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Burkster, I couldn't agree more with your take on NHRA, and the state of drag racing as it stands right now. I wish our founding fathers would have had crystal balls to tell them that some of the rules they founded the country on could would be so bent up and destroyed.
Why has greed become such an overpowering force in American life? Drag racing as we knew it started with a pretty small, but much more focused pile of individuals back in the days... it was all about building, experimenting, and developing new ways to get down the track a little quicker, a little faster, and for the most part, they didn't really pay attention to, or care about what outsiders thought about it.
TV coverage is not going to grow the sport the same way it grew stick and ball sports. You cannot convey the feeling of speed and power that being interested in it in the first place does. I sometimes wonder if only having it on TV once or twice a year, like when it was on Wide World of Sports, might do more good... it's too easy just to tune in and complain about the crappy time slot. I used to plan two weeks ahead of time to be in front of my TV when ABC covered the Winternationals.
It's all about advertising, sponsors, market share... the original focus that started the sport is gone. Very few kids today will ever feel the gratification of tearing apart a car or engine, rebuilding it from the ground up, and hearing and feeling the power that they just created. That is what STARTED drag racing. There's an old show business axiom that goes "always leave them wanting more." That is what TRULY creates the demand for the event you are trying to promote... nowadays, the attitude is buy advertising space, air time, tours, promotional events to convince the public that what you are promoting is what they want... whether they do or not doesn't enter into the equation, the figures can be juggled to show how right the promoter is. That's why our "stars" today are "created" by how many times they are in the news, as opposed to the way it used to be when they got press coverage for really accomplishing something.
Drag racing and the NHRA were built on the backs of the grassroots racers who would be there racing even if there were no John Forces or multi-car teams. They will still be battling it out to the finish line without ever caring about Pro Stock drivers whining about track prep. The talk of their day will still be who cut the better light, not the high price of nitro. NHRA and nitro racing has so many parallels to our government and corporations, it's unreal... use the sportsman's dollars to run the corporation, and use nitro racing to provide the un-realistic profits, and just like the taxpayers’ dollars, none of it goes back to the people who started it. Sportsmans’ fees keep going up, but the sport is suffering because people aren't following it on TV because the big team's can't find sponsors to pay for TV time. And the vicious circle goes on and on.
Thank you for your time and consideration... I'm going back out to the garage now to work on cutting better lights.