UPDATED: NOSTALGIA TF TEAMS THREATEN BOYCOTT OF UPCOMING BOWLING GREEN NHRA HERITAGE SERIES EVENT
UPDATED - NHRA has responded to the proposed boycott statement issued on Wednesday, April 27, by the AA/FD group.
"Obviously, the situation is a little more complex than portrayed," said NHRA spokesman Jeffrey Young. "Entries have been open for a month and a half. We are not in a position to cut classes that have already entered and move things around now once it has been set up. I think it is something that could be looked at for the future, just not for this event."
There’s a storm brewing ahead of the NHRA’s Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Ky., the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1981 NHRA Cajun Nationals when the Funny car teams unanimously boycotted for a purse increase.
This time is different, kinda-sorta.
According to the All American Fuel Dragsters Association, the group representing the class, the problem is not with the purse offered.
The problem allegedly is NHRA’s inability to accept a windfall of outside sponsorship toward an enhanced purse and a bigger field.
“It breaks my heart that it has come to this with NHRA,” Bob McLennan, President of AAFD, said in a prepared statement. “We have offered to double the Top Fuel Dragsters for this race, and NHRA wants no part of it. We have asked for a 16-car ladder versus the current 8-car ladder. We’ve even brought in a private sponsor to offset their costs, but NHRA has drawn a line in the sand, and they will not change the event structure to allow for more money and more cars.”
Apparently, the bid to double the qualified field, according to AAFD, is the combination of a lack of Funny Cars and the desire to grow their brand. They cite an example of only three AA/Funny Cars attending the event one year.
To offset any of NHRA’s costs, (Midwestern Top Fuel racer) Jimi Young brought in Custom Floaters for an additional five figures in purse money,” McLennan explained. “This event benefits the NHRA Museum — it’s their largest fundraiser of the year. It’s just mind-boggling that NHRA will not support our effort to put on a better show and help finance their Museum.”
McLennan is no newcomer to the sport, as his father, Jim McLennan, was inducted into the NHRA Hall of Fame in 1991, the second class of inductees.
“With our family’s history with NHRA, you’d think they would know we are trying to benefit the Museum’s bottom line and make this a huge success,” McLennan said. “We want this to be a win-win.”
McLennan said he is still open to making things work. Still, with the group’s participation vote scheduled soon and the sentiment of the Top Fuel racers almost unanimous, the possibility of even an eight-car Top Fuel Eliminator for Bowling Green doesn’t look promising.
CompetitionPlus.com reached out to the NHRA for comment and clarification earlier today, but as of this posting, has not heard back.