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NHRA article on yahoo (not good news) (1 Viewer)

Mike

Nitro Member
After many good stories last weekend, here comes the cold water of reality. The actual article is from Autoweek, but I saw it on yahoo news. If there is no such thing as bad publicity, then lots of eyes would have seen the story via Yahoo who never would read Autoweek in a million years. The writer interviews Doug Foley, who has a dire prediction about 2021 and possible puny TF fields unless NHRA is willing to make tough choices regarding costs. Link below.

One point that makes sense is NHRA needs to solicit input from the smaller independent teams, not just cater to the Kalittas or Schumachers. Those are the largest, most well funded teams but they can't have a race just between themselves.

Autoweek story/Doug Foley
 

TSK

Staff member
Nitro Member
For me, the first impression of the article is that Foley says there needs to big changes, but he doesn't say exactly what those changes should be.
The well-being of NHRA has been discussed more than a few times on this site, with nearly everybody saying the cars need to be dramatically slowed in order to reduce costs.
Many top notch tuners have given their opinions for years about how to slow the cars. Yet, we are seeing speeds in 1000 ft that NHRA got twitchy about when the nitro cars were running 1320.
So, who's to blame for the rising speeds and costs; the mega teams, NHRA management, or both?
Once this season is over, I sincerely hope the teams and NHRA get together and make an honest attempt to help the sport not only survive, but thrive.
Since most everybody will be at the last race in Vegas, rent a big facility with plenty of space for social distancing and TALK TO each other and get this thing figured out.
 

mick

Nitro Member
IMO nhra SHOULD sit down with their teams/owners/racers and critically look at what it takes to host 24 races annually and the costs associated with it. whether it's engine parts or hotel room prices,
there is something or some things that can be done to lower costs. a win/win for everyone. take the time. get it done. make sure the money moves around and everyone gets a piece.
in covid 2020 with nhra struggling to restart their season; they manage to put 4 races together culminating with the us nationals, preceded last week with announcement for 6 more races in 2020, and susan inks this negative article, no less interviewing a racer recently absent for a decade.......good lord, susan writes tremendous commentary, but IMO pretty bad timing on this one.
 

Jim

Nitro Member
So, who's to blame for the rising speeds and costs; the mega teams, NHRA management, or both?
NHRA management is to blame for having rules that allow the big teams to spend a lot of money in search of a couple of hundredths of a second.

Back when they made the switch to 1,000, I interviewed TF driver Bruce Litton for a story. I thought Bruce was correct when he said he was in favor of slowing the cars down because fans would rather see two cars in a close race at 290MPH than one car at 310 and the other shutting down at 100 feet after smoking the tires off the starting line.
 

Mike

Nitro Member
As an aside, it's all well and good to want to slow the cars down, but one question I have is what do they (NHRA, racers, owners) want to slow the cars to?

Top speed 320, 310, 300? If rules are changed, what mph are the stakeholders trying to get down to?
 

DrRocket

Nitro Member
Up until now, I was against the idea of limiting things to 2 days. I've since changed my mind.

NASCAR (Hear me out now!) made SERIOUS changes to their race day schedules this year by eliminating practice and qualifying, and making most events happen in one day. They also limited on-track personal to 15 people. One of the side effects of this is that teams are reporting decent savings in transportation, food and lodging costs, in addition to expendables such as gas, tires, oil, parts wear and tear, etc. What was a 4 day event is now a 1 day event. It has gone from extensive practice and testing to unload your race car and "Run what ya brung." Some teams (#18 is an excellent example) have not fared well. Other teams have thrived. Word now is that many NASCAR teams are figuring these changes, at least some of them, are probably gong to become permanent.

I'm thinking that perhaps it's time to consider making the regular NHRA event happen in two short days. Transporters may not arrive until 8am on Saturday. 2 qualifying runs. Early Sunday eliminations, wrap up the event by early afternoon, then head home. This would cut qualifying costs in half. (2 less runs) Reduce housing to one night, and reduce food costs. Limit the on-track personnel. I would include the owner in that list. I'm sure there are technical changes that would result in savings, but I think these operational changes would result in teams spending less money to race.
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
A 2 day race would be OK w/me, especially if some of the races could be done at night. Q Friday, race Sat. Sun could be a rain out day, etc. But what about Sportsmen? Old arguement about Pros only at Nat'l event & Sportsmen only at Divisional. If you had a Pro only event, what classes would you run? What would you do during "downtime"? Back in "the daze",we had races at OCIR (as an example), that would run Sat nite, T/F, F/C, Combo Elim (the forerunner of Pro Comp) and quick ET racers as "the filler" (hate using filler, but...) Great show, like watching a Nat'l event today. Maybe run T/D & T/S?

