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The latest update as of July 31, 2010
A tale of two cities, two races, two too much?
Enough alliteration already, Bobby Thunder. As reported elsewhere, there are two major regional drag racing events taking place in NHRA's Division Six this weekend. The long-ago scheduled Canadian National Open at Medicine Hat, Alberta and the Division Six Lucas Series race at Spokane Washingon.
The Medicine Hat date has been on the racing calendar for a number of years now, while the Spokane divisional event was added at the last minute - June 30th - long after most racers had set their own personal schedules for the season. Compounding the date conflict is the distance between the venues: less than 500 miles and both tend to draw many racers from the same regions, namely southern Alberta and eastern Washington.
So how has this affected the two events? Spokane's car count is down, seriously, from what might be expected, and according to reports, Medicine Hat is similarly, but not as badly, affected. Despite the lack of "hot" cars at Spokane, the reports on Drag Race Central last night indicated a capacity crowd, thirsting for action.
Did they get it? With a total of four top alky dragsters (one broke on Friday night and didn't return) and five alky funny cars (one broke on Friday and another last night) and six nitro funny cars, plus jets (no number quoted, but let's assume two), there were quite a few spectators for not much of a show. Oh, I almost forgot: 9 comp cars too. Nine? Hmm....
I've been trying to draw comparisons between the Spokane race and the National Open at Mission last weekend and frankly, the Mission event wins hands down on every level except attendance. The tickets were cheaper at Mission: $28 US for admission and pit pass last night, versus $25 at Mission. The difference for Friday tickets was even greater: $15 at Mission, against $23 at Spokane. The only "bargain" was the Sunday price of $23 at Spokane against $25 at Mission, but the nitro funny cars and jets aren't running today at Spokane and only 6 top alky cars made the first round.
The feature cars were more numerousat Mission: 24 funny cars in total, versus 11 at spokane - and even if we add the jets and dragsters to the feature total to bring it up to 17, that's still a difference. Then add in the Pro and Outlaw Street cars at Mission and the larger Comp field of 13 versus 9. Do the math and Mission wins on all counts. And that's just for a National Open, not a Lucas Series event.
Unfortunately, we don't have any real data on Medicine Hat to add that event to our comparison, and we don't know of any feature cars on their roster, but we can assume the car counts in their NHRA categories have been depleted somewhat by the Spokane event. although their bracket fields should not have been affected too much, especially with winners purses of $5000 in a Big Bucks Bracket Bash.
Bottom-line: Two events on the same weekend, in the same geographical area, is a lose-lose for everyone and I'm sure the issue will provide a major topic for discussion at the Northwest Dvision track operators meetings at the end of the season. Let's assume that there won't be a repeat of this fiasco in the future.
To see previous updates go to the What's Old page