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One thing I have noticed this year at almost every drag race I’ve attended or been personally involved in promoting is that the Friday spectator count is down, way down is some cases. I think the reason for that drop is that if a race fan is fortunate enough to have a job, he won’t ask the boss for Friday off to go to a drag race; he simply can’t afford to miss a day’s work and have the boss think about hiring someone who will work on Friday. If the fan doesn’t have a job and can take Friday off, then chances are he can’t afford the “cheap” Friday ticket.
I really think it is time for the NHRA to consider cutting the number of qualifying sessions from four to two and maybe cut the number of days a race takes to put on from four or five down to two or three. In most cases there aren’t 20 or 30 pro cars trying to make a 16-car FC, TF or PS field anymore. For the few remaining pro teams that are on a budget, the four qualifying laps present a huge financial burden. Fans aren’t coming out in droves to see Friday qualifying anyway, so the NHRA, their track operator partners, and the racers might save serious cash with a shortened race.
I’d bet some heavy cash that if teams only had two laps to qualify we’d see a lot fewer tire-smoking, engine-exploding qualifying passes. Anything that would lower the cost of racing without affecting the quality of racing would be a good thing.
Maybe the NHRA could have Pro Stock Bikes have their first round of eliminations on Saturday like the Pro Mods do now. Perhaps that could make Friday a little more special for fans of the Bikes and Pro Mods by giving them their own race day that they don’t have to share with the other professional classes.
You could drop the ticket price for Friday to $10-$15 and start eliminations at 7 p.m. so that fans have time to get there after work. Maybe a program like this would attract more people on Friday than are showing up now.
Some time back I wrote here that I was swearing off watching the ESPN2 broadcast of the NHRA events. As I have said many times, I am a certified drag racing junkie and I just can’t help but watch drag racing if it is on TV. So, I confess that I have been watching the NHRA “Big Show” and the Get Screened America Pro Mod broadcasts.
I watched most of the broadcast Sunday of the Bristol race and once again the producers seemed to whiff on some great interview opportunities. Chris Karamsines won his first round of NHRA professional Top Fuel racing since 1990. Although they gave that some attention the ESPN producers didn’t see fit to at least talk to the living legend. I will grant that that “The Greek” is not a willing public speaker. But a professional journalist should be able to deal with that.
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