Car counts

Discussion in 'Pit Buzz' started by 310TAD, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. 310TAD

    310TAD Top Alcohol

    May 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Right now it looks like Tom Carter is a lock to win the National
    Event Wally at Brainerd. Not that he wouldn't if there were 26 cars entered, but right now he is the ONLY TA/FC entered for that race. Looks like only 7 TA/D's at this point. I know the economy is bad right now , but if we don't keep filling up the fields (or at least close), we can start looking forward to fewer events available or 8 car alky fields at Nationals.
    I am trying to scrape up money to run 8 Nationals this year, as alot of others are too. This race is alittle out of the beaten path, but a great track, in a beatiful part of the country. And lets not forget the entertainment value of the Zoo.
    Mount Up!

    Marty Thacker
  2. clint thompson

    Jan 15, 2004
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    wish I could go

    Boy I wish I could be there. Not because there is only one entry, but because I like to race at Brainerd. The powers that be need to be a little more selective on the schedule. We have a D6 race in Seattle the same weekend. In the past quite a number of D6 racers have competed in Brainerd, but alas now we need to go for the D points and can't go. Then they reschedule the Woodburn rainout right in the middle of Sept. I was gonna go to Indy, earlville, Dallas and Reading. Now I have to be in Woodburn on Sept 16th so that screws that up too. too much in fuel to go back and forth twice so I'll have to decide on either Indy or Dallas / Reading. If they wanna get some cars at the track the schedule has to make sense.Same thing happend to the Topeka Nationals when they scheduled D7 bakersfield race same weekend. Lots of D7 cars that would have went to Topeka couldn't. THey make us run Divisionals, that many of the tracks don't even want us at and then schedule it on top of some of the few National events that are close enough to make any sense at all. It is already difficult to get to 7 or 8 Nationals if you live on the west coast since they won't let us run at Sonoma and Phoenix, so you have to be willing to go to Dallas and Topeka to even get 7 (2 at Pomona, 2 at vegas, plus seattle are the only ones within a 12 hour drive from me in Southern Oregon.) Car counts also suffer when they screw the schedule up the way it is. I am all for just running our class at all National events and scrapping the Divisional deal, or like Cody Perkins suggested (and I think Will Hanna) one super divisional per division at one track that does like Alky (assuming there is at least one track that wanted us:mad:
  3. Dave Germain

    Dave Germain New Member

    Aug 1, 2003
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    National Events

    I haven't missed a Seattle National event in years with my TAFC but we aren't going this year. After our less than stellar performance last weekend at Woodburn and the fact that it is going to cost me 1000$ to get my crew of 6 into the show. Not to mention the fuel to get there and all the rest of the costs. Maybe more guys would go to National Events if it wasn't so expensive? Dave Germain
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  4. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2003
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    scheduling a big culprit

    While there are certainly other issues, namely the economy and fuel costs, scheduling hasn't done our classes any favors this year, particularly at the national level. This isn't just limited to the alcohol classes, they aren't helping the rest of the sportsman car counts when racers have to make a decision on whether to go to a home division race or a national. chances are the national loses out...let's take a look.

    Mar. 4-6
    NHRA Div. 2 LODRS, Cecil, Ga.
    NHRA Div. 4 LODRS, Baytown, Texas

    Two neighboring divisions on top of each other. When the main revenue stream is entry fees and crew passes, makes it tough for either race to hope for much besides their home division crowd.

    Apr. 15-17
    NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, Concord, N.C.
    NHRA Div. 4 LODRS, Ennis, Texas

    Again a D2 track with a national on top of a neighboring division, D4.

    Apr. 29-May 1
    NHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals, Baytown, Texas
    NHRA Div. 3 LODRS, Clermont, Ind.

    D3 probably has the strongest car counts of them all right now. There are a handful of D3 cars that usually make this event. In TAFC Chris Foster and Andy Bohl raced there in 2010 and Bill Reichert is another that always makes the trip in TAD. Other D3 teams have made the trip south in the past as well.

    May 13-15
    NHRA Div. 3 LODRS, Norwalk, Ohio
    NHRA Div. 5 LODRS, Great Bend, Kan.

