Reality Bites? NHRA

Others point their finger
If they don’t like what they see
If you live in a glass house
Don’t be throwing rocks at me “Shelter Me” Tom Keifer.

Gray

You know, in light of the recent incident between Gray and Elite Motorsports both on the top end and pits during the Houston race. It got me thinking. You will see all over social media opinions over this, pro and con. But the overwhelming thought is “we need this in Drag racing”. And maybe we do. But here’s the thing, it’s not as if we don’t have our share of reality moments, we just choose not to talk about them.  And when we do it will be a week or 2 and we move on. But behind the scenes, they’re always there.

Why for instance has Mike Dunn only driven for a relatively short span in his entire storied career for his Dad? The great Jim Dunn? Jim’s had cars on the track the whole time with various drivers. And parallel to that, what happened between Jim and Chad Head? The word was Chad stepped out to concentrate on the family business, but then we find out Chad is working at Kalitta Racing, and Jim has Jonnie Lindberg driving. Did, as the rumours say, Jim fire Chad? Awkward.

And what of our famous Funny car champ? We all know his 3 daughters, successful drivers in their own right. Respected and adored by their fans and fellow competitors. But here’s the thing. He has 4 daughters. But yet it’s the strangest thing. No one talks about her. If she wants her privacy that is of course totally fine, but it seems unfair to never even mention her name. She’s even married to the President of the company? Heck I’ve seen and heard more of her daughter than her. I have some, but you’d be really hard pressed to even find a picture of her. Weird

And the list could go on and on. But aside from the fact that these are our “Stars” it’s none of our business. And all the social media speculation serves nothing except to give some keyboard cowboys a few thrills. The reality is, there’s some real personal drama out there in our world that would rival the most gaudy reality show. And real faces behind real pain. The ones I’ve listed above are really pretty mundane in comparison to the rest.

And on track, There’s 2 problems. One is, and a completely respectable one to have. The sport went through a phase when we sadly lost a spate of our young drivers in accidents. Russell, Johnson, Medlen, Kalitta, you know the names. I noticed a definite change in attitudes after that period, a more respectful and appreciative attitude towards each other as competitors. It was as if after a period of invincibility everyone became aware that the dangers were very real and the guy in the other lane was just as vulnerable as yourself, and worthy of your respect if you liked him or not.

The second of course is the Politically correct era of corporate sponsorship. You have to wonder about the whirlwind careers of Bazemore and Cannon to name a couple. These guys came into the sport on fire (In the case of Bazemore often literally) Talking a big storm, getting in everyone’s face, not afraid to speak their minds and sure as hell not backing down to anyone. Only to fade away and rarely to be heard from again. Did the corporate world end them? Were they to controversial to keep handing money over to? Only they know for sure, but from the outside, that’s sure what it looks like. And as we all know, if you don’t have the bucks you don’t make the runs.

Talk is great, a way to attract new fans, or reinforce the ones you have, do we like to see Force and Shoemaker have words? Sure. And by the way, the best part of John Force getting into feuds is his seeming innocence that someone might be upset, in his mind if Prock went to DSR and it was “Just business” then him bringing Prock back was “Just business” as well. No harm no foul. Or driving Al Hoffman crazy, innocently unaware that he was driving Hoffman insane. How could Al possibly not like him or be angry at him? Do we like Leah Pritchett admitting she loves beating Brittany Force? Of course. But to let things escalate to throwing punches in the pits? maybe not. That’s not good for anyone. Regardless of what sponsor is on the door.

Watch at about 1:05

 

In the end I’m reminded of when Don Prudhomme ran to a burning, unconscious Don Gay Jr to get help get him out of the car, or a very concerned Khalid AlBalooshi watching a crashing Antron Brown behind him, that those moments are what make Drag racing great. And all the bickering or feuding  off the track are meaningless, that it’s what happens on the track and in the background that are whats important.

 

 

On a side note. If you want to have a little fun between races, be sure and follow Riki Ratchman on his ride across America this year, yes the same Riki from the Cathouse, Headbangers Ball and currently host of Racing Rocks radio. he is raising awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and raising money for the Claires Place foundation. A worthy cause that we here at Lit and Loud fully support.

@RikiRachtman

@clairewineland

clairesplacefoundation.org

#Rikisride17

@RikisRacPac

Be Safe and Have Fun

 

Post Charlotte thoughts.

Well, another 4 wide is in the books, Congrats to Morgan, Beckman, Brown and Hines. But lets look over a few things I noticed.

