What's new

Post John Force era

#2
Things would have been different if Eric Medlen had never passed on.

The NHRA hasn't made a single change for the better yet...so not having a lot of confidence going forward....
 

NJ4MULA

Nitro Member
#3
I couldn't imagine Drag Racing without Big Daddy, yet it survived. When Amato retired I couldn't picture the sport with out him, yet we roll on. Drag racing will will be fine, or at least status quo, after JF. What non-news worthy article is next?
 

camaro

Nitro Member
#4
what's more concerning will be the post 'schumacher/kalitta/force era'. theses guys currently make up half of the TF/FC fields combined and are all in their 70's and may wake up one morning and decide, 'i'm done' ! then what!. i'm sure there teams will continue, on some level after they quit, but will they continue to thrive as they have been for the last 20 plus years ??
 
Last edited:

mick

Nitro Member
#5
mite find out this year who's out there and wants to race. if the unpublished rumor is true that PS purse money has been siphoned over to the fuel classes for 17th and 18th spot, we mite see 17/18 car nitro fields rather immediately.....also think there are plenty of sportsman and nostalgia racers that would step up immediately if 4-6 touring pros folded tomorrow.
 
#6
When did Jerry Bonkowski become a Drag Racing "expert"? His entire article is about a decade late. Most of his predictions for what will happen, already did; years ago.

1. Shortening the weekends to 2 day events is problematic. Obviously rain is a potential issue no matter the venue, and as we all know Mother Nature can wipe out a day of qualifying rather easily. And fields have been set with no qualifying before, but it's rare.

2. Sportsman finals on Friday? I guess in theory that could work, but you'd essentially end up burying all those categories by keeping them away from potential eyes. Separate races; those are called Divisionals Jerry; they already exist.

3. I'm not sure what "Semi-Pro" is in his mind. Last I checked TAD and TAFC are sportsman categories. I'm not questioning the commitment by those racers; that's what NHRA classifies them as. Pro Mod is a Pro category; it's just a pay to play deal; meaning without someone to foot the bill NHRA sadly has no interest. Saturday's & Sunday's without sportsman cars would look very different; perhaps for the better; then again maybe not. An hour to an hour and a half of downtime between each round would be difficult to bear. Maybe throw in some exhibition cars for filler, but that also has potential for added down time. Or I guess you could bring back the GEICO clowns and watch them shoot hot dogs and t-shirts out of air cannons. Oh and how can I forget about watching the drunk at the fence try to shoot a basketball into a trash can.

4. For the love of God; don't follow NASCAR's lead. There's so much wrong with that sentiment it's scary. NASCAR has been sticking it to the sportsman oval track racers for years. And they're sick and tired of the constant rules changes and ever growing costs. NHRA has a framework in place; yes it's broken in places and needs attention, but they shouldn't look to something they're not and attempt to adapt someone else's model; that never works. NASCAR is not doing as well as many would like to believe. Look at the grandstands during a race; Truck, Xfinity, and some Cup races look worse than Sunday at the Drags.

As for what NHRA will do when Force steps aside; who knows. They sat on their collective hands when Prudhomme, Garlits, Shirley, Bernstein, Amato, Glidden, WJ, and a plethora of others called it a career. Who really thinks they will do anything now? I'm sorry, but NHRA doesn't make personalities; they're already there. It's up to us to open our eyes and see them.
 

Jimbo

Nitro Member
#7
Today with many other groups putting on all kinds of races from Pro Mod, Gasser Shows, Monster Truck Shows and everything else the NHRA as to really focus on putting on the best show around for not only the racers but for the fans and their families at every event.

The food has to be affordable at the concessions and ticket prices have to be reasonable. Consumers are smart and at the end of each event either they can say was a great experience or they can decide that maybe next time they will go to a Monster Truck show instead. It's all about putting on a real great event and show for everyone who attends.

Making it a fun event for everyone who attends is the key to staying in business.

I do believe many people come to watch John Force I know he reminds me of Jungle Jim with his rapid fire monologue.

Maybe we need more car-actors like that in the sport!
Jimbo
 

mike

Nitro Member
#8
When did Jerry Bonkowski become a Drag Racing "expert"? His entire article is about a decade late. Most of his predictions for what will happen, already did; years ago.

