Volume XII, Issue 4 April 21, 2010
There are alternatives
I remember the "old days": Sunoco 260. Wally Parks with his magic tie. Don Garlits raising hell on the left coast. Shirley "yapping her way to the top". Keith Black in his shop apron. Hydrazine. "Da Grump". Coca-Cola Cavalcade. Fuelie heads. Iron Hemis on 98%.
Those were the days, etched in my 67-year-old mind.
I sit here writing this with a smile on my face and a touch of sadness in my heart, knowing that they are just happy memories that will soon be forgotten in the modern "ANYTHING FOR A BUCK" world of drag racing. Drag racing and racing in general has become a "blizzard of bucks" for NHRA.
With high entrance fees, and low payback, the "dedicated to MONEY" boys have allowed us to participate, and spectate for the price of a NICE big screen, double throwdown TV.
The "privilege" of sitting on a rock hard seat, in the blazing sun, with your family and placated with $5 a bottle water, and $30 tee shirts, wobbles my mind.
God forbid that you should have the audacity to complain.
Well, then the "Compton Clowns" will unleash their wrath upon you and beat you into unabated submission, UNTIL you play the game "THEIR WAY."
Enough of the gloom and doom.
Some forward thinking people have taken on the so called "west coast kingdom", and there is some help coming RIGHT NOW.
This bright spot is the Southern Hot Rod Association (www.SHRAonline.com), and it was formed by racers for racers. All decisions are made by the members in an open forum held at membership meetings.
Yeah, I know "another splinter group", right.
Not these guys.
I have gone to their races, and they are the REAL deal. The BOBBLE HEADS could take lessons from these guys on HOW to organize and conduct a race where there is ACTUAL fun to be had. Steve Coccaro, the force behind the SHRA and his co-conspirators Spiro and Mike, have had enough of the nonsense from the powers that be, and have thrown down the gauntlet, and have stepped forward with their OWN money, and "DO", instead of just complaining, and waiting for the crumbs on the table. Racing was fierce, competition was top rate, the fun factor was a 10, and the race went off like clock work. Consequently, it was a resounding success as the winners received their proper rewards and recognition.
OH, did I mention that the payout was MORE than WINNING a national event with the NHRA.
I know because I won a few in my time.
Food for thought?
The SHRA, and Palm Beach International Raceway, made EVERYBODY feel IMPORTANT and treated them like family NO MATTER WHAT.
This is what's happening, and it is happening now and YES I felt that Wally was smiling down on us and brought us good, safe racing the way HE intended it to be.
The icing on the cake: The SHRA IS a non-profit organization and ALL the money from entrance fees, and sponsorship go right back to the RACERS. NOBODY GETS A SALARY, so there are no problems.
It is your sport, look these guys up and let's get back to having fun, and drag racing, and keep the shiny side up!!!
Boca Raton, Florida