THE NEW NORMAL - Blog #84

Allow me to get right to the point here.

Last week’s Blog – R.I.P. Drag Racing – was meant to be totally a tongue-in-cheek moment. Obviously I have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow, much less in 2050. It was meant to just get maybe a laugh or at the very least a read to escape from the issues of today. These stay-at-home orders are troubling and the withdrawal from the sport we all suffer might have us looking very similar to my software-enhanced photo on the Blog itself.

Do I believe any of what I wrote to be true? Do I believe any of it to be possible? No and Yes. That’s beside the point though.

Look, we’re in a very trying time now. What was normal as little as three months ago is now gone. Shaking a person’s hand was a sign of respect. That’s gone. Taping elbows with a person just doesn’t hold the same feeling. While on that subject, isn’t that the elbows they told us to sneeze into rather than your hand? Hugging is also out. Masks were sign of a stick-up at a convenience store or bank. Not anymore. Criminals are going to have to come up with a different disguise. Along the same course, which masks are suitable? Will we have to have “dress-up” masks and “go-to-work” masks? I don’t know. And while if I don’t wear a mask, is it a sign of disrespect similar to not shaking one’s hand? Oh, and what about gloves?

Back to drag racing… This is going to be very different as well. Of course we don’t know that to be a fact as of yet because very few of us have been able to attend a race. “They” tell us to wash hands frequently and not handle certain objects because the virus can live on them. How many times do you wash your hands at a day at the track? Does it mean that the person at the time slip booth should be wearing gloves? What about this contactless tech inspection? What the f### is that supposed to mean? Social distancing. Face masks. Is that the new “normal?”

I don’t believe that too much will change when it comes to local weekend events and truthfully I may be wrong about that. Time will tell. From what I’m hearing about with regards to bracket events which have been held down south, I haven’t seen too much change.

I was a little… disheartened but maybe that’s not the right word… to watch on TV the NASCAR race this past weekend from Darlington. It was strange to see everyone wearing masks even during interviews. However, that might have been done to appease the television audience. I didn’t see too many people wearing masks in the pictures I got from photographer Roger Richards at the Wooostock doorslammer race at Darlington Dragway only a short distance from where the “turn-left” boys were playing.

However, when it comes to the “big show,” that might be different. I believe that once we do ever get back to NHRA national events, the NHRA as we knew it three months ago is going to be completely different. In what way, I’m not sure, but just like what our future may look like as far as this country is concerned, so will the NHRA-style of racing. Or at least some of the officials we as racers interact with. Probably no secret, but there has been a fair amount of “furloughing,” which is just a nicer way of saying “you’ve been laid off.” But no doubt that’s been happening all across the country at various companies.

There’s also been talk of “contactless tech inspection,” along with timeslips texted to your phones. A couple of problems I see with that are first, there are still a fair amount of those who still operate with “flip phones,” and of course I say that with no disrespect. Some who are not computer-savvy;” and again, no disrespect, but it is the truth. Next problem as I see to that issue is that both the track internet and cell service must be good, and we know that there are some tracks where that service is sketchy at best.

I believe that what we have learned in these days where numerous meetings and videos are being done remotely, sometimes glitches interrupt the live feed. If we expect the modernization of drag racing to move forward, we need to fix those type issues. All so that when 2050 rolls around, we still have Drag Racing. -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO