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Who says NHRA is profitable!? ...and one more NHRA TV rant

I started getting emails yesterday from various readers directing me to read an article in the March 11 issue of the Sports Business Daily regarding the NHRA. My jaw dropped when I read the story that says the NHRA, under the stewardship of president Tom Compton, after losing money since the 2008 season, made a profit of $1,000,000 in 2012!

The first thing that came to my mind was, what was the NHRA thinking in putting this information out there? To me this is a public relations gaff that defies imagination.

The NHRA’s PR mantra has always been that everything is OK. Now we know -- by their own admission -- that at least for the period of  2008-2011 the NHRA lost millions of dollars a year.

So, my first question is, if that is the case how the hell could Tom Compton -- after doing the right thing and cutting everyone’s wages in 2009 -- then turn around and restore those salary cuts to everyone in the company (including the board of directors) while the company was still losing millions of dollars a year?  

It is an absolute fact that the NHRA management has cut their operating budget in all areas including manpower and program budgets. This year they reduced the number of National Dragsters from 48 issues to 25 after previously changing to a much smaller page format, both without any compensation to the subscribers.  

I am hard-pressed to find any racer, team owner or vendor who trusts or is happy with the way the NHRA does business with them. While their public politically correct stance may be that the NHRA is a fine business partner, privately they rip the sanctioning body’s management for constantly finding new ways to get more money from them and take potential revenue streams away from them. Race team owners to a man believe that the NHRA will try to “steal” their sponsors.

The news that the NHRA turned a $1,000,000 profit in 2012 (they won’t file their 2012 tax return until this fall, so we won’t be able to check until then) will only serve to infuriate the racers who already were sure the NHRA was ripping them off. Most if not all already believe - incorrectly - that a not-for-profit organization like the NHRA isn’t supposed to make a profit. Just for the record the NFL is recognized by the IRS as a not-for-profit company just like the NHRA and, brother, they make serious money. But, unlike the NHRA, both the NFL team owners and the stadium owners profit from the relationship.   

Here is the point of this rant. Almost every racer and race team I know of is struggling with money issues. Even John Force, Don Schumacher, Connie Kalitta or Ken Black can’t fund a race team indefinitely without some financial help. All of these owners have race teams that they fund out of their own pocket to a certain degree and the last thing they want to read about is that last year the NHRA made a million dollar profit while they were scrounging for sponsors for all their racecars. Ditto for the hundreds of sportsman racers and vendors; the last thing they want to read about is the NHRA president bragging about making money while they are still struggling to afford their hobby--  plus paying the NHRA to race!

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