Race Weekend Central

Nitro Shots: President for a Day

If you could be NHRA President for a day, what would you do?

On the surface, that seems like an easy question and lots of people would jump on a chance to answer it, but I’m going to extend the challenge and ask not just WHAT you would do but HOW you would do it. It makes the question a little tougher because when forced to think about the how, what you really could or could not fix about the sport becomes more obvious. You only have one day, so choose wisely! I’m going to take a guess at what I would think would be the most popular answers here.

First, and the biggie on many lists, would probably be get rid of the Countdown. That one is absolutely within your power for the day. Given that this is the big answer in both NASCAR, where many fans hate the Chase, and NHRA, I think the lesson here is that motorsports just does not lend itself well to a playoff system, or at the very least, motorsports fans are not willing to embrace such a thing.

You would have thought it would be an easier sell in NHRA, where elimination from competition is already part of the game, but nope, not really. At least NHRA hasn’t carried it quite as far as NASCAR and added additional elimination points through the Countdown or made it a winner take all one race affair. Yet.

In the real world where we don’t all get to be NHRA president, it’s been in place for 10 years. No matter how much fans may voice their disapproval, those complaints have fallen on deaf ears for all this time, and that’s not going to change. That being said, bear in mind your proposed term at the helm is just one day. More than likely once you leave, it will only come back, making it not an excellent choice for how you would spend your brief time in office. I for one feel it’s an immense waste of energy to beat the skeletonized remains of long-dead horses so I won’t waste my time on that.

What else might be popular? Ticket prices. There’s no disputing that it’s an expensive proposition to spend an entire weekend at a race. The thing is, ticket prices are not unreasonable. A one-day Saturday or Sunday ticket to this weekend’s NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey  will cost you $67 per adult or $10 for a child if you spring for reserved seats. If you go general admission, the adult price is $57 and kids are free. A one-day entry to Carowinds amusement park outside Charlotte, NC costs $65 for an adult, $41 for a child.  Let’s not start on what three days at the Disney complex will run in admission.

No, it’s not the ticket that is really the issue. It’s the travel and the hotel and the food that has to go along with it, because those things are all expensive. They are expensive before you even take into account those hotels that take advantage of the event and raise rates. Unfortunately, NHRA (or any other motorsports sanctioning body for that matter) really doesn’t have any control over those things.

There are other issues brought up repeatedly by fans. There’s the debate of 1000 feet versus 1320 for Nitro cars, the effect of big mega-teams with deep pockets, the effect of sponsors on the ability of drivers to really be themselves (and the stock TV speeches that go along with this) to name just a few.

What would you change and how?

Hey Y’All, Watch This:

Catastrophic engine failure would be a good way to describe what happened to Terry McMillen last weekend in Epping. The explosion was forceful enough to break the supercharger tethers.

After going winless through 2016, Erica Enders completed her comeback and grabbed a Wally in Epping. It’s her first win in a fuel-injected Pro Stock car.


QualifyingFriday, November 10, 6:30 PM ETFS1 (Live)
QualifyingSaturday, November 11, 6:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
EliminationsSunday, November 12, 4:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)

About the author

A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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