Happy Monday! Stop grumbling, it’s a new week, a new day, you woke up breathing and you’re on the right side of the dirt. All things considered, you’re doing fairly well. I hope you enjoyed the weekend, and I hope the race was entertaining. I’m actually writing this before the race even happens, so I have no idea how it will go, other than the fact that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. did not start the race with yet another set of concussion symptoms. That’s not a good thing, kids.
I write to you today with one goal in mind, and that was to answer a question left by one of our many loyal, appreciated and respected readers here at Race Fans Forever. If you wanted to read the full text of the question, please feel free my visiting my most recent column from Friday, entitled "Out of Focus: The 2016 Championship Picture.” In that column I made mention of the Chase and some like it and some do not. Whatever side you’re on is your business and I’m not here today to try to change your mind.
The question that came out of it was an astute one, there’s probably your answer, and my answer, and then there’s probably a right answer. They may all be the same, and then again they may not. Enough build up. The question was the Chase format and how the NHRA has adapted one as well, and the fans seem to love it.
My answer, and it really has nothing to do with the format of either Series’ Championship season, is this:
I’m not saying drag cars are bigger, the competition is better, the cars are faster, and how current we are. I’m talking about Drag Racing versus NASCAR in general.
Let’s back up for a minute. Way back, further, keep going back, there, that’s enough. You’re now standing on the Moon. Looking out into space, what do you see? We’ll, if the timing is right, you see Earth. The Planet. Terra. The Big Blue Marble. We all know what goes on there, right? Harmony, brotherhood,…nothing but love, right. Well, you know what else is there? Technology, and with technology comes ability. The ability to do things bigger, better, faster, and NOW. We have become a world of instant gratification. Why would I go travel to see a movie when I can watch it at home so much easier? Go buy a book? No thanks, I’ll just download it. Fast food…enough said. Write a letter? What the heck’s a letter?
This point I’m so oddly trying to make is that for a world that wants that instant gratification, NHRA always has and still provides it.
A little preparation.
A little suspense.
An explosion of action which climaxes after four seconds.
Who is out?
Who moves on?
And that the way it is, extremely simplified. It’s a lot of little quick-hit results, satisfying millions simply by being created. It’s like Elvis, that way. It’s a quick and easy result where someone moves on and someone gets locked out.
And to be fair, there are these little “lock off” points in NASCAR, too. Every lap finished is one more lap that a driver will not finish in arrears to the leader. Every car that heads to the garage is at least another spot locked up for all of the remaining drivers. But I won’t call it the same and I won’t tell you it has the same satisfaction of 4-second passes culminating in a parachute deployment and an immediate result.
I’ll never tell you that the NHRA is better than NASCAR, and I won’t tell you the same thing, reversed. But in the answer to an honest question, what I stated above would be my response. NASCAR was created to feed a hunger that was developing amongst those looking to harness speed, and it has served and still serves its purpose. NHRA did and does the same thing. What is the difference? NASCAR grabbed the attention of that fan base so many years ago with its product, and tried to change it with the times. The NHRA, without changing anything on a grand scale, simply inherited it because the world changed around it.