Volume X, Issue 6, Page 161

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So many questions for the NHRA and IHRA

Just Wondering… Does everyone understand that the $60 million that O.B (that is B as in Billionaire) Smith is spending to build a dragstrip in Charlotte is really a small deal in his financial world compared to his NASCAR dealings? 

Just Wondering… What does it say about the real worth of the NHRA when O. Bruton Smith buys the NASCAR track in New Hampshire for $340 million and evidently thinks that $121 million is too much to pay for NHRA’s five tracks plus everything except the Lucas Oil Sportsman Series?

Just Wondering… Based upon his recent very public statements regarding his loss of interest in buying the NHRA and his buying spree of oval track properties, could it be that Bruton Smith feels NASCAR has much more potential to profit his company than drag racing?

Just Wondering… Is there a better motorsports interviewer right now than Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain on the Speed Channel?

Just Wondering… Can everyone finally quit comparing NASCAR and the NHRA? They simply aren’t comparable in any way, shape, or form other than they have internal combustion engine-powered cars.  

Just Wondering…  Did you know that, according to a recent article in a trade publication, the average competitive NASCAR Cup team needs $30 million per year? Compare that to an NHRA/IHRA fuel team where $3 million a year is big stuff and you begin to see the difference between the two auto racing series.

Just Wondering… When is the NHRA going to get behind starter Rick Stewart and really put him in charge of the starting line area? They’ve basically neutered the poor guy with the autostart system. With that system Stewart has no control after both cars turn the stage light on. A computer decides when the tree activates. The racers and crew chiefs know that and I think at times take advantage of that.  Autostart is fine for bracket racing but drag racing is not bracket racing. A drag racing starter needs to be in complete control of the starting line and the racers must know that he is the ultimate authority there.

Just Wondering… After the race at MIR and the upcoming race at Edmonton, Canada, do you think Aaron Polburn might want to rethink his position on having NHRA nitro cars at his events?

Just Wondering… Did you know that the testing ban on Monday testing extends to the A/FD class? So, the alky guys can test but the nitro guys can’t?

Just Wondering… Am I the only one who likes Bruton Smith’s idea of running Comp, Super Stock and Stock Eliminator class run-offs four at a time? At least I think that is what he meant in his Wind Tunnel interview. Four SS/AH lined up for class run-off. Heads up, no breakout, first to the stripe wins. Where do I buy a ticket?

Just Wondering…Did anyone pay attention to the fact that in our InnerView Alan Johnson said that many of the current funny car sponsorships of DSR teams weren’t for enough money for a stand alone team? We are talking “major” sponsorships.

Just Wondering… Is there any way that NHRA drag racing can compete or be intelligently compared to NASCAR or the IRL until at least one major NHRA event is broadcast live on NBC, CBS or ABC?

Just Wondering… Has anybody paid attention to the fact that the IHRA has had three races where weather drastically affected their attendance? That can’t be a good thing financially for the organization. 

Just Wondering… Why is it that manufacturers who tell us they don’t believe in the internet or internet magazines insist on sending us their new product releases and expect us to use them?

Just Wondering… Am I just being a paranoid old racing journalist thinking that NHRA drag racing needs more than better PR and more sponsors for the sanctioning body to keep the sport healthy?

Just Wondering… When is the NHRA company going to quit siphoning off the race team sponsors’ money into their own coffers? Could it be that is the end game plan for hiring a marketing firm? Let’s hope so.

Just Wondering… Does the NHRA still have a requirement of new series sponsors that in order to be a major NHRA sponsor they have to back a pro team?

Just Wondering… Is the IHRA for sale, and what is the price?

Just Wondering… If, God forbid, the IHRA should have more races with not enough fan or racecar attendance, do you suppose Bill Bader would consider taking over the reins again? He still is a minority (20 percent) stock holder in that sanctioning body.

Just Wondering… Can an NHRA national event track owner have an active management role in another sanctioning body?

Just Wondering… Did you know that by most accounts only three tracks on the NHRA circuit hold more than 30,000 people at one time? That would be Indy, Gainesville and Pomona.

Just Wondering… Who is doing the math and the counting?  A recent column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding the business of NHRA drag racing estimates the attendance for the NHRA 24 race series at 4,000,000. That would mean the attendance for every event on the series would have to average a tick under 160,000. Yeah, right! No wonder track owners want those NHRA national events.

Just Wondering… How NHRA could only make a reported six million dollar profit on four million tickets sold?

Just Wondering… Is the drag racing public ever going to quit being conned? Don’t the powers that be realize that the fans, race teams, sponsors and most of the press aren’t fools and can count?