Volume IX, Issue 1, Page 42

1/11/07

RACERS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE SHOW

I've been an NHRA member for 31 years and IHRA for 7 years. I can sum up my feelings having seen the growth and transition since 1975. NHRA,"Not Hot Rods for All" and IHRA, "Invites Hot Rodders from All over".

Someone commented on the piddly purses for NHRA sportsman racers. You couldn't PAY me enough to go to a grading or national event and spend 3 to 5 days out of town and time off work to win next to nothing. Looking out over the "sportsman" pits at the 300K operations (those are the tow rigs and trailers) you would think there is money to be won. Let's face it, touring is rich man's sport and they don't need the support that a good purse would offer.

For me, I can't afford it and I can win more at local and out of town bracket races and actually present an argument for pursuing my hobby to my wife! In reality, win money or not, you gotta love it and have fun. There again, I gotta go with the brackets. I respect the guys who have the dedication and put in the time and resources to be competitive in Comp, Super, and Pro categories, but it's just not for me, and I don't think for the average racer any more either. 

I felt a bit more at home with the IHRA seeing that they do everything they can to make it easier for the regular guy to compete. I loved the 2 races in one weekend idea. 

The handwriting may be on the wall for regular bracket programs. Just look at the stands. Half the racers bring their living room and kitchen with them so they don't even visit concessions. Our local track has had a tough time making money with Quick 16 and Brackets, and they dropped the Q16. That was one of my favorite reasons for sticking with our home track. Lots of runs and seat time. Now the owners are having fun with Real Street, weekday night racing, and import races. Imports are a big hit. After all, a kid can't go out and buy a Detroit hot rod anymore.

Now the track has gone back to NHRA to gain some marketing exposure. That's cool, anything the track needs to do to survive is fine by me. I will continue to hold both cards.

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Where else in the world can the regular guy strap into a drag car and do a smoky burnout to start the race program just as the national anthem ends. It gives me goose bumps every time.

With regards to attendance, if things continue this way, and programs shrink, I might have to sell the car, get a dragster (I will not call a dragster a car) and hit the traveling bracket shows. At least I have a chance of being "famous" for a few minutes, and I love watching guys like me finally break the big one.

Keep up the good work IHRA, and NHRA, please remember who made you...it wasn't the TV networks.

Dennis DiValerio
Algonquin, IL

INDECISIVE = BASHING

Dave Smithers writes that there's been too much Rick Stewart/NHRA bashing in the wake of the Schumacher incident at Pomona. Yet in the same paragraph he states that he's never seen Rick Stewart act so indecisively. THAT is the problem. Stewart is the Starter and he MUST be decisive. Hence the bashing.

Steve Graham
Raleigh, NC

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