So much for the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatortna… Or should we say the Coronavirus Nationals?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know about all the closings, cancellations and postponements. And the NHRA is not immune… ooh that might be a good word for this craziness.

After a week in Gainesville for the Baby Gators; the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional event held the week prior to the Gators; the sportsman racers were geared up and making time trials on Thursday for the big race. It was that morning when word began to filter through the pits that the event might be cancelled. In the meantime, the pro teams were all beginning to set up their camps in the pits. By early afternoon, the official announcement was made to cancel the pro show and just run the classes which had made their time runs and qualifying passes on Thursday. There were some of the pro teams which hadn’t yet completed setting up that were now in take-down mode. All of it not doubt forced by circumstances out of the NHRA’s control.

Not to get too political, but what concerns me is the economic impact… a term which is being used way to much now, but is the truth… this could all have on our country. I actually think if anyone should be quarantined, it should be the media for the scare they’re putting us through. In truth, the scare of getting the virus doesn’t concern me, but what does is the… here’s that term again… the economic impact.

Off my soapbox for now… The sportsman classes from Comp on down were run to completion on Friday with no spectators, not that very few of them bother to watch those classes anyway. Of the national events I’ve won, three of them were done on either Monday rain delays or in the case of Norwalk last year, run on a rescheduled date. Because of that, I sort of know how it feels to run with no crowd. Yes, it would have been great to win in front of the crowd, but when I looked back in the record books for those three I won, there was no asterisk next to the event. A win is a win. In fact, in the one listing of national event winners, my ’84 SPORTSnationals win listed it occurring in Bowling Green, Kentucky which previously had been the home to that event. That year though it was held in Indy. I won Indy! LOL.

I seriously doubt Brad Plourd, David Latino, Ray Miller 3, Jonathan Anderson, Ross Laris and Sandy Wilkins could care less that no one was in the stands. Oh, it may seem strange to them, but I can guarantee that in a short period of time, no one is going to question their wins. And I say this because of my aforementioned three wins on “off days.” When it comes time to cash the winning check at the bank, the tellers aren’t going to say or question a thing. The checks will cash all the same.

I try if at all possible to never run a photo with empty grandstands in the background. It just doesn’t bode well for our sport. However, at this race that WAS the story. No fans were allowed into the facility, just racers and crew, along with officials and members of the media; most of whom had left anyway because of the absence of pros.

As of this writing, this may be the last national event we see for a while. There is no official word as to that but from NHRA’s release the other day, we’re hoping to be back at Houston the middle of April. There is also the K&N Spring Fling Million held in Vegas as well as a number of other races as well. No one wants the race season to be postponed, but it very well could be out of our hands.

In the meantime, don’t shake hands, bump elbows… you know, the ones they told us to cough and sneeze into… that makes sense, right? Stay hydrated, which we should be doing anyway, and stay healthy. Just checking, but Twinkies are healthy, aren’t they? There must be some sort of vitamins in them.

And last but definitely not least, DON’T PANIC! People, people, think about this! This is sheer stupidity in its finest form. Of course, I might think differently in a week when I come down with the symptoms. Gotta have faith and keep praying though. Gotta go now to buy more toilet paper!