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

 

Sportsman Clarity?

emmonsI understand the vast majority of “Mainstream” Drag fans are fans of the Mello Yello Pro series with the Pro classes, but there is a whole other world of racing that happens between those cars. The last National event at Wild Horse Pass in Arizona an incident occurred that has sent shock-waves through the sportsman pits.

In the quarter final round Jerry Emmons was disqualified for “excessive braking”. Allow me explain why that is so alarming. As a driver, braking at the finish line is as much a part of index racing as cutting a light on the starting line; you have to be able to judge your opponent and decide in a fraction of a second what to do, take the stripe, ride it hard to the line or cut them loose and let the cards fall where they may. You show me a bracket racer who cannot drive the finish line and I’ll show you a driver who is always at the buyback window, or loading up after first round weekend after weekend.

If the NHRA is going to start making arbitrary judgements regarding National event runs, it throws all past knowledge up in the air. If racer X is racing hard in the late rounds the last thing they need to worry about is “If I get hard on the brakes am I going to be DQ’ed?” All while going 100+MPH. This is huge, because when I and every racer I’ve spoken to look at Jerry’s run, it’s a masterful job of driving. He was in control and at no point did he appear to have an issue. To me it was a clean run, about as good as could be done, as a matter of fact it was what I have coached people to do in that circumstance.

No one wants to see results like the run above, but Thomas Fletcher at the time was a relative newcomer, not a rookie but not with the experience as Jerry Emmons. That run, according to the rules was a disqualifying run, he crossed the centerline.

I am aware that there were “warnings” issued. OK, he was warned and according to Jerry himself (as heard on WFO Radio, Link at the bottom) he addressed the situation, checked that the car was mechanically sound and continued on. That’s all he could do, and should have been expected to do. You could no more tell John Force in the semis he had to not exceed 315 MPH then to tell a sportsman racer he had to make a wholesale change to his setup on the car for any given round.

Here’s the thing, I’ve never heard of the NHRA seeing a pedalfest between 2 Nitro funny cars and going to the drivers to issue a “warning” for dangerous driving. It could be argued that a sideways tire smoking Nitro car is exponentially more dangerous than a Stock car hard on the brakes. So if that’s the reason, it rings hollow. I’ve had a couple people tell me that it was done because the NHRA wanted to send a clear warning to the sportsman racers that on Sunday, you don’t jeopardize the show and screw up the pros when they would be live; in other words, “don’t mess up our schedule”. I have 2 problems with that, first I really really don’t want to believe the NHRA has that level of disrespect to the sportsman racers and two if that was the case would they use one of the Emmons brothers as an example, with Lucas Oil on the car the same Lucas Oil that is the series sponsor? It just seems like that would a bad business decision to me.

At the end of the day, the whole situation has many scratching their heads, and all racers who roll through the gates at a National event need to have clarity. The rule book is vague at best on this issue and literally hundreds of racers out there need to know what is and isn’t acceptable finish line driving? Clearly and without the risk of an arbitrary call.

Below is the link to the WFO radio interview with Jerry Emmons

http://wforadio.com/jerry-emmons-03072017/

Be Safe and Have Fun

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

Dollars, all about the dollars.

Money, it’s a gas, grab that cash with both hands and make a stash. Money, Pink Floyd

ChrisBennett-NoMercy-FC

Chris Bennett

It is all about the budget if you want to run a nitro class, the never ending pursuit of sponsor dollars. Some have and some want. But here we come to a situation where we will see if the last few years of Drag Racing have helped or hurt the sponsorship hunt.

The emergence of “super” teams occurred during a time of stagnation in the NHRA, the growth of teams like DSR, JFR and Kalitta Motorsports were all a good thing. When the sport was at it’s weakest at least there would always be a reasonable car count in Top Fuel and Funny car. We now come to a crossroads, the sport is on a rebound. Full credit to the NHRA itself. It weathered the storm, got a new TV package and has made some good investments in the future. The question is, can the Nitro classes improve their numbers?

We will never see 20 or 25 sponsored Nitro teams at the track, it’s unnecessary. A good solid 16 to 18 would be ideal.  As it is now, we have a good 8 to 10 cars on the grounds that can win on any given weekend, but for all that we still have some events that can only pull 14 or 15 cars to even try and qualify.

But now the “Super team” problem. How does Joe X go in front of a sponsor to get a deal, and rationalise to them the reasons for the money, if almost all the winners are from a mega team? There’s no denying that on any given race weekend the chances are it’s going to be a DSR, JFR or Kalitta Racing team in the winners circle. Is that a bad thing? No that’s the objective, that’s the whole reason they show up. Where does that leave the independent? How do they justify a sponsorship when Joe X is going up against the mega teams?

