I’m a sportsman racer and you article is so on its scary.  Most of us feel this is what happens when you have non racers trying to run nhra. They for the most part are clueless and it shows. So much of the fun has been taken away that the excitement I once had when going to a race has disappeared.  They keep making it more and more difficult to even enter a national event. - Gary Humrichouse





I’m a sportsman racer and you article is so on its scary.  Most of us feel this is what happens when you have non racers trying to run nhra. They for the most part are clueless and it shows. So much of the fun has been taken away that the excitement I once had when going to a race has disappeared.  They keep making it more and more difficult to even enter a national event. - Gary Humrichouse

While I do not always agree with Jon Asher's viewpoints, I do respect his opinions on drag racing as an industry and sport, and I always enjoy his to-the-point style of writing. Jon's most recent contribution definitely got it right.  Hard times are already here for drag racing and our nation's economy, and it appears that even worse is to come.  However, we should all remember that we've been there and done this before.  I am absolutely confident that we will weather this latest test, and emerge stronger and better than ever. - Jim Hill



Well said Mr. Asher. I've been a racer in Stock Eliminator for fourteen years.  I
race because I love it.  This year was a challenge with the fuel costs, but I
cut out a few races.  Next year I many have to cut a few more.  But that's ok I
feel fortunate to still be racing.  NHRA is no different then any other company
in America.  Corruption,greed and double digit profits are all they care about. 
How many times will it be said "lay some poeple off so I can get my Christmas
bonus."Unfortunately this is the world we live in right now. Hopefully it gets better.  Keep writing I'm reading. - John G. Gray Jr.

In response to the economic distress facing drag strips, I would like to publicly state that our "family-owned" facility in Louisiana is having the best year since we opened our gates  three days after 9-11.

No Problem Raceway operates with a very small staff of qualified individuals. My wife Linda handles all fo the office and website duties, while I take care of all of the track work, accounting, and oversee our construction and maintenance workers.

Did I just say construction?  That's right.  During 2008, we used current cash flow to add another 1500-seat all-aluminum grandstand to the spectator side of the track.  We are also working to complete a new covered outdoor concert facility.  Total cost of the stands and pavillion will be over $250,000.  We have also spent another $100,000 upgrading our equipment.

Cash flow has been so good in 2008 that we were able to add an extra $100,000 payment to reduce our bank load priciple.

What makes our operation different from most track?  Well for starters, the owners are personally liable for the bank note, and the owners run the facility.  Next is diversification.  We host drag racing, road racing, music concerts, midnight racing, import racing, drifting events, and any other type of action that fills the stands.

Some say my wife and I are just lucky.  Our response is usually. "Yes, you are right.  However, it seems that the harder we work, the luckier we get." - Pat Joffrion

I agree.I am skipping the 2009 Gatornationals for the first time in 26 years. Maybe NHRA will notice it at the gate when people do not show up.

They raised general admission prices for 09 rather than lowering them. - Rod Hunter

I am a 62 year old racer. My whole family is involved with the sport. I have been reading Jon Asher for a long while. I agree with him on this. The NHRA has to be proactive not reactive. They have to remember the little guy that pays the
bills with ticket purchases and all the $$$ spent while attending events. - Ray Whitener 


I am just a Fan of all Drag Racing (Pro, Sportsman, Bikes, even the Jr. Dragsters and etc.) and the thought of anything happening to this sport is terrible.  I wish I could think of a way to get the executives to see, that if they don't do something and soon that they won't have a job and can join the executives of GM, Ford, AGI and etc....They can't be that much of a bunch of idiots.

I worked at a National Event this summer and the FANS LOVE THIS sport...they came from all over the world and brought friends, family, their children, they were black, white and all don't see that at a lot at Indy and Nascar races, and some I hate to say, could barely afford the ticket, but they came. I have been a fan of Indy car & Nascar for along time....but the Drag Racing Fans....didn't just come to get drunk...these Fans came to watch and never stopped smiling and enjoying themselves (Again...THEY LOVE THE SOUND OF THOSE ENGINES). If the executives could actually get out of their offices and see these Fans...maybe they would do something so they will keep coming (lower prices or something).  Do they not realize that the Fans buy the products the sponsors advertise on their cars.It's not just about's about us little guys....All of Us Fans.

Just a note....I sat and watched Mr. Lucas from Lucas Oil stand in 100 degree heat on the track and watch...not up in the suites where all the other Corporation Big Guys are, but down with all the common people. I do realize that he was watching Morgan, but hey some people wouldn't have done that.

OK...Let me know what I can do to help? - Susie Kingery




Hi Jon, As usual you are right on. 

I have been trying unsuccessfully to get 3 of the top writers in drag racing to write a book or a series of articles on the "business model" of drag racing because I felt it was about to undergo a serious change with the economic crisis.  Try googling "business model" first with NASCAR, then with NHRA included. Vast difference in number of hits!

Your article reminds me that I should have considered you in the top 4 writers to ask.  You have summarized the near term impacts to drag racing, fans, sponsers, venue promoters and sanctioning bodies, and suppliers better than any article I have seen so far. Where the money comes from and where it goes. 

