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We like to think so, Ernie

 

Rev Burk, man, your magazine has grown and is great since you started way back when. Keep it up. Uncle Chris would be proud.

 

Ernie Martin (Chris Martin’s brother)

Beautiful downtown Burbank

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Should drivers wear a ‘bowtie’?

 

With the retirement of Allen Johnson, it looks like the NHRA is getting closer to what it wanted. An all-Camaro pro class!

 

Fred Brown

Phenix City, AL

 

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Not the same World Series of Drag Racing

 

Went to the world series at cordova il. Saturday damn nice crowd but very disappointed in the show. Not as many pro cars or jets or anything. No t shirts on spectators side. Alot of families won't walk around to the pit side when they can't get there till 5pm or after with kids in tow. Alot of people left before 1pm cause it just kept dragging on for no reason it seemed. Alot of people were upset about how slow it was going n the show it self. Not a world series show that we are used to.

 

Rick Mayerhofer

Walcott, IA

 

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On NHRA television coverage

 

Jeff, too much filler. It's getting crazy with stories. There is too much of the human interest stories. They’re boring.

 

If I hear another Greg Anderson and Shane Gray are best buddies or Doug Kalitta a USCA former sprint champ or the same stuff the Rieff spews I'm gonna puke. By the way, I have the volume down so low now.

 

I liked Marty Reid and Mike Dunn much better. Rieff and Tony just don't do it for me.

 

Thanks.

 

Brian Demme

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Taking it in small doses

 

I agree, I DVR the Fox shows and watch them later or go outside and do something so I can high speed through all the commercials and fluff features, I also high speed through the 3 or 4 replays of each run. (Come on, how many times do we need to see it?)

 

I’d rather see the fire up and burnouts complete than listen to the guys in the booth talk about senseless drivel.

 

Great site. Thanks for keeping it real.

 

Jeff Courtie

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More tech, please

 

I agree there is way too much junk on during the race day coverage. Dumbo interviews abound but I do like doing things with the technical aspect of how the cars work although it ought to be expanded to Pro Stock as well.

 

The end of track interviews can go – let’s see - ah yes, “How do you feel?” or “What does it mean....”

 

Duane Cooley

 

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3 hours may be too much without improved content

 

I will agree with (Burk). The three-hour broadcast is too repetitious and boring and seems to be the same each week. However, I think they could have three hours if they used the time better and improved the content. One broadcast they did show most of the non-professional class finals and had short interviews with the winners. I think that added to the program interest. But bottom line is that what they have now could be easily done in two hours, maybe less.

 

Personally, I record the race and then watch it later. Then my best friends are the mute and fast forward buttons  Then I can skip the Rieff-Pedregon droning noise. It doesn’t matter to me if I see it in the afternoon or later the same day; who cares.

 

As far as qualifying, I don’t watch it as it doesn’t make much sense when you have such low car counts.

 

The NHRA seems to be like we used to hear about Ma Bell back in our younger days: “We’re the NHRA phone company, we don’t have to care!”

 

Steve Pitt

Salem, OR

 

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Yeah, we wonder about that also

 

Why doesn't the NHRA let Pro Mod drivers sell tee shirts at their events? When is Route 66 or Byron or a track near me going to have a big-time nostalgia funny car race and on that subject, where have all the funny cars disappeared to?

 

Mark LaCrosse

Manteno, IL

 

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Same old, same old – and a new idea

 

I wanted to comment on your latest "Burk’s Blast" and to say that I agree totally with your assessments with the 3-hour "Finals" shows, how many times can you explain the staging procedures or tell people about a Top Fuel Car or a Funny Car or Pro Stock Car or Pro Stock Motorcycle? When the President of the NHRA doesn't understand what they are!!!!? Let's face it's the upper management of NHRA doesn't give a damn about "Drag Racing" they care about the almighty "DOLLAR".

 

I've been a fan for years since the early '60s and raced my own sportsman cars over the years, but how the guys like Dan Fletcher and David Rampey and others do it is beyond me! I can't afford for my wife and I to go anymore, plus it's not worth the money, with short fields. This 1,000-foot racing isn't any safer; the cars are just faster and faster, and more expensive to run and 4 Way racing for me "Forget It" (They had that in the 60's and 70's at New York National in Long Island, New York, and it was a joke then) no points awarded for those -- "Thank You". I like Fox better than ESPN!!!

 

NHRA is like NASCAR with their ratings down and all around "Motor Sports". It's because the supposed "Middle Class" has become non existent, not to be political, just honest!!! And the "Middle Class" was always the major supporter of "Drag Racing" which kept it affordable, family oriented (Which meant that it kept younger family members interested for the future) and kept the sport growing.

