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NHRA TV broadcast has jumped the shark

I had intended to write this Blast about my just-completed and very enjoyable trip to the Persian Gulf country of Qatar for their Championship drag race. It was a great trip and race and I learned a lot about racing outside of the U.S. … but that column will have to wait a couple of days. Instead I need to vent about the NHRA/ESPN2 coverage of the NHRA tour stop at Bristol, TN.

To put it bluntly, NHRA TV coverage of their national events just plain stink. I’d give Sunday’s effort a grade of a D-minus, and that is being generous.

The show ran three and one-half hours in Sunday prime time here in the Midwest. Three and one half hours to cover at the most six minutes of actual live drag racing. Needless to say, the show was chock full of fluff and stuff and had little reporting that was germane to the sport and business of drag racing.

And, dear readers, there was plenty of news that the ESPN crew could have covered in that 3.5 hour time block, but instead we get the John Force show again and three, count ’em, three (!) segments of a lamer-than-lame parody of an old TV show called the Newlywed Game. With all the stories the ESPN producer could have covered in what is generally acknowledged as a sport where the viewer often knows as much or more about the sport as the talking heads, we get three hours out of a 3.5-hour show that fed the knowledgeable fan a steady diet of pabulum.

The NHRA folks tell me repeatedly that they don’t control the content, that the ESPN producers and directors make those calls. Well, if that is the case, those ESPN guys need to pull their collective heads out of their butts, get out of the TV compound as start doing professional reporting.

Let me just suggest a couple of stories they might have covered during the three hours of time they had when there were no pro racing to show.

  1. A third generation of the Lagana family qualified for the Top Fuel field. That, gentlemen, is news yet I heard virtually nothing from or about Dom Lagana. If you guys were working for anyone of my three magazines and passed on that story your ass would be out of a JOB!
  2. Not one mention of any kind regarding the testing of a new engine combination mandated by the NHRA that supposedly is going to be tested at Bristol today. The team owners/tuners say this rule change would cost them millions of dollars. Yet we get nothing about this.
  3. Wasn’t Doug Herbert’s first race of the season worth a few minutes of precious TV time? Maybe he could have commented on just how the economy is keeping him out of racing and what he is doing about it.

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