Until it gets rebuilt, PS doesn't deserve to get more TV time. My wish would be for Factory Stock to replace PS. I don't say this as blindly as one might think, PS has always been my all time favorite. I have pretty much wiped my hands of any PS residue.
My wish for the future of drag racing?
That the hardcore among us (me included) would/could get over our “Chevy/Ford/Mopar only” attitude. If drag racing (and particularly NHRA drag racing) doesn’t embrace the many other brands that people drive, all of drag racing will continue to become an ever shrinking sport in relationship with all the other sports.
...I have a very hard time even getting into an import, but I’m old and it won’t be too many years till I don’t count. I just hope my hearse is a GM or Ford. (Think I’ll add that to my will.) Guess I’m a brand racist... And that isn't helping drag racing become a major player in the American sports market.
Why would any of the Pro Stock drivers that left want to return? There is very little ROI for the team owners, the sponsors and… Pro Stock drivers. Pro Stock doesn’t deserve more TV time as the bleachers still empty when the nitro smell goes away and Pro Stock comes to the line.
What’s today’s Pro Stock draw? Chevy vs. Chevy or fake Ford/Mopar vs. Chevy? There are zero 500 cubic inch motors in the parking lot. (Ok… there is that one guy with the old Coupe Deville.) There are zero cars in the parking lot that look like any of today’s Pro Stockers or that their owners would even want them to look like a Pro Stocker. But there are many GT500's, Demon's and COPO look alikes. At import drag races, they have door cars running quicker and faster with 6 cylinders. And there are cars in the import race parking lots that mimic them. NHRA Pro Stock has truly become obsolete and it only exists as a good ole boys club of owners that are keeping it alive. The many new names Susan Wade mentioned that are in the NHRA Pro Stock Alumni Club are a major clue as to the class’s value… even to all but a very few drivers and a couple owners.
Pro Stock needs more than Chevys and it still need the same brand motor as the car. I assumed the open motor rule was just a way to keep it running until the deep pockets guys gave up. Examples: NHRA reduced the number of races, reduced the overall purses and reduced National Event Pro Stock TV time. Pro Stock had less than full fields with many of their stars moving on (including the 2018 Pro Stock World Champ and past champs like WJ and Mike Edwards).
But to my surprise, a couple deep pocket owners didn't give up, but instead fielded more cars in 2019 to prove how deep their pockets are. How long do you really think that it will be before they ever get a positive ROI from NHRA Pro Stock?
Unfortunately the solution to most of the points made require lots and lots of money to essentially fall from the sky.
Despite the fanatics that post here, the sad truth is that drag racing, as many of us have known it, no longer interests enough people to keep the money engine turning. There is also a LOT more competition for entertainment dollars now than ever before.
Ironically, as I sit and post comentary online, I belive that social media has been a contributor to the decline in many entertainment outlets. I teach HS Auto Shop, and our student participation in many extracurricular activites has declined sharply over my 18 yrs here. So much so that our student newspaper polled students to find out why, and social media was the top of the list. Students said that they can reach out to friends and gather information online with greater ease and comfort than actually having to go anywhere. As sad as that seems, it is what they have become accustomed to. I think all sports have felt the sting of empty seats in recent years, and when fans can simply watch at home for very little effort and money, that becomes an easy choice. How is that different than televised sporting events you may ask? Live running commentary boards, online updates from sports networks, live polls, etc. have provided a sense of inclusion in the event that was previously only experienced at the stadium or track. I read more and more about social anxiety and people's general disdain for being in public, and I posit that internet and social media has been a major contributor to that. Now we can see more current events, and gather more information from our phone than we could anywhere in previous history. Rather than being forced to walk into a library to read an encyclopedia, or store to buy a newspaper, people can lay in bed and research or read up to the minute news. Is this a bad thing? I don't believe so for many reasons, but unfortunately, it has changed the landscape for many in the younger generations. I don't know if society will ever see the public participation in events such as football, racing, concerts, etc. that previous generations are accustomed to. If I was looking for a sponsor today, I think I would be looking at the advertisers in the banners along my computer screen. Chances are, they are probably reaching more folks than TV has in years.
Very true. While the population of the country has gone from 209 Million in 1970 to 331 million in 2020, the number of people with any interest in NHRA drag racing has most likely decreased.
Also consider that drag race marketing was tightly focused on the 18-24 year old age bracket in the 70s as drag racing's prime ticket buyers. Look at the crowd shots when Grumpy raced Dyno back in the 70's. The bleachers were filled with young people. Look at an NHRA final with Bob Utner and Erica Enders today and it's me and my gray haired friends along with too many empty seats.
But this pertains to NHRA and NHRA Pro Stock. Check the boards at any major Sports Compact drag race and it's filled with people under 40. (Of course I have no idea what the announcer is talking about as I "no comprende Spanish", but the cars haul butt.) The same goes for attending a Duck small tire race at SGMP. The place is filled with 18-35 year olds.
Drag racing is more fractured than ever and NHRA probably hasn't kept up with population growth if you total all the tickets sold (good luck getting a real number there...) But drag racing in general may very well have the same total number of paid butts on boards per year as it did in the 70's. Automotive interests have changed and are more fractured than ever. It's why the local track that makes a killing on its biggest race of the year can't make a dollar with a Pro Stock race of any kind. The world of drag racing has moved on. But have that same track bring in the Street Outlaw dudes and you have a happy track owner.
"I just hope my hearse is a GM or Ford. (Think I’ll add that to my will.)"
LOL too funny! Belongs in the quote thread. :)
I would have added a Mopar hearse to the list but I was afraid their old gear reduction starter might wake me up.
Sorry Hemi... couldn't resist.
There's still plenty of interest in drag racing but the action nowadays is in No Prep events. Our little 1/8 mile track, which typically draws a few hundred fans on any given weekend, packed in thousands of them at a big No Prep event about 3 years ago when it was moved here from Tulsa due to inclement weather. Of course, that doesn't help national events any....
Hell, I don't know. There's lots of things I'd like to see but I'm an old-school drag racer with ideas that would have generated excitement 40-50 years ago - and that's not necessarily what the sport needs in 2020. Personally, I think Wade's best suggestion of all is for the NHRA to be more open to new ideas....maybe conduct some type of racing 'town halls' and let's not only hear but LISTEN to what the fans and the racers want for a change. NHRA has to be more than their brass hats taking home great big checks.
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