Car counts

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

  1. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    rules

    I'm not going to name names, but there are a few racers that are still around today due to the 'rich man's safety updates of recent years and past years. Sadly it is because a few of our own are not with us any more. The only thing I can say they might have done differently is made rear carbons mandatory the first year and front carbons mandatory next year. Again out of respect for their families, I can think of at least 3 deaths in the past few years that may have been avoided if they had been equipped with the shut off box. The point is no you can't prevent every catastrophe, but in many cases, the hard lessons learned from those crashes CAN prevent the next possible catastrophe.

    None of us like spending money on mandatory safety updates when you're struggling just to buy the normal parts and recerts to get on the track. But whether we like them or not if NHRA can make the sport safer, that's their job. And we should be thankful for what they do.
     
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  2. clint thompson

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    my turn

    Wow,

    The reasons the car counts are low:

    1. It costs too much to race.
    2. The payout is much to low.

    Pretty simple.

    To those who complain year after year about the safety equipment and SFI and are convinced it's all just a ploy to sell stuff. As The Eagles say "GET OVER IT. " Ive been racing these cars since they first required an SFI tag on anything and it is just the way it is. It is better, Every time we upgrade safety it makes our cars better, and unfortunately it also usually costs someone thier lives to get it into our cars. Think how bad a legal problem NHRA has if they allow us to decide what we need from what is available and makes sense. How does it sound in court when the plaintiff can say " I would have had those brakes >.........(insert the safety item you don't like here)..... if they (NHRA or?.......) would've required them. I didn't know they were better......"

    The safer our cars are the better off we are. Period.

    To those who think one engine would solve anything I would say the following.

    1. I wouldn't race if "they" told me I could only have one engine. You think I'm gonna spend 4000 on fuel to drive to the races I would normally go to knowing I can't even fix my stuff if something goes wrong? So that wouldn't help car counts in any way.

    2. I've run in the 5.50's on numerous occasions and never once, NOT ONCE "blew my stuff up" to do it, NOT ONCE! You don't have to wreck stuff to go fast, so if that is why you think racing is so expensive, take a look around. There are motor options that are more reliable and economical to race with like the MBR that we run. We don't tear stuff up because we are leaning on it. Maybe burn a piston once in a while but as for beating it up, that's not part of our program at all. I realize I'm no Frank or Jay or...... but we manage to race a pretty tight budget and most of it goes to travel and maintenance. Last year we changed motors once because a piston disintegrated and left us with an empty hole. Truth is we could've cleaned it up put a sleeve in it and a head on it but it was more sensible to get it out to get it fixed and use our spare which hadn't been in the car in more than a year. Check the options out there besides buying the hero's used stuff. Everyone says they can't switch to the MBR because "there are a lot of used BAE parts out there"... true but quite frankly if that's what you're racing with you are doing yourself a disservice. You are going to break stuff and you are going to need a spare motor. THe stuff is barely good enough when it's new and it all has a cycle life for a reason.
    John Bojec, top ten TAFC runner last year runs a MBR and only has one engine. I think he may have some spare heads and of course parts but just one block. I had three for a while and finally just got rid of one because we never needed to have more than just a backup. Steve Gasparelli had four BAE's when he switched. He has never had more than one MBR spare and hasn't changed it due to breakage in more than two years. Same holds true for Doug Gordon, and Joey Severance all top runners in the class. The thing is easy to work on and probably even save you a crew person (flight food hotel). My point is You can race with good parts, run good and not hurt a bunch of stuff. Don't blame the fast guys for the high cost of racing.

    I am all for anything that would help the car counts, I know it is tough and I realize I race on more of a budget than many, but frankly I race on MUCH less than many. We stay at the track, recycle our REDLINE OIL, and keep our number of crew to a minimun. Usually myself and my wife plus two crew. So we race on a budget but we never go to the line without the best parts and have learned that if you run a combination that doesn't have to beat itself up to run good, and pay attention to the maintenance it doesn't have to be quite as expensive. just add up the block and crank repairs (rear main) you have went through and the valve train issues and we don't have any of those expenses because we don't have any of those problems.
     
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  3. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    email

    Here is the email I just sent out to all of the track operators (and Division Directors) that currently run the alcohol cars at their LODRS events. I will tabulate the responses I get and share the feedback I get from it. I made the questions pretty direct, because I think it's essential going forward we know where we stand with the tracks. Personally I would rather know the truth than think we stand on better ground than we are.

