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The news that DSR released most of the support crew for the Yas Marina Top Fuel operation they were racing for the Bahrain-based circuit just underscores how tenuous a “boutique” or hobby sponsorship can be.
When I went to the Indy DSR shops earlier this year for the debut of the two-car YM team, the Yas Marina, DSR, and NHRA spokesmen were very positive and very ambitious regarding the two-car program. Since then there's been almost no PR at all for the Yas Marina circuit, drag racing in Bahrain, or the NHRA Worldwide program.
I could be wrong, but I will be surprised if the Yas Marina team comes back for a rumored ten race NHRA schedule in 2011.
On the other hand, the ADRL Pro Mod team owned by a businessman from that country and tuned by Jim Oddy seems to be a solid deal.
News that Kenny Bernstein was able to secure a three-year extension of his contract from his current sponsor Copart in today’s economic downturn really makes me wish that Kenny had some interest in being the president of the NHRA. Mr. Bernstein has, in my opinion, forgotten more about marketing drag racing than all of the so-called marketing specialists the NHRA has hired over the years ever knew.
This year, three supercharged alky racers had freak accidents that resulted in two fatalities. Two of the accidents were at least partially caused by parachutes separating from the chassis upon deployment.
The first action the NHRA safety committee took was to mandate carbon fiber brake rotors front and rear for both A/FC and T/AD immediately, and nostalgia funny cars for 2011. So far I’ve heard nothing about the chute riser connector problem.
The decision to require carbon fiber brake rotors front and rear is going to cost the average racer about $5,000 - $7,000 in new parts, and probably 20 man-hours or more to install. That’s a pretty expensive upgrade for the supercharged alky classes that are rapidly losing racers already… this may drive out more of them.
So here is a suggestion that is sure to get me hate mail. It the alky cars are too fast for the tracks, how about shortening the alky track to 1,000 feet? Also every alky car out there with an MSD mag already has a rev-limiter, so why not use it? Those fixes wouldn’t cost the racer a nickel.
One thing I think you can say with some certainty: If Mark Niver had 300 more feet to stop his car, he would probably still be with us.
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