So I caught some comments over last week’s Blog – National Event Scheduling -where I mentioned that maybe NHRA national events are becoming more entertainment than an actual race. And just maybe sportsman cars should be eliminated from some of them. Once again, I hesitate to use the term “sportsman,” but that is what we all are, pros included.
I possibly could have misjudged the situation in that there are sportsman racers who enjoy the national event atmosphere of racing in front of a grandstand full of spectators on the very same track on the same weekend as John Force, Clay Millican, Steve Torrence and others. Of course, Torrence didn’t show up last week in Pomona, nor do we even know when the champ will show up; but you get the idea. I guess first though I’d have to debunk the theory of a “grandstand full of spectators,” as we all know that watching sportsman cars race in some cases could be like watching paint dry. Me? I’m one of those who enjoy it; watching sportsman cars, not watching paint dry. But that’s because I know first-hand the job it takes to race and the skill involved. I’m sure there are a lot of other fans who also enjoy it, but let’s be honest. You couldn’t empty the stands quicker if you had yelled “gun!” than when the pros are done running. Of course, having the admiration of those few fans who stay is quite refreshing, feeding our egos more than our wallets. And it’s made heroes of quite a few racers; David Rampy and Dan Fletcher, to name just two.
But when the NHRA began the practice of running the sportsman cars down to the semifinals and holding over the remaining four until Sunday, I thought it a good move except for one thing: Financially. We all know that losing in that semi means a check for only several hundred dollars, while making it to the final round ensured at least several thousand in contingency money even for a runner-up finish. I personally would have liked to see just the final round held over. In that case staying one more day for the chance for bigger money made more financial sense. But as I mentioned last week, I’m not in the position to make those kinds of decisions nor sometimes do I think “they” listen.
In the course of people reading my comments last week in Pomona, I may have been wrong in that I hear racers tell me how much they want to race a national event. Some do not like the idea of racing only the semis and finals on Sunday, giving only a select final four the chance to race in front of a crowd. As for the Pomona event, the plan was to race the final eight cars in each class on Sunday, a plan changed by Mother Nature when rain was imminent. That change forced the quarterfinal round to be run Saturday night, with only the remaining four cars run on Sunday. I almost believe “they” would have completed the sportsman fields Saturday night had there not been a curfew involved.
All of which begs to ask the question, of which I’m not afraid to admit, “Was I wrong?” How important is it that you race on Sunday along with the rest of the “big show?”
I do realize the importance of it, but with the way the big show is being run, there just isn’t the time anymore to run the complete schedule of classes. I think I mentioned this previously when we completed the sportsman classes on Saturday night at the Gatornationals last year, in that I thought that was a good idea. However, I’d like to see that done again but invite the winners and their families to be a part of the pre-race opening ceremonies on Sunday. That at least gives the winners their “day in the sun.”
So again I ask, “Was I wrong? And how important is it for you to race on Sundays? If that’s the case, how do you propose the big show even gets completed?”
And while I’m asking questions, “Do you prefer to receive more than two time runs before going into eliminations?” Who knows? Maybe I was wrong about that one last week also. Let me know –email@example.com. -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO