanctioning bodies are favorable. But, we are not here to be cheerleaders for NHRA, IHRA or any of the other sanctioning bodies. They have their own publications for that.
-Jeff Burk, Editor
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