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Notes scribbled on my napkin from the Dixie House breakfast joint in Ft. Worth, TX: The home of real homemade chicken-fried steaks and great service
The racers, sponsors and track operators are taking control of their destiny at IHRA
You can bet that neither IHRA president Aaron Polburn, his management team, nor the folks at Feld Entertainment will be happy with the above headline, but whether they like it or not, that is what is happening. IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock racers, and a half-dozen tracks have in essence followed in the steps of the NHRA Pro Mod racers.
When the NHRA’s management bailed out on implied promises about the future of NHRA Pro Mod, wealthy team owners such as Dave Wood, Mike Ashley, Tommy Lipar and more recently Roger Burgess, stepped in with their checkbooks and paid the NHRA for the privilege of having a Pro Mod race at their NHRA national events.
Know this, without those racers/owners pumping literally millions and millions of their dollars into that series there would be no NHRA Pro Mod racing. Now a similar program -- albeit slightly modified -- is about to become the new reality for IHRA’s Mountain Motor Pro Stock teams and owners.
For the first time that I can determine in the history of professional drag racing, a group of track owners and professional racers have forced the president of a major sanctioning body to do exactly what they want.
This was not a pleasant “deal.” It was a hostile “takeover” by the track owners and racers in which the track owners and racers made it plain to IHRA President Aaron Polburn that they didn’t need the IHRA and were willing to go out on their own if he didn’t accede to their wishes.
NHRA loses another major player and the big get bigger!
Like him or hate him, Mike Ashley has been a major force as a racer, team owner, and sponsor of the NHRA drag racing series. Mike Ashley’s Lend America company is in some trouble with the Feds and on Tuesday we got the word here at DRO headquarters that he sold his complete Top Fuel team to Don Schumacher and that the Matco Tools sponsorship probably would go with it for 2010.
That could mean that Don Schumacher Racing could race at least three Top Fuel and three Fuel Funny Cars during the 2010 NHRA season. Conceivably John Force and Don Schumacher teams could hold the top seven spots of a 16-car Funny Car field.