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Brand X drag racer (1 Viewer)

Rat

Nitro Member
I know that it is basically a worthless endeavor if you tried to make a living in one of the pro classes, but is it still possible for anyone in any class to make a true living drag racing in today's age? I am wondering on a stance of paid expenses to profit from wins with no sponsors and the realistic balance of wins and losses.
 

Jeff

Nitro Member
I guess it depends on how much money you want to make. To me, it is much easier to make money a different way and spend some of it having fun drag racing. Too many people (in many competitive endeavors (e.g. "sports")) ruin a great hobby by trying to make a living at it. Professional gambling is probably the easiest area to cross over without ruining it.
 

none

Nitro Member
There are a number of racers who's soul income is racing, Dan Fletcher, and David Rampy are two of the most well known. The Hool brothers have made their living with the Top Alcohol Funny Car and no other job for years. It can be done, but you need to treat it as a full time job. And if you chase the big dollar bracket races you can make a living there as well.

Why do you eliminate sponsorship from the equation? Because many use sponsorship even if it's a local sponsor that covers the fuel, all that goes into the +column for income. And if you're racing for a living, that's part of the full time job.


Not only can it be done in theory, it is being done regularly.
Alan
 

Bruno

Nitro Member
I really don't know how regularly it is being done. Jeff is right on. You take something you love and love to have fun at and make it your livelihood and the romance disappears really fast. I would really want to ask John Force, and get an honest answer, "at what point did this not become fun?" All you want is a sponsor, money to chase the dream. The money comes and now the gut aches come. More equipment, more employees, trucks, insurance, parts, sponsors not renewing, catering to them (basically, your customers) and to the fans (your other customers). Then tragedy with Eric happens, crew chiefs and crew members constantly shuffling, your kids are in it...then out of it. It goes on and on. He is one of the few that "made it" but it has been at great expense. Does he love the sport? No question. Does he love the business?? If you think Fletcher is living the life, guess again. I really miss his stories in ND. It gave you an inside look at some of the trials and tribulations that he goes through.
I have a friend that ran Pro Stock bike and chased the circuit for a number of years plus ran a small machine shop. He used to say that he really needed a sponsor but the last thing he needed was ANOTHER full time job.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
I wonder how many Pros could make it without sponsors. Jim Head comes to mind as someone who does, and Capco. Most everyone else has sponsors.
 

Rat

Nitro Member
I wonder how many Pros could make it without sponsors. Jim Head comes to mind as someone who does, and Capco. Most everyone else has sponsors.
Schumacher Electric
Torrence Capco
Kalitta Air
Bill Miller Engineering (I do not know if he could afford a full tour, but half 100%)
Mercier (Don't know how long)
Jim Maroney
Pat Dakin
Head
Bill Litton
Bob Vandergriff
Densham
Haddock
Tasca (Is that his family money or no?)
Paul Lee
Justin Ashley
Mike Salinas
 

ironpony

Nitro Member
And IMO the sponsors of today are more business partners than sponsors. Soon as the rich guys get bored or too old Nitro is dead. There really is not enough young guns with the money to continue on.
 

Huge

Nitro Member
Schumacher Electric
Torrence Capco
Kalitta Air
Bill Miller Engineering (I do not know if he could afford a full tour, but half 100%)
Mercier (Don't know how long)
Jim Maroney
Pat Dakin
Head
Bill Litton
Bob Vandergriff
Densham
Haddock
Tasca (Is that his family money or no?)
Paul Lee
Justin Ashley
Mike Salinas
Bob Bode
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
Don Schumacher doesn't sponsor a car out of pocket. all of his cars have sponsors.
Connie Kalitta's cars have sponsors.
Jim Maroney does have a sponsor, but might be associate.
When was the last time Bill Litton raced?
Gary Densham is more bucks down than Terry Haddock, both self funded w/ maybe associate sponsors.
Paul Lee & Justin Ashley have sponsors.
Mike Salinas is in the same league as Jim Head.

I guess I was thinking that if a team wants to run Pro, then they really need a sponsor to cover the costs, with the exception of a few like Head & Salinas.
 

Nunz

Nitro Member
Pretty simple really. To really, truly make a profit as an owner, you need to have an outside funding source to cover the budget, with extra padding to pay yourself a salary. This is without factoring in any winnings, they are bonuses. Or, be a paid driver, which is like a unicorn in drag racing.
 

funny car fireman

Nitro Member
Im a licensed Funny Cardriver struggling to find partners / sponsors to race. It is damn near impossible for guys to get help now a days, especially the little guys. Many companies want nothing to do with NHRA because of things they have done to sponsors and teams... I spend hours each day writing proposals and reaching out to potential partners. Like many others, all we need is an opportunity and a chance to show what we can do. I won't give up on the dream but trust me its a struggle.
 

Jer

Nitro Member
Im a licensed Funny Cardriver struggling to find partners / sponsors to race. It is damn near impossible for guys to get help now a days, especially the little guys. Many companies want nothing to do with NHRA because of things they have done to sponsors and teams... I spend hours each day writing proposals and reaching out to potential partners. Like many others, all we need is an opportunity and a chance to show what we can do. I won't give up on the dream but trust me its a struggle.
What are some of things nhra has done to sponsors or teams??
 

funny car fireman

Nitro Member
What are some of things nhra has done to sponsors or teams??
Jeremy, Here is the exact conversation with one very big company that was heavily involved. I removed the name and other identifiers to protect them.

