Story continues below this advertisement
There has been a lot of talk recently about how we can get younger people involved in drag racing and why aren't they showing the interest us "old geezers" have.
There are probably as many answers as there are people hearing and asking these questions. I have a few ideas that I hope some brave track owner will try sometime soon, before it's too late.
From what different track owners tell me and others, there is a pretty young crowd showing up for test & tunes and some of the Wednesday night events. They don't really seem that interested in the mechanical part of the car but a lot of them are catching the competition fever of bracket racing.
That is a good thing, but then the old geezers who have bracket raced everything show up on those nights and beat up on the kids because they understand reaction times, consistency, and margins of victory to help turn on win lights. Sure, it's open competition, but that kind of humiliation has a good chance to turn that young racer back into a test & tune guy or, worse yet, he just leaves and doesn't come back to the drag strip.
How about the track owners having some rules that will not allow an entry into these beginner bracket races if you are over 30 years old, are entered in regular track points in the bracket program, or have an NHRA competition license or number? I think if the track has an interest in young racers, they need to protect that interest by making some rules to keep experienced racers away. Yes, the track might have a few bucks less income initially, but in the long run they are building a new customer base that will support the track into the future.
There is another element of this and that is on the regular bracket program. At a lot of tracks across the country you will see maybe 40 or 50 cars in S/Pro and maybe 40 or 50 in Pro. Sportsman is usually a lot smaller and a Street class is usually smaller yet.
I race in S/Pro and Pro. We have a dragster, which to me is the best "tool" for S/Pro racing. I also think the "best tools" have caused S/Pro to shrink because door cars simply don't look forward to racing a 7.50-second dragster every other round. The dragsters are inherently more consistent, and, since most leave second in a race, they cannot be the one who has the first red light.