Just Wondering  in the Midwest sauna known as St. Louis

Just Wondering… What’s next? Despite great mid-summer weather and great racing the previous week, the NHRA event at Route 66 Raceway drew the smallest non-weather related crowd I’ve seen in the modern era of drag racing. (That era began when Billy Meyer built the Motorplex outside Ennis, Texas). Was it the price of a general admission ticket? ($59 at the gate on Sunday.) Does the fact that the races are broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN3 mean fewer people come to the venue?

Who knows for sure why NHRA drag racing and NASCAR are having problems selling tickets but the inescapable fact is they are. I suspect that the NHRA tracks  -- who, by the way, don’t get a piece of a $5,000,000,000 TV package like their NASCAR brethren -- are lucky to be breaking even and in case of tracks like Route 66 and Epping probably lost money on their NHRA national events.

So how long can this go on before tracks the NHRA doesn’t own opt out of holding national events simply because they can no longer risk spending as much as %750,000 to $1M in pre-race promotion and track preparation before they sell the first ticket? Especially when they can figure on selling fewer tickets based upon the obvious drop in attendance at NASCAR and NHRA events.

Just Wondering… Is the time coming when tracks on the NHRA circuit start removing some seats from their venues? Nothing looks worse or scares off potential sponsors more than a sporting event (especially a televised sporting event) when a large section of bleacher seats are going unused!

Just Wondering… Are sponsors like Coca-Cola, the U.S. Army, Traxxas, Mopar, Geico, Harley-Davidson and NAPA satisfied enough with the viewership (Nielsen numbers) the ESPN broadcasts of NHRA national events delivers to not care if the stands are full of fans? Evidently Ford and Castrol weren’t.

Just Wondering… Why almost every iconic brand such from General Motors to Gucci to Major League Baseball can reduce the retail prices of their product and advertise that they are doing so to sell off excess inventory but the NHRA management maintains that dropping their ticket prices will “cheapen the brand”? Say what?

Just Wondering… Will even hardcore NHRA Pro Mod fans and IHRA national event fans watch TV shows in October and November of races taped back in January and February of this year? The producers and racers must be counting on their fans all having short-term memory loss.

Just Wondering… Why do they have a braille plaque on the drive-up ATM at the bank?

Just Wondering… Am I the only gearhead out there that absolutely HATES those automatic answering systems that a lot of speed-part manufacturers and warehouses use instead of a live person? Whatever happened to the personal human interaction that made the sport of drag racing what is was? I don’t mind listening to the dulcet tones of Dave McClelland or Alan Reinhardt, but I hate jumping through a lot of hoops just to talk to a human and spend my money.

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