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Sure, we all know that Southern California is the cradle of civilization for drag racing. It all started here in Goleta, Saugus, San Gabriel, Santa Ana, San Fernando, Irwindale, Lions, and the list goes on. Including the virtual loss of Pomona Raceway.
Now, in the first quarter of 2012, two more SoCal drag strips bit the dust, Auto Club Dragway and Irwindale Dragstrip. While they might not be forever closed, right now there is only the eighth-mile strip at Barona Drag Strip in San Diego County where local drag racers can compete wide open. Barona is a treasure, but it is rather doubtful that a lot of Los Angeles area DOT tire racers will make the long trek down there.
But wait, there’s always street racing! Seriously, I have no idea if there is any correlation between the gradual increase in SoCal street racing and two street racing deaths that have occurred in the same period as we find both Fontana and Irwindale closed.
What is really surprising to me is that there has not been one word, not a whimper of protest or support, from the National Hot Rod Association. Actually there has been very little or no support for any local SoCal dragstrip in recent years. After all, the Big Show has basically stolen Pomona Raceway from anything but the Big Show; there is no weekly racing.
What caught my eye this week was the online Huffington Post, owned by AOL. It’s not something I read very often, and is basically a political and topical news website. Yet it ran an article with the headline “Drag Racers in LA: As Tracks Close Racers Turn to the Streets”.
Why is it that two online, non-drag racing publications noticed our missing drag racing venues but NHRA hasn’t?
Now that I think back on it, I joked and dared two members of the NHRA elite to show up at Irwindale Dragstrip a half dozen times over the course of two years, but something always came up preventing anyone from taking my offer to show them how the rest of SoCal experiences drag racing, how the other half lives. Big Show arrogance seemed to get in the way. Guess they’re just not that interested in drag racing unless they HAVE to attend for their jobs, or to smile for the photogs for a media groundbreaking.