in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of September 23, 1999
Question of the Day: "Would you buy a used class from this man?" ... or: "How can you tell when he's prevaricating?".... (ANSWER: His mouth is open). NHRA announced today that there will be NO rules changes for the Top Alcohol (Federal-Mogul) classes for next season. The status quo rules.... for now. The following media release explains that NHRA is "focusing" their efforts in FMD and FMFC in 2000. We'll see whether that statement is still "operative" six months from now. NHRA focusing efforts in FMD, FMFC
By Graham Light, NHRA Senior Vice President-Racing Operations
"We want to work with the racing community to develop rules, policies, procedures, and formats that will help stabilize the eliminators and increase future participation."
Among the rules changes for the 2000 season that were unveiled recently, and most notable concerned those that did not change. A proposed rules change for major modifications in Federal-Mogul Dragster and Federal-Mogul Funny Car was voted down last week.
I want to once and for all put to rest the rumor that NHRA wants to eliminate the alcohol classes at the national level. That is absolutely not the case. Quite to the contrary, NHRA's current objective is to strengthen the category.
We recognize that we need to increase the number of cars that compete at national and divisional events. We also recognize that racing a Federal-Mogul Dragster or Federal-Mogul Funny Car can be an expensive undertaking.
We want to work with the racing community to develop rules, policies, procedures, and formats that will help stabilize the eliminators and increase future participation. These cars are the headliners of the 42 Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series divisional events around the country, and they are an integral part of the 24 national events (including the Winston Showdown, a national event for Federal-Mogul Sportsman racers) in 2000, and we want to maintain them as such.
We are aware of the concerns in the racing community and the frustration over the continuous change of the rules, especially in the Federal-Mogul Dragster class. NHRA's desire is twofold: grow the class and put the enjoyment back into the category. We are also going to evaluate purses, the number of credentials racers receive, contingency money - specifically at the divisional level - and possibly a new divisional bonus program, all designed to help defray some costs.
Our rules committee spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to come up with a rules package that, at the time, we felt was fair. At the same time, we also explored the idea of alternating national events between Federal-Mogul Dragster and Funny Car in an attempt to get more money into the pockets of those racers.
Quite frankly, we did propose a lot of changes at one time, and we heard about it. We heard some pretty strong objections to the package that we were proposing. We responded to the concerns and admitted that maybe we were going down the wrong path, so we reconsidered our direction.
Our rules and policy-making system allows for checks and balances and opens the door for racer input on proposed rules. On numerous occasions, we have changed our opinion based on the input we received, and that is the only way we can improve our sport.
Something we have heard loud and clear is that our racers want rules stability, particularly in the dragster category with the two distinct combinations: injected fuel and blown alcohol.
What we hear from a majority of the racers is to not keep changing the rules midstream. "Tell us what the rules are and let us make our decisions so we can build to the combination that we feel can win the championship and let us go race," they say. That is exactly what NHRA has done by stabilizing the current rules.
We have frozen the existing rules for the Federal-Mogul Dragster class, and, unless something unforeseen occurs, they will stay in existence for 2000. At the end of next year, we can review and maybe at that time make some changes, modifications, or revisions for 2001, which again will give the racers an opportunity to help structure their class into a highly competitive category.
Basically, by putting a moratorium on rules changes for a year, it gives racers the peace of mind that if they want to switch to the other combination, they can do so midstream without the fear of converting their equipment and then NHRA slapping them with some rules changes. It gives the racers the ability to pick a combination and change knowing there is stability in the rules.
The racers' objectives are identical to those of NHRA: create a top-notch class that the fans, racers, track operators, and sponsors see as a viable market. We believe that the changes we did not make will help us meet these objectives.