Dead on

Back Again

It has been a while since we last talked….


Hey guys, it’s not that I gave up or lost interest in drag racing but I had a lot on my plate and I just couldn’t get motivated. I think a lot of it was because I had decided to sell my last door car, the Olds Cutlass that I raced for a good friend, Nick Jeffrey, and installed a lot of updated parts and technology. He passed away and I bought the car from his wife and raced it the last few years and it was a great car and unique.


Although “real retirement” is probably never going to happen for me since I have never held a real job that had retirement benefits and 40+ years of self-employment didn’t really allow me to do much for retirement planning, I am beginning to sort of “run out of gas” when it comes to the extra hours it takes to keep a race car properly maintained and all the support equipment ready to go.


I raced all summer and got a win and loaned my car out at the end of the year to a good friend and extremely good bracket racer, Lou Rausch, so he could try to win the track championship. He never sat in it before the final race day but he figured it out in a hurry and won the overall track championship with it at Cedar Falls Motorsports Park. A fitting end for a car that had a lot of win lights come on in its lane for me.


Now, on to other things. WOW! is all I can say about the turnout of race cars at the original “Million Dollar Race” held in October in Montgomery, AL. Randy and Jennifer Folk have created “something special” at that event. Congratulations to them as a team of promoters and to all the racers who showed up to support the event. With several $25,000-to-win races surrounding The Million you just knew the racers were going to be killing it. I watched what I could on the live stream and, seeing some of those numbers, at the computer might have been the best spot for me.


As far as Big Money bracket racing goes, it has never been better. The “Flings”, Loose Rocker Series events, Drive for Fives, All sorts of $10,000-$20,000 to win races. About 90% of them are 1/8th mile and the racing is extremely competitive. I agree 1/8th mile is the best format but not because it is just closer racing but it get the events completed several hours quicker than most quarter-mile events. First thing the promoter has to do is set up a format where a race can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. This allows the employees to do a better job and makes getting around bad weather a better possibility.


I have received some ideas from racers on how to handle some of the really big events in a manner that will reduce the time it takes to run a race and “should bring spectators back”. One idea is to have time runs, dial the car for second time trial and the 64 drivers with the “Best Package” move on to the round of 64. Not eliminations, reaction time/closest to dial-in as the qualifier. Non-qualifiers would move down into a smaller race and would still be competing but not as part of The Show. If that worked and spectators would pay $15.00 to watch an Elite 64 car show with no buybacks, the entry fees to a big race might shrink significantly.


Right now, every Big Bucks Race I know of is entirely financed by the racers coming in the back gate. I really feel if the “show” was about two hours long and someone was trying to win $10,000, race fans would come to watch some of the fastest, best appearing race cars on the planet beat on each other by thousandths of a second.

Will they come and stay for 7 to 12 hours to see a race drug out so long even the racers get tired of sitting around? Absolutely not, that is why there are no spectators at bracket races -- WAY TOO MUCH WAITING AROUND (like watching paint dry).


Part of the attraction to the Heads-up crowds and TV coverage is about the actual racing, it is the “atmosphere of excitement”. If bracket racing is to continue to grow locally and regionally and the Big Bucks races are going to survive, I think we need to make it a lot more interesting. Add some grudge races between rounds, maybe book in a jet or a wheelie truck. Sure it seems like a circus…that is because that is exactly what it needs to be, entertainment.


Eventually all the guys who can drop $1,000 a weekend in entry fees, buybacks and another $1,000 in travel and food for these four-day events will get tired of spending and never winning. It goes in cycles and right now we have a strong cycle going with some bracket cars that are nicer than a lot of the pro cars. It’s time to take advantage of that and fill the bleachers. The more a track makes the more likely it will survive and the facility will be improved.


Hope to see some of you at some Big Bucks races this year and good luck to all of you at the end of 2017 at the big races and into 2018. 


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