I Feel Bad for John Force… :(

Greased Lightning

The National Hot Rod Association is the governing body for drag racing. It was founded in 1951 by Wally Parks to “create order from chaos” and legitimize popular illegal racing…

…by taking it to a controlled, safer, environment with rules.

It’s a fascinating sport to watch! Oh yeah, it IS a sport! Without a doubt the best motorsport, in my opinion!

I’ve had people rip on me for watching it because it’s “just a couple cars going in a straight line.” Those same people can’t even properly operate a 200 HP street car. I’d love to see ’em try to wheel a 10,000 HP Dragster or Funny Car, especially when shit like THIS can happen:

Nope, not for me! I’ll leave it to the pros.

NHRA drag racing is a small, niche market sport. People love it or, as I mentioned above, people think it’s stupid! I’ve made no less than 20 people drag racing fans for life, however, over my 25 years being a fan! When I get them to a live event and they see their first Funny Car or Dragster race, they’re hooked!

I didn’t realize just how small the NHRA is, from a revenue standpoint, until I researched it today. The NHRA generates about $150 million in revenue a year. That sounds respectable until you compare it to the $10 BILLION a year NFL. Back in 2006, the NHRA was sold for $121 million. The shitty NFL Buffalo Bills just sold for $1.4 BILLION!

Alright, it’s not fair to compare drag racing to the NFL, so lets try a motorsports comparison. NASCAR brings in $3.1 BILLION a year!

Why is the NHRA such small beans? It’s not a lack of excitement, because drag racing is WAY better than NASCAR! It all boils down to TV money!

All stick and ball sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), and even NASCAR, are able to sign very lucrative TV and cable provider deals.

Why can’t the NHRA do the same?

It simply comes down to the live experience and the nature of drag racing. A full weekend of racing involves 4 rounds of qualifying over two days to set the field for 4 rounds of elimination on Sunday. Each day of drag racing takes anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. That shit just can’t be televised live. Cars break on the track and there’s a shit ton of down time when that happens.

“NASCAR cautions, after a crash, only take a few minutes to clean up the track so why does drag racing cleanup take so long?”

That’s a great question! Most NASCAR tracks are a mile or longer. The racing surface, while somewhat important for tire wear, isn’t as important as individual car setup. Oil dry can be used to clean up any chemicals spilled on the track, so it’s a quick cleanup!

The NHRA track is a beast of it’s own! It’s coated with a compound called PJ1 TrackBite. Shit’s sticky as hell! It’s the only way drag racing teams can maintain traction with the amount of HP they’re working with, especially the nitro teams. 10,000 HP will go up in smoke without PJ1.

If there’s any kind of liquid on the track after a car crashes or blows up, the NHRA has to essentially re-prepare the track, otherwise there could be severely dangerous conditions. That cleanup can take about 15 minutes!

Basically, NHRA events are too damn long to televise. Nobody’s gonna watch racing when there are 15 minutes of track cleanup after a car pukes oil all the way down the track. I’ve been to several Sunday elimination days and those days take about 6 hours to complete. The NHRA takes all the footage, cuts out the downtime and puts together a presentable 2-3 hour show which doesn’t air until 9:00 or later on Sunday.

Because of those issues, the NHRA can’t get those lucrative TV contracts that most other sports can.

Having said all that, NHRA teams have to rely heavily on corporate sponsorship to keep their very expensive teams afloat because they don’t have TV money to share. Last year I was all pissed off because two of John Force Racing’s sponsors, Ford and Castrol Oil, are pulling their money out of top level drag racing.

I can’t understand why sponsors are leaving John Force Racing. Of the last 23 years, John Force has won 16 Championships of his own and 2 others as a team owner! Anybody know of any team in any sport that has dominated 78% of a quarter century?

John is working hard to secure sponsors for upcoming seasons. I fear one of those sponsors will be freakin’ Toyota

This past week, however, shit took a turn for the worse for Team Force. Long time teammate and current tuner & crew chief of Force’s Castrol Mustang, Jimmy Prock, got fired.

Fuckface

Actually, that fucking whore Prock was making calls to other teams looking for a job after 16 years of gainful employment with John Force Racing. Force got a call from another owner as a heads up, confronted Prock about it and Prock said he was quitting after this season. Force let him go immediately.

John Force is 36 points away from his 17th championship with only two races to go. He had the following to say about moving forward without Jimmy Prock and I totally agree:

I am going after this championship and I am going after it with the people that will stay with me for the long haul. That is what I owe my sponsors and fans.  As much as I want No. 17, not even for a championship will I race with somebody that I know is leaving me.

This final quote by Force is what made me sad. He is, hands down, the best driver to ever wheel a car in the NHRA. He has helped to BUILD the NHRA over three decades. I go to races and the majority of the fans are clustered around the Force cars in the area known as Nitro Alley, where the teams tune their cars between rounds.

I am a big boy and I’m going to put this team back together. I am going to fight, win or lose. If we get No. 17, great, but if we don’t I know I will have gone down with people that believe in me, that trust in me and that will stand by me, not just in good times but in bad times. I am not just racing for this championship; I am racing for the next 10 years.

John Force shouldn’t be putting anything back together, because he’s the best ever.

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