With the glut of big dollar bracket racing events, there comes the talk of rules and maybe even cheating. I’ve read reports on internet (and then it HAS to be true) of the old Dirty Dozen caught cheating decades ago. Truth is that from what I understand, NOBODY of that group actually got caught cheating. It began when one individual refused to get torn down; if you will; after either winning or going rounds, instead choosing to simply load up and leave. Maybe that could be considered as an admission of guilt, but no one I know of actually was “caught.”

Somehow I guess, a list of 11 of this particular person’s “customers” were leaked and those became known as the Dirty Dozen banned from certain races. I once asked one particular track owner as to just how he can justify banning those persons when I thought we were a society of “innocent until proven guilty.” The answer was, “I get calls stating that if any of those 12 were going to be allowed at my races, then ‘I’m not coming.’ As far as I’m concerned, those people would hurt attendance at my events and therefore, I don’t want them on my property.” Sounded fair enough.

All that being said though, where are we today in terms of cheating?

I really don’t believe there is cheating taking place. Maybe I’m being naïve, but I think most racers are pretty honest. Oh, we all might skirt the rules somewhat, but when we know it’s wrong, I think most everyone stays away from it. Unfortunately though, in an attempt to “close the barn door before the horse gets out,” we have to have rules written down and therefore the reason the NHRA Rulebook has gone from a short handbook to one which encompasses over 300 pages. Not to mention the various other unseen handbooks which we as racers might not be privy to.

But in the bracket racing world, the beauty of the class was “no rules.” However, with the onslaught of electronic “aides” we have at our discretion to use today, are there some which can allow for consistent “double-0s” and dead on the dial runs? What they are, I don’t know and I’d like to buy some if they’re available. Just kidding but…

At some of the big bracket races I go to in order to cover them, I do see spot checks being made and that’s a good thing. Will they eventually find something? Probably not but it keeps everyone on their toes.

The other issue with rules are the different ones governing the race itself. For example, the World Footbrake Challenge along with the Southern Footbrake Challenge are for just that, footbrake only. No trans brakes. No automatic shifters. Yet, here in the northeast, the Pro class, which was essentially the footbrake class, now allows trans brakes and shifters. This has the abilities to allow certain Super Stock-type cars to run on a weekly basis. However, most all of the big-dollar footbrake races are still footbrake-only. All I can say to know the rules beforehand. All of which also involves double-entries and the like.

What do they say? Buyer beware. -John DiBartolomeo