The passion is gone

I missed Indy this year, and I've been going since 1973. The first couple years it was the world’s wildest uninhibited party in the campground across the street, the racing was almost secondary. Then it was all about the racing and the spectacle, Big Bud Shootout, Pro Stock Challenge, the smell of the nitro.

There was a mix of makes involved in Pro Stock, Super Stock and class racing was as intriguing as the pro classes. I saw the first 300-MPH runs and there was nothing anywhere in motorsports that could compare. The past few years my son has attended with me and it was often just for Friday, but the night time qualifying was incredible, and the fireworks after the last fuel cars just added more excitement. But ever since 1000-foot racing, Indy began to be less exciting, and the sponsors don't seem as connected as evil old Winston was. The atmosphere just began to get a bit less exciting. Last year, no fireworks after the fuel cars was a disappointment. The sour economy was keeping fans away and it was all too evident watching the TV coverage.

So last year I let my NHRA membership lapse, the Dragster stopped coming in the mail, I only casually pursue the TV coverage anymore.

I still go to races but it's the grassroots and nostalgia type reunion races that get my attention now.

This year a number of family issues have severely limited the time I have to devote to drag racing and as a result this year I missed Indy and didn't really care. Can I possibly miss two years in row? Probably not, but please, NHRA, do something to get the hardcore fan base excited about going to a national event again. Make Indy the biggest star attraction it once was. I have a grandson now that I want to start taking to the races, he's absolutely racecar nuts and I want to fuel his passion for great drag racing. Indy is the best place I can think of to let him see the best racing in the country.

Doug Benkert
Bloomington, Illinois

Ulterior motives?

I have a few thoughts about racing in general. One problem is someone wants to sell carbon fiber brakes and raise the cost of owning a racecar. I can remember going to the World Series when Top Fuel cars were stopped with drum brakes. My question is, do we really need overkill expensive safety equipment? I witnessed Joe Hendricks’ T/F fed stop at Havana with steel brakes on a 183-mph pass.

We raced a Jr. Fuel car on nitro a couple years ago and probably raced four or five times a year and then after two years our perfectly good seat belts, flex plate, and fire suit were out of date. Our car was never on fire, crashed, or had oil in the cockpit. Yet the date deemed them trash. I really believe that racing has become much like buying a refrigerator or hot water heater. Years ago your fridge kept your beer cold for twenty years and your shower hot for years. Today it’s designed to fail in the name of GREED.

I attended the Nationals this year in Indy and was bored by the mundane qualifying in Top Fuel and Ugly Car. It was over in four seconds and I had to read the decal on the windshield to figure out what make of car it was. Walking in the Top Fuel pits in most cases you needed binoculars to watch the engine being worked on. Where all the spaces for SPECIAL GUESTS to eat and drink are, there used to be racecar trailers and crews. I had more fun looking at the nostalgia cars and talking with friends. Fans are being bored in the stands with the show at hand and that is what is missing from races today: THE SHOW! Even the T/F cars have become something you need to work at NASA to identify with.

Take one mag away and make the cars slow down and run 1320 feet and make them look like what I drive every day. Even the Pro Stock cars. What have they become with that stupid scoop? I don't care if it makes more power, it makes the car look like nothing we know of.  Race in the rules of a given class and do not be concerned about going as fast as a jet airplane.

Thank you.

Mike Coker
Westfield, Indiana