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And while they are at it, dump that worthless Countdown aberration that also has failed to accomplish any of the goals it was designed to do. Personally, I doubt the suits at NHRA that make those decisions have the character to admit they made a mistake and rectify it.
Mike Neff crossed the centerline with his rear tires racing against Tony Pedregon at Topeka. There is photographic proof. The NHRA rule book clearly states that if a track has two lines down the center then the stripe closest to the racer is the centerline for that racer and crossing it means disqualification.
Tony Pedregon needs every dime he can generate to keep racing and all of the points he earns to make the Countdown. Couldn’t the NHRA have taken the time to look at the video tape or ask if a photographer had the image before making an official decision that screwed Tony out of points and money that he may desperately need?
There is just no excuse for this kind of mistake.
Back in the 1970s when I got out of the Air Force and started going to the NHRA national events again, one of my fondest memories is seeing a 32-car Top Fuel field qualify at the U.S. Nationals. One of those 32 qualifiers was UDRL Top Fuel hitter Luigi Novelli. The same Novelli that, for about three pairs with an opening-round pass of 3.94, was Top Fuel’s number-one qualifier at last week’s NHRA event at Topeka.
A big tip of the Burkster’s hat to Novelli and his crew that operate on a shoestring for keeping the dream alive! And props to NHRA lead announcer Bob Frey for knowing that and letting the crowd know. Amazingly, the ESPN TV show didn’t mention it.
DRO Art Director/Webmaster Matt Schramel and I went to the race at Topeka with the idea of sitting in the grandstands at around 800 feet and watching fuel cars. We were sitting in the stands on Friday and the beer guy came by so naturally we ordered a couple of beers. Two beers cost us $14. Later we had two more (when you are thirsty, you drink) and total cost for four beers with a tip for the beer guy was a smooth $30!
Never again, boys, never again!
Four beers and two great BBQ sandwiches at nearby Pat’s Pig cost us a lot less -- and the beer was cold.
It seemed to me that there was a lot of time at this event when there were no cars going down the track. It’s harder than you might think to keep action on a track from 8 a.m. until after dark with fewer that 300 sportsman cars at an event. NHRA ought to think about bringing back the wheelstanders or jet cars to national events.
It’s really nice when a manufacturer takes care of the racers with no strings attached. That is what happened Friday night in the pits at Topeka when Steve Matusek and Jack Hylton, the owners of Aeromotive Inc. in nearby Lenexa, KS, threw a racer appreciation party in the pits. It was a catered affair held inside the teardown barn with everyone and anyone in the pits welcome. They even had a country singer. Refreshingly, there were no strings and no sales pitches.
Matusek told the Burkster, “We’re having a great year thanks to our customers and we feel that doing something like this was the very least we could do for them to show our appreciation.”
Despite a full day of rain on Friday the NHRA track prep crew was able to dry the track and give the racers a great racing surface Friday night and Saturday. Those folks really are amazing with their ability to get a track ready to race pretty much no matter what situation they are faced with.