Time for a Reality Check
by John Dearmore
Well, the end of the drag racing season is just around the corner. Many have chased points at their local track, while some have done the same thing at a higher divisional level or even nationally. One thing that all racers are keenly aware of, however, is that it’s hard to pay the bills with points unless you win. Even with wins, though, it’s still tough once you start adding everything up.
Like most racers, you probably tend to lose many of the receipts that might show what you’ve spent. Any sort of a P & L statement for racing activities can really be scary to look at! But what the heck, it was worth it, right? Hopefully you had some wins and are making plans for next year. All I can say is, thank God you are racing and having fun. We certainly hope it can continue, as many of the tracks are having issues paying their bills and some tracks unfortunately are having to close or already have closed. Even sadder is that I have not heard of a new track being built in a very long time.
We all need to take an interest in and make sure we support and take care of the ones we have. When I read about organizations not being able to pay the racers on occasion due to a lack of money, this looks like a sure road to failure and the eventual closing of yet another facility. In this day and time it’s obvious how hard a business it is to not only run a track or an organization, but also for the racer to run his or her own race car operation. But, these are the times we live in. I know most of the young guys don’t like to hear about the old days, but I feel sorry for those who don’t because it was an amazing, fun time when you could race competitively on a small budget and drag strips were popping up everywhere. They missed out on some of the greatest racing ever! However, if we’re not careful and don’t take care of it, our sport and our fans will be the losers in the future.
I don’t live in the past. In fact I manufacture a line of great racing valve train components, using the most modern CNC machines, but back when I first started we usually built all our own cars. We also made most of what we needed to race, simply because either no one was making it, we could make it better, or purely out of economic necessity. It was fun, it taught us how to think, use what we had at hand, and how to work with our hands. This was unlike today’s “hot rodder” – and I have that in quotation marks for a reason - who picks up the phone or fires up the computer and orders any needed part or drives over to buy it at the local parts supply. Back when I raced they were called Speed shops. Not only did they sell racing equipment, they would install it for you, by guys who were usually racers themselves.
Today most young guys are not interested in cars like we were back then. Don’t know why, but my guess is the computer age has changed the racing world as we know it. I went to a race one time where they only had front-wheel-drive type cars. About the only thing used were a laptop and a cell phone. The laptop tuned the car and the cell phone was to call the wrecker to tow it off to a shop after the race so that it could be fixed. How can you call that racing?
For the individual who still loves the feel of oil on his hands, the smell of smoke, and the desire to see how fast he or she can go, or even merely to check your tuning or driving skills, I’d like to shake your hand, pat you on the back and say: Power to you and go get’em. Drag racing needs you real bad!
Until next time have fun and give me a call if I can help you out….
Nostalgia Drag World - by John Dearmore