Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 5, Page

What direction would you like to see the sport eventually go?  Do you see live television as a viable option for drag racing?

PARKS: We did that back in the 1960s, but the problem you have there is the weather.   I think that’s possible, and if you knew the weather was going to be like this, no problem, just go do it.  So, that’s one of the things and you just have to arrange that out with whatever the station or the network is that is producing the show. 

I think that our television coverage will continue to be upgraded.  I credit that with being that the primary stimulant for the sport that has helped us grow in recent years, because it introduces an unknown factor into households all the time. Drag racing is not the best understood term any more than hot rod is.  Television has helped us tremendously along those lines. 

I think the sport is going to continue to develop. My concern is back at the grassroots element of the thing.  We have to keep a door open down there to encourage people to come run their cars at the local level, and there has to be a place for them that is worthwhile and, as I’ve told you before, I think we need something else besides that bracket racing identification to make it more understandable and more important.

  As far as live television, are the networks open to broadcasting a race live or are they looking for a 45 minute to an hour program?

PARKS: I wish they were.  We are not at the top of the totem pole on what the networks or broadcast media want.  We are still sitting here and we’ve got football, basketball, baseball and the greatest things that were every created in the world and you’re faced with this situation where most of the people in decision making positions up there they are familiar with those sports in their background, so consequently why that’s what they want to watch.

We were talking about NASCAR restricting things to ensure safety.  Was there any pressure from anywhere to restrict the performance?

PARKS: Usually it was the other way around. There is a lot of concern right now about the four-valve head and the professional categories and whether that thing should be outlawed if it's successful or whatever.  But ordinarily you don't have a lot of pressure coming in for you to do anything that will slow things down or reduce performance.  I remember when I came out with a campaign to consider cutting everything back to 1,000 feet, but I didn't feel it would make one damn bit of difference except you can condense it down and have a little more stopping on the other end.  It almost started a rebellion, and the guys who needed it the most fought the idea the most. 

But I think there are things that need to be done from time to time, but the unfortunate thing about us, or I guess it's fortunate, is the fact that the whole basis of drag racing is innovation and creativity and looking for the better solution. . .finding something the other guy hasn't found. So, you have to be very careful that you don’t shut the door on progress, but on the other hand, you wonder how long is this drag strip, who's distance was developed back in the early 1950s, can continue to accommodate runs at the speeds they go.  I am very concerned about pushing for the 300 mph run.