Notes scribbled on my coaster from McGurk’s Irish Pub in O’Fallon, MO, home of the best corned beef sandwich in St. Louis

I have been thinking about it and I cannot recall a time in the relatively short history of drag racing like what we are experiencing now. The 2013 drag racing season will start with new owners of both the International Hot Rod Association and American Drag Racing League. There is the brand new, apparently well-financed series in the X-treme Drag Racing League and a new NHRA Pro Mod association, also well-financed.

Looking at this from an outsider point of view you would think that drag racing must be a growth industry since since many apparently successful businessmen are investing their own money in the sport.

The IHRA was purchased from Feld Entertainment by a group of investors led by  Michael Dezer of Dezer Properties, Joseph Lubeck of Landmark Apartment Trust of America, Inc., Edward Kobel of DeBartolo Development, and Jason Rittenberry.  This group already owns tracks in Tennessee and Florida and are known to have been trying to buy the IHRA for a couple of years. My feeling is this group of businessmen didn’t buy the IHRA and two tracks without long term goals to grow.

With a highly experienced and successful drag racing executive, Jason Rittenberry, as the CEO and partners reputed to have assets measuring in the billions of dollars, there is no doubt in my mind that the NHRA is eventually going to have some serious competition. I just don’t see the new IHRA owners just looking to maintain the IHRA status quo.

I’ll take bets and give great odds that in a year IHRA will have undergone some major changes with the purpose of challenging the NHRA.

I’ll predict right now that after the purchase of the IHRA by the owners of Palm Beach International, the NHRA will make damn sure that winter testing by their teams doesn’t return to that facility.


I am one of those “experts” who has voiced the opinion that all NHRA has to do to slow down their nitro cars is to just change or eliminate one component.

“Make ‘em run a single magneto, or make ‘em run a smaller fuel pump, a smaller supercharger, take some downforce away and so forth.”

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