    Ladies & Gentlemen,

    My name is Will Hanna. I own/operate InsideTopAlcohol.com, which covers the Top Alcohol categories. I also Crew Chief for Chris Foster’s TAFC team and work for several other teams as a consultant, and am a former driver.

    The current economic situation is making it tough for the racers and tracks alike. While I am not the head of any organized group, I am trying to spearhead direct communication/dialogue between the racers and the track. Most of the racers out there would like to work with both the NHRA and the tracks to make the series work better for all parties involved.

    As we move forward trying to better the series, I would like to have your honest feedback regarding the alcohol cars running at LODRS events at your track. It would be greatly appreciated if you could take the time to answer these few questions and offer any direct feedback, comments or suggestions you may have. I will do my best to convey these to the racers both in person and on my website InsideTopAlcohol.com. If you feel compelled to join the conversation, we would welcome your direct interaction in our forums.

    Thanks,
    Will Hanna
    InsideTopAlcohol.com
    979.415.4959

    QUESTIONAIRE

    1. Do you feel the Top Alcohol cars should be a part of your LODRS event?

    1 a. If no, is this a recent development, or have you held this view for some time?

    1 b. If no, is there anything that can change your viewpoint?


    2. Do you feel for the purse you pay out they are a valuable addition to your event?


    3. Do you currently make an effort to attract a ‘front gate’ crowd with the Top Alcohol cars as a headliner?

    3 a. If so, do you charge for spectator admission or do you do a ticket giveaway?

    3 b. If you do a giveaway, how many tickets do you put into your market?


    4. Do you feel other ‘headlining’ classes offer better value to bring in a front gate show than the Top Alcohol cars? If so, why?


    General Comments/Suggestions:
     
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  4. kosky racing

    kosky racing Comp Eliminator

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    Why

    Will I personally think you are out of hand,no one said this is going to happen you are putting the cart before the horse. MIKE KOSKY
     
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  5. kosky racing

    kosky racing Comp Eliminator

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    Why

    Also did anyone hear from anyone from NHRA that this is a posibality why now is all the sky is falling in,COMP is light ---TopFuel is light---Fuel funny car is light ,no class is that solvent-- econemy is the reason.There is no class Nhra wants to get rid of.They need us all now to make the show that they sell.It"sgetting close to the bone for what they have to sell .
     
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  6. Richard Putz

    Richard Putz Top Alcohol Dragster

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    Safety Equipment

    Santo Sicilia you must not put any value on your life. I do not like paying for safety equipment anymore than the next guy but as fast as these cars are getting and as crapy as some of the tracks are safety equipment is a must. I recently crashed my car at about 150 MPH . I hit one wall and got knocked out, than went wide open throttle, spun around and backed into the other wall. The car than broke into pieces and rolled through the finish line. If it weren't for the titanium head protectors I would be "DEAD". When the car backed into the wall a wing strut or something tried to poke a hole in the head protector. I can tell you after seeing the damage that I am so glad that NHRA made us put these shields on our car. I owe my life to Darrell Russell and his family as I believe it was because of his death that NHRA mandated the shield. Several other safety devices saved my life. The Hans,Seat belts,Helmet,Head Pads. I guarantee you if you have a crash as bad as I had you will wish you had more stuff on your car than you do now. I wish it was possible to have softer walls like Nascar, NHRA seems to watch everything they do but would never implement this on themselfs because of the cost. Sorry if you do not agree with me but money can be replaced but a life can not. Richard Putz Top Alcohol Dragster
     
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  7. Randy G.

    Randy G. Top Alcohol

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    Clint and the MBR love affair...

    Hey Clint:

    I know how much you like the MBR stuff, and it is good stuff. But don't throw BAE stuff under the bus like a Fuller Brush salesman selling dustbusters to eskimos (or something like that). I know you didn't mention BAE in particular but it is obvious in your post.

    I can say good things about BAE without throwing the MBR stuff under the bus. We have run many 5.50's without hurting anything with various generations of BAE stuff clear back to the 2004 Winternationals. Our first half dozen or more 5.50's were run 7+ years ago, and it was with an old set of BAE 5 heads. The problems we've had would not be solved by changing manufacturers.

