It is the Christmas holiday weekend, the family is sitting Wholesale Drag Finishing Machine Manufacturers around the livingroom discussing how much of a very fine meal we've eaten, when the conversation shifts: "You on for the drag races this summer?" I asked my brother. "Oh yeah," he answers back. As we reminisce about the past years NHRA Nationals and discuss plans and dates for this years race, we wonder why the NHRA does not have a bigger following.
If you like fast cars, and you have not been to a NHRA Nationals event, you have no idea what your missing. That, we decided, is exactly the problem. You have got to see it live to understand why it has the following it does. Television is at fault, after-all this sport has many times the horsepower of NASCAR, the pitts are open to anyone with a ticket, and the drivers come out of the haulers just to sign autographs on a regular basis. They even give you a free, glossy team photo to get the autograph signed on. The problem is none of that comes across on TV. When you watch NASCAR they televise the pre-race activities, the on-track activities, and the post-race activities. They even have a segment called CRANK IT UP, in which the anouncers dont say a word for a few laps so you can litterally blow your speakers apart with your surround sound. This helps give you the feeling you are at the track. You could be watching your first NASCAR event and by the end of the race come away with the feeling you understand it, and more importatly you will feel like you know the drivers. I dont want to take anything away from NASCAR; it is a great motorsport and they have done a fine job of marketing to get to this point. But (and it is a big but) there is no feeling in the world like two top fuel dragsters coming off the line simultaneously; it will shake your soul. Trying to explain this feeling to someone who has never experienced it is futile. Nor can you explain the smells of the track, the smoking tires, the rubber dust in the air, or the way your eyes burn from the half-burnt alcohol sprayed from the firey pipes.
The sound...absolutely deafening. If we could somehow get these sights and sounds through our TV's, the NHRA would explode with popularity. "Maybe they should send out bag of rubber dust and a candle that smells like burnt rubber before each broadcast," we quipped. In reality, the biggest thing I see that can be done is for television to help us get to know the drivers andtheir crews. Even the World Poker Tour understands they can't just show you people playing cards. We have tofeel as if these drivers are our friends. Introduce us to their world! We must be able to connect with them on a personal level. Show us what it takes to go 300mph in less than five seconds!
The crews can tear down an engine and put it back together in less than an hour. Show us that! Dont talk while the rockets thunder down the track. Let us blow our speakers! It will never take the place of being at the track, but it would go a long way in bringing the NHRA back to the fore-front of the racing world. Do yourself a favor, the next time the NHRA is in your neighborhood, GO. Take your kids, call some friends, or go by yourself; just go. There is no experience like it in the world, at least not yet. Maybe someday soon, when we can board a rocket bound for the moon, the NHRA might have competition. Until that day comes you owe it to yourself to take in an event.