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After three days of working in boiling heat and humidity at the 61st World Series of Drag Racing last weekend and with a DRO AA/FC race at U.S. 131 scheduled for September 5-6 at Martin, Mich,. this 69 year-old has decided to not attend the six-day 60th annual U.S. Nationals. One thing that made this decision a little easier for me is that there will be plenty of TV coverage of the iconic event on ESPN. So I will be at Indy in spirit but the Burkster’s body won’t. He has the Burkalounger stationed strategically in front of the flat screen, a fridge full of pre-made margaritas, beers and ranch dip. I’m thinking of using a little nitro to light the grill so I can get some nitro fumes. I’d be going if they still had Top Fuel Bikes at the Nats!
I have verified that the IHRA is making at least one change in their program for the 2015 season and that is the sanctioning body will end their Fuel Altered experiment. It wasn’t like the racers and cars didn’t do what they historically have always done: They were evil handling, unpredictable, and as often as not oiled the track The same things the cars in that class have become famous for doing since the beginnings of drag racing. My guess is that IHRA management made the call not because they weren’t entertaining but because, like some girlfriends we all had, they were simply too “high maintenance”.
“Friction is where you find it.” -- former SS&DI Editor, the late Steve Collision.
Racers always complain about sanctioning bodies and track operators not listening to them or making changes they want. The reason that sanctioning bodies and track operators sometimes don’t listen is that (for the most part) racers are all mouth and no action. But there is an example of how much power racers can have if they take collective action.
That example is how racers at all levels of the sport have FORCED the tracks and sanctioning bodies to spend a lot of money on track prep. Racer pressure and nothing else forced tracks and sanctioning organizations to buy expensive track cleaners, tire rubber applicators, barrels and barrels of liquid traction compound, and to hire professional “ track prep” experts. Tracks are regularly re-paved, polished or re-surfaced.
For a lot of tracks and series, providing the kind of track surface and traction the racers demand is the most time consuming and expensive part of their operation. This has all come about because the tracks and sanctioning bodies have found that if the track surfaces are not up to the racers’ standards they simply stay away from their local track and instead travel 100-300 miles to race on a “good” track.
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