SOME PRO STOCK DRIVERS FEELING DISRESPECTED BY NHRA WEATHER DECISIONS
Several Pro Stock drivers and teams had harsh words toward the handling of the various weather-related decisions by NHRA to open the weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park.
Chief among the complaints was the decision to run Pro Stock Motorcycle before the Pro Stock class during the one and only professional session on Friday and the ensuing decision to immediately pull the plug on the rest of Friday’s activities prior to Pro Stock’s qualifying run in the early evening hours as light showers fell on the track.
The decision to cancel the rest of Friday’s program left Pro Stock teams scrambling as the only professional class not to make a run on day one of the event.
The animosity continued to grow on Saturday when the Pro Stock teams learned from NHRA following another rain delay that their first session would take place after another round of nitro qualifying. That situation was later resolved when racing finally got underway Saturday afternoon with Pro Stock leading off the professional categories.
Still, the handling of the situation left many Pro Stock teams with a sour taste and a feeling of disrespect from NHRA.
“I am pretty disappointed with the way NHRA runs their show here,” said Pro Stock competitor Tanner Gray. “I’ve been to a lot of different races and have never seen a bigger cluster than what they have here. (Friday) was probably the dumbest thing I have ever seen. We got, maybe, a five minute sprinkle and they cancelled us for the day after bikes had just got done running which makes no sense at all.
“(Saturday) we get a text that they are running fuel again before us. I don’t know what they have to do. Upper management there is pretty piss poor I guess you could say. I think that shows how much they care about Pro Stock.”
With five more rain delays on Saturday, Pro Stock was able to get in one session before qualifying was called for the weekend and the field was set.
NHRA responded to the weather-related decisions Sunday afternoon.
"When inclement weather comes our way at an event, we must examine a number of factors and try to make the best possible decision for the safety of our drivers and satisfaction of our fans," said Josh Peterson, NHRA Vice President of Racing Administration, in a statement. "We have to make these decisions swiftly and with the information that's available to us. Unfortunately, when we are operating at the mercy of weather conditions, there is no perfect solution as we work to create a positive experience for our fans, drivers, tracks and partners in less than ideal circumstances.
"Due to the inclement weather that was at the top end of the track on Friday evening, we were unable to get the first round of qualifying of Pro Stock in. We had monitored the weather all day and had moved up the pro categories an hour earlier than originally scheduled. At approximately 3:30 p.m. we had a patch of rain and at 6:30 p.m. we had the first round of qualifying for Funny Car occur. We lost the track again after Pro Stock Motorcycle and were not able to regain it to run the last class."