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  #11  
Old 02-22-2012
techrat_77 techrat_77 is offline
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Originally Posted by larrydavis427 View Post
Let's hope that Courtney stays single.
They need to maintain a balance Larry. Courtney and Erica are rising stars that will keep the younger guys attention, but I've heard a couple of the older guys (you know, the ones that are old enough to think with their brains instead of hormones) say they're tired of seeing nothing but coverage of the young girls.
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  #12  
Old 02-22-2012
GolfRacer GolfRacer is offline
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Originally Posted by larrydavis427 View Post
NHRA is making a heavy bet on the Force women to lead drag racing's future. It seems their staking to much on the future of a couple of untested young woman in this nitro category. We saw what happened with Ashley Force who left right before the start of a season. Maybe NHRA should go back to publicizing the other Pro categories and more emphasis on Sportsman classes. It's clear that NHRA is trying to make a few stars for name recognition in the nitro classes, while hiding the other talent in other divisions of our great sport.
You bet they are and here's why:
1) Stats on NHRA vs NASCAR fan
NASCAR fan NHRA fan Index
Male 64.2% 75.1% 117
Age 47.26 44.69 106
Age 18 - 24 9.9% 12.6% 127
Age 18 - 34 25.8% 29.1% 113
African-American 6.6% 9.1% 138
Hispanic 8.4% 10.4% 124
Asian or other 3.9% 4.7% 121
Children (1 or more) 38.3% 39.9% 104
Teenager (1 or more) 19.1% 20.4% 107
White collar occupation 28.8% 37.9% 132

SOURCE: Scarborough USA

The NHRA "fan"...attending the race and watching on ESPN is overwhelmingly male, older and not racially diverse. So considering these statistics I present and ask...

1) I've been taking non-fans of NHRA, non-fans of auto racing, fans of autoracing but not NHRA to the Sonoma and Pomona races for 30 years and back east since 1966. They are impressed by the nitro cars and who isn't? But watching Pro Stock (despite my elegant descriptions of the technology) they say "hmmm...where are the flames?!" And our sport is too complicated to understand to attract the casual fan for non-nitro cars. NHRA advertises the nitro cars and drivers and that's the critical thing to do to attract the non-rabid fan. We got to keep it simple for the new fan, make it exciting, push the personalities and get the hype. Some of that may irritate us serious fans but that's the way the world works.

Here's another example: I can go to a baseball game and as a former minor league pitcher (in a galaxy, far, far away) catch the nuances of a pitchers mannerisims and approach to the hitters. I try to talk to my friends about that and all they want to see is the 99 mph fastball or somebody whack it 450 feet. Same deal with us afficianados of drag racing compared to the new / casual fan.


2) Considering #1....no casual fan is going to say "wow!' when an A/SA Camaro runs .908 under their index. As a marketing guy I understand why and wouldn't expect NHRA or ESPN to spend one cent trying to explain. The Lucas Oil Series shows wouldn't be on ESPN if it wasn't for LUCAS OIL. So that really neat Comp Eliminator roadster racing the former Pro-truck...is lost on the casual fan. (I get asked, as you all do.."why did that guys win light come on but I heard he lost....went to fast?!")

3) Considering #1 and #2 - then you need to expand that casual fan base by using your best assets and right now that's Courtney and Alexis (we need you Melanie and Ashley). I've read the remarks on this site about their attractiveness and "nice" t-shirts...and I agree! This is an opportunity to attract non- auto racing fans, non-NHRA fans, men and women. Massey is a cool dude along with other younger guys and it's good to push that for the ladies and young guy fans. NHRA could take lessons from American Idol...

4) Just to add fuel to the fire of nitro pro vs pro-stock and sportsman racing...what happens in the stands when F/C and T/F are done? I've watched hundred's of national events and I estimate 1/3 stay for Pro-stock. It certainly was that at the Winternationals. Personally I stay for Pro-stock (love it) but leave when the bikes run. My bad? :-)

We have to live with the fact that NASCAR has the uninterrupted racing going for it and often a lively fight for first place that the TV cameras and announcers can build on while only 1 hour into a 3 hour race. NHRA builds ...slowly...to a climax but it takes 3 hours to get there. For the non-avid fan there's a lot of unappreciated stuff going on...rebuilding the engine, evaluating the lanes, etc.

NASCAR translates to TV more than NHRA due to this non-stop action and the lack of ladders, lane choices, etc. That's the way our sport works and we can't change it.

As discussed many times there are assets in our sport that we do not leverage:
The success of women
The racial diversity of racers
The "family feeling" at the race - which includes the interaction with drivers (sadly...I see that slipping among some...some...drivers)
Racing family heritage stories
Why not a reality TV series a'la Driving Force? It makes no sense there isn't one

So from a marketing view, NHRA must grow from the casual fan looking for the power and awesomeness that the nitro cars and the drivers represent.