1. Shortening the weekends to 2 day events is problematic. Obviously rain is a potential issue no matter the venue, and as we all know Mother Nature can wipe out a day of qualifying rather easily. And fields have been set with no qualifying before, but it's rare.

2. Sportsman finals on Friday? I guess in theory that could work, but you'd essentially end up burying all those categories by keeping them away from potential eyes. Separate races; those are called Divisionals Jerry; they already exist.

3. I'm not sure what "Semi-Pro" is in his mind. Last I checked TAD and TAFC are sportsman categories. I'm not questioning the commitment by those racers; that's what NHRA classifies them as. Pro Mod is a Pro category; it's just a pay to play deal; meaning without someone to foot the bill NHRA sadly has no interest. Saturday's & Sunday's without sportsman cars would look very different; perhaps for the better; then again maybe not. An hour to an hour and a half of downtime between each round would be difficult to bear. Maybe throw in some exhibition cars for filler, but that also has potential for added down time. Or I guess you could bring back the GEICO clowns and watch them shoot hot dogs and t-shirts out of air cannons. Oh and how can I forget about watching the drunk at the fence try to shoot a basketball into a trash can.

4. For the love of God; don't follow NASCAR's lead. There's so much wrong with that sentiment it's scary. NASCAR has been sticking it to the sportsman oval track racers for years. And they're sick and tired of the constant rules changes and ever growing costs. NHRA has a framework in place; yes it's broken in places and needs attention, but they shouldn't look to something they're not and attempt to adapt someone else's model; that never works. NASCAR is not doing as well as many would like to believe. Look at the grandstands during a race; Truck, Xfinity, and some Cup races look worse than Sunday at the Drags.

As for what NHRA will do when Force steps aside; who knows. They sat on their collective hands when Prudhomme, Garlits, Shirley, Bernstein, Amato, Glidden, WJ, and a plethora of others called it a career. Who really thinks they will do anything now? I'm sorry, but NHRA doesn't make personalities; they're already there. It's up to us to open our eyes and see them.
When did Pro-mod become a pro class in nhra? even though its pay to play
 

James

Nitro Member
#10
NHRA is not going to drop Fridays ..... lost revenue. NHRA is not going to shut out sportsman racers .... lost revenue. As someone previously noted, NHRA has survived the retirement of other very popular racers. I really don't see much changing other than a slow death for Pro Stock, then the NHRA will have to figure out how to fill that hole.
 
#12
Today with many other groups putting on all kinds of races from Pro Mod, Gasser Shows, Monster Truck Shows and everything else the NHRA as to really focus on putting on the best show around for not only the racers but for the fans and their families at every event.

The food has to be affordable at the concessions and ticket prices have to be reasonable. Consumers are smart and at the end of each event either they can say was a great experience or they can decide that maybe next time they will go to a Monster Truck show instead. It's all about putting on a real great event and show for everyone who attends.

Making it a fun event for everyone who attends is the key to staying in business.

I do believe many people come to watch John Force I know he reminds me of Jungle Jim with his rapid fire monologue.

Maybe we need more car-actors like that in the sport!
Jimbo
One can only imagine a Jungle-Force combination. :)
 

Randy

Nitro Member
#13
People are different today. Some of our close friends have kids in their mid 20's who see no real need to get a driver's license. They call someone to take them somewhere if they need to go. When I was a kid I was at the DMV an hour before they opened on my 16th birthday as were most of my friends.

All forms of motorsports are suffering, not just the NHRA. And it isn't because the sportsman cars are running with the big show cars at National Events. Interests are changing. I'm not sure there is a fix. For other reasons brick and mortar stores and shopping malls are suffering, too. They long for a fix as well.

On a side note I participated in an annual event known as "Tour d' Orange" where 500-600 cars meet up at a shopping center in Aliso Viejo early morning every January 1'st and then do a tour down to Dana Point, up PCH to Newport Beach, then to Irvine Lake driving up Sand Canyon right by where the entrance to Orange County International Raceway used to be, and finally to an Irvine shopping center In-N-Out Burger. Big dollar cars of all vintages. Big HP cars, too. People line the route just to take pictures or to post videos on youtube. My point is, a lot of people are reluctant to show up because there is typically a large police presence there as well. In California you can not modify your car unless the parts are CARB compliant which leaves little more than the chrome accessories aisles in Pep Boys without getting busted. If the police suspect you put headers or any other non approved parts on your car and find out, you're toast. If you are caught in a spirited acceleration contest from light to light they can and will take your car, big fines, and you'll loose your driver's license for a long time. All reasons to go find something else to get excited about doing besides being interested in cars. I think this trickles down to people not being interested in motorsports as well. Think about the kids in the 50's and 60's working at gas stations during the day chopping and souping up their hot rods at night. Those are the guys who went to the drags. Long gone.


