Volume X, Issue 7, Page 22

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Back with more Just Wondering

Just Wondering … Isn’t it time for the “quarter mile or die” folks to step back from the edge of the cliff? We have had three races with the fuel cars racing to 1,000 feet. So far the racing has been as close if not closer than it’s ever been. As for performance, I don’t have a problem with 4-second, near 320-mph laps. The crowds at Denver and especially the Standing Room Only crowd at Sonoma indicates (at least to me) that most fans aren’t put off by 1,000-foot racing for the fuel classes. It’s time to move on, isn’t it?

Just Wondering … Am I the only one who has noticed how many fewer explosions and fires have occurred in T/F and F/C since going to a 1,000 feet? That isn’t a bad thing, is it?

Just Wondering … If the NHRA brass are really interested in making the last eight races a little more exciting -- and let’s face it, the series could stand a little drama -- why not set the national records for 1,000 feet in Top Fuel and Funny Car at the U.S. Nationals and put the opportunity for record setting back in the Championship for the remaining races? It’s time for the NHRA brass to re-establish that they are in control, not the racers or fans.

Just Wondering … On the same subject, which is really more important for pro racers and fans, setting or watching a record set that could  determine who wins the World Championship  or the freakin’ track distance it is set on? NHRA has recognized and sanctioned  eighth-mile speed and ET records for all classes of competition almost since the NHRA was formed.

Just Wondering... Why some supposed fans and historians of the sport of drag racing evidently would rather pull their own teeth without pain killers than watch racing on anything less than a quarter mile track, would seemingly rather see the sport die than see any change, would boycott any drag racing that doesn’t meet their rigid criteria but will travel hundreds of miles to see a bunch of old nitro burning race cars setting around idleing like some kind of freak/side show attraction? I just don’t get it.

Just Wondering... Do you know what the definition of drag racing is?
Entered into the dictionary in 1949, drag race is defined by Merriam-Webster as "an acceleration contest between vehicles" No distance noted.  

Just Wondering … Despite the PR spin from the teams involved, how much longer can multi-million owners such as Ken Black, who is in the housing industry, and Roger Burgess continue to spend millions funding teams with no discernable return on investment or which aren’t used in a major way to promote their businesses? Those guys still answer to investors, stockholders, bankers, etc. Remember in the not-so-distant past when Don Prudhomme, Evan Knoll, the Worhsams and Mike Ashley all had two- and three- or more-car nitro teams. Now it is just Kalitta, Schumacher, and Force. In the end it is always about the money!!!!

Just Wondering … What does it say about how the NHRA PR department feels about their Lucas Oil-backed sportsman racer program when they don’t bother to include the Championship points for sportsman classes like they do for the pros when sending out the national event race results?

Just Wondering … What the heck happened to the IHRA Pro Stock team’s support of the ADRL at their Maryland event? Only 14 teams were at the event despite early predictions of 25-30 cars. Will the teams make a real commitment to the ADRL Pro Stock at ADRL’s biggest race of the season (Dragstock) at Rockingham?

Just Wondering … Since the ADRL charges its competitors nothing to race, neither the tracks nor the sanctioning body make ANY money on the back gate and the ADRL is a two-day race. Does the ADRL really need a Mountain Motor Pro Stock class?

Just Wondering … Did anyone but me notice that Billy Glidden and Steve Kirk who by ADRL rules must run a “10.5W” tire on their Extreme Ten-Five cars at the recent Maryland race were running times close to what all but a few of the IHRA Pro Stocks were turning in? Their performances are remarkable considering that ADRL Ten-Five cars are restricted to an 11.5 inch wide tires and the IHRA Pro Stocks are on 15/16-inch wide tires!

Just Wondering … Do the NHRA and the IHRA, currently drag racing’s premier sanctioning bodies, have any kind of contingency plan to bring more cars to their professional classes? Both series are occasionally experiencing either ‘short’ fields or the minimum number of entries required  for a “full” field. So far that hasn’t seemed to be a negative factor for ticket sales on Friday and Saturday, but in the future who knows.

Just Wondering… Why is a qualified field of cars that has less than the minimum number of entrants referred to as a “short” field but if the minimum number of entrants are on hand the field is considered “full”? What is it called if there are too many cars or none?

Just Wondering … There is no question that ticket prices are affecting NASCAR attendance. Will ticket prices affect NHRA and IHRA national event attendance at some events…or has it already?

Just Wondering … What are they thinking? I’ve had a couple of calls lately from people asking me to rate Don Garlits, Joe Amato, and Tony Schumacher against each other as Top Fuel greats, especially in light of the amount of races and championships that Schumacher is acquiring. First, when Tony gets to six Championships call me. Second and most important, there is Garlits and then there is everyone else. Let me give you a baseball analogy. Great players are measured by how many baseball skills they have that are rated as excellent. Ruth, Rose, Mantle, and Mays are examples of four skill players. When comparing Garlits to Amato, Schumacher or Muldownney, Garlits is in a class by himself. He remains among the all-time best as a driver, tuner and chassis builder.  I don’t know of another driver in Top Fuel or Funny Car who is in his league.