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Alexis bringing the throttle whack back! (6 Viewers)

Tom Slick

Nitro Member
I remember back during the great nitro shortage.... oh those were very sad years. It was bad enough to practically think that these cars would soon be running on butane lighter fluid and they would eventually be battery powered; but when I bought a ticket to Heartland Park Topeka - Friday just after lunch.... as the first pro car fired up, fans hurried over to the ropes in excitement. The car idled, then fuel was turned off and the engine slowly wound down to a dead silence with no whack ..... I tell you it was like watching a heard of white tail fawns playfully prancing past a bunch of deer hunter’s tree blinds on opening day. Such long faces ensued. Like a bell that never rings.
Or when the thankfully short lived trend for some nitro teams was warming them up on alcohol. That was really a sad deal.

Personaly I think the NHRA needs to mandate the throttle whack. After all it's about the fan experience right. Crew chiefs will get over it.
 

twostep

Nitro Member
I love it....but even though the engine perked right up, that was more of a throttle tickle than a whack. Look at the injector blades; they didn't even move a half inch. I can remember 15-20 years ago when the person warming the car would mash the pedal clear through the firewall, creating an intensity that was literally painful to anyone within 50 yards. Like THIS: (1:20)
 

Frank

Nitro Member
Personaly I think the NHRA needs to mandate the throttle whack. After all it's about the fan experience right. Crew chiefs will get over it.
I've been saying this for years. It is a huge part of the experience especially for people completely new to the sport. If it means the Top Fuelers run 3.68 instead of 3.65 so be it. If it means the clutch discs wear a little uneven, so be it. The crew chiefs dealt with that from the 60s until the early 2000s so I'm sure they'll adapt. Thankfully, there are a few racers/teams who understand they're not just racing to win, they're racing to entertain, and continue to whack the throttle. If the rest of the racers won't get on board with it, then I think the NHRA has to step in and make a rule.

In similar regards, I've always been worried about the burnout. Burnouts are super cool. But we've all seen a Top Fuel dragster or Funny Car have trouble getting started then roll right up to the beams, stage, and make a perfect run without a burnout. How much longer would the tires last if there were no burnouts? How much fuel would be saved from not burning out and backing up? How much longer would the clutch discs last without the extra stress from the burnout? Point being, there probably is some monetary/parts savings to be had without burnouts, just like there is without throttle whacks, but at what expense? How can the racers/teams expect to keep or attract new fans if they continue to remove aspects of the show that the fans really enjoy?
 
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BOO BOO

Nitro Member
Remember seeing a interview with Robert Height after the finals last year. Part of the reason for his long burnout he did was he thinks you can do those and still run well. He said there would be some changes that would have to be made ( bigger fuel tank ) for one. Be interesting to see if he can convince his crew chief of that.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
Frank, you make an interesting point about burn outs. I have heard different things about why they do it and how long it should be, etc. I am hoping a more knowledgeable Mater than me can explain this one. It would be interesting to see what would happen if no one did a burnout. Up in smoke/ Hooked up?
 

twostep

Nitro Member
Frank, you make an interesting point about burn outs. I have heard different things about why they do it and how long it should be, etc. I am hoping a more knowledgeable Mater than me can explain this one. It would be interesting to see what would happen if no one did a burnout. Up in smoke/ Hooked up?
Years ago, Kenny Bernstein tried abbreviated burnouts (with his dragster) for a few races; it didn't affect his performance at all. But apparently the fans didn't like it so he went back to doing them conventionally.
 

Nunz

Nitro Member
Not sure how you can mandate throttle whacks. But regarding burnouts, Robert Hight said even though he did a real long one, he wishes the tires were “real rubber” like they used to be. I guess they’re synthetic now. Maybe somebody here will remember exactly what he said. But between the track prep and today’s tires, no matter how long they stay on the throttle they don’t make the billows of smoke like the old days. If Hight did that Finals burnout back in the ‘90s it would have fogged the place in. That’s what I miss more than throttle whacks. Pro Stockers and Pro Mods actually make more smoke.
 