This is a fun video from a few years ago when the tour used to start in Costa Mesa. It's a signal for a freeway onramp. As the tour gets underway you'll see an occasional sprint to see who's got the fastest car as the light turns green. People from out of town waiting to cross probably think just about everyone in Orange County has a set of wheels.

 
Last edited:
#15
mite find out this year who's out there and wants to race. if the unpublished rumor is true that PS purse money has been siphoned over to the fuel classes for 17th and 18th spot, we mite see 17/18 car nitro fields rather immediately.....also think there are plenty of sportsman and nostalgia racers that would step up immediately if 4-6 touring pros folded tomorrow.
I think it is safe to assume the NHRA is siphoning off the Pro Stock purse money. Richard Freeman mentioned it in a recent article and Greg Anderson told me the same thing at Pomona.
 

PJ

Staff Member
Staff member
Nitro Member
#17
I think this guys article misses several issues.

First while there will be a hit after Force leaves, I don't see him walking away entirely. As someone else said the bigger issue is what happens when Schumacher, Kalitta or Force(the owner) walk away. Still this is always a common question across all sports. They NBA was worried about the post Magic/Bird era, then the post Jordan era. How would the NFL survive without Montana or Manning or whoever. Elliot, Earnhardt, Palmer, Gretzky, Garlits the list goes on and on from sport to sport. Sure Force has pull at the gate for the casual fan, although I question how strong it is now compared to 10 years ago, but if your sport is wrapped around one person then it is already doomed.

People getting up during sportsman racing is part of the deal. If the track is non-stop action then when do people go buy food, when do they browse the midway and get up close with various sponsors and their products? That is part of the "sell" to a sponsor, they know that they will get people past their booth. If there is never a lull then how does the NHRA sell that space? Going to complete off-time/half time/down time or whatever you want to call it would be bad as well. 45-60 minute down time, 3 times a day would kill. Who would wait out that time to watch a final round with 3-4 passes and how would that stands look on TV and to the sponsors. You would chase people out early which again means less money for concessions, less eyes on sponsors and such.

Admittedly, I am one of the people that sits in the stands to watch sportsman. Yes I do have friends in the class but it's also just good racing. Except throttle stops, they should be banned :)
Pinks all out showed that there is passion and market for these types of cars. They were filling race tracks to see 8-11 second cars.
I would like to see a restructure of the sportsman classes into 1 or 2 ET classes. Pick your dial and run. I was at a race this summer and there was this 16 second car out there that kept going rounds. People were going nuts watching 8 and 9 second cars trying to chase it down. It was great and every round there were more and more people in the stands to see the growing fan favorite. While I would personally love to see a top dragster try running me down in my daily driver I race I realize that might be overkill. So a 9.99 and below class and a 10 and above class. It lowers the cost for sportsman as they don't have to buy the newest go fast parts, they just need to be consistent. It makes for some fun matchups and good racing.

He does mention price, which is a big issue. Yes we can point out $60 for a days worth of entertainment is a good deal per hour. But to bring the family you are still shelling out big bucks to get in, plus food, travel and anything else. At the end of the day, the family budget isn't showing X dollars per hour of entertainment, it is showing $400(or whatever). Brining that cost down is what will bring new fans in. Taking away the sportsman means less money coming in, the NHRA would have to raise ticket prices to cover that gap then.
 
#18
I'd be interested in seeing the nostalgia teams come out and replace PS and run as a class, I think going back to some roots when you had smaller teams would bring racing a little closer to the people again and hopefully attract the one car teams again. I think you can keep people pretty much glued in their seat for 3 classes of nitro and 1 one of PM.
 
#19
I think this guys article misses several issues.

