Maybe it’s time to shift gears. Since the days back 20 years ago, when we started dragging our early iron, front engine diggers out of our garages and attics just to have some fun running them again. When ANRA and GoodGuys began organizing meets and car shows as a means to once again bring back those good ole’ days, we have seen quite a change. The fuse was lit and thousands of retro racers and fans exploded on the scene – Nostalgia cars at Hot Rod Reunions across the country. There was the resurgence of the March Meet at the Famoso strip in Bakersfield Ca. The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series and numerous nostalgia meets across the nation have seen our division of the sport come a long way. The number of cars and classes has increased measurably … and the rules have changed.
With the advent of today’s economy, it’s tough for all of us. It’s nearly impossible for the would-be racer to field a car and team. The rules have changed to the point that many racers are being forced out of the sport due to the expense of new items needed just to stay “legal”. For instance, new nostalgia rules will require funny cars to change the construction of the driver’s seat and require 4-wheel CARBON FIBER brakes … very expensive. We want to stay safe but we don’t go 330 mph in four seconds and we don’t need carbon-fiber breaks. There are other various and sundry items the Pro classes must follow while adhering to the NHRA “Big Show” rules … very expensive. Maybe we should think about ”Shifting Gears”. What about some sponsorship?
I know the died-in-the-wool, no corporate America in OUR division of the sport, old timers, will dig their heels in on this, but it’s something that should be given some thought. Research industry sources indicate a need for major companies to downsize their multi-million dollar motorsports marketing investment programs. Drag racing has up to 75 million fans and climbing, third only behind Pro Football and Nascar. Nostalgia fans number between 6 and 8 million and are increasing each year. If not team sponsorships, possibly a series sponsor that would increase the schedule, substantially raise purses and pay entry fees. Think of how the sport flourished back when we were growing up, MAJOR SPONSORSHIPS! We’re putting on the greatest motorsport show on earth but we are spinning our wheels. In my opinion it’s time to “Shift Gears”.
Thank you. ‘See you at the races.