RANTING AND RAVING
In these days of $100+ per barrel oil people frequently ask me whether the price of gas is affecting my drag racing and motor sports in general. I tell them that race gas has always been very expensive and it smells nice. It's like an exotic perfume that you don't really need to use that much of, at least for drag racers.
What really hurts us drag racers is the cost of gas for the tow rig. Many of us are already bringing our own food and spending nights at the track. There really isn't much fat to trim to compensate for $3.50+ per gallon gas. It won't be long before racers start staying home, maybe they already are. I know that I personally decided against making the trip to Las Vegas for Mopars at the Strip or NHRA divisional action this year because I couldn't justify paying double for the trip. I saved almost a grand on fuel alone. Who wants to start a season by trashing the budget? We've got some wagons to finish off and we'll be blowing expensive stuff up soon enough...
I've been doing some thinking about this and I realized that it goes way beyond the price of oil. It really is the economy (don't call me "stupid"). When I feel financially squeezed I stop spending money on fancy, non-essential stuff, like my hot rods. When I get a $500 power bill the last thing in the world I'm doing is reaching for the Year One catalog to order up a new interior for my '64 Dodge.
I'm tightening my belt. Most of us do it. Anybody who shops for anything has noticed a staggering increase in prices. I shop for a family of four and I can tell you, the cashiers have had me begging for mercy lately. My secret cash budget for "deals I can't refuse" is long gone.
When you get enough of us not buying stuff, money for sponsorship and events starts drying up fast. It's a vicious circle. I sure wish that there was something I could do about it but I just feel completely powerless. I feel like there is a cabal of people in control of my economy and all they want to do is get richer without any concern for anything else. I guess it doesn't matter as much if the dollar is worth a quarter if you've got billions to start with. If you can still afford the house in the gated community and the private school education for the kids then everything must be fine. The rest of us can eat dirt. Maybe something will change in 2008, but I'm not holding my breath.
On a much lighter note, there is fire in the hole of our '64 Savoy Stocker wagon! We finally got it lit off the other night after fixing the usual assortment of little gremlins. It's still not quite ready for action yet but man oh man is it sexy!
It's always an interesting moment when it comes time to fire off a new engine. Is the wiring right? Does it have spark? Is the oil filter tight? Does it have fuel? What incredibly stupid thing have we forgotten this time? My partner and I have done this many times together, enough that we don't get in each other's way, but it's still always a tense time.