Rumor Mill

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

MICHAEL KNIGHT: NHRA'S TOP TEN BUSINESS STORIES FOR 2014

 

MKhead12

As only the incomparable Chairman of the Board, Mr. Frank Sinatra, could have sung:

Here’s to the winners -- lift up the glasses.


Here's to the glory still to be.


Here's to the battle, whatever it's for,


To ask the best of ourselves, then give much more.



Here's to the heroes -- those who move mountains.
Here's to the miracles they make us see.


Here's to all brothers -- here's to all people


Here's to the winners all of us can be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MICHAEL KNIGHT: DRAG RACING'S TELEVISION RATINGS UP, FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS

 

MKhead12

Good -- and very important -- news for NHRA, its teams and (especially) corporate sponsors:

For the first time in four years, the TV audience for the Mello Yello series on ESPN and ESPN2 increased in 2014.

According to data furnished to ESPN by Nielsen Media, the average household rating for final eliminations of the 24 national events was 0.4, up 33 percent from the 0.3 in 2013. Viewership increased almost nine percent, to an average of 569,000, vs. 524,000 the previous season. That’s the highest total-viewer average since 2011’s 591,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUSAN WADE: PACIFIC RACEWAYS – AND MAYBE ITS HISTORY – ON AUCTION BLOCK

susan_01.jpg

Jason Fiorito, president of Pacific Raceways, has come up with a master plan to develop his family's 320-acre multiuse property southeast of Seattle into an "automotive and design technology campus" with global reach.

It’s his one idea that has gained traction after several scrapped projects since he took over management of the facility from Jim Rockstad in January 2002. It’s a clever, relevant, and even economically and environmentally beneficial proposal, with its mission to bring together high-tech and automotive companies for advancements in the renewable-energy-vehicle industry and other “green” initiatives.

But it casts uncertainty on the future of National Hot Rod Association drag racing in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOBBY BENNETT: THE RACE WHERE NOBODY WILL WIN

0730-03697

There were no winners on Sunday in Concord, period.

The NHRA fans lost. Racers lost. The NHRA lost, and zMax Dragway lost.

Even the solution to rectify a doomed race day was a losing proposition for all parties involved. zMax Dragway did come back to provide the displaced race fans with a 100-percent replacement policy on their Sunday tickets.

 

 

MICHAEL KNIGHT: ANYONE UP FOR A DRAG RACING DOUBLE-HEADER?

 

MKhead12

Let’s play two.

Make that, let’s RACE two.

The NHRA Mello Yello series needs a boost. Something different and exciting that will get people talking. A change that might inject a dose of much-needed interest and enthusiasm into the media and public-at-large.

Honestly, can anyone disagree with that?

Bruton Smith brought us four-wide. Now let’s look to other sports for ideas that have proven successful. And then work to adapt them to fit drag racing’s special needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUEST EDITORIAL - YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY LADIES!

10003298 10202043618114156 362426882 nThe very early days of NASCAR (1949) had names such as Louise Smith and Ethel Mobley. In 1965, Shirley Muldowney was the first woman licensed by NHRA to drive a gasoline-burning dragster capable of speeds over 150 mph in the quarter-mile. In 1977 Janet Guthrie was the first woman to earn a starting spot in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 (where she was top rookie). Ladies have been making their mark in the Motorsports industry for decades.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Carolyn Melendy. (Read about Carolyn Melendy here: www.competitionplus.com She is considered the first lady of Pro Modified racing, having been involved in the class since the 1990s. At the time it was male dominated, and she recalled that no one wanted to line up next to her to race. The issue to her male counterparts was that  they felt she did not have the skill to drive a Pro Mod car.  

Finally, Bill Kuhlmann (a pioneer in the Pro Mod movement), decided to line up next to her, thinking he would have her by many car lengths. The conclusion was that he was sadly mistaken. Although Carolyn did not win the race, she was right with him all the way. It was there that she began to legitimize herself in the Pro Mod world and consequently open the door for women like me. I’m thankful for that. And on a side note, I would like to mention Annette Summer and Carol Long, two ladies in Pro Mod that I also feel may not get the recognition they deserve. Or even Bunny Burkett (IHRA Funny Car Driver and World Champion) for that matter. Ladies much like me that work hard at their craft without the accolades. True racers. And at the heart of it, that is what we are; racers, drivers and competitors.