And we come to this weekend. As most of you know, Terry McMillen and Leah Pritchett are tied for the 10th and last spot in the Countdown. On paper and in person both of these 2 deserve to get in. They both display hard work and have massive fan support. Terry runs a independent team with great sponsors and Leah after a turbulent start has landed on the DSR mega team in the 4th car with some pretty good sponsors of her own. Every win or success by an independent is a win for the little guy. Every win or success by Steve Torrence or Tim Wilkerson is a plus for the sport as a whole because it gives other Independents something to point to and say “look, it’s hard, but we have a chance” and that goes a long way to a sponsor. No sponsor expects to win every weekend, nor should they. But they should at least know that their dollars are going to have at least some success.

RL_JimCampbell-FC

Jim Campbell

Luckily there is a long line of potential Nitro cars out there that would be a factor on the tour with a little corporate money. Guys like Jim Campbell, Chris Bennet, Steve Palmer, John Bojec and Brandon Welch and a whole host of Alky class drivers like Tedesco, Sanford, Westerfield and Ferre who have at least dipped a toe in the Pro ranks. Any of these teams could and would make a major sponsor very happy, but they need to have a product other than first round loses every week to sell.

Of course not to mention the teams as well. No one wants to go out to the race track every weekend, no matter how much you love it, only to put the car on the trailer after the first round week after week. So even if they don’t win the Wally, it is great to see guys like Jeff Diehl make the semis twice this year and Bojec making the semis once last year.

You have to hand it to Jim Dunn racing. look back over just 2016 at the names on the side of that car, Mooneyes, Oberto, Circle K, Alo just to name a few off the top of my head. It must be a logistical nightmare. They are at every event, ready to go. Are they a threat to win? No, but they put on a great display for the sponsor and can go rounds with a little luck. I imagine that they would like a little stability with their sponsors, but the job they do with what they have is phenomenal. It really is a model others could use given a lot of hard work.

So..bring on the little guy, The more Wally’s for Wilkerson, Pedregon and Torrence the better, show that in a pit area dominated by Super teams the independent has a shot.

As far as McMillen and Pritchett, may the best team win. I can make a strong argument that for the sport, it’s better if Terry gets the spot and a win for the little guy.  I can also make an argument that it’s good for the sport if Leah wins. So who knows?

Be Safe and Have fun

Pro Stock..the future?

You know I had it made in the shade, thinkin that it’s not so bad after all
That’s when I woke up, smelled the coffee.- Heavens Trail, Tesla

You know, I’ve started and stopped this column 3 times already. Revising it down, rethinking some parts, but the reality is how do you break down a class that is so broken into a few hundred words? Sure, if you listen to NHRA world, everything is fine. The racing is great and there’s more to come. But is the class really ok?

There was a time when Pro Stock was “King of the Doorslammers”. In terms of performance and stature after the nitro classes they were it. But with the welcome addition of Pro Mod and even Top Sportsman the luster has come off the class. No longer are they the quickest and fastest door cars on the grounds. In most cases no Pro Stock car could even qualify for a Pro Mod show and would be lucky to be in the top 10 in a Top Sportsman field.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Hmm, Stock Camaro

camaro

Pro Stock Camaro…seem legit? The first problem is above. These are the “Factory Hot Rods” but I don’t see to much that compares between those 2 cars. I’m not sure when the NHRA decided it was its’ job to equalise the aero for the manufacturers. But when you take away brand identity, a sticker across the windshield is not enough to give it back, in fact you shouldn’t need the sticker at all. If it’s a Camaro, it should resemble a Camaro.

The recent rule changes are baffling in that it’s not clear what the objective was. To improve performance? No the cars are as expected, slower; to improve appearance? No all you’ve accomplished is making them look like turbo Pro Mod cars.

The problem is fan appeal. The average fans don’t get the class anymore, it has become very cerebral. You have to understand what is going on under the body, you have to understand what is going on in those 500 cubic inches. If the class is going to grow and survive they must bring back the fans, with a clear understanding of what is happening on the track. A heads up 500 inch class is not enough anymore.

