Dodge Demon, Diamond or Dud?

038-Dodge-Demon-2018-gallery-desktop.jpg

You know, as a car guy you can’t help but be impressed at first glance of the Dodge Demon. It’s a very impressive piece of work, 840 horsepower, 9.60’s from the factory at over 140 MPH. But what”s the reality of this car? Is it as amazing as it seems?

Lets put the performance in terms of drag racing into perspective.  This car, off the showroom floor is faster than most Stock class cars, some Super Stock. Quicker than the Super Gas index and less than a second slower than Super Comp. In a car that you can go to a dealer and buy.

But here’s the thing. Should you be able to? It takes a Competition license to drive most of the aforementioned classes, and much more safety equipment than the car comes with, no roll cage, no 5 point harness and does come with for example, a line loc and a trans brake that are not toys, in the wrong hands or malfunctioning they can be downright dangerous. A car that can run these numbers is not a toy, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

If they (Dodge) wanted to make a car with these capability’s why did they not go the extra step and create a car that could at least meet minimum rule standards out of the box? I know why of course, the idea is to build a sick car that could roll off an assembly line quickly, without to much inconvenience and not bother with a hand crafted roll cage or anchoring for a legit racing harness.

letter

The famous letter from the NHRA states “Don’t bring this car to our tracks” Now Dodge for some reason see’s this as a badge of honor. But it’s not. What that means is that as soon as you drive it home, you have just bought a car that is unable to compete at any NHRA sanctioned track. Unless you slow it down to slower than 10 seconds. Which is still impressive, but how do you expect a novice to know how to safely scrub a half second off his ET? I know that I would not like to be in the lane next to a novice running at or close to 140 MPH without the skills to understand the nuances of controlling a car at that speed.

Back at SLP Terry “Zeke” Maxwell had an saying about who we built the Camaro SS and Firehawks for, 1/3 of our cars were for collectors,1/3 were for racers and 1/3 were for the casual car guy to have fun with. Of the 3000 scheduled Demons to be built, 1000 to collectors=ok, 1000 to racers=ok, but the thousand to the novice are the problem.  Should the NHRA bend the rules as so many have suggested? absolutely not. These rules have been forged over the years in terms of blood and lives, they are tried and true. And while we do have an occasional incident with an injury, those rules account for a truly staggering safety record when looked at over the whole of the sport. And Just looking at the basic crash test results of a standard Challenger finds it at the bottom of the pony car list  (according to the results for the IIHS see link below) and I for one would not want to be in a Challenger at 140 MPH with no roll cage crashing. And it’s the little things, why for instance would they put a 4 point harness into the car, why not take the extra step and put the 5th point in. How do they (Dodge) know that whoever buys the car will have the skills needed to put the Skinny’s on the front properly? It seems to me that Dodge makes a lot of assumptions about the skill level of the average car buyer.

Sure you could argue that anyone can buy a Ferrari or Lamborghini and that’s true, but those cars, while they have impressive performance are unlikely to ever be used in North America to their true capability’s, but this car, any stretch of pavement could get it into trouble, not to mention cars around it.

So to get back to the first question, Is this a great car? Yes, with caveats. It’s a great car in the right hands. In the hands of a drag racer who knows what he’s doing it’s a masterpiece. A true racer will make sure the car has the safety products it needs and the experience to use it. Should the average guy buy one, even a car fan? No way. It’s too much car. In the end, if you want to buy a street pony car to have fun with, go get a nice Hellcat. I know it “only” runs 11’s with 707 Horsepower, but it’ll be a much more civilised ride for daily use.

One last question. If Dodge wants to improve it’s image to the Drag racing world, why didn’t they sink that R&D money into the Challenger Drag Pak program? At the last Factory Stock shootout event (Charlotte) only 1 of 8 cars was a Challenger. As it stands now, the Camaros and Mustangs are running away with the series.

http://www.autonews.com/article/20160530/OEM11/305309968/challenger-outmuscled-in-crash-tests

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

 

As always, Be Safe and Have Fun.

