DEEP STAGING - DRAG RACING IS DEAD?

It’s been nine months and no… I’m not pregnant. But nine months ago, I began penning a weekly blog on our website – www.dragracingedge.com/the-blog.

It’s merely a conglomeration of things which rush through my head when I can’t sleep at night. Besides the normal day-to-day crap, some of the things which float around in there are related to Four-Wide drag racing, new NHRA national event photography rules, how I hate – alright, dislike, okay jealous – being on the wrong side of the guardwall instead of behind the wheel, event pit parking, along with a whole host of maybe worthless rambling. But I think everyone is thinking along the same lines.

Yes, I’ve been doing this “racing thing” for a long time. I think my father at one time figured I’d grow out of it, or at least I know at one time he told a friend of mine that. Surprise Dad, I think it’s a little late to give it up now.

Two issues ago in this very same column, I wrote about retirement. Now when people ask if I retired, I tell them yes, I re-tired and put a new set on the trailer last year.

In any event, there a lot of things which should be said and in no way do I want to sound negative. But there are instances where we have to say what’s on our minds, and at times it might sound damaging. As I alluded to in an earlier blog, Drag Racing Is Dead, but it’s not. It’s just that there are so many different venues where racers congregate that each one of them by themselves might look “dead.” In reality though, when you look at the big picture, things are pretty healthy.

The “big show,” as it may be, NHRA is certainly working through whatever issues they may have. But so is the “big show” on the circle track side of the fence, NASCAR. And I’m sure other race promoters are having some of the same issues. I’ve always said that everyone has much the same problems, some having more zeros; if you get my drift; on the back end of their problems than others, but the issues are the same.

I mentioned this in an earlier blog and I apologize for repeating but it’s worthy to bear this in mind. If there are only a thousand racers in the country (and there are way more than that), if there is one event to go to on a weekend, chances are you’d get all thousand of them there. However, now imagine ten events on the same weekend and it means that each might only draw 100 at each. Will each one of those ten look “dead?” Yes!

It's refreshing when I go to events and see packed pits because I know the sport is in good shape. But I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly growing like it was when I started racing and even prior to that. Things seldom do after being around for so long. I doubt Little League baseball is growing as it did and part of the reasoning is simply there are so many other things for our youth to do today.

I clearly remember the first year of the Jr. Drag Racing League where the NHRA required drivers to join the organization and become “licensed,” whatever that meant. However, after a year I asked how many “licensed drivers” NHRA had and the number given to me was roughly 3,000. Pretty admirable for a first year program.

After the second year, I posed the same question and the answer was around 3,500, which meant that the program didn’t grow very much. Today it stands right around that 3,000 number.

According to the Little League Baseball and Softball Media Guide, which encompasses a number of different age groups, there are roughly more than two million players involved in the sport. It’s tough to get an answer to this but I’d be willing to bet that that number has stayed pretty constant since the organization was founded in 1939. Obviously some kids age out, as they do in Jr. Dragster racing, but the fact is the argument could be made that Little League baseball isn’t “growing” either.

It's actually pretty refreshing when I pass a house where you see a number of kids outside playing rather than inside with their heads stuck in a phone or on a computer. But as we all know, there are so many other things to do today and playing outside might fall into that “if there is one event to go to on a weekend” type of scenario. Does that mean that “kids playing outside” is dying?

I don’t think so. And neither is drag racing.