#1 The 4 wide showed in Round 1 alone why it can be so cool, just the round with Capps, Beckman, Johnson Jr and Lee was amazing. The fact you don’t have to win, just be top Two led to Capps getting all kinds of out of shape trying to get 2nd. Sadly, he got into the wall. But was still exciting to watch, and that was just One round.

#2 Pat Dakin showed why Top Fuel is still an exciting class. Just once in a while those part time guys can turn all the screws right, set all the timers right and shock the world. That 3.715 was an incredible pass. It reminded me of Rocky Epperlys 257mph at OCIR decades ago. For now, this is my run of the year. Congrats Pat and crew.

#3 Jonnie Lindberg, just wow. TA/FC runs a 5.361 at 272.01. Unreal, and I think there’s more in the car. He could overtake Dakin as my run of the year later on.

#4 Pretty sure it was Joe Castello on WFOradio, who said that Vegas was designed as a 4 wide track, and that they should build the second set of lanes. I’d agree with that and I’ll tell you why, If we’re trying to grow the sport for TV, 4 wide offers a unique event, To often we go to tracks and aside from the tower and backdrop it’s pretty much the same layout, the 4 wide track offers a different look, and breaks up the season a little. I would only add, that we should not have them back to back. They should be broken up during the season. You wouldn’t see Daytone and Talledega back to back.

#5 Again, I think it was Tina Stull that had an idea that Sportsman should run the 4 wide track at least in the Qualifying/Time trial sessions. What a great idea, if we assume that the sportsman will step up to the Pros one day, then we could be training the next gen of 4 wide racers now. I’m not sure eliminations is the way to go, but definitely during qualifying.

#6 Antron Brown was quoted as commenting that you have to enter the race prepared, having watched tapes and ready for the different staging procedures, and he’s right. Some drivers just hate it, well sorry guys, do your homework, prepare and just maybe you’ll find success like Brown.

#7 That being said, they need to streamline the staging procedure or at least settle on a system and stick with it, the changes, even small ones are disruptive to the drivers. lets just settle on a system and stick to it.

Pretty good race, I have admittedly done a 180 in my opinion, at first I was not a fan, but as we look out at the landscape of NHRA drag racing, we not only need the Zmax 4 wide race, we need more 4 wide races. Congrats Zmax here’s to more

Zmax 4Wide in Charlotte, Quick Notes

ahh 4 Wide at Zmax, a real out of the norm race. New track and tricky weather this weekend. It’s going to be cold and almost certainly will rain Friday. Teams better to be ready to make the most out of every shot at the track. If we lose a couple sessions to rain, every attempt will count. If weather holds, look for big numbers, air is going to be mineshaft like, only variable, the new surface. Testing numbers on it look good, but the transition from concrete to ashpalt could be trouble for Nitro cars.

Top Fuel: I look for a big weekend for the Kalitta cars, they’ve been a little all over the board to start the season, I expect them to pull it together and come out strong, The Vandergriff cars are getting better and better, but look for Dixon to at least lose a Q run to shake out the new car. Connelly the more runs he makes the stronger he looks. but I’m going to call the race win to Langdon, AJR has it’s back to the wall, and need to keep looking good to get a name on the side of that car.

Funny Car: I don’t care what anyone says, those bodies are crippling the Force teams, you don’t change a body that much without adding substantial weight. So look for the struggles to continue until a proper Camaro is on the cars. I look for Head racing to step up and make a good showing, they’ve had some good numbers, just need to put it all together, but look for a Hagan or Capps win, both cars are just so strong right now.

Pro Stock: looks like a full field is there, but look for KB racing to continue winning. Anderson likes his car, first time in years and thats bad for everyone else, Elite is floundering a little, but Erica can pull them out of jams if needed. I look for a Larry Morgan in the finals weekend, he’s flying and having fun. FInally giving up on that Mustang has done wonders for him, I’m going to call a Morgan, Gaydosh, Anderson, Line final.

Pro Stock Bike: Look for Matt and Angie Smith on the Victorys to continue to impress, I’ll admit I was shocked, I was sure they would have Aero troubles, but A P1 for Matt at the first race out changed my mind. ┬áRest of field is so close hard to call, but don’t expect Stoffer to repeat. Harleys will be strong as always, and I would not be shocked to see Pollacheck in the final.

Wait for it, but if weather turns out bad Friday, watch for the Sportsman to get scrambled (as usual) so I wont call any of those classes.