Off to a good start... and then some Wondering

In previous Blasts I suggested that both the IHRA and the NHRA could have great opening events based upon a recovering U.S. economy and gasoline costing a dollar a gallon less than it did last year at this time. The NHRA Winternationals grandstands looked about 60-70 percent occupied on Saturday and Sunday, and the IHRA’s opener at Tucson, where veteran promoters Alan Miller and Charlie Harmon are running the program, had a sold out race on Friday and Saturday. Granted, the track at Tucson doesn’t have the seating capacity of the Pomona track, but the fact that the IHRA and NHRA races both had really good crowds is a good indicator that drag racing could have a great year.  

I think the popularity of drag racing as a spectator sport is on the rise. It is way ahead of the rest of motorsports in that it offers professional racing entertainment at a variety of price points, from $20 to see an IHRA qualifying show to $50 to see NHRA qualifying. Drag racing fans these days are fortunate to have a wide variety of series featuring different headliner attractions and ticket prices to choose from -- and that makes drag racing a very healthy sport.

Just Wondering... If the rumor that the Republican-controlled congress is going to invite the NFL’s president, Roger Godell, to testify in front of one of their committees and explain and justify why the NFL can afford to pay its CEO $40 million a year and still should be exempt from paying Federal income tax is true. Both the NFL and NHRA operate under the same no-for-profit corporate status with the IRS, so I wonder if that same committee might invite NHRA prez Tom Compton to come to Washington and explain why the NHRA should have tax exempt status? I have to admit that it steams me that I have to pay State and Federal taxes on my own company’s income while the NHRA, NFL and no doubt other sports corporations with billions of dollars in revenue annually are exempt from Federal taxes.

Just Wondering... What to make of the fact that a percentage of fans at NHRA national events on Sunday seem to be leaving after the first round of eliminations? I started noticing it last season at NHRA events, like the fans at a Dodgers baseball game at Chavez Ravine ankle the stadium in the seventh inning. Comparing photos from the first round of eliminations on Sunday at Pomona and the final round show significantly more fans in the stands in round one than are seen in the stands in the final round. Apparently a lot of NHRA fans are there not for the racing but just for the experience of feeling, hearing and seeing nitro-burning racecars and after a couple of rounds they go home.

Just Wondering... Based upon the number of entries in professional classes at both the NHRA and IHRA national event season openers last weekend, is it safe to assume that the days of five to ten more entries than there are qualifying spots for are over? I think that the NHRA, IHRA, and PDRA fans will have to be satisfied with one or two alternates at most in the professional classes and qualifying will continue to be less and less important.

Just Wondering... Why the IHRA scheduled their opening date at Tucson on the same weekend that NHRA had their season opener at the Pomona Fairgrounds? Evidently the IHRA wasn’t interested in showcasing their sportsman series to NHRA-loyal sportsman racers from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, many of whom had to drive by IHRA’s Tucson track going to Pomona for the Winternationals. I think a lot of NHRA sportsman racers and some of the Top Fuel Harley racers who had to choose between Tucson and Pomona would have welcomed the chance to race for both sanctioning bodies.

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