In an earlier piece this year (Draglist
Story of the Day, 4/30), I was taken aback at the fact that NHRA has
general admission to their national events, but that there are no bleachers
available for general admission patrons. I got many responses to that piece,
most in full support of my position (and included a fair number of
professional drag racers). A few others noted that while the prices seemed
high, they were no higher than for a basketball game. No doubt, a
professional stick and ball game will set you back in this modern era also,
but there is one clear difference.
The major difference between a stick and ball game and a similarly priced
general admission drag racing ticket is that with a ball game, you get a
seat. Not so at the general admission NHRA drags, at least at Virginia this
year. I paid $37 bucks a head Saturday to be able to HEAR the qualifying
action and to see rare glimpses of some of the cars tucked between the
trailers in the pits. I simply cannot believe the NHRA is allowing people to
walk into the pit gate 40 bucks lighter without providing any CHANCE of a
seat. If I wasn't there myself, I wouldn't have believed it.
I took myself, my brother, and my son to VMP for Saturday qualifying.
That was over 90 bucks. I am lucky to be at a place in my life where that's
not too big a hit. But what about the guy who maybe makes that much in a
half a day of work or even a whole day? He gets there with his wife and
kids, coughs up the dough, and then heads for the general admission seats --
only to find that they don't exist. Seats? Sorry, pal, that's another 60
I grew up poor. Nothing sucks worse than the feeling of not being able to
participate in stuff because of finances. This policy pisses me off, but it
has to be devastating to a working guy who is trying to give his kids a rare
No, the difference between a basketball game, football game, or baseball
game and a general admission NHRA ticket is the fact that none of the stick
and ball sports would even THINK of continuing to sell tickets to a sold out
event. At the very least, the fact that general admission DOES NOT offer ANY
seating should be POSTED CLEARLY at the ticket office. Like I said, I
wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it myself.
I don't know about other parts of the country, but here on the East
Coast, there is no limit to the number of attractions competing for the
family entertainment dollar. I can't help but think that casual
motorsports fans will choose another venue after experiencing this general
admission (but not general seating) policy. There is no shortage of places
competing to provide a full, complete entertainment experience for the
money. The people will find them. And drag racing loses again.