    I'm glad there are choices. I'm also glad that todays technology has made either one of those choices a good one. But I seriously doubt there will be tremendous savings by switching from one to another. Keep in mind when we run my car I have to do it on the money you throw away in cashing in those plastic recycleable water bottles each race.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled rant.

    RG
     
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  8. Reeves Racing

    Reeves Racing New Member

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    Saftey

    Thats a BIG AMEN!!!!!!!!!
     
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  9. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    economy

    Mike,

    As I have said, the economy is the root of the problem and the problem is much bigger than just the alcohol cars. The series as a whole is hurting right now due to lower car counts.

    What I am trying to do is develop direct dialogue with the tracks.

    While some events are doing alright, there are a number of events that are losing significant chunks of money. It's not just that they aren't drawing a crowd because they don't promote the alcohol cars, it's the fact their overall car counts are falling WELL short of what they need under the current model to break even, much less make a profit.

    So even if a track is making money off promoting the alcohol cars, every track owner is concerned about overall car counts and how to get the 'model' to make money again.

    So if there is a concerted push to try to make changes to the series, don't think that getting rid of the alcohol cars at some events isn't an option some will push very hard for.

    If we don't open dialogue with the tracks and NHRA to accurately gauge the situation, then we can only accept what someone else hands us. What good does it do for us as a collective group of racers to propose a regional series if there's only 5 tracks that want us back?

    I haven't made any proposals to the tracks. I am just trying to get feedback directly from the tracks.
     
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  10. clint thompson

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    there, there, there, it'll be okay....

    Randy,

    I apologize if you or anyone else took my point of view personally. I did not intend to attack or offend anyone. I also don't believe I said anything derogatory about the BAE. I am merely trying to point out a couple things;

    1. A lot of people who cry the most about the costs of racing are buying used parts from the "big" guys and then complaining that they break, " cause you have to lean on it and break it if you wanna run fast." You are ahead of the game if you buy good new parts. I agree racing costs too much, but if you can't afford to do it right, don't just get on the internet and whine to everyone about how you can;t afford to do it. Bass fishing is relatively inexpensive compared to racing. Maybe those folks should get a boat.

    2. complaining about the cost of safety improvements and recertifications is not going to do anything. And I for one feel that we are all better for it.

    3. You don't have to blow stuff up to run fast. You yourself have proven that as you stated. Although I do recall your car running real good at Pomona and blown up almost every round. was that last year?

    4. There are choices that absolutely do cost less to run than the "norm" I'm not saying the savings are "tremendous" but they are there and they are real. Do you know that on our MBR motor valve springs last 40 runs? Do you know how many cranks I have sent out for repairs in the past 15 years? NONE. Do you know how many rear mains I have had to repair in my blocks since I have run the MBR? NONE. Do you know how many pushrods I have burnt in the last decade? you guessed it NONE.

    Now, I am certain that you probably have exactly the same type of dependabliity from your BAE but what I see and hear around the pits makes me believe that what we use is a lot easier on the wallet. Not to mention much easier to work on. So you are right, I am in love with the MBR motor! shhhh Don't tell my wife!:D

    one more point I forgot to make. What good does it do to limit the qualifying passes to two? I for one want to get every chance to run my car I can. I would run five qualifiers if they let us. I know, I know, that is one more pass on everything, but how about this point of view. You have done all the work needed to be there at the races, you spent all the money and took the time to drive there, you got your crew there, your wife did all the shopping and has all the beer, hot dogs, etc. Now you want to turn down chances to enjoy your hot rod? Turn down opportunity to learn more about running good, at the only place you can learn anything about it? How do you ever expect to get better at this by letting your car sit there in the pits or in the shop. It takes laps, laps cost money, but the whole thing cost so much already you are actually shooting yourself in the foot by lobbying for less chances to run down the track. If you are not that fast yet, you need those laps to get better, not sit out qualifiying sessions so you can lose in the first round and collect your six hundred bucks. Those who feel strongly can always just sit out one of the sessions. Don't ruin it for the rest of us by lobbying for less qualifying.

    Clint Thompson re-rant over and out.
     