Unfortunately the NHRA left a pretty bad taste in a lot of brands mouths (ours included) with their prior leadership, tv package and overall agreements. There was a lot of red tape to go through if you wanted to be an official partner and having an on-site presence. The tv package they had with espn was horrible and we received literally no value because everything was taped delayed. I will admit the package is better now but still has a ways to go. With that being said, us and a few other major brands sat down with the old powers that be at Nhra and brought up our grievances they simply didn’t care and said we can go get other brands to fill the void. In situations like those with major companies looking at the value of something and how a great relationship can get fractured over what I described is a main indicator of why many brands won’t go back. As I mentioned before, we’ve had some major names reach out to us and honestly, it is not a sport that is on any of our executives radar right now. The series has a ways to go to get fans and brands that felt alienated back into the sport. We look at repucom values in terms of tv exposure and in one of my posts I saw you throw out a number of the cost and let’s just say it’s very tough to even come close to a 1:1 return with the series. My advice on the sponsor hunt is don’t go after blue chip brands, they will give you the same answer I have given you. Go after companies that you feel would make sense, look at an inc.1000 list and go after smaller brands and host their execs and show them what it is like on the ground. Unfortunately we are not changing our decision and have no intentions to go back into the sport. I wish you all the best
 

Rat

Nitro Member
I have heard a lot on this topic. NHRA basically stealing your sponsorship deal for "official blah blah" or making it very difficult for a sponsor to continue.
 

Dave

Nitro Member
Jeremy, Here is the exact conversation with one very big company that was heavily involved. I removed the name and other identifiers to protect them.

Unfortunately the NHRA left a pretty bad taste in a lot of brands mouths (ours included) with their prior leadership, tv package and overall agreements. There was a lot of red tape to go through if you wanted to be an official partner and having an on-site presence. The tv package they had with espn was horrible and we received literally no value because everything was taped delayed. I will admit the package is better now but still has a ways to go. With that being said, us and a few other major brands sat down with the old powers that be at Nhra and brought up our grievances they simply didn’t care and said we can go get other brands to fill the void. In situations like those with major companies looking at the value of something and how a great relationship can get fractured over what I described is a main indicator of why many brands won’t go back. As I mentioned before, we’ve had some major names reach out to us and honestly, it is not a sport that is on any of our executives radar right now. The series has a ways to go to get fans and brands that felt alienated back into the sport. We look at repucom values in terms of tv exposure and in one of my posts I saw you throw out a number of the cost and let’s just say it’s very tough to even come close to a 1:1 return with the series. My advice on the sponsor hunt is don’t go after blue chip brands, they will give you the same answer I have given you. Go after companies that you feel would make sense, look at an inc.1000 list and go after smaller brands and host their execs and show them what it is like on the ground. Unfortunately we are not changing our decision and have no intentions to go back into the sport. I wish you all the best
That is heartbreaking that poor management and leadership lead to those outcomes. The fact that a group of them got together to air their grievances and were told they can be replaced if they don't like it is astounding. The big companies are leaving and nobody cared? Wow. I hope that they and others change their mind in the future and the new management team are more willing to work with them.
 

Topfuel386

Nitro Member
A few years back I tracked what my disposable costs were per run and it equated to about $3500 (back when I was happy being a 3.90 top fuel car). I am talking about things like oil, fuel, spark plugs, disks, floaters, rod, pistons, cranks, cams,(cycled out over a certain amount of life), springs, valves, blower stripping, bearings, rings, tires. I am not including the cost to buy the major things like blocks, blowers, heads, etc or repairing them or the inflated cost of nitro this year. I am not including crew chief and crew help or the cost of travel and hotel.

I am not going to dare to track it this year and I know the results on paper didn't show it but we focused on trying to make it run quicker than a 90 car. I know the costs are greater as I threw out a lot more rods and pistons lol.

The answer to the original question to me in the top fuel class is no. Unless you are okay with making one qualifying run in the 90's and seeing if that gets you in show and most likely that 90 run won't get you an event win or very deep into rounds. First round loser walks away with 10k and event winner walks away with 50k it is going to be pretty hard to make a living or build a competitive car without a great marketing partner or two.
 

Rat

Nitro Member
A few years back I tracked what my disposable costs were per run and it equated to about $3500 (back when I was happy being a 3.90 top fuel car). I am talking about things like oil, fuel, spark plugs, disks, floaters, rod, pistons, cranks, cams,(cycled out over a certain amount of life), springs, valves, blower stripping, bearings, rings, tires. I am not including the cost to buy the major things like blocks, blowers, heads, etc or repairing them or the inflated cost of nitro this year. I am not including crew chief and crew help or the cost of travel and hotel.

I am not going to dare to track it this year and I know the results on paper didn't show it but we focused on trying to make it run quicker than a 90 car. I know the costs are greater as I threw out a lot more rods and pistons lol.

The answer to the original question to me in the top fuel class is no. Unless you are okay with making one qualifying run in the 90's and seeing if that gets you in show and most likely that 90 run won't get you an event win or very deep into rounds. First round loser walks away with 10k and event winner walks away with 50k it is going to be pretty hard to make a living or build a competitive car without a great marketing partner or two.
Thank you for that and best of luck.
 

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