:::::: Editorials ::::::

UP FRONT: HAVING NO RESPECT FOR THAT WHICH CAN KILL YOU

7_15_2010_asher

Let’s acknowledge that Attitude Apparel’s CompetitionPlus.com is largely devoted to the professional categories of drag racing.  Let me also acknowledge that my primary areas of interest are those same pro classes and participants.  That does not mean, however, that I don’t have the utmost respect for sportsman racers, because by and large, it’s considerably more difficult to win in some of the sportsman classes than it may be in the pros.  As much as this might surprise some people, I actually know a bunch of sportsman racers, and they’ve been flooding my inbox with emails, and overloading my message machine with rants about what’s going on in their classes.

Making it as a sportsman racer is an iffy proposition.  The costs of competing are depressingly high when measured against the potential rewards, and 12 hours after you’ve run the quickest elapsed time ever in your class you’re going to find out that three other guys already ran quicker.  Your odds against obtaining a truly meaningful sponsor – one that’ll cover all your costs – are astronomically high.  So all in all, if you’re going to be a sportsman racer it’s going to have to be because you love it.  You love the work, the travel, the hassles, the cancelled qualifying sessions, the after midnight Sunday eliminations, the time away from the family, the lost jobs because you just had to be at that points meet at the other end of your division or the bracket race 700 miles south – all of it.  Because at the end of the day you get to climb into the car and try to prove you’re better than the other guy.

SUSAN WADE: SEATTLE RACE DIDN'T LIVE UP TO THE STANDARD

Ironic, isn't it?
 
Pacific means peaceful, calm, serene, soothing. Pacific Raceways this past Sunday during the Northwest Nationals was chaotic, catastrophic, and risky for the racers and still shabby for the fans.
 
So many troubles marred the 14th of 23 stops on the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour that victories by Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) nearly became footnotes. 
 

BOBBY BENNETT: IT’S TIME FOR ALL 1000

One by one, the Pro Stock cars exited the staging lanes at Pacific Raceways, destined for a return 

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to their pit areas in protest of a track they allege hadn’t been prepped properly. This transpired on Sunday at the NHRA Northwest Nationals after just two pairs had run in first round.

The Pro Stock drivers alleged the NHRA didn’t put any spray down in the last half of the track. The NHRA contends they did. In Seattle, the issue wasn’t one of declined performances. It was about safety, or as the Pro Stock drivers contend – a difference in opinion of what the cars need for the last 320 feet of the quarter-mile run.

DRAGS, DOLLARS & SENSE: IT'S THE JOHN FORCE SHOW, AND RIGHTFULLY SO

7-9-10michaelknightHalfway through the 2010 racing season, John Force stands as the most significant driver in all of American motorsports.

Think about that, drag racing fans.

And be PROUD.

This is the star-spangled reality as of July 4:

DRAGS, DOLLARS & SENSE: RACING TO THE MAX

The Blue Max is a legendary part of drag racing’s past.

Mad Max could be an exciting part of its future.

“Before I end up my career, you’re definitely going to see me at least doing a test in a dragster,” says Formula One/Le Mans/Indy 500/sports car/Champ Car/now NASCAR driver Max Papis.

Don’t laugh.

DRAGS, DOLLARS & SENSE: WONDERING WHAT WALLY WOULD SAY

What would Wally say?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

Wally Parks, NHRA’s founder, has been gone for almost three years now. The sport he loved has changed in that time – not for the better, according to some – and that’s what has gotten my mind to racing.

BOBBY BENNETT: WHERE HAS THE MUSCLECAR PRO STOCKER GONE?

03_17_2010_muscleThere was a time when Pro Stock was about the muscle car, the epitome of Super Stock on steroids.

It was the highest level of doorslammer racing in the early 1970s.

When Pro Stock first burst onto the NHRA scene in 1970, the class was a healthy mix of the muscle cars Detroit offered. Chevrolet had the Camaro, Chrysler the Barracudas and Challengers and Ford the Mustangs and to a lesser degree, the Maverick.

GUEST COMMENTARY WITH RON CAPPS - SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

cappsEver since the PRO meeting was held on Saturday morning of the Las Vegas NHRA race, I've been reading reports on the Internet, including in chat rooms, and hearing comments on TV, about what went on at that meeting, and I can tell you I am disappointed with all the comments.

Although I am not an official spokesperson for PRO, I feel, as a new member of the organization, I must speak out. First, those comments are mostly inaccurate. Second, I was at the meeting. And, because I was there, I am going to attempt to clarify a lot of the issues that both journalists, who were not in attendance, and fans, who also were not in attendance, have been erroneously analyzing.

Larry Dixon, Bob Tasca and I were brought into PRO last year and we've been trying to sit back and see exactly what was going on and take everything as it came. PRO brought us in to get a different viewpoint than some of the members have had. Dixon and I are the only non-owner/driver members. Tasca falls into the owner/driver category.

WHERE PROGRESS IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM

04_23_2010_asherI stole that line from the trailer door of Dan Ritchen’s Iron Horse dragster.  Ritchens hailed from the Beehive State and opined that making progress in Utah was nigh unto impossible considering the state’s hidebound ways.  The same could be said about NHRA Drag Racing, but in this instance it’s the racers who appear to be working as hard as they can to keep the wheels of progress from turning.

Before the four-wide race I wrote that it would not be the end of the world.  The race is over and the world didn’t come to an end, but from the way the competitors cried foul after the fact you would think the event’s rules demanded not only four cars at a time, but four starting from each end of the track.

If you’ve been paying attention for the last few years you’ve heard racers and sponsors bemoaning the fact that drag racing has become stale, and new ideas and concepts must be tried to help the sport’s audience reach expand.  A bigger audience drawn by more on-track excitement and innovation results in better sponsorship support because the larger audience makes the sport “worth” more to the sponsors.

SUSAN WADE: THIS TIME FANS SHOULD NOT BE THE FOCUS

04_15_2010_wade Perhaps this should come with a yellow, diamond-shaped warning sign: Contradiction Ahead.
 
Sports fans have to be the most forgiving, most longsuffering, most charitable, most tolerant group on Earth. The majority of athletes avoid or ignore them, figuring that simply meeting them is in the same category as stepping on wet chewing gum. Most athletes don't like signing autographs for them -- unless the fans pay for the privilege. Few athletes recognize or care that the fans who underwrite their salaries never will make in a lifetime what they make in a year. Athletes seldom understand that a fan might -- might -- get his name in the newspaper once in 50 years, if he writes a letter to the editor or miraculously bowls a 300 game or gets a hole-in-one or dies.
 
Yet fans still stand at the fence or shout from the stands, hoping their favorite athlete will take notice and sign a ball or a picture or scrap of paper. They wear the jock's jersey or hockey sweater or some T-shirt proclaiming superhero status for this mere mortal who has been over-marketed. They buy merchandise and claim to be "the biggest fan ever." They  listen faithfully to games or matches or races on the radio, event after event, day after day, season after season, knowing they never will meet their heroes. They're grade-school kids, working moms, trapped-in-the-mundane middle managers, retirees.
 

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