IMHO
  #13  
Old 02-22-2012
1/8 mile fan 1/8 mile fan is offline
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my question once we get to this point when only supermodels and or a woman race what then and we only have 8 car nitro fields with no hard core drivers what then?when we hit the mainstream what then?when we getsooo far ahead of ourselves and the hardcores go away and find something else what then?
  #14  
Old 02-23-2012
GolfRacer GolfRacer is offline
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Originally Posted by 1/8 mile fan View Post
my question once we get to this point when only supermodels and or a woman race what then and we only have 8 car nitro fields with no hard core drivers what then?when we hit the mainstream what then?when we getsooo far ahead of ourselves and the hardcores go away and find something else what then?
I understand your frustration but the problem is more systemic. We have superb women drivers on the sideline now who are also attractive: Melanie Troxel and Hillary Will. And there are talented young guys as well who could compete. That's a symptom of the disease.

The disease is cost to race. Courtney gets to race because of Dad's wealth of sponsors. Alexis gets to race because of Dad's wealth. There are two classes of nitro teams:
1) Rich individuals - personal wealth
2) Successful racers who have attracted great sponsors
OK..maybe a combo: Schumacher and Force.

And a complication of the cost of race is the very low ROI. The winner of this years Daytona 500 will win over $1.5M. Win an NHRA national event and you get $50K plus contingencies.

I know what some nitro drivers make and it isn't very much considering the travel, risk and lack of job security.

NASCAR is really similar when you take a close look. There are 4 major teams and they have attracted big time sponsors. The TV ratings...until lately...have been good to very good so the TV money is significant. NHRA has to pay ESPN to broadcast the races! Arguably there are 10 big name NASCAR drivers and another 10 I'd classify as well known and the other 20 are certainly lower tier names. They do have sponsors but the start and park group is fairly significant.

NHRA is, unfortunately, a boutique sport with a loyal, but small following compared to other auto racing formats. And "small following" = not much money.

So the Schumacher team "guys" will continue to have their ride as long as Don keeps sponsors. And his son will be the last to not race.

Force will keep his daughters racing as long as he can. If he had sons instead of daughters there would be moaning of no women in NHRA racing.

Lucas Oil has money and can race as long as it makes sense.

Tony and Cruz are examples of racers who really know how to treat sponsors and get $1.10 out of a $1.00 of sponsorship. But they're the exception.

Jim Head = personal money

Al Anabi = our high price of gasoline!! :-)

Kalitta = passionate wealthy individual

Note that C&J and Zsa Zsa are energy related companies

Tasca has family personal wealth and Ford bucks helping

I think there's a trend here....

NHRA is the best kept secret in auto sports.........

IMHO
  #15  
Old 02-23-2012
larrydavis427 larrydavis427 is offline
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Golfracer you are on the West Coast so your not getting a totally clear picture. At one time Pro Stock was on par with the nitro cars. You also have to remember that Funny is the most popular with TF at a distant second. PS isn't that far behind TF even with the beat down for years from NHRA. NHRA plan of just supporting nitro and no one else isn't working.
  #16  
Old 02-23-2012
anotheridiot anotheridiot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrydavis427 View Post
Golfracer you are on the West Coast so your not getting a totally clear picture. At one time Pro Stock was on par with the nitro cars. You also have to remember that Funny is the most popular with TF at a distant second. PS isn't that far behind TF even with the beat down for years from NHRA. NHRA plan of just supporting nitro and no one else isn't working.
I dont think you are the one with the clear picture larry. We understand Pro stock is big on the east coast, but anywhere the fuel cars show up they are the main attraction.
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  #17  
Old 02-23-2012
techrat_77 techrat_77 is offline
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Originally Posted by anotheridiot View Post
I dont think you are the one with the clear picture larry. We understand Pro stock is big on the east coast, but anywhere the fuel cars show up they are the main attraction.
You're both missing the areas where Pro Mod is king!
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  #18  
Old 02-23-2012
GolfRacer GolfRacer is offline
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I clearly understand the east coast ProStock domination as that's where I grew up and worked at a drag strip from '66 until '77 when I moved. The east coast was always the king of stock, super stock and Pro-Stock and still is.

But the marketing message and image to the public of NHRA Pro Drag Racing is Nitro - and poster "anotheridiot" is correct - F/C and T/F are the most popular (in order) by far.

Pro-Mod.....I love. F/C's of the 70's and a promising addition to the professional ranks. But it all gets down to the $$$ and what $ there are in NHRA pro racing...it's the nitro that gets the marketing and fan attention.

Again...IMHO, as an old guy.
  #19  
Old 02-23-2012
larrydavis427 larrydavis427 is offline
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Originally Posted by techrat_77 View Post
You're both missing the areas where Pro Mod is king!
When you put Pro Stock and Pro Mod together you can get some very big crowds.
  #20  
Old 02-23-2012
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fuelfan fuelfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrydavis427 View Post
When you put Pro Stock and Pro Mod together you can get some very big crowds.
Interesting that IHRA eliminated both classes and the future for promod at NHRA is anything but clear.
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