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I don’t know about you readers, but I’ve had enough time off from the smell of burning racing gas, alcohol, nitro (especially nitro) and rubber. It’s been so quiet in the drag racing world I swear I can hear crickets chirping. So it’s time to stir it up a little.
I think the most Important story of the NHRA’s 2012 season has to be Antron Brown being anointed as the first African-American to win an NHRA Top Fuel World Championship (He says he’s the second). Given the opportunity I believe he could be as important to the rejuvenation and promotion of drag racing as Danica Patrick has been for oval track racing.
He is already a star of the ESPN2 NHRA broadcast, but with his personality, sense of humor and ease in dealing with all media he could be NHRA’s ticket to the next level of media exposure and by that I mean network TV, New York Times, and late night TV shows. So I’m just wondering why hasn’t he been on Letterman, Sports Center, or some of the mainstream print media.
I’m sure NHRA and the DSR folks are doing their best to make that happen but if he were the first African-American to win a NASCAR championship or even an IndyCar championship, I believe it would have been a major news story for electronic and print media. Sadly, II think this is a prime example of just how little drag racing means to the sports fans and media compared to any other national sport you care to name.
The most shocking and untold story in NHRA drag racing is the rapid fall from grace of rising star driver Spencer Massey who was unceremoniously terminated from the DSR camp after an incident at the NHRA’s Championship banquet. It is rumored that the NHRA has suspended his competition license.
The most depressing story was that NHRA President Tom Compton continues to have issues turning around the fortunes of the National Hot Rod Association. The NHRA’s best year ever in total revenue was 2008 when, according to their tax return, the NHRA grossed more than 122 million dollars. Their 2011 tax return shows a drop in gross revenues to $98 million compared to gross receipts of $104 million the year before. No one I’ve talked to thinks the 2012 numbers will be better than 2011. For the first time in almost a decade the NHRA dropped below the $100,000,000 level in gross receipts l’m Just Wondering who (if anyone) should shoulder the blame for that kind of poor performance? And perhaps more importantly what is being done to reverse the trend?
Why isn’t the NHRA taking advantage of the resurgent high-performance trend in auto making? Every Detroit manufacturer is mandated by Federal law to build cars that deliver good gas mileage so they have all had to come up with something else to put “sizzle” in their advertising and sell cars. That “sizzle” is offering the public high horsepower two-door sedans with engines making up to 600 hp! I even saw a Chrysler commercial the other day that actually used the term “muscle cars.”
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