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Not a good deal with ESPN

When NHRA signed up with ESPN how drunk were they? They had to be drunk to sign on to a “Stick and ball” network. It seems like all summer it’s “guess the programming change.” If the dribble and filler they used to fill time isn’t bad enough, I can put up with interviews with everyone in the Force camp, I can put up with Paul Page mispronouncing every name in the book, I can put up with interviewing the Pedregons and listening to them bitching about how Force “threw the race,” but what I can’t put up with is setting the TiVo to record qualifying at some idiotic hour and then getting up to watch it only to see 45 minutes of some little league quailing rounds for Saigon vs. Beirut, or some college game that is a 72-0 blowout with two minutes left on the clock and still watching the same game 25 minutes later as they take numerous times outs, commercial breaks, etc. Not that these sport aren’t great and they have their place, but again how drunk was NHRA when they signed up on this network?

I did not renew my membership this year in September for the first time since 1968. I just got tired of reading limited coverage in National Dragster and flipping page after page of ads, I may as well save the money and quit reading the new “Penny Saver” of drag racing. What happened to the great paper that it used to be? I know that ads pay the bills, but I thought that my dues helped fund this.

I used to go to several races every year; sometimes we would arrive on Thursday to watch everything from X Stock to Top Fuel and go home sunburned and happy on Sunday. Then we began to just go on Saturday and Sundays, then just Sunday. Now the few times I go it is mostly on Friday. Why Friday? Because that’s when I would see the most drag racing. It seems like everyone tries to make into the show on Friday. But then again the “Drunken Masters” have decided to have a “Countdown to One” and now the teams that don’t have the big bucks or aren’t in the hunt fail to show or just drop out.

We can all argue that drag racing has changed, it’s all about big business, but NHRA could do us all a favor and maybe show a little of the “other guys.” Example: The Greek. Jesus, this guy is so old that he calls Don Garlits “son,” but he still climbs into the car and runs low 5s or an occasional high 4 at over 300 mph. With that snow white mane of hair he looks like a Greek god, and to a lot of us he’s what we want to be when we get to be his age. How about the Bobby Lagana Jr.? Anyone that, until recently, used a roll back truck to travel around with a 300-inch dragster hanging off the top, what a story that would make. But do we get that? Nope, instead we see the inside of Cory Mac’s million dollar motor home or Ashley’s cat, or something we have seen a hundred times before. 

So here it is, 12:30 at night, I’m mad and frustrated that the alleged voice of the organization seems so callus about the paper we couldn’t wait to read as to let that go down the tubes, sparse and haphazard TV coverage at all hours of the night pre-empted by any kind of other programming, so devoid of content and any real drama (Whit Bazemore, please come home, all is forgiven). I think I’ll dust off some of those old Diamond P VCR tapes and watch those instead. As for NHRA, I suggest a few Bloody Marys. They are supposed to help with the hangovers.

Tell NHRA to stop prepping the track so much. How about the tune up matching the track rather than matching the track to the tune up? Better side-by-side racing may take place.

Steve Mc Donald

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