    Neighbors on top of each other.

    May 20-22
    NHRA Summer Nationals, Topeka, Kan.
    NHRA Div. 2 LODRS, Commerce, Ga.
    NHRA Div. 7 LODRS, Bakersfield, Calif.

    Topeka usually has a strong contingent of cars from D6 and D7. Look at the names that were not there this year that usually attend: TAFC - Doug Gordon, Sean O'Bannon, Steve Gasparrelli, John Lombardo, Clint Thompson, Roger Bateman, Shane Westerfield. TAD: Chris Demke. Jim Whiteley and Cody Perkins had to skip a home division race to attend Topeka.

    May 27-29
    NHRA Div. 1 LODRS, Reading, Pa.
    NHRA Div. 4 LODRS, Belle Rose, La.
    NHRA Div. 5 LODRS, Brainerd, Minn.
    NHRA Div. 6 LODRS, Mission, B.C.

    I don't think D1 and D6 on top of each other really amounted to much, but D4 and D5 usually have a decent cross-over for out of Div's.

    June 10-12
    NHRA Div. 3 LODRS, Joliet, Ill.
    NHRA Div. 4 LODRS, Tulsa, Okla.
    NHRA Div. 7 LODRS, Fallon, Nev.

    June 17-19
    NHRA Div. 5 LODRS, Denver, Colo.
    NHRA Div. 6 LODRS, Spokane, Wash.

    July 22-24
    NHRA Div. 1 LODRS, Epping, N.H.
    NHRA Div. 3 LODRS, Hebron, Ohio

    This can't help each other. The Ohio races traditionally have high D1 counts.

    Aug. 19-21
    NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.
    NHRA Div. 1 LODRS, Rising Sun, Md.
    NHRA Div. 6 LODRS, Kent, Wash.

    Aug. 26-28
    NHRA Div. 3 LODRS, Bowling Green, Ky.
    NHRA Div. 5 LODRS, Topeka, Kan.

    Sept. 9-11
    NHRA Div. 1 LODRS, Englishtown, N.J.
    NHRA Div. 5 LODRS, Earlville, Ia.
    NHRA Div. 6 LODRS, Eagle Point, Ore.

    I know there are a lot of factors that go into making a schedule. If the divisionals aren't making the track much money, I'm sure they move a few spots down the pecking order on priority. At the end of the day, someone has got to look at some of these crossover dates either from the divisional or national level and realize the 'fratracide' going on here.

    Scheduling conflicts are not the root of the problem. They just make the problem look worse than it is at times.
  5. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2003
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    wake up call!

    I'm making a seperate post to make another point.

    If the alcohol racers, blown, a/fuel, tafc, budget racers; ie - everyone involved don't pull their head out and realize what's happening, don't get mad when you get a shit sandwich served to you.

    You can get mad at me or NHRA all you want, but this year or next will probably be the last year of the current structure. So you can either get involved and work with NHRA and the tracks to offer potential solutions or, take what gets dealt when the cards get shuffled.

    We all have to take our rose colored glasses off and look at this from a very objective, business-first mind set. Most of us are in the business of making money, whether it's self employed, or in a decision making capacity for a larger company.

    A track doesn't hold a divisional event because we are entitled to have 5 or 6 races in our division, and they happen to be one of the tracks nice enough for us to race at. A track holds a divisional to make money. The same reason you go to work, whatever your job or business may be. You don't have a company so your receptionist can have a job. Ok, if she's really hot, but that's another thread...

    Since I come from dirt work, I will use this example. If you own a contracting company that originally did complete site work, civil, underground, and concrete/foundation. Over the past few years you figured out it's easier to make the money concentrating on the concrete and foundation side of it and subbing out the dirt and civil side of it. Your dad was more into the dirt side of it and always told you how you were leaving money on the table not doing the dirt part of it. While there was money to be made there, you figured it was riskier to get involved with that, so you just take the easier money to be made on the concrete. Right before your dad retired, he had the company buy a new Trackhoe, rubber tire backhoe, D8 dozer and a couple of dump trucks, all with notes due every month.

    Now the economy is slow, jobs are harder to come by. You have to bid them really tight just to get a job and keep your employees working. Things are so tight you don't want to take the risk on the dirt work. Now how long are you going to keep the dirt equipment that cost you money every month but don't make you any money?

    Just like the dirt equipment, if used properly, the alcohol cars have proven they can make a track money. However, track owners/operators that want to go down that route are few and far between these days. I hate to say it, but to those owners we are $16,000 dead weight to them.

    Car counts are down across the board. It used to be they made enough money off the other cars they could cover the alcohol purse. With reduced car counts, the word I'm getting is these events are barely breaking even or losing money. Shedding the alcohol purse would be the difference to many between profit or loss with current car counts.

    Historically as businesses learn to become more efficient to deal with economic hardships, they usually don't add those expenses they trimmed when economic conditions improve. They usually just come out more profitable.

    I'm not trying to take the track's side here, but if we are going to sit down at the table with them and the NHRA, we need to understand their position. That's why the conversation will be pretty short if the first thing we ask for is more money.

    On the other side of the coin if there is no racer, there is no race. Unfortunately we just don't have much of a bargaining chip. Our best bet at purse increases is working with tracks that want us to create more value for them. If we can go to places like Norwalk that pack the house on a regular basis, now we have a bargaining chip.

    The alcohol classes are so big, there are a lot of different and somewhat differing viewpoints on potential solutions. At the end of the day NHRA is going to make a decision. So your best bet at representing your interests are to either make your points on here or to get in contact with your Division Directors directly. I'm not discounting the SRAC system totally, but let's face it, if the person who is your rep has a different opinion, even if they pass along your thoughts, they aren't going to represent your interests.

    I can't sit here as a business owner and offer solutions that don't start from the track-up, rather than NHRA and racer down. Along those lines the NHRA will have to represent the long term interests of the sport.

    So for the alcohol classes to be valuable for the track, we have to offer a return on investment. If a track does not want a front gate event, we have no value to them, unless our purses are completely subsidized by entry fees and crew passes. Also given the current car count situation, it may be hard to bank on using the alcohol cars as a front gate driver. You can't blame a track for being nervous trying to use the alcohol cars to get a crowd when there is no guarantee you will even get close to a full 8 car field in each to show up.

    Until we offer consistent value on our purse to tracks, the series as a whole will never move forward for the alcohol cars. On the racer side, the divisionals offer little value to us on our investment. If there is no crowd, it's hard for us to sell sponsorship. Sometimes track prep is lacking, or the facility may be sub par for our cars. Yet we have to go to these events for national and divisional points. Just like they don't have a choice if they are going to have to run the alcohol classes, we don't have much of a choice if we are going to run the race.

    Potential solutions I see are:

    1. Regional series. Without going into great detail, basically figure out which tracks want to run the alcohol cars and break the alcohol cars out of the current 7 divisions and make seperate regions for the alcohol cars based on how many tracks will bring the alcohol cars in. If each division had 2 races that just had TAD, and 2 races that had TAFC, you could break the country up into 3 regions, potentially 4. With the extended travel, hopefully the championship purse money for each of the current 7 divisions could be pooled to pay back further down. I think the current purse is 189,000 (total) for both classes over 7 divisions. With 3 regions that would equate to 31,500 per class per region. A potential payout could go as follows to the regional top 10:
    Champion: $9500
    2nd: $5000
    3rd: $4000
    4th: $3000
    5th: $2500
    6th: $2000
    7th: $1750
    8th: $1500
    9th: $1250
    10th: $1000
    TOTAL Per Class: $31,500.

    2. Nationals only for alcohol cars. National championship would be something like your best 8 of 12, maybe as low as 6 of 10. Some travel expenses could be offset by having fewer races to chase a full schedule. That only applies to those who would chase the points. The local teams that only go to a few divisionals a year would be hurt with more travel expense and less options to race at if travel is just not an option.

    If the answer ends up being a national only series for the alcohol cars, maybe a 5.80 index class could be started. It wouldn't be that hard to slow an alcohol car down, and some of the faster TD cars could step up into that class. Maybe this isn't the solution, but I think you need to find something between TAD/TAFC and TD at the local level if you go to an all national deal.

