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The latest update as of June 12, 2010
Back to our "topic du jour"
After yesterday's absolutely tragic news, we've had some time to reflect and recharge and now it's back to business. Not to make light of the Englishtown fatality in any way, shape or form, but we've all got to move on and try to put this event behind us. What can't be ignored though, are the thoughts on everyone's minds: what caused it? what happened? and most importantly, what can be done to prevent or at least mitigate the effects of such high-speed accidents?
While it's nothing more than wishful thinking to feel that we can stop all high-speed or even low-speed accidents on a race track, we simply must make these crashes more survivable. Whether it's through better chassis design, better safety equipment, better track design, or, unpalatable to all competitors, slower speeds, it's simply got to be done.
Now it's time to get off this topic, and get back to something we've been working on all week. The AHRA story. Remember them? The guys with big plans, and apparently nothing to back them up with. After one half-hearted attempt at a match race at an 1/8-mile track in Midland, Texas that saw virtually no spectators show up, certainly not enough to begin to pay the racers who appeared, the AHRA has cancelled or postponed every event on its calendar since, and managed to lose a few tracks from their "sanctioning" list in the process.
There's been a literal torrent of emails cascading into my inbox over the last few days, and if I could only post half of what I've received, there'd be a week's worth of reading on this page. However, keeping my contacts confidential, avoiding libel suits (if I can't prove my allegations) and keeping me off any media blacklists are more important than making a big splash and giving my ego a short-term boost.
But there are some facts that can be reported, starting with one of the major reasons why next weekend's Race City Speedway (Calgary) Reunion Tour event was "postponed". Looking at the AHRA website a few minutes ago showed Race City was removed from the track directory, the event was off the schedule, and even the sportsmen series of three races scheduled for this summer was gone too. The only mention of Calgary was the reason/excuse (take your pick) in their media release section that stated "due to the incompletion of track resurfacing as required by the sanctioning agreement" the event was postponed/cancelled/evaporated.
The biggest problem with that statement is that there was no agreement between AHRA and Race City, and the fact that a required deposit of $7000 to cover the track rental, which was required to be paid on Wednesday of this week never arrived, or got past the promise stage. While the condition of the Calgary track has been debated at times over the years, and frankly the consensus is that it truly is in dire need of some serious remediation, racing at a shortened distance (1/8-mile) would have been a compromise solution to allow the event to proceed.
Moving on to the next event(s) on the Reunion schedule, we've got one at Marion County (Ohio) and one at Toronto Motorsports Park (Ontario) coming up on the same weekend, July 4th. The Ohio race is apparently nothing more than a bracket race, even though it's listed as having the status of a "national/reunion" event. The Toronto race is a different matter, however. A quick check of their website reveals that they're promoting a full-blown nitro-fuelled motorsport extravaganza, featuring Top Fuel dragsters, 300-mph Jet Dragsters, nitromethane fuelled Funny Cars, and Pro Mods among other features.
This Canadian Nitro Nationals appears to be a legitimate attempt to promote a successful race, but for all its flash and bombast, the fact is that two dragsters, two floppers, two jets and a host of local Pro Mod cars, does not exactly make a national event. Charitably, it's a little more than a match race, but not much more. One bright spot is that an event a few weeks ago at this track drew 18 Pro Mods from the same group that will be at AHRA race, so that is definitely one bright spot on the program.
Another plus is that the Mitch King team has been announced as the Top Fuel draw, with Spencer Massey and Del Cox Jr. bannered on the event advertising, along with "The Terminator" and "Black Ice" jet cars. King's cars aren't the fastest or most competitive T/F's out there, but with Paul Smith tuning, they do get down the track and put on a good show. So maybe there is hope for at least one race on the reunion tour to actually be completed. Weather permitting, of course.
That's all for this first hit of the day. Check back later in the afternoon for some more news from Australia, Englishtown and all points between. Including Ashcroft if Dean (Murdoch) can get his cel phone to work from up there.
To see previous updates go to the What's Old page