My personal (and worthless) opinion?
THESE ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS!
That said, when are you folks ever going to understand the fact that, other than legalized traction control in ADRL racing, there are no electronics in drag racing? Throttle stops are not electronic nor do they use computers. Fuel and alcohol crewchiefs do not have computers actuating the clutches. There is no active acquisition of "real time data" involved. All that stuff has always been illegal; the sole exception was ignition interruption devices in bracket racing which were outlawed at virtually every track almost three decades ago. Delay boxes have nothing to do with the visual performance of a race car. Cars with delay boxes are not unbeatable. Want to argue that point? Take it up with a guy named Mr. Dirt; he's taking his bone-stock 17-second '95 Mercury Grand Marquis to a $5,000-to-win event 140 miles away ten hours from now to battle those "unbeatable" box racers.
Why? Because he just "doubled up" at the same track a month ago and knows he can beat 'em. That's why.
By the way, that stuff about Englishtown drawing two dozen AA/FDs every week during its regular drag races in the 1960s is total and complete garbage. Rather than believe the distorted memories, simply check the race results from any track in any era and you'll find it's simply untrue. The sole exception of this fact was Lions Associated Drag Strip and only for a very brief period between 1963-1967 did even Lions draw an average of more than two dozen cars during most weeks. Eight AA/FDs at any other track was HUGE and two or three was the norm. Ninety-eight percent of tracks didn't even RUN a "weekly AA/FD show"; they booked in the big names for match races or offered an open fuel show only on rare occasions. The old weekly Top Eliminator program ran at the majority of tracks prior to 1970 usually consisted of the eight quickest cars on the property from any class and only one or two was usually a fuel dragster of ANY kind. Why? Because, after 1957, any vehicle running nitromethane cost a TON of money to campaign. That's why.
Don't believe it? Do some research. Ask Wally Bell or Jon Lundberg right here on DragList. Ask ANYBODY who raced one of those cars and you'll find the reason why the average life expectancy of a nitro team in the '60s was no more than two seasons. In making this post, I'm not attempting to slam anybody with my opinion, I just want to make sure the facts are out there.
Concerning domination in the sport by a handful of teams, I'll add another statistic. While a few underdog triumphs were mentioned earlier, I'm required by law to rebuke the fallacy of "anybody can win" fuel racing by mentioning the winner of the 1965 NHRA Winternationals, 1965 NHRA U.S. Nationals, 1966 NHRA Winternationals and 1966 NHRA U.S. Nationals, Roland Leong's "Hawaiian". Has anybody ever researched how few human beings have actually won an NHRA, AHRA or IHRA TF or FC title at a National Event? How about Pro Stock, in which a group of less than two dozen indivduals have won more than eighty percent of all National Events ever held in ALL sanctions? "Upsets" have been few and far between over the past sixty years. Even Art Arfons was expected to win the inaugural World Series of Drag Racing in 1954...and he did!
The top classes in the sport have always been expensive, the best competitors have always dominated and racers and fans have always complained. During the normal ebb and flow of the economy, car counts have gone through the roof only to fall drastically and then rise again to even greater heights. The sport has been hugely popular, fallen to dismal lows and returned to favor many, many times. When somebody mentions a recent NHRA event which featured "only sixteen AA/FDs", I chuckle and remember the 1983 NHRA Summernationals at Englishtown when only thirteen cars appeared for the category.
When class racing became monstrously expensive in the very early 1960s, the concept of bracket racing was created to offer a new challenge. When bracket racing became too costly, index racing became the rage. The funniest part of that evolution is the fact the earliest form of bracket racing was, in fact, index racing. That's the origin of the term; classes were simply one-second or half-second "brackets" which were contested without a handicap because the electronic handicapper wasn't invented until 1963 and most tracks couldn't afford one until the late 1960s! Like so many other aspects of life, the sport of drag racing simply repeats its history over and over...even to the extent of resurrecting its past in the form of nostalgia fuel classes which have virtually no basis in the era they struggle to represent, ("Cacklefest" cars excluded). In somewhat comical fashion, each new generation fails to acknowledge the past and takes credit for revolutionizing the sport with the exact same solutions used decades earlier.
As many of you are aware, I don't post many diatribes on the InterNet but I occasionally make a long post here on DragList because I honestly KNOW most of the folks on this board. I fully expect you'll take this comment in the spirit in which it was intended. The bottom line is this: The excitement of one's first great love affair often dissipates with initial overindulgence and later the often disheartening changes of age. Some people fall out of love because things eventually "just aren't the same". Others revel in the growth, the expansion of the experience and the thrill of new and exciting discoveries...until death do them part.
How's YOUR relationship these days?
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA