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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

What Are the Main Issues in Drag Racing? (Revisited)

By Doug Dornbos

[Editors Note: Doug Dornbos's first airing of his unique views on this matter (Draglist) caused quite a bit of consternation among some drag racing fans on the newsgroups. Indeed, some went so far as to label Doug an out and out Socialist! They went on to warn folks to be careful where they got their information (which I take to mean this out and out propaganda machine known as Draglist.com). Further, some noted that it is a sad day in the United States when this manner of tripe gets any consideration. Well, GREAT! I asked Doug to contribute to Draglist.com because of his fresh views and I take pride in stating that we will ALWAYS be at the forefront of discussing new ideas at The Drag Racing List. Ideas aren't scary, but people who are afraid of ideas are VERY scary. With that said, on to Doug's response to those interesting few... P.S. -- If you haven't read Doug's first article, go ahead and read it so this will make more sense! bp]

Wow! I've never been accused of Socialist propagandizing before!

In all reality, beliefs about business models and government systems don't have as much similarity as it would appear at first. You can prove this to yourself by going out and interviewing all the "my way or the highway" type business owners you know. Few of them (if any) believe that a dictatorship is a good form of government although that's the proper way in their mind to run a business. 

Also, just because a person believes differently about the distribution of wealth doesn't mean he is a political Socialist. If a business owner makes a large donation to the United Way (redistributes his own wealth), that doesn't mean he wants to live under a socialist regime even though he believes he wants his own wealth redistributed that way. I am not a political Socialist and I somewhat resent those who identify me with Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

Mentioning "taking control of the NHRA" reinforces my point about the ownership of the sanctioning body being an issue. I am under the assumption that the NHRA is a privately held corporation which means that it is run however the owners say it is run. In a free enterprise system (in which I'm glad to participate), this is the way it should be. The NHRA is just like all other businesses; they have the right to conduct themselves however they please within the law. The reason it's one of the main issues in drag racing is that so many people seem to think they could or should have a voice or vote in it. 

The situation reminds me of the Mattel Company. Before they make a major change in the line of Barbie dolls, they go to the National Barbie Collectors Club (or whatever their name is) and ask for their input on the changes. Now if any of those Barbie people think they could "take control of" Mattel, that would be insane. Mattel doesn't HAVE TO listen to their input; they only do it because it is an astute business move. The NHRA doesn't HAVE TO listen to the PRO racers or SRA racers or anyone if it doesn't want to. It may be astute business to listen, but they don't have to if they don't want to. 

If drag racers want an association where they are owner/members and not just customer/members, they will have to form a club to do it that way. This is not Socialism. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), a member owned club, has now survived for decades and puts on 2,000 race events for 55,000 members. They are club racers, not Socialists (although I'm sure they don't prohibit Socialists from joining).

In the same vein, co-ownership is very different from Socialism. My dad-in-law and two of his buddies rented a hunting cabin for a few weekends a year for several years from a promoter up north. One day they saw a cabin for sale and they each pitched in 1/3 and bought it, thereby cutting out the promoter. This doesn't make them Socialists and neither are race guys who talk about owning their own sanctioning body and cutting out the promoter!

As far as issues involving the structure of the payouts, the NHRA has been fooling with this over the past few years. They have increased the first round loser money in T/F as far as I know, trying to insure 16 car fields at their national events. (It looks like they may have to fool with both the amount and the structure in the alcohol classes if they want those to be viable in the future.) I see how this works to attract and retain people to a particular class but I don't see how it is Socialistic. 

In my mind, it has more to do with preventing the phenomena of "gambler's ruin" than anything else. If you study gambling theory, you realize that much attention is focused at the odds of going broke which is dependent on "the odds of winning" vs. "the size of the bet." Making sure that more participants taste some winnings is an effective way to increase their time "at the table." This isn't Socialism; it's smart business.

OK, so now let's "pay attention to what the outcomes of these agendas always are." It seems stupid for me to take issue with this since I don't really have an agenda. However, since my statement of an issue has been interpreted as ipso facto proof that I have an agenda, let's operate with the assumption that my agenda includes a sanctioning body which is self owned and the prize money is distributed flatter than usual from the winner down to the loser. 

Finding similar agendas in the real world isn't all that hard to do. In fact, I pointed out several in my initial "Main Issues" editorial. For our purposes here, let's use the NBA and the NFL. Each are owned by the teams who compete in them and they compensate the losing teams very well. The outcome? All the professional "barnstormer" teams that existed before the leagues came into being are gone (with the exception of the Harlem Globetrotters, which are another story). 

As for the leagues themselves, THEY'VE BEEN HUGE, THEY ARE HUGE, and THEY'RE GONNA BE HUGE and the people associated with them are making HUGE money! What's wrong with that? It's what free enterprise is all about.

Other than that, the only thing I take issue with is that I thought my stuff was better than "tripe." <g>

Doug Dornbos

Can't find that rare record or tape?


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