    3. Figure out how to make the current system work. If someone has ideas, please offer them. If a track doesn't want to attract a crowd, the only way it makes financial sense is we either cover the majority of our purse with entry fees. That means a substantial increase in entry fees or a big cut in payouts.

    4. Your idea here.

    To bridge the gap between the racers and the tracks directly, today I will send an email out to every divisional track to get their feedback regarding the alcohol cars at their events. Maybe we can get them involved in a discussion here or a conference call.
  6. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2003
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    less is more

    Generally the more restrictions you put on the racer, the more advantage you create for the bigger budget teams. The more money you have, the easier it is to exploit loopholes.

    If you just get one motor on Sunday, I guarantee you a few days after that rule, BAE and TFX would offer wide pan rail blocks with removable pan rails in case you kick a rod (like the MBR currently offers). NHRA would approve it since the MBR's are doing it. So now the top dollar guys would retool with the new style blocks. Sure it wouldn't cover all motor explosions, but again, big budget teams would retool to use their budget to an advantage. Just a hypothetical.

    How quickly do you think that rule would get shit canned after a few oildowns happen because teams tried to piece something together rather than feed it a spare?

    Maybe a compromise would be 1 spare motor per weekend?

    While completely unregulated a few teams could get a big advantage, but look at the ADRL minimal rules approach. Look who's consistently at the top of the pack in the PX class. Two relatively low buck guys, Frankie Taylor and Joey Martin are wearing some of the BIG budget teams out on a regular basis. With less rules, sometimes a smart racer can use ingenuity to gain a competitive advantage rather than rely on having a big budget to lean on it.

    On the flip side, is NHRA legal pro mod with the roots at 14.5% over cheaper than it was back when they could run unlimited overdrive? If you ask some people, roots are waay cheaper to run than a screw. Hell no it's not cheaper. It cost way more to field an NHRA legal pro mod because they are so regulated. You have to either have a blower guru on your team or lease a blower from a guru. Or shitcan your blower stuff and go turbo.

    If ADRL would have instituted a minimum weight a few years ago, you would see a lot more guys still trying to stay involved in that.

    Problem with any significant change in rules would be the short term increases in costs. New blowers, fuel systems, gear ratios, etc.

    Here's another idea to reduce costs: clutch management. With a BAD the reason why we still rev them up with the overdrive higher is to make the clutch work. If we could use a simple lock up solenoid, I don't see where it would be much of an advantage to rev much more than 10,300, if that. If you could control the lockup of the clutch, it might be more of an advantage to get the car in high gear quicker. I'm sure it would help the AFDs as well. For any car with a clutch it would result in less wear. I'm sure many would even quit pulling it every round.
  7. duane shields

    duane shields New Member

    Apr 23, 2007
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    Low Car Counts

    Will, I believe, as mentioned here, the biggest reason we are seeing the low car counts besides the financial hurt that a lot of people are having right now, is THE SCHEDULING. We have had way too many divisional races that we are required (if you want a Gold, Silver, or Bronze card, or run for National Points) to run. With the changes that came from the National schedule this year, the same weekends that usually worked on the division side, conflicted.

    I have told everyone I know at the NHRA that the Divisional program is broke. We have track operators that don't want the alcohol cars, we race at tracks that are not safe, and we have some Divisions where it has been ok to REDUCE the payouts, or Charge the racers despite them having a Silver or Bronze Card. The amount of money that we get for winning has never gone up in the 15 years I have been in the class. We have only seen our cost of entry go up to attend these same race tracks.

    The problem of National event entries would fix itself, If we reduce the number of Divisional events that people have to go to. You are right, we have to make sense for the track. We can put on a good show if we were not so spread thin. I am all for the elimination of the Divisional all together. I understand though, I am probably not in the majority. I would much rather go to 10 out of the 16 National events (or even 8), that have the proper safety equipment, staff levels, and track preparation, that would pay me almost three times the same money and take twice as many competitors to qualify!!!
    Yes, it would cost more for most racers to travel and fuel cost, but in savings of the 5 or 6 races that I go to in wear and tear of my equipment, I could afford to spend it.