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

 

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/

NHRA the last 3, here we go.

IMG_2978Just a few random thoughts as we head into the last 3 events of 2015.

If you can win the championship on desire alone, Del Worsham would be champ already. I have been very impressed at the work he’s putting into his time off between races, dedicated is an understatement. The car is running well, and he’s committed to making sure he’s not the weak link by hitting the practice tree at every opportunity and staying in fighting shape. So far so good, 2 wins in the first 2 races started off strong. Stumbled a bit at the Reading fiasco, but onto Texas to try and right the ship.

Jack Beckman. After a 2014 that missed the countdown, remember back at the start of this year? A DNQ, and Round 1 loss and a Round 2 loss in the first 3 races. Even if he can’t come back to win the championship he still had a great turnaround for the season. It took Prock and Medlin a few races to get the tune up where it needed to be, but after that they have turned in a stunning rebound.

Remember when at the start of the season a 3 second run was rare. 1 car in the 3’s in Pomona qualifying, 3 in Phoenix, and a sprinkling of them until Kansas. Then 7 in Topeka, for 15 overall on the weekend. That Topeka race was really the turning point.  That race was when teams (Prock/Medlin) started to figure out what needed to happen for consistent 3’s, after that the floodgates opened. Now when you see a car run a 4.05 it’s like “wow, what happened to him?” They have become the norm seemingly overnight.

You have to be impressed with Antron Brown and team. I’ll admit, I was shocked at how strong they came out of the gate in the first 3 of the countdown, I did not see that coming. In all reality they would have to stay home to lose this Championship. Even if someone goes out and wins the last 3; Antron will still be collecting points. I can’t imagine this team losing in first round 3 times.

Maple Grove exposed a problem. If there are 16 cars on the grounds in a rain situation like we had, you can’t run a 14 car show. This was Top Fuel in this case, but the NHRA has to make an amendment to the rules that in a special circumstance they can bend the rules. In this case McMillen and Karamasines did not make clean passes to get times on the boards and make the show, but with only 1 session of qualifying they were done. Instead of sending them home, they should have been inserted into the show and given the crowd that toughed it out a full show. As we head into 2016 and the prospect of Pro Stock having weak fields, both in car counts and performance while getting acclimated to the new rules, if there are cars on the grounds, run them in E1. If there are more then 16 cars and short qualifying, go on points earned up to that point to fill the fields. Short fields and a new TV package don’t mix. If the cars are there, use them.

Pro Stock. What a silly season. I don’t like to speculate on rumurs so I won’t except to say that the story of Line and Anderson losing Summit next year is huge, but time will tell if that’s true or not. What we do know as fact is there’s a lot of animosity in the pits and heading into the new package, I suspect there is going to be a lot of teams in need of friends to keep competitive. All this infighting in the end is going to leave some scratching their heads. No one expects everyone to be friends, but as of now, there is some real anger out there. By my count, we are looking at maybe 12 cars in shape to be touring the full season, and that’s not good for the class. A little cooperation will definitely be needed amongst the teams to ensure the health of the class.  If you want details, I suggest you listen to the last 2 weeks of WFO Radio Nitro. you can find the episodes here. http://wforadio.com/

I love the role the spoilers are playing so far. If you go up against a non-countdown car, you better not take them lightly, they will put you on the trailer. We have seen a few fun examples of that already; Hale put Hight on the trailer and Bojec sent Hagen home in E1 Maple Grove and more and then Chad Head went all the way to the final. Outside of John Force; Head didn’t meet any countdown contenders, but what he did do was steal those points. The point is don’t take the dark-horses lightly.

I keep hearing from teams that are not having a good countdown, “we have plenty more races to go” Umm, yeah no there isn’t. There are 12 more rounds, that’s it. I really like Antron Browns assessment of the Countdown “We have 24 rounds to try and win, we better win all we can” well in his case he has 12 of them. Anyone looking to catch up has that goal to achieve. Time is up, if you can’t make a move now you’re done. After Dallas this weekend the picture of who will head into Vegas and Pomona in good shape will be much clearer.