 

But the "KEY" word is "AFFORDABLE" both which have "GREAT MEANING" and covers both the "RACERS" and the "FANS" If the "RACERS" can't "AFFORD" to race up to their top potential and can only act as a filler car for a "Short Field" that's not only true but unfair to them, it happens far too often these days. And it's surely not fair to the "FANS" who pay a lot of their hard earned money to go to these races for what I call an 8-car show. (In the Old Days these were "Match Races") Who gets cheated? Everybody except the NHRA Officials, and what don't they charge you for anymore? from parking, (That's a real joke!!!) to reserved seats Top Eliminator Club to $25.00 T-Shirts, $30.00 Hats, my personal favorite is "ALL ACCESS" (As my wife's Diabetes Doctor says, "That's a real "Money Maker")

 

My wife and I had been thinking about going to Maple Grove in September to see Ron Capps & Clay Millican as they are our favorites, but get this we had to pay extra for parking, and because my wife has a bad back we would have to "RENT" a wheelchair to get her into the pits.

 

So Jeff, what is the answer? The answer is we can't turn back the clock, and we can't return to "Valhalla" as my friend Pat Foster called it! We could have fixed Pro Stock years ago as Warren Johnson said it, but "no one listened" to him. Larry Morgan has said it for years as well as many, many truly "GREAT DRAG RACERS".

 

Sportsman Racers have long been the "BACKBONE" of Drag Racing and are totally overlooked by NHRA OFFICALS and pay more than anyone to race and get less and it's worse than ever, just look at Dan Fletcher who owns the winningest car in Drag Racing History! How amazing is that? Thankfully as you said the Mega-Team cars are out there helping these lesser teams in in Top Fuel and Funny Car. Is there anything that can save "Drag Racing"?

 

Well! I have loved this sport for many years, it helped me get through my younger years and kept me out of trouble, and got through Vietnam. I've met a lot of wonderful people both racers and fans, I've been to a ton of races all over this "Great Country" I'm almost 70 years old, and I can't think of life without this sport!

 

Here's my wish and hope change the Fox broadcast to 2 hours and follow it with the Sportsman results (Give those racers a chance to shine, they deserve it) and secondly -- if this would be even possible this may sound crazy -- but if you could get all these Corporate So Called Geniuses that now run NHRA to get involved with the IHRA and add IHRA on as a Secondary Body preventing it from failing plus they could move the Heritage Series as well as your Series and expand it to include the Midwest and East Coast and add Hot Rod Reunions, Jeg's Sportsnationals, etc. What good is letting the IHRA fail? You could add some Top Fuel and Funny Cars and Pro Stock cars as well, and more sponsors and perhaps "CUT COSTS" But anything would be worth a try.

 

I truly commend you for your efforts. I read everything you put out there and I wanted you to know you have devoted "FAN."

 

Howard Lloyd

Sewell, NJ

 

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All Access is worth the price

 

If you are really into drag racing, NHRA All Access is the only way to go...it is the closest thing to being there I have ever experienced. The camera work isn't quite as comprehensive as broadcast TV, but it doesn't matter. You get to see every pass of every class in competition with the tower commentary and complete stats of every pass. The only ads you will see is the occasional sponsor blurb that goes up on the Sunoco vision while they are prepping the track, or during a lengthy oil down.

 

Eight to 10 hours a day of solid racing, all year for the price of 2 days at a national event. Specialty races, gassers, Pro Mods, jets...in order and un interrupted. F*** Fox.

 

Tim Rinkerman

Connecticut

 

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Another All Access fan

 

As a Canadian drag racer we have no FS1 in my area so the decision to watch or not watch drag racing on TV was made quite simple for me…I can’t. It’s not an option with my cable supplier.

 

That said, I share your views about all the puff pieces and lack of actual racing…that I believe is the direct result of NHRA trying to promote events LIVE. The conundrum of course is that they choose not to show much of the other racing between pro rounds.

 

So, it is for that reason that I’ve become a huge fan of NHRA All Access…I’m a local announcer at Mission Drag Strip and I get to watch as much live racing as I want…any class…it’s there for me...with the track announcers. I love it. Costs me 100 bucks (well actually $130 CDN) and I have more racing coverage than I know what to do with…all live as it’s happening. PLUS I can go back and watch it all over again if I choose to.

 

Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t believe I would go back to watching Drag Racing on the mainstream media…I’m a fan of NHRA All Access.

 

Jerry Lucky

 

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Lost history?

 

Regarding historical speeds and times, as I recall at the time they went to 1,000 feet it was stated all previous records for 1320 would be erased.

 

I have no time for 1,000 feet; it means nothing, a weird number sounding like it´s metric. With shortening the track continuity was lost. They "fixed" the wrong part of drag racing.

 

Malcolm Dyer

Barcelona, Spain

 

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Smaller can be better

 

Amen on Jim Robbins commentary. Lots of older cars sitting in garages just waiting for the opportunity to run ‘em again. We do and Eagle Field and Kingdon in central California.

 

Bring ‘em on we love it. No money here only smiles and great times. Eaglefielddrags.com and Kingdondrags.com.