    If there were still some track operators who wanted to do the alcohol cars at the divisionals, we should have a Regional race of 4 or 5 races. (like they do with the Sport Nationals, for all BUT the alcohol cars). These could be a bigger money race or a different points deal, and use your Lucas Oil Divisional Points fund for alcohol cars to help the tracks that wanted to offer more and still have a payout that is not insulting. And certainly at these races don't charge the racers and crews. That expense alone could buy a lot of gas to the races for these lower dollar teams that have been paying to go to the divisionals.

    I agree that something needs to be done. Hopefully by next year. The problem is not on the National level and I get upset when they want to change that program. Fix the scheduling and divisionals and you will see the National Car Counts fill back up. If you have a particular race that is not getting cars, then look at switching the National track with another of the 8 that we are not at.

    These are my opinions and suggestions.

    Duane Shields
    Top Alcohol Dragster
  8. Todd Veney

    Todd Veney New Member

    Sep 27, 2006
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    Duane makes a lot of sense
  9. Randy G.

    Randy G. Top Alcohol

    Jun 9, 2003
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    Adding to what Duane said, the Woodburn division race was rained out last weekend and has been rescheduled right on top of the Dallas national event. Several TA/FC teams that would normally run Dallas are now going to have to choose between that and Dallas.

    Correction...the Dallas National Event is the following weekend.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  10. konrodz

    konrodz Member

    May 10, 2006
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    Duane makes a lot of sense, I think that the NHRA would
    listen to the racer's and possibly try to make it right.
  11. Chuck Anderika

    Sep 13, 2005
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    Lets look at the numbers and remember that this is a SPORTSMAN class. In 2006 there were 254 alch. competitors(tad and tafc combined), 2007-240 ,2008-222 ,2009-209 2010-170. that is a 33% decrease in competitors. Of the 170 only 62 competed at 4 or more national events. The idea of competing at 10 of 16 national events without a paid crew is almost impossible. the elimination of divisionals would probably eliminate 50% of the remaining cars. In 2010 only 11 tad and 11 tafc attended 7 or more national events. To control cost eliminate the 5 of 8 and 5 of 8 and use 5 nationals and 5 divisionals (no throw aways). the vast majority of racers do not want to spend more on airline tickets than they can win at a race. give the tracks in a division who want to promote the race and have alcohol cars the first pick of events and dates or give some tracks the option of having an alcohol only divisional as a booked in show. the idea of running national events only has already been tried before (TOP FUEL). If you want to end up as a 20 car class then that is the way to go. This is the only class of first to the end racing that is left for non-professionals. More input by racers into class rules can still help to hold cost but the haves and havenots will always see the class differently.
  12. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2003
    Likes Received:
    more nationals

    I don't know if this is even an option, but on paper for the racer, if they did go to a national only schedule, it would be nice to see them add a few more races, even if we did have to go back to the A and B race payout scale.

    The problems with the LODRS series go beyond just alcohol turnout and payout.

    The current Lucas sponsorship runs through 2012. There are no guarantees they go beyond that.

    I dont know the exact amounts, but I'm sure the series sponsorship predominantly covers the cost of the year end purses on the national and divisional level along with the TV show. If Lucas pulls out and there's nobody else lined up to pick the tab up, ABC Camshafts or XXX Carbs may want a sportsman geared series minus the alcohol purse and TV show.

    Here's my regional idea:
    The current structure requires divisions to have alcohol cars at a minimum of 5 events. What if you created ‘regional championships’ for the alcohol cars, combining 1&3, 4&5 and 6&7? Division 2 cars/tracks could be split between the 1/3 and 4/5 divisions. (How to handle the D2 situation really needs a lot of thought – but for the sake of discussion, lets just assume they would blend into the other regions). Each division (except 2) would have 4 events with alcohol cars – 2 TAD events and 2 TAFC events. Tracks like Norwalk that make a big show out of the divisional would have the option to run both categories. Regional championships would be decided by your best 4 out of 6 events attended. Ideally the purses from the divisions would be rolled together to make a better points payout for the regional payout. National championship points could be shifted to your best 6 of 8 nationals and 4 of 6 regionals.

