I have been a drag racing official since 1965
and have seen a lot of changes. I have seen
top fuel winners money go from $500 to $40,000
(and $75,000 at Indy) and I would have to agree
with the pro's that they probably do need a
raise. NASCAR winners get $200,000-plus, but
what you have to remember is that they only
have one eliminator (not 10-12) like drag racing
and they only pay 43 cars, while in drag racing
NHRA pays 16 top fuel, 16 funny car, and 16
pro stocks which is 48 cars to start with besides
all the sportsman racers who get money.
Now, on the other hand we have the "minimum
wage dummies" as Gary Selzi so stated
on the coverage of the U.S. Nationals, who
make only $5.25 per hour and haven't had a
raise since Moby Dick was a minnow. It's not
the money anyway...it's knowing you done your
part to help put-on a race.....it's hanging
out with your pals and legends of drag racing.....it's
60-hour weekeknds from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
(unless you have oildowns, wrecks, or rain).....it's
straining your eyes to watch the t.v. coverage
to try and spot yourself (because I was right
there, if only that truck was out of the way
I know you could see me) ...it's all this and
more, and it's worth every cent of the $5.25.
So yes, I would love to give the top fuel
and funny car a minimum of $50,000 and the
pro-stockers a minimum of $30,000 to win every
race, with Indianapolis being doubled and double
the points of all eliminators, but I have to
be content with my $5.25 because I know NHRA
is probably doing their best.
All of us should be patient, because we still
have a sport after 50-yrs, we can all bitch
about everything, and who knows? Maybe Warren
Johnson will get his rabbit's foot back, maybe
top fuel will be won in a front motored Chevy
dragster, and maybe NHRA will provide us lunches
again like they used to do several years ago.
Let's just all wait and see what happens.
SPEED ISN'T THE ONLY THING
I saw the Bustle Bomb make the first 150-mph
run in 1955 at Santa Ana, and in 1964 at Long
Beach I saw Frank Cannon make the first 200-mph
pass. (First Zoomy Headers). The most exciting
race I ever saw, was between the Greek and
the Snake one night at Long Beach in a match
race. Both had difficulties, with the Greek
getting out of shape and the Snake doing a
wheelstand at the same time, about 300 feet
off the starting line, both getting back on
the throttle at the same time and going through
the finish line together. They were only going
190 mph, both with about 80% nitro in the tank
with flames out of the exhaust. I will never
forget that race.
325 mph is not needed to put on a great show.
If the tires would not chunk at 300 mph, then
NHRA should slow them down to that speed, 300
MPH is still very impressive! The way to do
it is very simple, take fuel and air away from
the engines! Slow the blower down to 1 to 1
and reduce the fuel volume with a mandatory
size fuel pump. Somewhere around 50 Gallons
per minute at 8,000 rpm (engine speed). Or
they could just drop the percentage down to
70%. That would do it too.
I like the first idea because they still have
that sound of a large load of nitro, because
they could also go back to 90%. They would
probably have better, closer racing which is
what I want to see anyway. I could care
less if someone goes 335 mph and the other
guy shuts off for whatever reason, which happens
way too often.
AND ANOTHER THING. . .
Welllllll, I am not sure there are any smart
guys at NHRA. Look at the TV coverage, I don't
know how many times I turned on my TV at the
scheduled time and got volleyball, skating
or some other BS. NHRA has a poor contract
with ESPN. Most people can't deal with 4 days
to run a race. There is too much down time.
You want to slow them down, make them use the
same engine throughout.