I agree 100% with Bob Vandergriff about racing 1000 feet. Upgrade the problem tracks and let’s get back to quarter mile racing! Lets just hope we have drag racing in 2009 with all this financial woe. It's even tough on us bracket racers. - Davii Jo Chinault

I think B.V. Jr. is right on target, I have enjoyed watching this sport since 1969 with my older brother.  I can only afford to attend one event a year. If that race ends at 1000ft, there is a good chance that it will be my last. You get used to seeing a full pass for years, and the reduction sucks the life out of it. Imagine if you will an N.F.L. football game with an 80yard field. No Thanks! - Mark Kearney






I agree 100% with Bob Vandergriff about racing 1000 feet. Upgrade the problem tracks and let’s get back to quarter mile racing! Lets just hope we have drag racing in 2009 with all this financial woe. It's even tough on us bracket racers. - Davii Jo Chinault

I think B.V. Jr. is right on target, I have enjoyed watching this sport since 1969 with my older brother.  I can only afford to attend one event a year. If that race ends at 1000ft, there is a good chance that it will be my last. You get used to seeing a full pass for years, and the reduction sucks the life out of it. Imagine if you will an N.F.L. football game with an 80yard field. No Thanks! - Mark Kearney

It is hard enough if not impossible to get sponsorship; this might kill it with the economy going south. As a Pro Mod racer I will sit on side where we can see what is happening instead of pro-active goal. - Steve Quint



Thank you Bob Vandergriff. I agree 100% with Vandergriff and his comments about racing to 1000 feet. I too am sick of hearing everyone spout the company-line "1000 ft is cheaper on parts". Well I wonder how cheap it was at Pomona with all the engine explosions. I also don't like being told that "it's closer racing and the fans can't tell the difference". I'm sorry but I can tell the difference between 1320 & 1000 feet. I have watched 2 races in person this year and all of them on T.V. and I can definitely tell the difference, so don't insult my intelligence. I can only hope more racers & fans will speak out like Bob Vandergriff. - Jesse Moyer

After reading Bob Vandergriff’s Take on the 1000 ft race I have come to the following conclusions.  I have found 1000 ft to be more exiting, there are less oildowns (from what I can see) and the racing is closer.  If you want less blowups and slower cars 'Limit the money'.  A team that doesn't have 15 engines in the trailer is less likely to run it on the ragged edge.  If there was a money limit more sponsors would probably show up because they don't have to pony up X millions to pay for 5 trailers, 20 engines and a 50 person entourage. Bob mentions that most drivers are running to 1320 anyway.  Do what they do in Monster trucks.  Have a radio that kills the ignition and throws the chutes at 1000 automatically. - Steve Camp, Chesapeake, Va.

If the drivers and crew chiefs think 1000 feet saves money, why not 1/8 mile for even more savings?

Mr. V has a very valid point about 1000 foot racing diminishing the product.
Marketing types look at things like how long and how often a product (sponsor's name) is shown and available for the person watching the TV to see and register that product in their mind. If drag racing now offers less time to see and register that product's brand with the consumer, then logically it is of less value dollar-wise. Less dollar value translates real quickly into less money in a racer's pocket from the sponsor, which can lead quickly to having to park the car and lose out on all sponsor bucks. - Dale Tuley

Admittedly, I don’t have a dog in this fight.  I seldom go to the track to race or watch, and I don’t have cable TV at the moment, so I can’t even see most of the racing.  In many ways, the sport has passed me by.
Having said all that, I think the best argument for 1000 foot racing was stated at the end of the Bob Vandergriff piece: only about eight top fuel teams will contest the full NHRA schedule in 2009.
Cost is a major factor in teams’ racing decisions and cost governs sponsors’ decisions as well.  Cost is the primary reason I don’t attend more races myself. 

If 1000 Foot saves money and produces closer racing from better financed teams, then it has to be a good thing.  And, if a promoter or two happened to cut his ticket prices five or ten dollars, I wouldn’t mind a bit. - Jim Shuze

I am a bracket racer and a huge fan of drag racing. To get to the point, I understand why NHRA did make the change to 1,000 feet. I personally do not enjoy the result. I do not even think the racing is any closer. There has also been rounds where you can physically see and do the math where a racer won a round or two that was close (Schumacher), but if the track was 320 feet longer, the outcome of that round would have been very different. Also everybody I talk to
gets a little confused by the e.t. of 1000ft. Announcers talk about a good run, but unless you have seen nitro time slips regularly, you do not know what kind of 1/4 mile run it might have been for comparison. 1/4 mile e.t. is what the fans are familiar with. Slowing the cars down is fine, but please go back to tradition. What we fans understand. - Josh Clinton

The Griffer has it dead on. I have been drag fan since 1963 been to Indy 15 times Columbus 5, Reading 3 Chi-town 3 now, Norwalk 2 and 1320 is drag racing only way to go. If NHRA continues with 1000 that will be it for me and I will go back to IHRA and watch PRO MOD the rest of my life and I know all my friends think the same way. - Dave Cochrane 

BV has it right. ESPN2's TV exposure of (UPS Racing) earlier in the year or lack thereof, was outrageous! Now, when he speaks out with his driver/owner's concerns with NHRA management, he's portrayed as a whiner. The series needs definite internal discussion(s) with PRO and its Sponsors to keep FULL THROTTLE drag racing from becoming a thing of the past. - Dirk Olsen

Rob V. made key points to the marketability of the fuel car sponsorship.