 

Randy Johnston

Cameron Park, CA

 

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We get a new reader!

 

I checked out your website and I love it. It is way ahead of National Dragster. Glad to have seen it, Ill be checking on it regularly.

 

Gary Raybon

 

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Burk is (mostly) right

 

I agree with (Burk) totally, well almost. While some interviews may be OK, the way Fox has been doing the shows this year and last even is NOT the way to get new fans, let alone keep us older fans.

 

I have been following drag racing in person since 1963, my first trip to the Winternationals at Pomona. Two years before I found about drag racing from friends and magazines. Yeah, I will hit the big 70 this December, if I make it. I suppose you can call me an old fogey. Well, so be it. Hell, maybe I AM. Honorable service as a US Marine and a tour in Vietnam, for what that may or may not be worth.

 

These past years I go to the drags at State Capitol Dragway in Erwinville, Louisiana. It is the closest drag strip to where I now live. I had gone to both the old Irwindale drags and Pomona when I still lived in SoCal. Never got to the new drag strip at Fontana. Too long a story as to why not.

 

Much as one admires John Force and his many accomplishments, his crews and family, they give him and the rest of the family way too much TV time. Sure he does give a good interview, but even when he has just lost a round, they talk to him, not the racer who beat him. Why?

 

As I said, some "fluff" bits are OK, as long as they give me some information that is relative to this particular race or some new parts/technology coming soon to the sport. Maybe some technical bits that deal with aspects of drag racing, but not so many of them. Race fans go to the races to SEE racing, we want to see good races, not sit through fluff interviews.

 

Hey, they could actually show the Pro Mods or even some sportsman racing during the down times between rounds. Through of the time wasting fillers.

Also, it sure would be a damn good idea for the cars to have names, like the old days. Told you I am an old guy. Back when I got started following and going to the drags, most, if not all, the cars had names on them, not just driver/crew chief, crew members. Take their comments for what they are worth, or maybe they have no worth at all. This email is only my own opinion. Others WILL vary.

 

I also feel the NHRA is killing off the sportsman classes and racers. They made this sport and we need them to keep racing at the Nationals. They could use the coverage as it will help them keep what sponsor they have. I have had so much fun walking around the pits at State Capitol Dragway taking my photos and talking to the racers. You will never meet a friendly group of people at any other sporting event. I always ask them if it is OK for me to shoot photos of their cars and pits and always keep out of their way as they are usually working to get ready for the next round of racing. Nobody has ever said no to me. Hell, I have had many offers of food and drinks from most of them -- try that at any NHRA big show event with the pros. Where else can you, a stranger, go to an event and be treated so well?

 

True, my personal experience since 2000 has been limited to State Capitol Dragway in Erwinville, Louisiana. It is the closest drag strip to where I live in central Louisiana. I remember way back going to Irwindale (CA) and going through the pits and being treated very well, even asked/volunteered to help any racer who took the chance I would do as he/she asked me to do to help out. Yeah, the good old days, but they still seem to be alive at smaller tracks like Erwinville.

 

This is just my (not so very) humble 2 cents worth. Now worth about 0.000032586 cents adjusted for inflation.

 

Charlie Ehlen

 

P.S. I have not been able to go to the track the last 2 ½ years due to health issues. I hope to make at least one more trip to Erwinville soon, though, maybe this fall when the heat index here is below 100+.

 

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The crew chief can tune a car, but the driver can’t tuna fish

 

I am amazed that drag race fans in some forums fail to understand that the driver of a T/F or Funny Car can only run whatever number the crew chief has tuned the car for. I explain that all the driver can do is cut a good light, keep the car in the groove, pedal if needed and hang on.

 

Many people take exception when I explain that the driver cannot make the car go any faster than the tune-up that's in the car - no matter how many F/C championships they have won as a result of outstanding crew chiefs such as Austin Coil. Quite frankly, in the past 25 years or so driver careers and success for the most part has come down to the under-appreciated crew chiefs and the hard working crew personnel who maintain the T/F and Funny Cars between rounds.

 

I'm not diminishing the bravery, skill and talent of the drivers in any way, shape or form. I just think that the media hypes the drivers more than they deserve as they are the so called "stars" when in reality the crew chiefs are the ones who must figure out a tune that will make the cars go down the track and deliver not only stellar performance such as 339 mph in 1,000 feet, but also win four rounds on Sunday as Rahn Tobler has done for Capps and other drivers including Shirley for decades.

 

Many of the supremely talented crew chiefs are very understated and humble, but they carry a very big stick when it comes to delivering record-setting performance and championships. Those who don't understand my comments regarding the driver need to ask themselves how fast a T/F or Funny Car would run if it was only running on four cylinders instead of eight, to appreciate the point about the importance of the crew chief and the tune-up they put in the car.

 

Jorge Meister

NYC

 

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VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 9 - SEPTEMBER  2017

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