First while there will be a hit after Force leaves, I don't see him walking away entirely. As someone else said the bigger issue is what happens when Schumacher, Kalitta or Force(the owner) walk away. Still this is always a common question across all sports. They NBA was worried about the post Magic/Bird era, then the post Jordan era. How would the NFL survive without Montana or Manning or whoever. Elliot, Earnhardt, Palmer, Gretzky, Garlits the list goes on and on from sport to sport. Sure Force has pull at the gate for the casual fan, although I question how strong it is now compared to 10 years ago, but if your sport is wrapped around one person then it is already doomed.

People getting up during sportsman racing is part of the deal. If the track is non-stop action then when do people go buy food, when do they browse the midway and get up close with various sponsors and their products? That is part of the "sell" to a sponsor, they know that they will get people past their booth. If there is never a lull then how does the NHRA sell that space? Going to complete off-time/half time/down time or whatever you want to call it would be bad as well. 45-60 minute down time, 3 times a day would kill. Who would wait out that time to watch a final round with 3-4 passes and how would that stands look on TV and to the sponsors. You would chase people out early which again means less money for concessions, less eyes on sponsors and such.

Admittedly, I am one of the people that sits in the stands to watch sportsman. Yes I do have friends in the class but it's also just good racing. Except throttle stops, they should be banned :)
Pinks all out showed that there is passion and market for these types of cars. They were filling race tracks to see 8-11 second cars.
I would like to see a restructure of the sportsman classes into 1 or 2 ET classes. Pick your dial and run. I was at a race this summer and there was this 16 second car out there that kept going rounds. People were going nuts watching 8 and 9 second cars trying to chase it down. It was great and every round there were more and more people in the stands to see the growing fan favorite. While I would personally love to see a top dragster try running me down in my daily driver I race I realize that might be overkill. So a 9.99 and below class and a 10 and above class. It lowers the cost for sportsman as they don't have to buy the newest go fast parts, they just need to be consistent. It makes for some fun matchups and good racing.

He does mention price, which is a big issue. Yes we can point out $60 for a days worth of entertainment is a good deal per hour. But to bring the family you are still shelling out big bucks to get in, plus food, travel and anything else. At the end of the day, the family budget isn't showing X dollars per hour of entertainment, it is showing $400(or whatever). Brining that cost down is what will bring new fans in. Taking away the sportsman means less money coming in, the NHRA would have to raise ticket prices to cover that gap then.

This pretty much sums up my thoughts. Going to a two day event doesnt make much since. He talks about travel/hotel/ticket cost, but you dont have to attend all three days. Three days gives fans more options to fit their schedule. I personally prefer to go on Fridays, a little less crowded. Also, giving the pro's 4 shots at the track gives them more data and an opportunity to experiment if needed which makes for better Sunday racing. If you only have two shots, that's a lot of pressure and not much info for race day. Also, you have to take in consideration the financial impact of the sportsman cars, they help to pay for the weekend circus. As mentioned above, it gives you they option to stay in the stands or an opportunity to cruise the pits and midway, I do both! As for what will happen when Force, Kalitta and Shu leave the sport, I think it will potentially lower the cost without the multi car super teams with their data and resources, the independent guys will be there to fill the spots. In today's age there just aren't the hero's as in years past in several areas. Good or bad, the days of Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Led Zeplin, Big Daddy, Richard Petty, Steve Kinser and the list go on are now replaced with short term super stars.
 

NJ4MULA

Nitro Member
#20
He does mention price, which is a big issue. Yes we can point out $60 for a days worth of entertainment is a good deal per hour. But to bring the family you are still shelling out big bucks to get in, plus food, travel and anything else. At the end of the day, the family budget isn't showing X dollars per hour of entertainment, it is showing $400(or whatever). Brining that cost down is what will bring new fans in. Taking away the sportsman means less money coming in, the NHRA would have to raise ticket prices to cover that gap then.
I used to beat the drum of admission prices being to high, but then I thought about it. What else are you going to go do with a $60 admission? NFL tickets are starting a that price (if you're lucky) and go up from there, same with NHL. Maybe a baseball game in the outfield, but between the bases you're still looking at at least $60 (again, if you're lucky). Try a concert... the cheap seats there are at least $60 as well. Honestly, admission prices are in line with stick & ball and other forms of entertainment.
 

Top