    There are definitely some issues that need to be worked out in the above model. How to split D2 up. Maybe like Chuck said, no dropped races on the national side.

    The other problem with a national only series is not only travel time/expense, it will be very tough to qualify.

    I'm glad to see the feedback coming. I don't think things will stay the same, so we need to get as many ideas out there as possible.
  13. Ghost - Kevin

    Ghost - Kevin Member

    Sep 21, 2003
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    Only have a second to comment:

    1. Marty...we'll be there to take on Tom...and I'll bet Frank and some others shows up too. We try not to pre-enter too early anymore. If you hurt it and are unable to attend you can only transfer the entry one time with an additional fee.

    2. You can't ever control performance or costs by tell racers "WHAT" they can bring to the race track. You can only control performance and costs by telling racers "HOW MANY" they can bring.

    Single engine rule (for the race weekend) would control both. ...And please don't tell me it can't be done. We do it....and have only had one small problem (plugged Nozzle) that was not tune-up related where we could not continue this year. If everyone only had one engine for the weekend you would see many more show up. Indy 2004 we were close to a racer that had 4 long blocks in the trailer ready to go and commented that he would kill all 5 engines to win the race. I just shook my head :rolleyes:

    Gota run....

    Kevin Hool
    "The Ghost" TAFC
  14. 310TAD

    310TAD Top Alcohol

    May 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    The future

    Good to hear.

    While I have been one to want to keep the Divisional + National system, I can see a change may have to happen. I could live with a system somewhat like you talk about. One thing that I think would have to change would be you regions.
    Divisions 1 and 3 are the largest two divisions on alky car counts (per NHRA). Combining them would be murder. You would want each region to have it's share of cars. I could see a 4 region setup, with 1 and the east half of 2, 3 and the west half of 2 (and maybe Illinois tracks Cordova & St. louis ((more to come)). 4 and 5, and finally 6 and 7. We would have to look at the current points sheet and see how this would count up the active cars and suitable race tracks.
    I'm sure we're a long way from the final answer, but I'm glad to see folks on here trying to be part of the answer and not just bitchen.
    Marty Thacker
  15. Ghost - Kevin

    Ghost - Kevin Member

    Sep 21, 2003
    Likes Received:

    3 divisions ...

    West Div - CO-WY-MT-NM west to the coast

    Central Div - ND-SD-NE-KS-OK-TX to MI-IN-MS

    East Div - OH-KY-TN-AL east to the coast

    There are hitters in each of those....:D

    The north - south travel might be a pain for some. But it's better than no racing?

    Gota run again....

    Kevin HooL
  16. 310TAD

    310TAD Top Alcohol

    May 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Active cars by divisions

    Going through the current National points indicates the following division population;

    Top Alcohol Funny Car
    D1 = 16
    D2 = 5
    D3 = 14
    D4 = 5
    D5 = 11
    D6 = 8
    D7 = 12

    Top Alcohol Dragster
    D1 = 14
    D2 = 7
    D3 = 14
    D4 = 11
    D5 = 9
    D6 = 8
    D7 = 10

    Total Active Top Alcohol Cars By Division;
    D1 = 30
    D2 = 12
    D3 = 28
    D4 = 16
    D5 = 20
    D6 = 16
    D7 = 22

    According to NHRA's records Divsions 1 and 3 have went back and forth as the top two alky car counts for the last decade or so. (Now if D3 could hurry Datweilers, Fishburn and Condo into getting their TA/D's back out, we'd be in the lead again) LOL.
  17. jeffj