Drag racing will survive but I think a book or story about its changing business model will help it survive and adapt to a very uncertain financial future. - Henry Perry

Yes, NHRA should consider reducing the compensation lavished on it's board members, but when has the NHRA looked beyond their own level of comfort.  I truly believe they look at the organization as serving the management, not the customers.  Racer participation and spectator attendance will continue to decline as the economy worses.  NHRA will react (heaven forbid that they should be proactive) only when the compensation of the board is at risk.  They will blame the decline of the organization solely on the economy.  I'm willing to bet a large portion of my declining 401K there isn't a mirror to be found in the headquarters of NHRA. - Terry Friar, Former Sportsman Racer

While Asher made some good points in his editorial, the salaries of the NHRA Board members have little to do with the overall picture of NHRA drag racing.  Further, drag racing survived before when Detroit bailed out, and to even suggest that the sport will tank without them is a joke. - Jason Milner

I think you should make it public what the board members earn. I think they need to be "called out". Especially with the rediculous championship purses the pros get. - Ed Hutchings

I agree with this article 100%, I saw the comments by WJ and wondered if he was going down this path as well. Also the excutives at the big three are doing the same as NHRA so if the racing budgets are cut they are as much to blame as NHRA for not trying to control costs and outrages bonuses. - Steve Patterson



Absolutely right on!!  The NHRA seems to think it is above all the economic rules that others follow.  For example, how can they turn away sponsors because one of their competitors has already locked in NHRA advertising rights?
I think if the loyal NHRA racers and spectators would boycott the 2009 races it might make Tom Crapton and the rest of his money grabbing staff sit up and take notice.  I plan to. - John Martin

Thank you Jon Asher,

Thank you for continuing to educate the racers on the compansation of the NHRA higher ups,As we forge ahead in these tough economic times and racers remain loyal to this organization absorbing huge logistic and racing costs, What are the racers getting in return for their efforts? Personally I think NHRA and their practices are long overdue to be exposed to the members and general public. Power comes in numbers , and there is a whole lot more members than there  is staff in Glendora. A (completely unified effort), Top Fuel to Z/Stock Automatic could cripple this strong hold on its members.It would take determination, principle, an unyielding effort to bring forth this very apparent abuse of revenue and (power?) by NHRA. You gotta have balls to shoot pool, So who can we turn to, To lead an effort to begin to address all the issues on and off the track that have been taking place for decades. This situation needs to be confronted head on. We need it to start happing now. There are  several successful business owners in the pits, But who wants to begin this task? - Bud Donato

Don't expect NHRA to overcome their egos to cost cut when it comes to their own packages.  The organization is not responsive to the needs of the racers and to a lesser extent the sponsors.  To give you an example, the Divisional car counts are down.  Expenses are growing, especially travel.  To race for two and a half days to finish one Divisional should change.  Two races in one weekend are much more cost effective, such as IHRA has implemented.  I honestly don't think that the NHRA crews will commit to working the extra time! - Scott Davis

At the Finals last weekend we only attended Sunday because of the fires in the area and had to buy general admission tickets with all the reserved ticket being sold. It's not the $55.00 x 5 per ticket or the $30.00 parking but the fact that there were no seats available in the small section for General admission and they had the one of the big sections blocked off on the pit side.  We have been going to both races each year at Pomona for many years but don't think we will go any more NHRA really does not care about their members/customers  - Butch Headrick  

"No doubt the NHRA will cite their own rising costs and reduced profits as reasons that such plans can’t be considered, and I’ll readily acknowledge that the organization’s bottom line is far smaller than some might imagine."

NHRA is a Not-For-Profit organization.  Their bottom line should be ZERO, as the organization was created as a way to safely promote the sport of drag racing, NOT as a way to shield it's executives from paying taxes on obscene salaries and perks as the way it is being operated now.

"The National Hot Rod Association needs to tighten its corporate belt, and one way of doing so would be to reduce the almost obscene financial compensation some Board members receive for doing little more than attending a monthly meeting.  If Americans are vocally outraged by the compensation paid to the executives on Wall Street and at companies like AIG that we’re bailing out to
the tune of billions – a figure soon to be in the trillions – supporters of NHRA should be just as outraged about the compensation levels at the top of the organization."

Amen, brother. Amen. - Jason Oldfield

Very good article and way too much truth in it.

That being said I was reminded about a conversation that I had with my Dad about 55 years ago when I was just a pup.  While feeding the swine on the farm, my Dad asked me if I knew the difference between Pigs and Hogs?.......Being 8 years old I did not have a clue.  My Father then told me something that was not only accurate, but it was something that would hold true for many situations as I went through my life.  Here is what he told.

"Pigs get fat, but Hogs get slaughtered!!"  So you never want to be a Hog, just a pig.  Seems like NHRA should heed the wisdom of that statement. - RJ Sledge

Once again, Asher hits one into the parking lot! I've got a room reserved for 2009 Gainesville, but I'm not spending one red cent until I see if there are actually going to be cars at the races.

Whatever you're paying Jon, it isn't nearly enough.yuk, yuk. You owe me a beer, Asher. - Bill Huseth

Great article, but if you think that the powers-that-be in the NHRA are going to mandate a sizeable pay cut for themselves, then you don't understand the concept of the "fox watching the chicken coop."

These people are not, by-and-large, former drag racers with a lifelong love for the sport; they're suits that have a devotion to the bottom line, their own pocketbooks, and little else.

If, due to their selfishness and negligence, drag racing suffers immeasurably, and maybe doesn't survive, they won't lose any sleep over it as long as they get their pound of flesh ($$$$$$$$$.)

Sad, but true...

Thanks for an excellent "wake up" article. - Bill Dedman



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