Efficiency: The Downfall of Drag Racing
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,
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."