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The latest update as of June 9, 2010

Bad news travels fast.... but rumours travel faster

We're still waiting for the official announcement, and considering the lack of communication skills shown by the AHRA in recent weeks, we're definitely not holding our breath waiting to read/hear about the cancellation of yet another event on their "Reunion Tour" calendar. The latest reason/excuse is the bad weather experienced in Calgary this spring has prevented the Race City management from resurfacing the track, something that is sorely needed to allow the fast cars to race.

It's a little difficult to swallow this story less than ten days before a scheduled "major" event, as someone must have known the paving was not going to be done on time a week or two ago. If the track condition is really the reason to cancel the race, why didn't the AHRA simply announce it when they knew, instead of letting the grapevine do the work. At last check, a few minutes ago, there were still no updates on the association's website since May 27.

No mention of the cancellation/postponement of last weekend's big race at Marion County, no mention of the Calgary situation, nothing at all. Frankly, I'm starting to have some serious doubts that this reincarnation of the American Hot Rod Association will ever get off the ground. And I've got some information from trusted sources that indicate the new AHRA is nothing more than a pipedream. As to what's been burning in that pipe, your guess is as good as mine.

Until I see anything substantive come out of the AHRA, like an actual race, I'm going to do my best to ignore them and not write anything more about this debacle in the making. All I'll ask in closing, is where do I send my invoice for a refund of all the non-refundable expenses I've incurred to attend next weekend's non-event in Calgary? And how far down the line of dis-satisfied creditors will I be? Yeah, I know the answers already.

Not much time to write anything else today, as I've got a union meeting to attend this evening, but I've been working on a photo page from the last event I attended in Las Vegas - four years ago, and no, we're not even going to mention all the photos from the races there in 2005 and 2004. Not yet anyway. As we work on getting this website back together and "hitting on all eight" we will fill in all the blanks on the Features page, among others.

Before I go though, it's time for a few words about televised drag racing in Canada. We've come a very long way from the days of yore, when there were maybe two or three broadcasts a year, three to six months after the event, and so heavily edited that it was difficult to get any sense of the race itself. Of course the news was very old news, even without the internet to provide the almost instant results that we receive and take for granted now.

The NHRA broadcasts on TSN have been expanded to, in most cases, three hours, and despite a fair bit of filler at times, do a good job of presenting the races. It's still not possible to really immerse yourself in the show, even with big screen TVs and surround sound, but it is getting closer. And wait until 3-D drag racing comes our way in what may be only a year or two. Combine that with a 60-inch LED 3-D unit and some big-ass speakers and strap yourself in. If the production values can catch up with the delivery technology then we will have something truly wonderful. Just don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen anytime soon.

And don't expect the broadcast networks to give drag racing any more attention than they do now. In Canada, the TSN broadcasts are scheduled in late morning/early afternoon, but are always prone to pre-emption by live sports shows, like the French Open Tennis two weeks ago that wiped out half of the Topeka Summer Nationals race. With no repeats of the drag racing shows, our one chance to see the first two rounds of that race evaporated as a little white ball was knocked back and forth across a red clay tennis court. Worse than watching televised bracket racing (with apologies to all my bracket racing friends).

But it's hard to complain too much about NHRA's broadcasts when comparing them to the IHRA broadcasts in 2010. Have you seen what they've devolved to? While in previous years the heavily edited, late appearing (one month or more delay) shows were only average, this year's productions are shorter, more filled with p.r. about IHRA's new format, and the amount of on-track action or racer interviews has shrunk to an all-time low. Difficult to watch, and after seeing the first four NitroJam events, becoming more than a little repetitive. The brightest spot on the show has to be ex-alky funny racer, and raconteur extraordinaire, Mark Thomas, but even he can't save these broadcasts from themselves.

That's all we've got time for now; more tomorrow, including a look ahead at this coming weekend's ANDRA (Australian) Winternationals and the NHRA Full Throttle event at Englishtown, New Jersey. Another busy week in the sport of drag racing.

One last bonus before we go: our good friend Gerry Frechette has provided some photos we missed taking at the Mission Raceway Lucas Oil series race two weeks ago. Here they are, and if you're interested in seeing (or purchasing) more of his work, just drop him an email.

Howie Stevens C/A Ashley Bart T/AD Don St. Arnaud A/FD

From left to right: Howie Stevens launching with the wheels up in his brand-new '09 Ford Mustang C/A; Ashley Bart banging the blower on the launch in her Alberta-based T/AD; and fellow Albertan Don St. Arnaud working to get his A/FD into reverse after the burnout. (Click on the thumbnails to see the full-size images)

To see previous updates go to the What's Old page