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Don’t look now, but drag racing is about to make a major change.Â Just remember that you heard it here first. By this time next year I am 98% convinced that IHRA will have more sanctioned tracks than NHRA.Â
So, as the icicles begin to form in Hades, why am I so sure this will happen? It really is pretty simple.Â IHRA’s program has far more benefits to the track owner and local racer than NHRA does. And let’s not forget the fun factor. If I were a local bracket racer I would demand that the track be IHRA-sanctioned simply because the races are more fun to attend.
I know those statements will hold little credibility because of my previous job. I know I will be labeled a “homer” for pushing the IHRA agenda.Â But the facts don’t lie. Before I left IHRA we went over the legitimate 100 track mark and by the time you read this, it may be closer to 110. Eleven years ago, when I took over the IHRA President’s position, we had less than 70. What changed the dynamic was some creative thinking from the IHRA staff and an incredible passion for grassroots racing from the brain trust at Summit Racing.
While the spectator end of drag racing is getting battered, local bracket racing is holding its own overall and, dare I say, even thriving in certain areas. One group of promoters have their heads in the stars. The second group of promoters have their heads in their butts.Â Which brings me to subject #2.
GOLF AND DRAG RACINGâ€¦ TWO PEAS IN A POD
The similarities are uncanny.
- One golf course closes down every two weeks. One auto racing venue closes down about every three weeks.
- Golf is losing players because it takes so long to play and the greens fees are so high. Drag racing is losing spectators because it takes so long to view an event and ticket prices are so high.
- The operational costs of maintaining a golf course have almost doubled in 10 years. The cost of maintaining a drag race venue is up almost 75% over 10 years ago.
- TV ratings for both are way down because their respective stars (Tiger Woods, John Force) are old news. What’s left in both sports is a bunch of very talented people that few viewers have any passion for.
- There is a glut of golf courses and drag racing “national” events. It’s time to thin the herd. Can Pebble Beach or the US Nationals ever return to their glory days? Not unless things change.
Here is what many golf courses have done. Some have installed 24-inch holes. Why?Â Because it’s a lot more fun to sink a 30-foot putt then three-putt from 15 feet.
Some courses have a soccer night where you play each hole by kicking a soccer ball instead of hitting a $5 golf ball with a $400 driver.
Old style golf says you must wear a collared shirt and knee length shorts. Â New style golf says that every Thursday is Psychedelic T-shirt Day and Mini Skirt Monday is the hot deal for ladies.
OK, drag racing.Â It’s time to grow a set of golf balls and make this fun again. Quit repeating the past. Â IT’S NOT WORKING.