    jeffj Member

    Mar 8, 2008
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    I have to agree with what Chuck has written. More events and thrown away events means more travel and race car expenses. Expenses could also be reduced a bit if, for example, qualifying were reduced to a single day with one pass in each lane rather than the 3 runs over a couple of days, which at times is not even for everyone(weather and track conditions). Potentially one less day off work and one less run on the parts would help the tighter budget cars. What about paying the whole purse out to the first round cars to get the field filled and help the budget teams a bit more? There is really no payout compared to the expense anyway. A few more dollars for first round might be an incentive to fill the fields.
    Will, your regional idea could work but look at the travel you are proposing; at 2 races in each corner of the country and a best 4 out of 6 format a person would have to cover 3/4 of the country. And the scheduling is a huge deal...we were talking about going to Houston after the Medford D6 race then to Dallas and back but now the Woodburn rain date is on top of Houston so that pretty much makes Dallas too far for a single event so there goes a car from the count at 2 races and I'm sure as Randy said, we are not alone.
    Heck, the Alcohol cars are not even included in the sportsnationals events....but I am much more optimistic about NHRA and the race tracks need for our cars. Consider what it would look like for a National event if a couple of the multi car fuel teams lost their sponsor deals and were gone; certainly no more 16 car shows. At the end of the day they still need a "show" to sell to get spectators out. They need spectators to sell event sponsorships for advertising, to sell beer, hot dogs, hats, T shirts and so on. Many tracks do this well because they understand this and many tracks do not. It is pretty standard in marketing to advertise a loss leader to get shoppers in your store so that you can profit from the overall transaction. In many ways that is what we represent to the SMART track operators who work their spectator base by advertising these cars at their big events and filling the stands with thirsty, hungry fans.
    Jeff Johnsen
  18. Bill Naves

    Bill Naves Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Likes Received:

    I can't speak for other divisions or racers, but I do have some observations and questions.
    I moved my family to the Carolinas to run the IHRA show in 1996.Bill Bader found away to have car counts in the mid 20's AFC. Free entry for car and driver and 5 crew, I think...a common sense approach to the rule book, and a sincere thank you to every racer and crew member he saw during the weekend.Yes there were some older cars that came out for the experience, but the 16 car field was always a good show.
    Now its NHRA again..only 5 cars have showed for div 2 races this year and I'm not one.I begged borrowed and almost stole to get the carbon brake update and it came very close to putting me out of business..I went into hawk to have the ridiculous recerts done, as I have every year.. I planned my time off to do all the div 2 races,got loaded for the trip to Florida and then was told first round payout, which was already low at $600, was now to be $300, or as I like to say, BURGER KING GIFT CARDS. Why bother leaving home if you already know your role is qualify and go a round if you can? Don't missunderstand me. I have no problem with the few racers that can afford to do this correctly.What I cannot fathom is how NHRA can possibly think this is building for the future.I know of 3 cars that were in process when the brake rule got handed out..They were so distraught over the way that expense was mandated, they gave up before they were done!I'm not saying the brakes don't make sense, just that maybe everyone won't be going week..For some 25 years I have said there is a $1000 rule with NHRA.It seemed every year there was some new rule that cost $1000, now the sky is the limit and soon only the corporate cars will be left..history could repeat itself..I remember Top Fuel at divisionals when the local hero could run with Garlits. Now Big himself would find a new hobby.
    I understand the tracks need to make money with as little capital at risk as possible. For years we've been told to ne more professional and run your car like a business..Well??Shouldn't we at least be able to stay solvent? shouldn't we at least be able to pass along OUR increased costs?
  19. Dale H.

    Dale H. Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    Likes Received:
    I agree with what you say Bill, In fact I'm one of those lower buck racers that had a funnycar 99% ready to run, untill the cost of the safety rules implemented in the last 2 years made me say the hell with it. I just entered it in the Fast 16 class at Denver and at least was able to go racing with my son.We run 6.0's and teens, being #1 qualifier at every race we attended, which brings up another reason in my opinion of low car counts in the alky classes and that is with Top Dragster and the Fast 16 classes run across the country, they pay up to $150.00 entry to compete and the majority of these run within a second of an alchohol car(in fact our funnycar would have qualified in the middle of the pack at the Div. 5 race at Denver this year).They put on a pretty good show for the crowd, so why would a track have to advertise and pay alky racers, when the almost as fast cars pay to race and put on a show.

  20. john348

    john348 Top Alcohol

    May 29, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Last i knew "almost" only worked with hand gernades and horseshoes
    and i dont like either of those. :)

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