:::::: Editorials ::::::

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM

While the High Sheriffs get low marks for diplomacy, tact and transparency, in my opinion their response to the Larry Dixon situation probably was justified.

As much as I admire Larry as both a person and a racer, in the case of the two-seat Top Fuel dragster, I think the three-time world champion may have let his enthusiasm override his judgment. In an earlier interview with Competition Plus publisher Bobby Bennett, Dixon was very candid in outlining his view of the events and circumstances that led to the indefinite suspension of his competition license, going so far as to admit that he was embarrassed by the whole affair.

The NHRA, on the other hand, apparently has taken a vow of silence, declining to explain its actions beyond an initial press release. Since we are privy to only one side of the story, it would be easy to pile on -- which was my intent at the outset. After all, the Sheriffs generally make themselves pretty easy prey.

However, things are not always as they seem.

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - IT WAS ALWAYS MORE ABOUT THE REUNION THAN THE RACING

​There is no better example of the NHRA’s current disconnect with the sport it purports to promote than its callous handling of last year’s 25th annual California Hot Rod Reunion and its shameful treatment of those responsible for the event’s creation and success.

Twenty-five is an enormous milestone in any endeavor but, instead of a celebration, what the NHRA delivered was a swift kick to the nether regions; a boot to the balls, if you will.

Racers who spent months restoring old cars to their former prominence and took time away from family and business were turned away at the gate. And why? Because the NHRA, in its infinite wisdom, apparently determined that despite what you and I might believe, there apparently can be too many old cars at an old car event. I don’t know what that number is; the NHRA apparently does.

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - IS IT STILL SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TO GIVE EVERYONE A FAIR CHANCE?

Over the last 40-odd years, first as an NHRA employee, then as a PR flack and finally as an unapologetic fan, I have proposed dozens of ideas for improving the sport and you know what?  I can’t recall a single one that ever was adopted or even adapted by the NHRA, the IHRA, the PDRA, the ADRL or any of the other HRAs and DRLs on the planet.
 
Which begs the question: Is it me?
 
Regardless of the answer, the truth is I’ve reached a point where I don’t really give a crap.  So, you can either indulge an old man another opinion or you can suck eggs although I’m sure there are other options.

 

 

UP FRONT WITH JON ASHER: IT REALLY IS OVER FOR PRO STOCK

 

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In 2005 we published an editorial entitled “Pro Stock’s In Trouble: Who’s At Fault and What Can Be done About It.” It was one of the few two-part editorials we’ve ever run. Along with an outline of the then current situation in Pro Stock was a chart that succinctly outlined the declining entries in the class over the three-year period from 2003 to ‘05. It’s with more than a little irony that we note that in 2003 17 of 23 races had more than 30 entries, and three had in excess of 40. Because that editorial was written at mid-season, we can report that in the first half of 2005 only two of 12 events had 30 or more entries. That steady decline continues today, as evidenced by the significant number of races that have failed to attract a full 16-car field both this year and last.

 

 

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - ANOTHER FINE EXAMPLE OF MISPLACED PRIORITIES

The fact that the High Sheriffs have decided not to replace departed Vice President of Communications Terry Blount, a nice man who apparently misunderstood the essence of his job, calls into question the course on which the world’s largest motorsports organization now is embarked.

Like Geno Effler before him, Blount evidently was operating under the delusion that, as the VP/Communications, he was to “communicate” the NHRA message to the media, racers and fans which, in his short time in Glendora, he managed to do with considerable skill.

He probably thought that by rebuilding eroded relationships with key outlets like USA Today and leveraging the contacts he made as an award-winning writer and broadcast journalist, he had secured a corner office and the proverbial golden parachute to which so many NHRA executives seem to aspire.

 

 

COMMENTARY: SUSAN WADE - SOME NEW YEAR’S WISHES FROM COMPETITION PLUS

 

MICHAEL KNIGHT - LOOKING BACK ON THE BUSINESS OF DRAG RACING IN 2016

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I’ve been in the repair shop for much of the year. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention.

So, I present my annual Top 10 list of the most important stories in the business and politics of the 2016 NHRA season.

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - HANDING OUT THE GRADES FOR THE 2016 SEASON

To become NHRA president, Peter Clifford won neither the popular vote nor the electoral vote. However, he did win the only votes that mattered -- those cast by the NHRA Board of Directors, a board that is neither elected by nor beholden to the rank-and-file membership of the world’s largest sanctioning body.

Simply stated, you and I are not really part of the process beyond that point at which we send our money to Glendora and get back our reduced-price ticket coupons, our decal, our NHRA pin and the membership number that provides on-line access to National DRAGSTER and our official NHRA rulebook.

That means that if we don’t like the job the president has done, we really don’t have any recourse beyond incessant whining. We can’t mount a recall campaign, we can’t have him impeached and, three years from now, we can’t elect someone else whose views we believe more closely mirror our own.

 

 

DAVE DENSMORE SPEAKS (COMMENTARY): - THE AIRING OF OUR DIRTY LAUNDRY DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN

 I am not a big fan of labor unions, ironic insomuch as John Force, the man with whom I traveled so many backroads and interstates over the last 30 years, is a card-carrying member of the Teamsters and, had he not become the 16-time NHRA Funny Car Champion of the World, likely would have wound up running for office at local 388 in Fullerton.  
 
However, I do understand the concept.  I get that if employers could be trusted to do right by their employees, there would be no need for unions.   
 
Allegations by TV crew members responsible for producing the “live television coverage” of NHRA drag racing events on Fox and Fox Sports 1 suggest one of those “no other alternative” situations in which unions tend to thrive.

 

 

COMMENTARY: HOW THE WORLD SERIES OF DRAG RACING WENT FROM SOMETHING TO NOTHING

 

“The event could not grow any more in Cordova…we have potential to draw from a wide area coming to this venue.”

Those words, taken straight from the mouth of current IHRA president Mike Dunn in an interview with the Quad City Times this past week, are among the most haunting and damning words I have read in quite some time. 

“Could not grow any more…” Just let that marinate in your mind for a bit.

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