Monthly Archives: June 2013

Bo Doesn’t Know Drag Racing – $%&#!

THE BO AND ROCKY SHOW

or – Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown again.  $#%@!

I was enjoying the beautiful sunny Central Coast weather, working in the yard during the day.  It was on the hot side but I had to get some work done, including a little ditch digging.  That was okay because later in the day, I was heading off to a big cigar dinner gathering in Paso Robles with maybe the leading man on the front lines of trying to save the cigar industry: Rocky Patel.

I didn’t have the time to watch the NHRA drag racing qualifying at the inaugural event in Epping, New Hampshire (New England Nationals).  However, this isn’t a problem because I can DVR the ESPN2 show and watch later that night when I get back from the dinner.  Wrong.

The old switcheroo

There was a problem because unbeknownst to me, ESPN had decided that the show wouldn’t appear on ESPN2 but instead, they had it on ESPN.  See I’m used to ESPN and NHRA screwing with time elements of when they’ll show drag racing and I always make sure to add an extra hour – or even two sometimes – because you never know when the women’s ping pong show might run a little late and push drag racing back.  I’m not shitting you … it happens.

Amazon.com

However, moving the show over to another channel is a little hard to foresee.  So, I like millions of other drag racing fans instead, were able to watch all you needed to know about Bo Jackson.  Now, Bo was quite an athlete but when the schedule states drag racing should be on, don’t you think, well, I don’t know, that maybe … A DRAG RACE SHOULD BE ON!  $#%@!

and Todd too

Of course, I fast forwarded through hoping against hope that there’d be something looking like a drag race but no, it was Bo all the way through for an hour and a half.  The last half hour led into another segment on a different athlete and this one was worse, Todd Marinovich.  Ever hear a story about someone who was extremely gifted and talented but threw it all away?  That’s Marinovich.  BUT I DON’T CARE!

What I do care about it is drag racing, but obviously ESPN and to some extent, NHRA, just don’t give a hoot about the quality of coverage the sport gets.  Yes, I’ve ranted about this before but it doesn’t change the fact that as a drag racing fan, we are at best, second class citizens.  Why it happens, I have no idea but this has to stop.  Someone needs to get through to these nimrods at ESPN and NHRA that it would be nice if we had some rp-edgesemblance of regular television coverage.  That’s all.

I did get to meet and talk for a short time with Rocky Patel, which made the day not a total dud.  Anyway, my evening was spent outside having a late after-dinner cigar – a Rocky Patel, what else – with a good Zin.  So I guess I’ll just keep the wine ready and anytime I need to drown my sorrows again, I’ll be ready.  $#%@!

Daryle W. Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

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National Hot Rod Reunion – Fathers Day Weekend

Rat Trap powers down Beech Bend Raceway

Fueled Altered Rat Trap powers down Beech Bend Raceway
Courtesy of NHRA Motorsports Museum

This Father’s Day weekend comes the largest Nostalgia drag racing events east of the Rockies: The National Hot Rod Reunion (NHRR).  The race takes place starting tomorrow – although teams and vendors are there today – the event going from June 13-15 at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky (source: NHRA).

This is the 11th annual NHRR and was originally created to give those in the eastern half  of the country an ability to see some of what those that had visited the California Hot Rod Reunion (CHRR) were able to enjoy.  The CHRR is the largest Nostalgia drag meet in the world and the popularity was such that the NHRR was established.  In-turn, the NHRR has become such a success that there’s is now a third reunion that will take place at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire, as the New England Hot Rod Reunion.

The NHRR will have of course Top Fuel along with many of the other popular classes that Nostalgia meets have.  There will be a Cacklefest, which is memorable all by itself bringing back and actually firing up the original cars of yesteryear.  There’s a Show N Shine with all kinds of classic cars on hand, plus a swap meet and vendors for everything under the sun – in other words, something for everyone in the family to enjoy.  And don’t forget that Beech Bend is also an amusement park.

Companies such as Holley, AAA Insurance and Axalta Coatings are major sponsors of the event.  Preston Davis is the Grand Marshal  and gained his fame during the ’60s and ’70s as both a successful Top Fuel and Funny Car racer driving the famed Tennessee Bo Weevil throughout the southeast.

Reunions, unlike other drag meets, are a combination of drag race and get-together with some of the legends of the sport always on hand.  If you’ve never been to one of these magnificent spectacles, head on out to the rolling hills of western Kentucky and enjoy the time of a lifetime.  And no, I don’t get paid anything for saying that … it’s just the truth.  By the way, if you can’t make it out, the race is being broadcast through live streaming at BangShift.com.

Otherwise – Be There!

Daryle W. Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

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NHRA Pro And Sportsman Split?

I probably have mentioned this in the past but a very knowledgeable man in the world of marketing once said to me some years ago that essentially there were two areas needed from drag racing if it was to become a major league sport: live television and a reduction in classes.  The subject has been broached on and off through the years but it’s a sore subject for most, ending up as just a comment or two here and there but never talked out loud about.  And what exactly is that subject?  The professional and sportsman ranks splitting up.

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Hughes Performance

The latest mention was by Jim Hughes of Hughes Performance – who can see multiple sides of the argument – mentioned a few weeks ago in Competition Plus that there was a disconnect between the NHRA and the Sportsman classes.  Track schedules, track prep and a lack of a healthy environment for sportsman racing were some of the many reasons that he saw as more than problematic for continuing.

Two distinct groups

Even before these egregious conditions evolved though, it was obvious that the NHRA had seen the two divisions in clearly different manners.  The biggest distinction may have come five years ago when the NHRA proposed to sell the series to local investors.  The sale to HD Partners never materialized (source: L.A. Times) due in part to the Recession but essentially what they were selling was the Pro part of the series because that’s where the money was.  Basically the NHRA would have kept the Sportsman ranks for themselves.  It was more convoluted than that but you see where the value was.  And that is what’s key here.

The Sportsman ranks aren’t in the big picture for the NHRA and big-time sports.  And from what I hear, the sportsman might be fine with that.  Their treatment by the NHRA is awful.  When an event is on television, to make it work for ESPN, who covers all of the NHRA action, the Sportsman’s division runs very early in the day, subsequently waits while the Pros run during the day then are back on the track at night.  I hear from racers all the time through discussion boards, blogs and emails or comments to me after a story I write – to put it simply, sportsman racers are not happy at all.

Dollar split

Drag racing is more popular than the mainstream would have you believe and I’ve documented that over and over through the years.  However, the big money is with the Pros and you can almost not blame the NHRA for spending their time and effort on the Pros.  The same marketing guru I mentioned earlier said the NHRA had to get rid of or split their Sportsman ranks from the Pros.  Fundamentally and almost through osmosis, that may be happening.  And I believe everyone benefits and would be happier.

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Nostalgia drag racing

As a Nostalgia drag racing fan, we know all too well how the NHRA treats those who aren’t million dollar teams in the Pros.  Our Hot Rod Heritage Series often gets second fiddle treatment – at best.  Yet, we bring in giant crowds that rival any major race series.  The fans love it and maybe a merger of Nostalgia and national Sportsman ranks – which essentially we already have – would make for a nice fusion.

Regardless, the NHRA needs to cut the ties between Pros and Sportsman and give both sides a renewed and better outcome than what is presently occurring.  A split would be most beneficial for all concerned.  And it should happen sooner rather than later.

Daryle W. Hier

PS: Thanks to Bobby Bennett from Competition Plus for his dialogue on this matter.

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