Story continues below this advertisement
Jeff, my father always said that “the one constant in life is change.” You pretty much hit the nail on the head that if we don’t slow some classes down, we will drive the sport – or at least certain classes - to extinction.
While I agree that it makes no sense to race fuel cars to 1000 feet and everyone else to 1320, I think the solution is to slow the cars down and return to the 1320. There is still as much parts breakage, crashing, and cost at 1000 feet as there was at quarter mile. So let’s stop fooling ourselves and slow down the classes closest to the edge of the safety envelope. If NHRA truly wants to improve safety and reduce costs, slow these cars down a little and get back to 1320. I’ve done the math, and 1000 foot does not address the real issues at all. It is little more than kowtowing to the insurers – a temporary solution that will likely be remembered as the “lost years” of NHRA racing because nothing that happens at 1000 feet has any relevance to traditional racing. The technology to slow the cars and ease the burden on parts is there, yet no one seems willing to take the first step.
Slower cars do not make drag racing an unmarketable product by any means. I am convinced that no spectators will stay away from drag racing if the cars are slowed. Nostalgia fuel cars at 5.70 and 250 MPH are still plenty exciting, and fans are flocking to see them. A Big Show at 4.70 and 290 MPH will definitely put people in the seats. I’d also bet big money no drivers will hang up their helmets if the cars are slowed either. Especially since it will be safer and less expensive. Racers race. It's what we do; it’s in our blood; and the spirit of innovation and competition lives at any speed.
But you also touched on something that should elicit fear in the mind of every automotive enthusiast – the EPA. You may remember them as the reason for the demise of the muscle car, and other atrocities. As someone with the necessary science skills to go head to head with these clowns, I can tell you that any form of motorsports is dancing with the devil if they let the EPA within 50 miles of an event. These are irrational ideologues with no reservations about decimating our sport.
I can also tell you that there are legions of eco-fascists out there who think motorsports of any kind are a crime against the planet and would love to see them abolished. Yes, they are clueless idiots, but they have powerful lobbies in government and billions in “Big Green” funding. And in case you haven’t noticed, green-mania fueled by global warming hysteria has overtaken the public mindset.
There are other external forces working against motorsports as well, and racing will face some tough climbs in the years ahead. Meanwhile, racers need to get on the same page and pull together against common threats in order to survive and move forward. I love our sport and have been in and around it for over 40 years, so getting used to more-regulated fuel cars will take some doing. But if it preserves the sport then it’s time for a change.
San Diego, California