What is going to happen this summer?
s the race season gets into full swing will we see the car count at events continue to drop, will everyone continue to worry about the economy and stay home or race closer to home?
If you are a track owner I know you wish you had a crystal ball to look into to see what is going to happen. If you are a racer you are probably anxious for fuel prices to just settle down and stay consistent so you can plan your race weekends, am I right?
I have attended a couple NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional events this spring and what I have seen is a little scary. The event at Indianapolis was down about 240 cars and the event at Brainerd was down about 150 entries. It could be that the racers are not going to spend the money to go to a three-day race that has only one race involved. They may be looking at events that give them two or three races in one weekend. Finding those events makes the prospect of collecting some prize money a bit more realistic for the increasing travel expenses.
I have not heard from anyone on the special events and how attendance has been at races like the Chrysler Classic Events, regional Mopar races and races like Super Chevy (sorry, had to mention it). It could be that these events will see increased attendance due to racers selecting certain events to race at and wanting those events to be somewhat special.
Whatever the answer is, I hope you can still get out there and do some racing or spectating at the drag strips in your area. It is a great sport and has become a very competitive sport.
On to other "things" that are in the news. Have you been following the Don Schumacher Racing and NHRA Nitro fiasco? It has been a real soap opera to say the least. NHRA and their favored fuel supplier, VP Fuels, have a very good chance of running out of nitromethane before the season is over. The biggest problem is China will cease production a couple months before the summer Olympics and shut down the shipping of certain products, like nitromethane, out of their harbor during the Olympics. It just so happens that Don Schumacher Racing has about 300 drums on a ship, headed to the U.S. With the $100,000 fine that NHRA levied against him as leverage, I am sure Don is pressuring NHRA and VP to decide one way or the other on his fuel. From what I can gather he has offered to sell them the fuel but told them there is a time frame to their decision. Will they risk having their supply dry up over some bogus fine they levied on Schumacher's team? Do you really think spectators will show up for a national event with one or two qualifying sessions and maybe eight-car fields due to the fuel shortage?
This will be a great story to follow and see what "spin" both sides offer up. Racing politics at its best. Can't have a nitro show if you have no nitro for the race teams. If nitro does get in very short supply will only the big multi-car teams be able to afford to buy it? Will this squeeze the little guy out for good? Should be interesting to say the least.
As a big Mopar fan in general, it was great to see Kasey Kahne get his Dodge into the winner's circle a couple times. Larry Morgan just had a great outing and runner-up in Pro Stock with his Mopar at Topeka. Hey, I even put my Mopar-powered dragster into the finals of a Quick 16 race at Cedar Falls Raceway. Not quite as big a deal as Pro Stock at a National Event, but it was fun.