I’m a gearhead…remember me? I’m the one that helped
put you where you are. I’m the guy who would go to a drag
race every weekend if I could afford to. I’m the one that
stays up to 3 AM to watch qualifying. I am your best friend, but
you rather trade me in for a fling with a person that only will
come out one time a year at a nearby track.
I imagine that’s what a lot of drag racing fans would love
to say to the major sanctioning bodies. Too bad the opportunity
will never come. Ladies and gentlemen, the sad part of it all is
the gearhead has become expendable in the quest to grow our sport.
But, then again, we forget that this sport is a business for profit.
At least one of them claims to be.
We fuss and carry on that we are neglected when it comes to television
and the mainstream motorsports world. But the truth of it all is
that the sport of drag racing is just barely a pimple on the butt
of the entire motorsports industry monster. That’s cold, hard
U.S.A. Today knows us every once in a while. The New York Times
has never heard of us and CNN, well they think drag racing only
takes place illegally on the street. In fact, the reality of it
all is outside of the gearhead publications, the only time drag
racing ends up on the radar screen of the daily newspapers is when
the traveling circus comes to town. Come to think of it, they also
cover Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey when they come to
Drag racing is still a sport with an identity crisis. One major
tour wants to be like NASCAR, the other wants to build the same
excitement as monster trucks do. Is there anything wrong with that?
Not necessarily…well there’s the one troublesome issue…that
I have news for those promoting the sport. The average gearhead
drag racing fan thinks roundy-round racing stinks and monster trucks…well,
when is the circus coming to town? Give me a hot chick on a flying
trapeze any day over a monster truck.
But, as a gearhead…what do we expect from the sanctioning
bodies? We demand so much from them. We want to be huge, but we
feel so threatened when a novice drag racing fan comes in and spouts
off perceived knowledge of the sport. Immediately, we jump to correction.
Not many gearheads have to do that often, because those casual fans
are few and far in between.
Then again, a gearhead is going to toe the line anyway…why
should anyone be concerned? It’s our passion.
Drag racing has grown by leaps and bounds since the late-Fifties.
Even though most of its target audience was taken out of commission
by the Vietnam War, it still survived and grew. I have to give credit
for that growth to the gearhead. They are the ones that used to
be the most important part of the equation for the sport. Now, they
are a necessary evil.
The sanctioning bodies don’t do anything to discriminate
against them, but they haven’t stepped up to help, either.
The gearheads are now relegated to the second tier of importance.
You might wonder; how can do they do that and get away with it?
It’s simple. We let them. Besides, the goal is to turn the
average fan into a gearhead and then forget about them.
It’s a business…I keep reminding myself of that. But,
it used to not be that way.
What’s your take? Drop us an email at Comppluseditor@aol.com.