Also, if teams wanna save $$, why not stay at the track in their motor homes instead of using a hotel? Some spectators do that & I know some teams do that as well. Can think of lots of ways to slow the cars down, but I do agree that it's the teams that always wanna go faster. Been like that since Day One in drag racing.
 

twostep

Nitro Member
As for slowing the cars down, two of the most respected racers of all time - Prudhomme and Garlits - had this to say: Prudhomme (after the 1000 foot switch and I'm paraphrasing) - "making the track shorter is only a temporary band-aid. Give the teams a little time; they'll be going just as fast and blowing up just as many engines as they ever did at 1320 feet." His words proved prophetic.

Garlits: "Slowing the cars down doesn't require a bunch of new technical rules; smaller blowers, fuel pumps, less overdrive, and such. That'll come naturally once NHRA stops prepping the tracks."
 

Cliff

Nitro Member

This is a longer version of the article in the first post. He talks about (independent) west based teams running western states only, & (independent) east coast teams running eastern states only. So why not have a "western conference" (so to speak) & an eastern conference. You could run for the western or eastern championship, & only hafta run 10 races, which would benefit the independent teams. Thought that was interesting. Right or wrong, at least Foley is speaking out. I'd like to hear what other teams say about this. Covid is not gonna magically go away & everything go back to Feb 2020 level.
 

Jimbo

Nitro Member
Cliff Morgan:

The idea fo running two separate sets of races for the West and East with a final for both groups does make some sense and maybe that would help control the costs involved with racing.

The larger problem right now is who would be the sanctioning bodies running the show.
It is just my opinion but the N.H.RA. is fighting very hard just to survive the 2020 year and right now even thinking about 2021 should be on hold until they get their finances under control.

When you look at the shape drag racing is in right now how many sponsors are watching all of this unfolding and wondering if this is the best way to spend their money.

Just my opinion. Jim Hill
 

Mike

Nitro Member
Random thought -Roger Penske bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Car series. What would NHRA and the series be like if Penske bought NHRA and their tracks?

Or... same concept, except replace the name Penske with Forrest Lucas.
 

mikebcurve

Nitro Member
Random thought -Roger Penske bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Car series. What would NHRA and the series be like if Penske bought NHRA and their tracks?

Or... same concept, except replace the name Penske with Forrest Lucas.
As much as I would love to see the Lucas family own the NHRA I doubt it would ever happen. Forrest is a business man. I fail to see the value in it unless it was very cheap or he used it similar to MavTV promoting Lucas oil and his other projects. I couldn’t even begin to guess what value you would put on the NHRA as a whole.
 

sammi

Nitro Member
I don't see why a one day professional show wouldn't be a big hit. The problem is NHRA is built on ticket sales due to some poor development and sales over the last 10 years. There are a couple dozen large salaries in the masthead and the only serious money coming in is from ticket sales, and we all know how that went this year.
Again I present my how to fix NHRA.
1. One day shows in more markets.
2. Bullet proof nitro engines(intake restriction, overdrive, magneto and electronics restrictions)
3.Clean track, not a glued track
4. One trailer per car
5. Eliminate hospitality
6. Eliminate political advertising
7. Sportsmen get their own series and events. Lack of nitro cars doesn't seem to effect big dollar bracket racing.
8. Being insular and inward obsessed killed Xerox and severely wounded IBM. Decide what you want NHRA to be. Rich man's traveling party or serious motorsport.
 
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Jim

Nitro Member
[QUOTE="J
1. One day shows in more markets.
I suspect the cost of getting to the one days shows won't be a lot cheaper than the two-day deals we have now.
As far as I'm concerned, the 2 rounds of qualifying have made things "interesting" but certainly not better.

6. Eliminate political advertising
Huh?
.[/QUOTE]
 

Huge

Nitro Member
I don't know about everyone else but there is no way I would travel 2000 miles to watch or participate in a 1 day race. It just wouldn't be worth the effort or expense for such a small amount of fun time...and fun time is why most of the independent teams race their cars. I would just save my money and stay home and go out for a nice dinner.
 

Huge

Nitro Member
I don't know about everyone else but there is no way I would travel 2000 miles to watch or participate in a 1 day race. It just wouldn't be worth the effort or expense for such a small amount of fun time...and fun time is why most of the independent teams race their cars. I would just save my money and stay home and go out for a nice dinner. That being said, Monster Energy Supercross does single day shows and it works out pretty good for them. But, their race teams money comes from manufactures.
 

Jim

Nitro Member
Random thought -Roger Penske bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Car series. What would NHRA and the series be like if Penske bought NHRA and their tracks?
My bet is that it would be like what happened when NASCAR bought tracks about 15 years ago. They closed some tracks for good to give the dates to other tracks.

Or... same concept, except replace the name Penske with Forrest Lucas.
The last thing NHRA needs is to be dependent on Lucas Oil for one more thing.
 

Jim

Nitro Member
I don't know about everyone else but there is no way I would travel 2000 miles to watch or participate in a 1 day race. It just wouldn't be worth the effort or expense for such a small amount of fun time...and fun time is why most of the independent teams race their cars. I would just save my money and stay home and go out for a nice dinner.
Now you get to the question of whether national events are held for spectators and TV viewers or for racers.
 
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