Frank

Nitro Member
Frank, you make an interesting point about burn outs. I have heard different things about why they do it and how long it should be, etc. I am hoping a more knowledgeable Mater than me can explain this one. It would be interesting to see what would happen if no one did a burnout. Up in smoke/ Hooked up?
Cliff, I wish I could remember specific drivers at specific races but off the top of my head I cannot. I feel like I've seen it happen 6 or 7 times over the last 10 or so years. And of those 6 or 7 times, the car ran just fine 5 or 6 of the runs. After one of these runs, I remember either Mike Dunn or Tony Pedregon saying something on the TV broadcast like, "the tracks are so well prepped nowadays, doing a burnout is not as important as it used to be back in the day, and that's why he/she was able to still make a solid run." Maybe Alan Reinhart remembers some specifics and would be willing to chime in.

Years ago, Kenny Bernstein tried abbreviated burnouts (with his dragster) for a few races; it didn't affect his performance at all. But apparently the fans didn't like it so he went back to doing them conventionally.
Jim Dunn racing is the king of abbreviated burnouts. I don't know if any of Jim's drivers over the years have had their foot on the throttle for more than 1 full second when performing a burnout. ;) I'm sure it's part of Jim's strategy to keep expenses/wear and tear, in check. Plus, all of the teams will do abbreviated burnouts, and completely out of the groove, when racing in the middle of the summer when track temps are sky high, yet they still put down terrific runs regardless.

Not sure how you can mandate throttle whacks.
Nunzio, there are always NHRA officials on pit bikes zipping around the nitro pits, especially around warm up time. They're usually informing the teams about when they need to be ready, especially if there are rain delays or other factors that are forcing them to change the time the fuel cars run. At most of the tracks, the fuel teams are all pitted together. Maybe I'm over simplifying it, but in my mind if you have two or three NHRA officials on pit bikes roaming around the pits anyway, keep them around during warm time. Plus you'd have the other racers and fans aware of the rule. So if a team warmed up and didn't do it, you would have the teams pitted on either side of them calling them out, plus you would have fans calling them out as well. A throttle whack in a nitro car is not something you can easily fake, or say you did it, when you actually didn't. Again, maybe I'm over simplifying or being naive, but those are my quick thoughts.
**Oh and if a team chooses not to warm up, maybe because of big damage from the previous round and they just don't have enough time, then no throttle whack is required. It would only be required if the team chooses to warm up the car.
 

Tom Slick

Nitro Member
I fully support bringing back the whack, real rubber tires, long smokey burnouts and dry hops. Lets face it, in these challenging times to try and interest fans in the sport, bringing back the entertaining parts of a full blown NHRA tire smoking, throttle whacking experience sure could help attendance and viewership. And if the NHRA made rules to mandate such awesomeness, teams would have to make the necessary changes to abide by said rules, or go find another sandbox to play in.

And if the NHRA has their ears on, they need to take a look at the fans reaction when Robert Hight cooked em to the 1/8 mile and the droves of people that wait outside of Scott Palmer's pits for the whack. That is the entertainment that seasoned and new fans are wanting.
 

TD5023

Nitro Member
I guess I'm just an oddball, but I've never understood why people love long burnouts so much. To me, they just seem like a waste of time in getting to the part of the run I actually want to see: the race itself. I'll admit that I really don't care about any of the "showier" aspects of racing, but this one in particular has always been more of an annoyance than spectacle. If it'll fill the stands for the pros, I can live with it, but I still won't get what the big deal is.

I'll return to my corner now.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
Brad, back in the Old Daze, before slipper clutches, the dragsters (and other classes, no funny cars then) smoked the tires most of the way down. Smoking the tires was the show & fan loved it. When the cars started running slipper clutches, fans hated it cuz no smoke from the tires, altho they did small burns outs to heat the tires. When the funny cars came in, they eventually did long burn outs, cuz they had a transmission & could back up (dragsters didn't then). Fans liked the burnouts & it became part of the show. Funny cars had no side windows & smoke would billow out that part of the body. It was cool to see! The Chi Town Hustler was the king of the burnouts and I think it was their burnouts that got the rest of the floppers doing it was well.

If you can find some old videos of funny cars doing burnouts you'll see what I mean. Funny cars became more popular than dragsters cuz of burnouts & dry hops. that became "The Show". That has all changed over time to where it is now, but older drag fans remember that stuff & how exciting it was to watch. Think of a funny car doing a long, smokey burnout. The back to behind the line, pour some more VHT traction compound down, another burn out, back up, do 3-4 dry hops to the starting line. Really builds up excitement for the run, so much that the run is almost anticlimatic.

So this is the Official Cliff Morgan explanation, FWIW. $2 please. :)
 
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