Thousand feet wouldn't have helped Scott...Nothing would, in that situation at that track, except a device to slow the vehicle without driver input.

I remember long ago Johnny West did almost the same thing at E-Town, only to run into the trees at the end of the track. It is part of the Steve Evans "They Walked Away" video collection. He was airlifted out, and the Funny Car was impounded by the Jersey State Police. Then, years later they built up a left hand 90 degree turn with Jersey barriers? Come on. It was a recipe for disaster!!! And now we all suffer for the stupidity of an individual(s) who thought the attempted saftey improvements were sensible. It even looked scary and unsafe to most everyone paying any attention whatsoever.

The Englishtown shutdown was a major element with Scott's death. How did anyone believe a hard left turn out of concrete was gonna prevent a disaster. Its only flaw was that it was wrong all together. Mowing down pine trees proved to be safer inside of an SFI approved chassis.

The engine explosion obviously caused Kalitta to black out. The parachutes being attached to the burst plate is the real cure for this particular incident, along with a fuel shutoff mechanism.

RIP Scott - Michael Johnson

Bob Vandergriff is RIGHT ON THE MONEY!  Racing to 1000' has accomplished nothing but reduce the excitement of the sport of drag racing. These low-4 & high-3 second times are a complete joke and an insult to fans of the sport.

Professional drag racing IS 1/4, not 1000'and the safety difference just does not exist.  Tracks like Pomona have dealt with the issue of a short shut-down area for many years, with VERY few major incidents.  The new safety devices at the end of that track, and others, does what reducing the track distance will not do - improve REAL safety

Thanks Bob, for laying it out as it really is, and for not trying to be "politically correct!" - Joel Gelfand

I agree with everything that Bob says, I for one am a lifelong race fan since 1972 from Englishtown and now live in Florida. To me I just can’t believe how many drivers just sounded like they were scared to drive the cars after the fatal incident.  I looked back at one of my old tapes with Big Daddy saying on camera that there will always be somebody that will be willing to drive the cars no matter what and he also said they were meant to go as fast as they could unlimited. What really strikes me is that as a fan, the commentators are trying to pump it to us that the racing is great and it is far from it. Good luck to Bob with getting a sponsor and everyone else. It has been a long time since I missed a drag race at Gainesville and I would drive to Bristol and Englishtown. I and my friends are going to sit it out until nitro goes back to quarter-mile racing. I never liked 1/8 mile nitro drags  and 1000 ft. is to me the same thing. Say what you want, I love the sport of drag racing to the point that I would never spend money on a ticket for any other motorsport event. But if they don’t go back to quarter-mile, I just may be done with it.  I mean, come on, two different drag races on the same track  80% -- 1/4 mile and 20% 1000 ft. I’m done.  I don’t like it man. - Art Smith



Bob is 100% right on. I own a racecar and have also worked for some big name Funny Cars in the past. The decision of PRO to support 1,000 ft is wrong. Do your sponsors understand that some of us will not support you or them if 1000 foot is the new length? I for one will write as many sponsors of TF & FC and let them know I WILL NOT SUPPORT their product IF they continue to support the racers that support 1000 ft racing.

Yes I know it’s less expensive, if you got into racing to make money, then quit. It’s not a money making sport.

If you got into it for the love of the sport and can make some money at it then you should feel the way I do. Is it safer? Yes! But so is sitting in your million dollar trailer. If you can’t stand the heat stay home. Its time we got back to some realistic racing. Do you want to cut costs, leave the 8-9 semi-trailers at home. Its no wonder the pits are crowded and cost are through the roof. Force alone takes up a city block.

Bring one trailer for one car. Make it a rule. Hospitality can be in one giant tent somewhere away from the pits with large video screens and food and networking of guests that just may help the sport.