 

MICHAEL KNIGHT: THE BOYS (AND GIRLS) OF SUMMER … KINDA SORTA

 

MKhead12

I don’t know what percentage of drag racing fans also like baseball. But I do.

Sure, I realize the leisurely pace of the national pastime is an extreme opposite of the straight-line sport’s lightning speed, sound and fury. What can I tell you? Both are winners with me.  

Back in the day, during my time at the Philadelphia Daily News, I wrote about the stick-and-ball contests some (a great memory is covering part of Pete Rose’s historic 44-game hitting streak in 1978) and carried a Baseball Writers Association of America card. That granted me automatic media access to any regular-season game, anywhere. Believe me, that organization has a lot of horsepower -- we can only wish it were that way in motorsports -- even though I’m sure most members never got a whiff of nitro.

Summer, of course, is prime time on the baseball calendar. Basketball and hockey are over. Football has yet to begin. Golf remains Tiger-less. NASCAR is in the middle of its marathon. Indy and sports cars are pretty much just making laps, not waves, in terms of press and public attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUSAN WADE: TOM COMPTON’S SPEECH THAT WASN’T . . . BUT SHOULD BE (2)

susan_01.jpg

"Breaking News: This is an ESPN Special Report. We pre-empt the regional volleyball game to bring you this special presentation.

"We're in Glendora, California, this evening for a State of the Sport Address. We're here before a joint session of Professional and Sportsman Racers. The National Hot Rod Association Board of Directors – drag racing's 'Supreme Court,' if you will, has been seated. The NHRA department heads are in place. And now we'll hear from Graham Light, the NHRA's senior vice-president of racing operations, who serves as the NHRA's Sergeant at Arms, and he'll introduce Tom Compton.”

Light enters and in the customary loud announcement, calls out, "Mister Speaker, the President of the National Hot Rod Association!"

The doors swing open and Tom Compton strides in, shaking hands with team owners and racers as he makes his way to the stage. Once the applause fades, he greets his distinguished guests and begins to lay out his agenda for the sanctioning body.

 

 

 

 

 

SUSAN WADE: TOM COMPTON’S SPEECH THAT WASN’T . . . BUT SHOULD BE

susan_01.jpg

"Breaking News: This is an ESPN Special Report. We pre-empt the regional volleyball game to bring you this special presentation.

"We're in Glendora, California, this evening for a State of the Sport Address. We're here before a joint session of Professional and Sportsman Racers. The National Hot Rod Association Board of Directors – drag racing's 'Supreme Court,' if you will, has been seated. The NHRA department heads are in place. And now we'll hear from Graham Light, the NHRA's senior vice-president of racing operations, who serves as the NHRA's Sergeant at Arms, and he'll introduce Tom Compton.”

Light enters and in the customary loud announcement, calls out, "Mister Speaker, the President of the National Hot Rod Association!"

The doors swing open and Tom Compton strides in, shaking hands with team owners and racers as he makes his way to the stage. Once the applause fades, he greets his distinguished guests and begins to lay out his agenda for the sanctioning body.

 

 

 

 

 

SUSAN WADE: THEY'RE RACERS, NO OTHER LABELS NEEDED

susan_01.jpg

In some twisted and tasteless way, Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens might have received the ultimate compliment at Las Vegas. NHRA fans emptied the grandstands before the K&N Horsepower Challenge and SummitRacing.com Nationals winner completed her $100,000 weekend Sunday.

She was treated as a racer, not some novelty "girl racer" used to satisfy an "I was there when she won" neediness.

Maybe Enders-Stevens' amazing feat was not that she won the Horsepower Challenge, doubled up with the Sunday victory, and took home more single-event prize money than any other female drag racer. (She earned a payout bigger than Shirley Muldowney's Top Fuel or Angelle Sampey's Pro Stock Motorcycle series championships.) 

 

 

 

 

Pages