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Discussion in 'NHRA' started by Nunz, Nov 10, 2017.
Hate the countdown, always have and always will. Playoffs have no place in motorsports.
Look, I know the Countdown to the Championship has been discussed ad nauseam. I get it. But doesn’t NHRA understand the irony of doing a segment with Lewis Bloom explaining just how epic Tony Schumacher’s 2006 Championship was? He came back from being down by more than 300 points… without resetting the points at any point during the season! Don’t they understand that by instituting this silly Countdown they prevent something similar from ever happening again?!?! Oh, and you can't earn points for setting a record either. Duh!! And I love it when NHRA and those who support the Countdown say it's very similar to the playoff format in the stick and ball sports. In addition to the obvious fact that in the stick & ball sports, teams only face other playoff teams, they also all start at zero! NHRA is almost showing it's hand by saying the regular season points leader gets extra points and then each playoff car from two through ten gets less. If they all made the playoffs like the stick and ball guys, shouldn't they all have zero points to start the countdown?
All that aside, I'd like to make the following observations:
1. Brittany won the title fair and square (by the rules), so my sincere congratulations to her for doing so – Alan Johnson is the man, no doubt. (Note: And Nunz makes a valid point about how championships used to be earned - Just ask Ace, he'll tell ya.)
2. My hat's off to Team Summit. They have taken a beating on this board in years past for a variety of reasons, but they showed exactly how it should be done (Looking at you, Mr. Force.) The guy renting everything didn’t lay down for the boss and then he went on to win the title over the rich kid. Bravo, fellas. Bravo! especially Bo! Well done.
3. Capps handled himself like the champion he is. You could tell he wanted to comment on the dive that took place in Vegas but he bit his tongue and accepted defeat graciously. I'm sure he knew and understood that he didn't get past the first round and that was on him and his team, not JFR.
4. Will NHRA mandate having the chute release on the steering wheel after the newly crowned champ said he couldn't reach the handle because the body contorted in such a way as to lift it away from him?
5. Pro Stock will not be the same without Allen and Roy Johnson. It’s on life support as it is, but he will be sorely missed. Class act through and through.
6. Same goes for Alexis, but I’m interested to see how well Shawn crosses over to a FC.
Is it February yet?
Wasn't it Del or Ron that had a similar issue a few years ago with not being able to reach a chute? With the potential for body issues, I like the idea of the chutes being closer to the driver.
If NHRA is dead set on a count down then have 3 eight race series over the year then the winner of each series and a wild card would race for championship.
I thought the chutes were tied to the burst panels and deployed automatically when the panels blew (which they obviously did). Maybe I dreamt that.
So help me understand: in a non-rigged system the number one car in each category gets the trophy; but in a Jerry-rigged system the trophy goes to #4 and #2 respectively? Yes, it's a rhetorical question, but it just points out that the Countdown needs to go away.
Good point. Not sure what happened there, but in the interview Robert definitely explains the late chutes as being tied to his inability to reach the handle.
IIRC some drivers have them mounted to the body and others to the chassis, I think the way his body broke and twisted the lever did not activate, jammed until he could reach it manually
I don't like the countdown, much prefer season long points. That can be an exciting thing. Don Garlits & Gary Beck actually went to court one year. Judge threw it out. But still.... the rivalery was there and it added to the excitment. I think drag racing needs to stand on it's own and not copy stick & ball or NASCAR.
Never heard about the court battle, what was it about?
If I remember right, Garlits & Beck were running for both the IHRA and NHRA championship that year, 1975. Had to do with Garlits going to court to get a temporary restraining order on Beck, cuz Beck was leading the NHRA points. I just looked on Google to find the story, & didn't find much. Sorry I'm hazy on the details. Anyhoo, the judge tossed out the suit and Garlits & Beck went to Ontario to "settle it". Beck ran 5.69 (first in the 5.60's) on Friday, shocked everyone. Garlits ran 5.63 -250 on Sat & ended up winning the race & the championship. Beck was ahead on points but lost to Herm Petersen in the semi's and that was that. Some people thought Garlits was out of line by going to court, but Garlits has been intense at times. heh I do believe that Garlits did win both championships that year. A driver could run for NHRA, AHRA, IHRA and some ran all 3 & did well. It was good for your resume if you won a championship in one of those organizations. Several drivers did win 2 championships in one year.
Hi Cliff, the following info is taken from Garlits' pocketbook biography.
1975 was the first year of the Winston Championship. The previous year was NHRA's first season long points chase but it had no series sponsor.