If we allow that these are not the quickest and fastest door cars at any event, then maybe we need to accept that and rebuild. Lets get stock body dimensions out there, lets get stock pieces under the hood. Why do we need big tire, 4 link tube chassis cars, have you seen what some other sanctioning bodies are doing on a 10.5 tire? Have you seen what NHRA Factory Stock is doing? Several of those Factory Stock guys have stated that at the right weight they could be in the 7″s. What is better, a mid 7 in a stock bodied car, or a 6.50 in a modern Pro Stock car? When it comes right down to it, that’s a second, and I’ll sacrifice that second for a stock appearing Camaro.

Video Credit Robert Jackson.

 

One of the refrains you hear a lot from the NHRA is “Just wait, there are more cars coming” as if the car count was the problem. But the car count isn’t the problem. The fans in the stands don’t know or care if there’s only 15 Top Fuel cars on the grounds, they sure as hell don’t care that there’s only 14 Pro Stock cars. Would it be nice to have full fields? of course. I spend a lot more time at Regionals than I do Nationals. As a matter of fact it’s 3 to 1.  I’m not sure who the NHRA is asking, but the answer I get most often when I ask Sportsman if they are considering the jump up to Pro Stock is NO. To paraphrase two competitors in particular (1 running Comp and 1 running Top Sportsman) -No, why would I abandon a competitive car, that I can win with for a class that’ll bankrupt me and I’ll have zero chance at winning, and if the fields do grow, I may not even qualify for.  I can’t argue with that logic. The NHRA needs to consider that many Sportsman already consider themselves touring Pros, even if they don’t have a Pro class designation.

NHRA needs to just throw away the current rule book, look at the big picture of what people are doing with Stock bodied cars across the spectrum of Drag Racing and reinvent the class. For some reason there’s a resistance to elevating the Factory Stock cars into a new Pro Stock (even though that’s where the Factory support is) they need to evaluate the need for 500ci engines and the big tires. They need to look at screaming small blocks, 10.5 tires and gasp…clutch your pearls, turbo 4 cylinder Hondas or Toyotas.

Carey Bales Turbo 122 Cubic Inch 2016 Honda Accord.

 

Out of all this, 4 things give me reason to think I’m not the only one who see’s a problem with Pro Stock.

No. 1  V. Gaines stepping away. His stated reason was he’s not having fun anymore. Now sure, some could and have argued that V was older and would probably have stepped aside soon anyway and I’ll admit I was surprised he raced this year. I had heard 2015 would be his last year, but still for a guy who only raced for fun to quit so abruptly was a big surprise.

No. 2  I recently was live messaging with a friend who is a Sportsman racer and crews on a Pro Stock car part time. As the Pro Stock qualifying session ended and the fans started to get in their seats for the Nitro sessions, his last comment to me was and I quote “This class is really on life support, the fans don’t even come to watch us race anymore”

No. 3  In the June 3rd National Dragster column, Peter Clifford (Pres of the NHRA) called  the changes to Pro Stock a “Miss”. So that gives me hope that at least the higher ups in the NHRA know there’s a problem, even as the Public relations folks are spinning a pretty picture.

And 4th, maybe the most damming of all. In a recent Competition Plus poll a whooping  72% of responders said that Pro Stock was dead. If that doesn’t say a lot, I don’t know what does.

http://www.competitionplus.com/drag-racing/news/survey-says-readers-weigh-in-on-the-state-of-nhra-pro-stock

Is there hope? Of course, as long as you have the men and women out there  still supporting the class, There’s always hope, but we are going to need a major overhaul to the class to bring the fans back to the seats. I suggest we start to look hard at the rulebook now to get ready for the 2018 season with a new look Pro Stock, more representative of the cars on the road in North America today.

Be Safe and Have Fun

 

 

Is Capps a time traveller?

Lets have a little fun, and use our brain muscles a little bit.

If we look at Einsteins theory of relativity, we stumble on a little understood but widely proven idea of time dilation, the understanding that with motion, time slows for the one moving.  It’s minuscule to be sure, but a definite measurable event. As you would see in this clip, explained by Brian Green, the simplest test of this was to take two atomic clocks set at exactly the same time, one on the ground and one on a plane. Fly the one on the plane around the world, afterwards a check of the clocks will reveal that the one on the plane ran slower, in other words it aged less than the one on the ground.

I wonder, what if we applied the same effects to Ron Capps, repeatedly accelerating to over 300 miles per hour? Once for sure be negligible on his time in terms of ageing, but what if we figured out the effects after hundreds and hundreds of passes? What if we looked at Chris Karamesines or John Force? With thousands of passes? It would be interesting to find out from a physicist the answers?

