Just wondering while agonizing over who won’t make the Countdown

The old Burkster has been sick for the past couple of weeks with a couple of issues relating to hanging around racing and just living past the warranty on my body. In other words, I’m paying for my sins. It’s nothing fatal but it has kept me away from the office and relying on TV and the newspaper for cortex stimulation between naps. That being said, I’ve been wondering….

Just Wondering… about what a huge effect drag racing had on my generation in the 1960’s and how little it has on the current generation. In the Sixties drag racing was cool. There were a half-dozen or more magazines and weekly newspapers devoted entirely to drag racing. There were three strong sanctioning bodies for racers and fans to choose from. The Beach Boys, the Ventures and others bands were recording songs and making albums about drag racing. At the movies American International and other Hollywood studios were cranking out movies about surfing and drag racing. Drag racing was regularly seen on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” in a prime time slot.

Perhaps most importantly was that the Big Three Detroit automakers built, raced and sold factory hot rods, sponsored professional race teams and poured millions of dollars into the sport. Drag racing as a sport sold muscle cars, aftermarket parts, soft drinks, hot dogs, movie tickets, beer and hard liquor. What the hell happened? 

Just Wondering… Despite the NHRA party line that everything is good and improving, why don’t the track operators and promoters I talk with share that myopic opinion? Most if not all of them will tell you the business of drag racing is suffering like all the rest of us in this still-struggling economy.

Just Wondering… When Detroit automakers are basing a lot of their sales pitches on horsepower and muscle cars and they all sell real Factory Hot Rod (Mustangs, Challengers, Camaros, Corvettes, Buicks and Cadillacs with nearly 500 horsepower engines and manual transmissions), why does the NHRA continue to have pro motorcycles and Pro Mods but no professional classes for those Detroit cars? The only conclusion I can draw is that the current Pro Stock racers have more “juice” with the NHRA than Detroit does.

Just Wondering… Given the opportunity to take advantage of the moment, re-invent Pro Stock racing, and maybe get Detroit back in drag racing, why did NHRA instead tried to come up with a plan in the Lucas Oil sportsman Stock and Super program for those new muscle cars?

Just Wondering… Wouldn’t you think that the highly paid marketing department and NHRA’s executives could come up with something more than a starting line broom as a trophy for sweeping the Western Swing? Some cash and maybe a swing ring surely wouldn’t break the NHRA’s budget.

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