Winston also supported IHRA's similar points chase. Garlits and Beck were competing in both series. Garlits had an insurmountable lead by Oct. in the IHRA series. Unlike NHRA, Larry Carrier's IHRA had appearance contracts for their top stars. IHRA's season final was at Bristol which happened to be on the same weekend as NHRA's Fallnationals at Seattle.
Even though Beck was contracted to appear at Bristol he decided to run Seattle instead.
The upset Carrier, claiming he had invested a lot of money in pre-race promotion, filed the restraining order.
Beck still ran at Seattle and won the race which put him ahead of Garlits in NHRA's points chase. Carrier got the federal judge in Greenville TN to set a court date to see if Beck could keep his NHRA points. Don't ask me how a federal judge could make NHRA invalidate Beck's points but that's what the book says!
Anyway, just before the race the judge threw out the case and declared, "Let Beck and Garlits race for the points."
And of course, you told the rest of the story as it happened on Ontario Motor Speedway.
Maybe they should call the countdown "handicap racing".
Like it or not, the countdown is here to stay just like 1000' fuel racing. Every team, driver, and sponsor knows about it and it's the same for everyone. No matter how well you do during the regular season, it's qualifying for position for the countdown. It's NHRA's sandbox, so everyone has to play by their rules.
James, thank you for bringing the story to light. I couldn't remember all the details, but I think that is the only time in drag racing history that racers went to court over a championship. Of course, Larry Carrier was kinda in his own world as well. But, he was the one responsible for getting Winston involved in drag racing. At first it was supposed to be Winston & IHRA, then NHRA came in. I had heard that Winston wanted to merge both associations & have one sanctioning body. Carrier said no way, so Winston dropped IHRA & stayed with NHRA.
The countdown to 10 doesn’t even make sense to me cuz there’s barely more than 10 full time cars to begin with.
Back in the day you won the championship at the last race of the year, it didn't matter how well you did at the other races before that one.
Yep, the finals at Amarillo, Texas. You won & became the Champ. I do remember NHRA, in 1960, had a format where ONE racer was the champ, regardless of class. Based it on points earned during the season. Sportsmen racers went head to head with what was the Pro class back then. I'm not sure how long that lasted, but it did involve touring the country. The 1960 champ was Buddy Garner from Hobbs, NM, in a C/Altered Plymouth with a Chevy engine. The runner-up was Earl Rowe in an S/SA Pontiac from Richmond, VA. So, he was the first NHRA Champ.
This is true but I think younger fans could use a bit more info to get the entire picture of how you became an NHRA World Champion prior to 1974, the first year of the points chase. Back then there were only about 8 or 9 national events. If I recall correctly they had little---or no bearing---on qualifying for World Finals participation. NHRA's 7 Divisions hosted World Championship Series events from early spring to late summer. Each Division featured 5 events per season and Divisional Champions were crowned. You had to achieve a minimum point total to be eligible to race at the World Finals.
These Divisional races typically offered 8 car eliminators for all classes. But some events, like to day, had short fields.
We also have to consider the vastly different era for pro racers at this time. Full time racers made their living from match race appearance fees.
So most of the big names tended to run those races instead of the points meets where a loss could mean little to virtually no income. This precluded many headliners from running the World Finals. Don't get me wrong, you'd get Jerry Ruth and Kenney Goodell in Div. 6 or Big John and Gas Ronda in Div. 7 but the typical WCS race wasn't nearly as star studded as let's say the Rockford Manufacturers Meet or a typical 8-FC shootout at US131.
Hence, many big names wouldn't be at the World Finals, certainly not as much as at Pomona, Gainesville, E-town or Indy.
But after '75, Winston's participation slowly began to change professional FC and TF racing. Year by year the Winston series grew in race count, prize money and stature. Conversely, the high cost of racing killed match racing at smaller venues. By the early '80s having a sponsor and running the NHRA Winston circuit was the only real option for a touring TF, FC or PRO team.
Cliff, this is true!
Jack Williams, in the Crossley-Williams-Swan top fuel dragster, was another NHRA World Champion. In fact, I believe he was the last one in 1964.
Because 1965 was the first year of the World Finals national event, held in Tulsa OK where that race's winners became the world champions. Williams also won the '64 Winternationals and was r/u to Garlits at Indy the same year which was Garlits' first US Nationals title.
As late as the early 1970s AHRA used to offer an overall World Champion title too.
For instance, Ronnie Sox edged out Gene Snow in 1970 to become AHRA's overall champion. And of course, Sox was their Pro Stock champion (which AHRA still called Super Stock) and Snow was the FC champion.