We are talking about minutes to be sure, at least with the current understanding of time dilation we have, but the effects on our genes and DNA are just beginning to be researched thanks to the sacrifices of the Mark and Scott Kelly. They’re twins, and Scott just spent a year in space while Mark stayed on the ground. So scientists could study the effects of space and time on the body. It would be something to find out that somehow the effects are exaggerated on the human body compared to an atomic clock. It would go a long way to explaining the youthfulness of our stars, even in what some would call their “Golden Years”

And while we are speculating, what about our NASCAR friends? Surely 3 hrs at 200 MPH would have an effect, week after week. It’s not the short bursts that matter, it’s the repeated accumulating time that matters. It would be something to understand that Richard Petty was actually several hrs younger than we think he is.

capps

Are we supposed to believe this guy from 1996 is really,

capps 2

this guy from 2016? After 20 years? or is he?

So the next time Mr. Capps jumps from his car, he just might be the spry youngster he appears to be.

LOL, Be Safe and Have Fun.

 

DSR…Nitro and some great racing.

“When I drive that slow, you know it’s hard to steer, And I can’t get my car out of second gear” Sammy Hagar, I Can’t Drive 55

After 7 races this season it looks as though it has the potential to be one of the most competitive seasons ever. Team Kalitta is sitting with 3 wins, JFR has 4 and DSR has 3, plus add 1 each for Leah Pritchett and Steve Torrence and a surprising 2 for Tim Wilkerson. It’s still relatively early in the year and for as great as those numbers are the list of who hasn’t won is pretty impressive. Del, JR, Shoemaker, Langdon, Johnson Jr. It’s really pretty crazy, but shows how tough it has become to win a Wally this season.

One thing that stands out so far is the tenacity of Leah Pritchett this year. The shutdown of BVR was a surprise and Leah had to scramble to secure a future, even just short term. Despite all the drama, at least to the public, she carried herself with dignity and grace that represented her ambitions. It has been amazing to watch her take step after step in achieving her goals and at the same time try and remain focused on the task at hand at the racetrack. To go from her ride at BVR to the Lagana Brothers car, back to her BVR car and into a DSR car..what a complete challenge for her. It’s hard enough driving a Top Fuel dragster, much less 4 in as many races. But if anyone doubted her drive and desire I think they can put that to rest.

I have heard that Leah will be in the DSR car for at least 2 more races and I have no doubt she will find the funding to continue; I just hope it comes before she has to park for a couple races. It just wouldn’t be the same without her out there.

smax

Are we sure Smax Smith isn’t really Sammy Hager in disguise?

DSR has been a little bit shocking this year. I think of them as a cutting edge, best of everything type of team, but the really slow uptake on the 6 disk clutch has been strange to watch. Most, if not all competitive teams in 2015 had already switched to the 6 disk, while at DSR only Matt Hagan’s team was running it full time. It seems that they sacrificed long term gains for short term performance and now they are trying to catch up to the rest of the teams. After 7 races to only have 3 wins out of 7 full time teams is pretty surprising.

Drag Racing

While on the topic of DSR. It sometimes startles me on social media to see the distaste for DSR. “Oh they win too much” “It’s all about all the money they have and not fair” and so on. The reality is..if DSR went away there goes 7 sometimes 8 top flight Nitro teams. Do you really want to see a field without those cars? That is one smart organization over there, and Mr Schumacher understands that he can’t be the whole show. Terry McMillen wouldn’t have made Atlanta without DSR ready to help him out and frankly Leah wouldn’t have a ride for now without the depth of that group. So instead of focusing on what you don’t like about the team, focus on what’s good.

This far into the season a couple drivers really stand out. Brittany Force for one. It always seemed like Brittany was a good driver, just not really into the whole atmosphere of racing full time. I don’t know why, but that was the vibe I got from her.  I have to say, bringing in Alan Johnson to the team was a breath of fresh air for them. She seems a lot more at ease with the team, the car and the whole experience of racing. The first win then adding a second win really showed a side of her I hadn’t seen before, and I hope we see more of it. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that now they have a group of guys who can speak the language of Top Fuel at the highest level. Hats off to John for getting that all worked out, and allowing the dragster team to step up in a big way.

 

After the John Hale explosion I can’t wait until the last of the old style Dodge bodies are gone. Simply too dangerous.

NHRA All Access. I can’t speak highly of this enough, not just as a way for viewing the races, but a great tool for the racer to use at any level. Think about it, a sponsor now has a way to directly watch their dollars in action, in real time. You can say to the sponsor here, you can see the level of competition you are involved in and you can watch live as your dollars compete. Just set them up with a subscription and bingo, direct sponsor contact. Even if they don’t watch all day, a simple text to say “hey, we’re in the lanes ready to go, turn on All Access and watch.”. I know when I watch I see guys like Sherman Adcock and instantly reference Peak antifreeze in my mind. With just a little work put in I think it can and will become an invaluable addition to a sponsor program.

