Last week I said I wasn’t a spectator (https://dragracingedge.com/the-blog/i-am-not-a-spectator-59/), but it was interesting and exciting to see some of the classes go down to the last day. I’m sure some of the racers involved experienced a bit of anxiety as to their fate. During pre-race festivities on Sunday morning, they brought the racers left in the professional class battles on stage to interview. When Alan Reinhart questioned eventual champ Steve Torrence if he thought it was really exciting, Torrence said, “No, I hate it.” Funny but true.
By now I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of the pro classes and in about a month or so when our January issue hits, you’ll be able to read the stories of some of the NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman classes.
Couple of things to come out of the race with the first being the little scuffle between Torrence and Cameron Ferre. In case you hadn’t heard or seen the video, apparently Torrence wasn’t exactly happy with Ferre after their first round race which Torrence won. At the top end, Torrence slapped/hit/whatever Ferre who was probably as shocked as anyone. No doubt they’ve been “spoken to” in regards to not speaking of the incident, but it would be interesting to hear both sides of the story. Truth is I’ve always felt there are three sides to every story; yours, mine and the truth. In this instance we may never know.
Next was the question “Did John Force go in the tank first round to advance Robert Hight?” If that was true, I really have no problem with it. It’s a case of one teammate helping another. Winning races and winning championships is what it’s all about. However, with Robert out of the way, Force himself would have had a somewhat legitimate shot at the title. So why would he go in the tank? And then they both left the line together before Force smoked the tires at about 300-400 feet. Unless he told his crew chief to lock up the clutch around then, I don’t know how else it could have happened.
The next observation I have coming out of this race is something someone chose to air on the Sunoco Vision. During sportsman eliminations on Saturday, after each run, they (whomever “they” are) chose to display the entire time slip; if you will; on the big screen. Basically it allowed everyone to see everything; reaction times, 60’, 330’, margin of victory, etc. Faron Lubbers of Hoosier Tires mentioned to me how he thought that was really cool. Me? No! The last thing I want when I lose is for the whole world to see just how much I may have sucked!
When I started racing (Yeah, no. We really didn’t have to peddle the cars ourselves. Real funny.) you were given a time slip that simply had your car number, elapsed time and mph, reaction timers had even yet to be used. (Who remembers this?) That was it. At some tracks it was easily written on a card and handed to you. Some of the more “sophisticated facilities” had what was known as a telewriter. Someone in the tower would write the numbers down on a device and in the time slip booth was another device that would transpose those number to your time slip. In some cases they weren’t legible to read, but it was a very simple time slip.
Somewhere along the line and I don’t remember when, the technology advanced enough where you also received your opponents numbers on your time slip. WTH? “I don’t want my opponent to know what I ran.” Yeah, it was a bit of a culture shock that we all now know to expect. So, my opponent and his circle of friends can see it, but to show it to the rest of the world on the big screen? I guess that’s another sign of technology but I’m not sure I have to like it.