    #70
  11. jeffj

    jeffj Member

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    Clint
    I agree with what you say regarding playing with your toy BUT the topic here is car counts and nobody can deny that costs are a big part of the reason for the decline. I am quite sure that you also have to service the "tractor"....it still uses fuel, oil, spark plugs, blower belts, bearings, valve springs, rods, lifters, and so on. Behind the tractor are pulled a clutch, sprags, clutch packs, crown and pinion, tires, brakes and parachutes and pilot chutes. All of these are wear items and have a run life. Replacing them is all part of the funding required to run a car. Yes the less well off teams can sit out the round because they cannot afford it but remember that they then watch you get better each round they cannot afford to run. Perhaps one reason for the lower car count is the difficulty to stay competitive on a restricted budget. I would like to see either 2 or 4 qualifiers for my second reason; often the lanes and weather conditions are not equal over 2 days with 3 passes, 1 in 1 lane and 2 in the other; and it seems to be luck of the draw how that all pans out for you on any given weekend. I guess my point was that equity might bring a few cars back out.
    See you at Seattle; lets solve the world's ills. Jeff
     
    #71
  12. Cap Racing

    Cap Racing New Member

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    First, If I was a spectator that regularly attended divisional events, I would stop going if they eliminated alcohol cars.

    Second, it never made sense why they don't run the alcohol classes at the Sports National events. I'm sure if they do away with alcohol cars at the div. events the NHRA will find a home for them there in addition to the national events.

    Third, I still can't figure out why they rescheduled the woodburn event clear into Sept. rather than around the seattle event.
     
    #72
  13. wildbill

    wildbill New Member

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    Just to give an outsiders view,I live in Fl. one of the things I see is NHRA doesn't promote the div. races at all here, there are very few spectators if any and its sad to see empty tracks with both racers and spectators.
     
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  14. nitrohemi

    nitrohemi injected nitro!!

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    div 2 races have great turn outs

    I have attended many div 2 races and have always been impressed with how the stands are filled with race fans silver dollar raceway in Reynolds GA. The bradenton div race is another packed event with fans . The div 4 race in Bell Rose La. Is another great track with a huge fan base the stands are packed full. What are these tracks doing so right? And yet the div 3 race in Joliet ill. Is a ghost town . Is it just being in a rural area and nothing else to do?
    We live in div.3 and sure do miss some really great racers like Noah condo,Paul fishburn, Todd datweiler,Perry with that mean as hell Mrb. combo, ray haak, the Bohr brothers,and I am sure there are more . Most of those teams have been around since the 80's and we hope for all of them to return very soon!!!!
    The Midwest economy is very hard hit and hasn't bounced back to make an easy return for any racer. The growth in the alky classes is dying and has a huge history in the sport of drag
     
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  15. tad2155

    tad2155 Member

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    ??$$!!

    Will the economy is not the root of the problem its payouts,, our cost hav increased but payouts stay the same:mad: until our name is force, faceliftstien, shu,, we'll keep takin it up the ole wazoo,, just like our stupid government we pay out mor than u take n
    u forget this is rocket science:D
     
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  16. Randy G.

    Randy G. Top Alcohol

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    I agree. The payouts haven't seen an increase in 20 years. But even if they doubled the payouts it wouldn't come close to covering what it costs to run one of these things. No racing sanctioning body pays enough to race a car including NASCAR. If that's what you expect you need to take up professional golf...but the majority in golf don't make enough to cover expenses, either.
     
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  17. tad2155

    tad2155 Member

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    $#@!

    no randy i dont expect to cover all expenses i aint stupid, but it is totally screwed up for now,, they culd throw us a little crums with our milk and i hate golf to slow 4 me
     
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  18. jody stroud

    jody stroud ZOMBIE Top Dragster

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    Clint, for what it's worth I LOVE my MBR motor as well. Motherf@#$*&s tough as hell....and that aint no joke.
     
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  19. Randy G.

    Randy G. Top Alcohol

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    I said I agreed with you, then made a point to add to the conversation. It was not meant to be directed toward you.
     
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  20. Dave Germain

    Dave Germain New Member

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    I noticed that at Sonoma there are only 17 Fuel Funny cars and 16 Pro Stockers. The economy is affecting all the classes like somebody said. The NHRA has problems all over. I am not saying their treatment of the sportsman classes is ok but their problems are much deeper than just us. Dave Germain
     
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