Well, here we go into the meat of the season. The Summer months are upon us. I think it’s 5 races in 6 weeks. Here’s to the rest of the season keeping up with the first 7.

Be Safe, Have Fun.

Support DRAW, they do great work.  http://www.drawfasthelp.org/

Leah, 4 wide and the King.

          The lights on, the last round. The dark horse keeps on fightin’. (Comeback-Redlight King)

leah

The writing was on the wall at Bob Vandergriff Racing from the end of 2015.  Remember that Larry Dixon didn’t lose his ride to Leah Pritchett, there was no ride to lose. The downturn in the oil business had lead to C&J energy cutting back on funding for 2016 and Bob was only going to field one car. It was only after Leah brought Quaker State on board that the second team was added full time.

But I wondered how even with Quaker State they would run a full season, since they were only on board as the primary for 5 races and associate the rest of the time. Then they added Fireade as well, but after the passing of Josh Comstock, they lost their primary supporter after all, and Bob folded.

So, where does that leave the team? Well, luckily Terry McMillen put out a call for crew guys just as this was happening. So I hope some found work there. The Crew chiefs are to talented to sit on the sidelines long. Dave Connelly has announced he will run Top Sportsman this weekend at Zmax.  Leah will drive the Lagana Top Fuel car and bring a few crew guys along with her as well. Long term, Dave is one helluva talented guy. He can drive anything and can crew or tune as well, I have no doubt he will land on his feet in the Pro Ranks somewhere. As for Leah, same boat here. She can drive anything from a Pro Mod to Top Fuel and has won in several classes. The timing is real bad for a fuel team to be starting out, but remember that Brittany Force debuted the Monster energy car in Atlanta last year, so starting late with a deal is doable.

As for Bob. There has been a lot of negative comments thrown around, some justified some not, but at the end of the day only Bob knows why he called it quits. Could it have been handled with a little more grace? Yes definitely. I have always been a Vandergriff supporter, but after you close up shop, maybe you go in hiatus from social media a while. Pictures from Augusta and quips at your fellow racers poking fun are not very becoming while you leave 50 peoples lives in carnage.

Zmax and the 4 Wide. Well it’s that time again, queue the complaints about 4 wide racing. Here’s the thing, it’s different and if there is one thing we need as a sport trying to make a success of a new TV package it’s diversity. Too often the visuals from the tracks are to similar. 2 lanes and a tower. The 4 Wides offer a chance to break that up on TV, and big shock, I say we need more 4 wide races in the schedule. If it was up to me, I would finish the missing 2 lanes at Las Vegas and make that track the 4 lane track it was intended to be. I would break a little from what others have suggested along these lines. I would have the spring Vegas race a 4 Wide and the fall Charlotte race a 4 Wide. Back to back 4 Wides is overload early in the season, and I wouldn’t want a wildcard 4 Wide race right before the finals. So with the schedule as it is I would make those changes. Both coasts are covered and we can kind of bookend the season with 4 Wide races.

The idea of using all 4 lanes for Sportsman categories is a great idea. Again you can hear the trolls already, but the more attention you can bring to those classes the better with one caveat; we need to do something to the tree for these classes. You can’t have 4 cars trying to get on the chip to launch not sure when everyone else will be fully staged. The danger of a guy getting hung out on the chip for to long is to great with the tree as it is. That goes for most Sportsman classes from Top Alcohol Dragster all the way to Stock Eliminator. But I will watch with interest this weekend as they try it with Super Gas and Super Comp.

A little sidenote. I have seen all the Direct Messages my readers sent after the Ronnie Davis crash and I acknowledge and concur with your thoughts. At the end of the day it was a tragic accident that resulted in Ronnie losing his life and Ian Tocher looking at a long road to recovery. I won’t comment on the crash here. R.I.P. Ronnie, you will be missed. Ian, get well soon. we’re all pulling for you.

One last thing. Sources tell me and I got some confirmation, but there is nothing official yet so take this with a grain of salt… If a team gets a sponsor for x number of commitments, then folds the team before commitments are finished could that result in legal trouble? From what I’ve heard this is the case in a recent situation and we could be hearing a lot more about this if certain money is not returned for services not rendered. Stay Tuned.

Be Safe and Have Fun.