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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Efficiency: The Downfall of Drag Racing Excitement?

By Bill Pitts

With all due respect to Mr. Kepner [9/07 Story of the Day], I think he's close, but it's more than just the wheelie bar. That's a piece of the pie. The pie, I believe is EFFICIENCY. The show has become SO efficient. Like the quality control guy on an assembly line, we watch the product pass. Years ago, there was more to do... MORE TO WATCH OUT FOR. Things weren't perfect. We needed to be on our toes more, 'cause the next "unit" coming down the assembly line could do the unexpected in a GREATER VARIETY OF WAYS THAN THEY DO NOW. 

And as the years passed, the "units" coming down the line became less "flawed." Most of the UNEXPECTED VARIABLES that KEPT US ON OUR TOES got fixed, adjusted, eliminated, or refined. Now we sit and watch the "units" go by. YES, THEY'RE A SIGHT TO BEHOLD... NEAR PERFECTION! Outside colors are different, attractive.... But the "unit's" components are soooo good, so close, there's just not a whole lot to look out for compared to the past. The VARIABLES in performance and componentry used to be big and noticeable. 

Now by comparison, we're splitting hairs to find them. So we sit and watch the "units" go by... and wait... for something different... NO, NOT A CRASH... but that's part of it, small, though it is. IT'S THAT LONG LIST OF VARIABLES WE USED TO LOOK FOR THAT DON'T SHOW UP ANYMORE -- VARIABLES THAT USED TO BE A PART OF THE ENTERTAINMENT PACKAGE. 

It's ALMOST more interesting to watch the other "watchers" as they struggle to maintain a high level of watching. I'd love to see a "stat" on the number of snoozers... then and now. IT'S BECAUSE THERE'S JUST AS MUCH TO WATCH ... BUT LESS TO WATCH OUT FOR! But I'll be on the job again, I'm sure, watching as much.... But watching out for less.

I want to see what can be done to improve the entertainment factor. Not with the WWF, but with performance variables. I would prefer that we base our audience appeal on factors surrounding performance and not have to become a "straight line monster truck" event complete with "Grave Diggers." I mean, are we drawing them in with Scotty Cannon's tactics or are we losing even more of the fan base by allowing this type of showmanship? And is this type of entertainment factor just a shot in the dark.... A one time, 'Oh, that's cool'... and then we lose the fan back to NASCAR or any of the other disciplines? 

OK... here comes another "idea" to thrown in to the mix. A Formula One like, Grooved Tire. Look at what it's done for Formula One racing. It's slowed them down a bit. It's MADE them reduce their horsepower to the ground. And it was consistent... everybody had to change. For us it would allow for a lot of change in a potentially positive direction. Can you image shorter, MORE DRIVABLE TOP FUELERS? Out of necessity, you would have to make less horsepower to maintain traction, thereby further reducing catastrophic engine failures. Now add one more item to the tire mix...

Once upon a time, I've heard that the slicks were so bad (in terms of traction) that whether you hooked up or smoked the tires, your times were about the same. Remember the old M & H slotted slicks? Well, with the tire technology that exists today, why couldn't a tire configuration and compound be formulated that would create this equilibrium? The current M & H "nostalgia" tire was intended to be a "Smoke Tire," but in reality, it hooked up like crazy. That one didn't do it. We need to try again and get that balance back. Try it on only one class, for starters. 

As an example, if the NHRA wants to start including nostalgia cars to their event mix, why not try it with this group, making them perform and look even more like they did back then.

OK... OK... I know... I'm back on my soapbox again. Sorry.

Just food for thought, boys and girls.

Back to the "Magicar."

Bill Pitts


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