Talking about drag racing on TV at 2 a.m. and ‘one lane’ drag strips

OK, I’m going to have to come clean. I’m a certified Drag Racing Junkie. So, no matter how much I might complain about the ESPN2 NHRA broadcasts I will still tune in and watch. Unless, of course, the network and the NHRA (assuming they have input) decide to schedule the qualifying show for 2 o’clock in the morning. Then I’m out!

This was my dilemma over this past weekend when the Charlotte qualifying show was aired at 2 or 2:30 a.m. (CST). That  would be 3 a.m. on the East Coast and midnight West Coast time. Who stays up that late to see a qualifying show for any motorsport? At my age I might make it till midnight to watch, but trying to stay up ‘till 2 a.m. or later … fugidabowdit. In fact, it’s my opinion that the powers that control when the NHRA show airs would be better off not running the show at all rather than that late. I know one thing: if I had paid for an ad on that show I’d be demanding my money back.

I’ve never advocated this action before but maybe it is time that drag racing fans text or email ESPN and/or the NHRA and let them know specifically how you feel about never knowing for sure when the NHRA broadcasts will go on. Maybe the reason NHRA drag racing has such lousy ratings is that the viewer never knows for certain when the broadcast will be.

The fact is that NHRA pays ESPN or one of their partners for airtime and production of their races -- as does almost every other form of organized auto racing except NASCAR and the Indy 500. And yet NHRA racing broadcasts are constantly being pre-empted and postponed.

Maybe if they got enough emails the execs at ESPN  might begin to believe there is an actual money-spending audience that watches drag racing and perhaps they won’t  be so quick to move the drag racing shows to the wee-hours time slot or pre-empt it for the finals of a cricket match from India or the like.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I’m opposed to the expensive and, in my opinion, unnecessary attempts to make every track at every race have perfect or near perfect traction.  I’m a big believer that true serious drag racers, be they professional or part-timers, should be able to adjust their cars to the track conditions they are given and that a “perfect two-lane dragstrip” is an unobtainable goal.

Nevertheless, many racers at all levels seem to share the opinion that a track “owes” them a dead-hooking surface from starting line to the finish strip. And at times they appear incapable or just plain unwilling of adjusting to a track surface that is less than perfect.

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