Mike submitted this response to Bret Kepner's Story
of the Day of 9/07. Bp
Drop wheelie bars? First of all the success or failure of the sport
doesn't hinge on any class that uses wheelie bars anyway. No TV viewer
would ever notice whether there were wheelie bars or NOT since those cars
that do have very little viewer appeal when televised. I DO agree with
Bret on a couple of points and recently had a lengthy conversation with
someone at NHRA regarding these very points.
Everybody complains about the TV coverage. Part of the problem with the
coverage begins BEFORE the cameras are ever turned on. The PRESENTATION
SUCKS! Think about this comparison ... the WWF takes two muscle bound
goons and puts them in a roped off square and rakes in the money by
PRODUCING EXCITEMENT. Whether it's fake or not it draws fans.
The flip side with drag racing, put simply, you have two very powerful
cars running real fast in a straight line. When it's televised, you have
basically the same thing... two cars running real fast in a straight
line...but you have two people TALKING about it. (We're STARTING with an
exciting sport and cars and not doing anything with it).
They need to put some SHOWMANSHIP into the presentation. They need to
produce a SHOW instead of relying on the cars themselves to add the
appeal. Example: How long and how big a draw would the WWF be if they
hyped their show by shooting t-shirts at the fans and having parachuters
flying in? Zippo. I'd like to see the main event of eliminations run on
Saturday night with a show PRODUCED for prime time... Lights, smoke,
lasers, good-looking women, ALL fuel, and NO door slammers. (And I'm not
talking the WWF type in-your-face fakeness... just the fluff surrounding
it... the pizzazz).
You think a TV network wouldn't run that over fishing and bowling
shows? Old timers probably wouldn't like the "Hollywoodizing" of
the sport but unfortunately if it's to step up to better TV ratings (and
thus more fans/sponsors) that's what it's going to take. Problem is, none
of this is going to happen because to do a presentation like that would
cost more and the TV shows they produce now are money losers.
The other point is a touchy one. The sport is WAAAY too predictable
now. What used to make the highlight reels were the explosions, fires, and
so on. In the past few seasons, do you really think they could produce a
"Decade of Thrills" type tape with the footage they have? It'd
be VERY limited. Nobody wants to see anyone hurt, obviously, but back when
the sport was in its heyday, the EXCITEMENT of the unknown and
unpredictable was what ABC and Diamond P would promote and it drew fans.
Nobody knew what was going to happen next on a given run.
NOW, with the exception of some tire smoke or an oildown, you can just
about pick the winners when you see the ladder on Saturday night when
qualifying ends. There just isn't any excitement that transfers to
Drag racing is unique in many respects but the main one in my opinion
is this: With NASCAR, a guy pays his 60 bucks and gets to see maybe 60
cars run that he really WANTS to see. With drag racing, a guy pays his 60
bucks and sees for the MOST part, cars he DOESN'T want to see. (If he's a
fuel fan). The majority of the cars at any national event are filler for
the real draw, the fuel cars. (I'd include gas DRAGSTERS to see George
Bolthoff if there were a class...LOL.)
Bottom line is, they need to take the exciting cars that we DO have and
DO something with them instead of just letting them run real fast for two
blocks. Now I'll get off the soapbox. LOL
"Motorcycle Mike" Cole