Well, here we go. 12 rounds to glory. Be Safe and Have Fun. Remember, never turn your back on a Nitro Car !!

NHRA, just a picture.

092015-MOTORS-Antron-Brown-pi-ssm.vadapt.620.high.2You know, I sit down to write these with a constant internal battle going on,how in depth do I make them? I want to convey an opinion and relay news and views; but I also have to be mindful of the readers. I know that my readers have for the most part an inkling of racing knowledge, and when I go somewhat in depth you understand.  I also have to think about the new fan, or the casual fan who while they love racing, it’s a Sunday afternoon entertainment experience. If I talk about 5 or 6 disk clutches, or refer to DSR will they get the references? My general rule is, if it’s easily googled I go with it. I assume if reader X wants more info, they can get it simply.

A couple weeks ago we had an event that I thought was truly news worthy. I saw it happen on ESPN and figured I made a mistake. JR Todd and Antron Brown met in the Top Fuel final at ZMax dragway in Charlotte. Top Fuel Final number 800 and that’s great, ESPN made sure we knew it was the 800th, but that wasn’t the only or biggest highlight. The final featured Todd and Brown in the first African American final ever. I second guessed myself on this, ESPN made no reference to it, (I missed the audiocast, so I honestly don’t know if it was mentioned on the P.A.) I heard on a radio podcast later that yes indeed it had been the first and that there had been an internal debate by the NHRA on how to handle it. I went and checked. Outside an AP article that made the rounds there was little to no coverage of this historic event; what an opportunity wasted. Wow the 800th Top Fuel final with Antron V JR. If that not news worthy I don’t know what is.

We get accustomed to diversity here, it’s second nature for us. It doesn’t raise our eyebrows to see women win, or a minority win. If you can drive we value you on that basis. We need to speak to the rest of the world as well, we need to reach out to the casual sports fan, who is looking for role models for their kids. To the Parent who looks to Sport for more than the “stick and ball” type experience. The more casual fan who while they know our women win, we have more than that and I get it, it’s a touchy topic in the National climate we have, but handled correctly, it was a ground breaking event on the world Motorsport stage.

I would have liked to have heard it mentioned on the telecast, if it’s hard to write about, and it is (I can attest) a picture speaks a thousand words. The image that I posted above says it all, and properly captioned it conveys everything we need to say. Diversity is the NHRA’s strength above and beyond all other Motorsport, and we need to spread that word more effectively. With declining participation in the more traditional youth sports, it’s a golden opportunity to draw more participants into our ranks and the added bonus of racing being a natural extension of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) programs. For our kids that’s great, an exciting sport that they can learn from as well.

I take a lot of pride variation we have both on the track and in the stands. For myself as a father, I see Drag Racing as a microcosm of society as it should be. I never worry about exposing my kids to division at the track, all are welcome and encouraged. If I know that and greater society doesn’t, aren’t we are missing the boat and leaving a lot of fans on the outside, not looking in?

My point is this, we have a long history of diversity. We made big noise about the 100 wins for women, and rightly so. But other events happen in terms of equality that we should be sure gets the same treatment and respect. Otherwise we are missing a chance to speak to those fans I spoke about in the opening. The ones who turn on the TV to be entertained and will miss the nuances if we don’t point them out. If I second guessed myself, for sure they had no idea what they witnessed.

I’m not naive enough to think that by coming to a Drag race it will fix all the racial injustice we see on TV, or somehow fix the inequality’s we read about in the papers. In my mind I envision a parent out there looking for a place or role model for their kids, where beating up your body is not the way to the top. A place where your brain is an asset and an equalizer. Where your hard work is paid off in success that wont leave you crippled by head injury. A place where the color of your skin or your gender is not a hindrance or for that matter even a qualifier. If we can reach even a fraction of a percentage of those people we will have succeeded and done our part. While we can’t change the world, maybe we can make it a little better for all. And who knows, maybe our little microcosm can grow and start really influencing the greater world.

Be Safe Have Fun