Once again, someone has proved you cannot just come in and change the face of drag racing overnight! Even if you do think you have more money than God (and the ego to match!). The other 'worst' time someone tried to make major changes to our entire sport was 1988, when Billy Meyer bought the International Hot Rod Association. It didn't work then and it won't work now. I don't know where Bruton got the idea to build a 4-wide drag strip and I especially can't figure how or where he got the idea people would like a 4-wide race. It may be good for exhibition races, match races and shows in general, but the fans have enough trouble taking in everything that's happening when TWO cars are racing, let alone four. Bruton was so excited at his race, he told the world he was going to build two more lanes at his Las Vegas track! This from the man who (it is rumored to have) said he hated drag racing and would never have drag racing at his track again! (I guess anyone can change their mind.) He said he did this to help NHRA…where did he get the idea it WOULD help NHRA?
All my reasons for NOT having 4-wide drag racing have already been stated…by nearly every racer, every team owner and by most fans. When I went to ESPN.com and voted my 'NO,' it was 69% NO and 31% YES. I personally did NOT like it for all the same reasons as everyone else, one of which is safety. There are several priorities in drag racing…the first being to make money. After all, it IS a business. The second priority is safety…for EVERYONE…fans as well as racers and all the other folks…team crew members, NHRA employees, sponsors…ANYONE who is inside those pits or in the stands. It is bad enough when one car has problems, worse when two are involved. Four…God forbid! We don't NEED to put ourselves in any position where that could possibly happen! Third priority, keeping the sponsors happy. Can't do this stuff without them!
And fourth, but definitely NOT the least…the fans. The spectators. Can't do it without them either. A MAJOR, MAJOR part of the income. Drag racing is a HARD sport to understand, it always has been, it always will be. It has taken years and years and years to acquire the amount of spectators we have now and TV has been a HUGE part of that. But TV can do just as much harm just as it can help…sometimes more…IF and when something goes wrong. You KNOW how bad TV will hurt our sport if something goes wrong and they play it up wrong in the wrong way. Spectators STILL don't understand a lot of the stuff about drag racing and it is really hard to catch everything that happens in 3-, 4-, 5- and/or 6-seconds with TWO cars running. It is IMPOSSIBLE with four. I'm really worried they will just give up and stay away. They will have to pay the same amount (or more) to attend a 4-wide race and it will be over in half the time and they will miss half of it because it's just too much to take in! I think it will be a detriment to our sport.
I absolutely did NOT like the way they did the finals and I don't think the racers liked it and I'm SURE the spectators didn't like it. I think the racers got cheated having to settle for third and fourth place without the benefit of running it the usual way. What do you think about that? Would you like to do that at your track? Why not just flip a coin the way they used to do at Shuffletown Dragway when it got too late to finish the race because of the curfew? It would have been just as fair to flip that coin at ZMax as it was to run it the way they did! I also think the spectators felt cheated as well.
I haven't heard much about what the 'little guy' racers thought about 4-wide racing, but I can't believe they enjoyed it. It seems to me there would be four times as much confusion as usual…how could someone concentrate with all that stuff going on? That is one of the things the Pro racers have complained about. And, if you missed it, they voted to NOT run 4-wide again at a points race…I think that confusion had a lot to do with that. By the way, have you noticed HOW MANY PEOPLE there are milling around the starting line when the Pros are running? What happened to all those insurance company rules about a having a limited number of people going up with each car and having a limited number of people on the starting line at ANY time? I don't care HOW you look at it…that's just as dangerous a place to be as anywhere…the insurance companies used to know that. What happened? I bet there were as many as 30 people on the line at any given time when the Pros were running at the Spring Nationals in Houston! I couldn't believe it!
I wonder how many of the little guy racers went on ESPN and voted. I wish they'd actually done a survey with the vote so we could see how many racers or other people involved in the sport voted as opposed to how many fans voted which way. That would have been much more interesting than the way it was done. If any of you would like to make a comment here on my blog, you are welcome to do so. I would like to know what more of YOU think about all this.