MICHAEL KNIGHT: TODAY'S DRAG RACING STOCK REPORT

Written by Michael Knight.

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Stock -- as in investments, not cars or motorcycles -- dominated the mainstream media in May. The Dow kept going down, Down, DOWN on daily bad news about the banks in Europe. Where’s Urs Erbacher now that I need him for a comment? Political instability and the Euro crisis meant Greece was the word on Wall Street. What say you, Chris Karamesines?

The over-hyped Facebook IPO left buyers who quickly lost money Redfaced or Facebroke. It’s already referred to in the financial history books as the Facebook Fiasco. And when people talked about Chase, they didn’t mean  NASCAR’s playoffs.

Seems to me this is a good time to take stock of drag racing at roughly the Full Throttle season’s mid-point. But remember, as a wise broker once told me: Never fall in-or-out of love with any one pick. What goes up will eventually come down. And vice versa.

You can bank on it.

Funny Car:
Buy -- Robert Hight and Jimmy Prock. On their way to becoming NHRA’s Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus.
Sell -- John Force’s tune-up. After losing in the first round in last year’s last eight races, Big John has done the same six times this season (through Topeka). What the ???
Hold -- Bob Tasca III. All the elements seem to be there -- except round wins.

Top Fuel:
Buy --  Spencer Massey. Could become what Darrell Russell was on his way to being.
Sell --  Al-Anabi Racing. The Sheik wanted change. The Sheik got change. As in not winning.
Hold -- Morgan Lucas Racing. Lucas and Brandon Bernstein are gaining on it.

Pro Stock:
Buy --  Greg Anderson and Jason Line. There’s Team Summit and then there’s everyone else.
Sell -- Those Pontiac GTX bodies, soon to be collector’s items.
Hold -- Allen Johnson. Seems to hang in there against Team Summit as well as anyone.

Pro Stock Motorcycle:
Buy --  Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec are in a class of their own.
Sell --  Suzuki and Buell. NHRA can keep adjusting the rules but these riders are on the wrong side of the performance ladder.
Hold -- None in this two-class class.  

ESPN:
Buy --  Mike Dunn. Still the best TV analyst in any form of motorsports.  
Sell -- Jamie Howe. Years of cable-access quality sports car pit “reporting” somehow got her an NHRA gig. Howe wouldn’t know how to ask a meaningful question if Edward R. Murrow wrote her cue cards.
Hold -- Graphics -- last year’s graphics. Too much junking-up-the-screen this season with nonsense countdown clocks and such.

Drivers:
Buy --  Jeg Coughlin Jr. Despite the struggles with his new Mopar program, Jeg remains Pro Stock’s best driver.
Sell --  Khalid alBalooshi. Ain’t gettin’ it done on the Tree.
Hold -- Courtney Force. The future seems as bright as her smile.

Crew Chiefs:
Buy --  Jimmy Prock. The obvious choice. Just might be a contender for racing’s Man of the Year.
Sell --  Tommy DeLago. Where have you gone, defending champion Matt Hagan? Not rounds.
Hold --  Mike Green. Tony Schumacher keeps making his share of finals but -- through Topeka -- still looking to end a puzzling long victory hiatus.

Sponsors:
Buy -- NAPA. Don Schumacher essentially gave Jack Beckman’s team to Ron Capps to protect this deal.
Sell -- The official beer of NHRA. Traditionally one of the most prestigious of the official series entitlements, it’s been empty since Budweiser exited almost three years ago. Come on, NHRA (and IMG), pour on the effort. It’s time to fill this embarrassing void.
Hold -- U.S. Army. With legislation pending in Congress that would end taxpayer-funded military sports sponsorships, “Sarge” Schumacher and team are just trying to hold onto what they’ve got. If not, will Tony call it a career?

Tracks:
Buy --  Bandimere Speedway. John Bandimere’s beauty, outside of Denver, remains my favorite NHRA venue. A must visit for all real fans.
Sell -- Firebird Raceway. Not looking too promising for a lease extension from the Gila River Indian Community, casting doubt on the future of the Arizona Nationals.
Hold -- Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Drag racing’s spiritual home.

Ideas:
Buy --  Don Schumacher Racing’s Top Fuel canopy. Just what are you waiting for, NHRA? Common sense tells the rest of us there’s no excuse for taking so long to make a decision.
Sell --  The bean counter who decided to scrap the print edition of NHRA’s media guide. Drag racing doesn’t get the news coverage it deserves yet NHRA made journalists’ jobs that much more difficult. Brilliant thinking.
Hold -- The Countdown format. NHRA gets one more chance to prove it helps sell tickets, attracts a TV audience, and generates mainstream media publicity vs. pro and college football. 

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