I hope that you won’t be offended if I speak plainly. You see in my business one needs to speak plainly so as not to be misunderstood.
In coffee shops, restaurants and even some bars around the country this week the debate over the solution to championship drag racings problems is on everybody’s lips. To start with, this conversation has been going on in one form or another for over fifty years.
The unfortunate thing about it is that until several people are injured or worse, nothing seems to change. Another unfortunate is that in drag racing, unlike NASCAR or Formula 1, it is usually the racers that come up with the solution.
Case in point is the recent changes in funny car chassis design only came about after several accidents one of which included a fatality. Then it was a racer that addressed the problem not the sanctioning body.
As long as this sport exists, it is going to be dangerous. That is the only constant. However, the degree that the sport is a danger is something that can and should be addressed.
From time to time we see a press release wherein, when convenient, the NHRA would like to compare themselves to NASCAR (Most recently the announcement that they (NHRA) are poised for growth).
First off, for NHRA to compare themselves to NASCAR in any fashion is simply a delusion.
NASCAR fields a show that is without confusion. All of the cars look like something the fans and sponsors alike can identify with (Ford, Chevy, Dodge) and at the end of the day there is one World Champion.
A major part of the problem here starts with the lack of a well rounded and financed field. Unlike NASCAR, which has made a point of working diligently to have a field of well sponsored cars, it appears that the NHRA competes with the racers for sponsors. Instead of mother hen getting fed first, it seems the board sees fit to skim the cream and not to worry about much else except for a full dose of posturing.
One of the results of this approach is that, save for a minority of five or six teems who do well and are not going to make waves, the so called racer organization (Pro) is a powerless bunch arguing about who sells the greatest number of T-shirts or who got the best parking in the pits.
NASCAR has spent tens of millions of dollars developing safer cars, as well as safer tracks to race on and makes the tough decisions regarding safety, while the NHRA builds additional corporate suites to further their so-called non-profit status (remember “Dedicated To Safety”), and when something goes wrong the designated talking head informs us that they are studying the problem.
We have come to a point where, because of the amount of fuel being burned and the velocity that the cars are reaching, coupled with the fact we are in a changing world, the time has come for a major change that needs to take place with regard to track safety, and in case you haven’t noticed, the car count is dwindling and behind the scenes more than one of the top players grow tired of the game the way it is conducted. This begs the question that under the current regime in these times and in this place, perhaps this deal has reached past its zenith?
It seems obvious to many but those who are asleep at the switch or out of touch.