So I guess now, lets shorten the Football field to 70 yards because the players knees hurt. And we only need to run 3 bases to get a home run. Oh and we can now use our hands in soccer cause the ball hurts our head. And the Daytona & Indy 500 are now only 50 miles because 50 is safer then 500. Whats next we just flip 16 coins until we are down to two. its cheaper and

Point being: You don't change the fundamental root of the sport. You change something else. You find another way of improving safety and limiting costs. - John Farr  

I think that Bob has forgotten that this is a DANGEROUS sport. It always has, it always will be. I agree that measures need to be taken to reduce the chance of injury, like the improvements that need to be made in Dallas. However, if Bob is this concerned about his safety, then maybe he’d be better of finding another sport such as Checkers or Chess with Jim Head. I think there are plenty of people out there whose dream it would be to would run the cars the way they are to 1320’. - Nathan Johnston



"The reality of it is they can’t reduce it enough that it’s going to matter,” Vandergriff said.
This is all of it in one sentence. My dad drove TA/D in the 80's when I was a  young boy. I was well aware everytime he got in the car it could be his last. That was running at 200. The fact is the cars will kill you at 250 the same as 300. Dead is dead you can't die twice. Look at the A/Fuel cars 5.16 @ 282. I guess they are safe!!

The simple fact is Drag Racing is 1320'. If the drivers are afraid of them don't get in them, I am sure that there are a line of capable drivers ready to take the risk. (Pro Mod)

That is not saying that safety of the tracks should be taken to the next level just like every past tragedy in the sport they found the problem sought solutions and made the sport safer. Now it seems we have the mind set of going backwards, much like the state of the government and the economy.

This is still a PIONEER sport, that involves risk, always will.


I have been going to the races for 45 years and I am 45. My dad has run in the TAD class. I even worked with Bob on his car for a season before UPS. And he is right about the 1000 ft. We got fuelers doing 310-318 in a thousand foot. That is not slowing them down in my book. Just a matter of time before most figure it out, it's a race man i want to beat the other team that is why we are there. Safety is what we need to improve. My hat is off to all that we have done over the years. The NHRA was dedicated to safety at one time it use to be on the logo. I still have some to prove it. We need to find some common ground between the teams,NHRA and track owners to work to make it a better sport.

We need people like Bob to be willing to voice his opinion and go againist the grain to get us really push us to think outside the box.This saving money bs is not everything how much would we all give money wise to have Darrell, Eric and
Scott back. - Jay Sharpshair

Mr. Vandergrif couldn't be more correct. It is a travesty to think that those racers that have given their lives...may have given them in vain. The reason for 1,000 racing was to allow time for NHRA to explore various facets of safety (parachute material, parachute ejection systems, improved braking systems, Re-engineered shutdown areas that provide a much greater increase in safety, pre-race inspection of the race facilities prior to an event, engine shutoff instrumentation, improved safety belt anchoring) that needed to be addressed.

Save money? easier on equipment? Less downtime? More enjoyable for the fans? What in the hell does that have to do with what has happened?

Do you remember NHRA complaining about the speeds when the 260, 270, 280, 290, 300, 310 & 320 barriers were broken?  How could NHRA complain about record ticket sales.  You see my friends...all it ever was about...was money. - Dave Gutierrez/GBR Racing - Detroit, MI

I think Bob hit everything right on the head.  Make the tracks safe.  If they won't do that then move the race to a track that is safe.  Half of the tracks out there, if they are long enough for the speeds, they have trees at the far end, big trees.  What's up with that?  The 1/4 mile times, the 1/4 mile speeds,  the raw and awsome horsepower that the nitro cars make, that's what drag racing is all about.  Thats what the fans want to experience, hear, smell, and see.  If NHRA try's to slow the cars down,  the crew cheif's will figure out a way to go faster.  Thats what they are paid to do.   As the exit sign says off I-64 near
Charleston W.V. It reads plain and simple, Nitro 1/4 mile. - Rick Mitchell, Gainesville Fl.

I was sitting in the grandstand,pit side, at the finish line, at Englishtown, when Scott Kalitta had the explosion. The car exploded right at the finish line,not at 1000', as Bob said. I have raced, in Super Comp since 1982. I have also watched all of the NHRA national events when shown. If you watch the "Pros" run, the only driver that has the chute blossemed when crossing the finish line is Dave Connelly. Our so called "Pros" could take a lesson from Dave. I have not seen ONE Top Fuel or Funny Car driver have his or her parachute blossem when crossing the finish line. - Russ Ganz

Bob Vandergriff Jr. really hits on all cylinders regarding the present chaotic, and sometimes, contradictory situation in NHRA's management group.  Present money issues ARE secondary to the what and why and how all this 1,000 foot racing originally came about.  I love this man for simply SPEAKING OUT for HOW IT ACTUALLY IS.  Why that isn't done by too many others now, is another subject entirely - and not especially complimentary to drag racers themselves.  Mr. Vandergriff NEEDS to be the head of Pro or the head of some powerful group to keep NHRA honest and on track for the truly necessary purposes for any changes - SAFETY.  Then budget.  And I insist that safer walls are as essential to the present situation/conversation as shut down areas.

Thank you for giving Mr. Vandergriff a place for a voice to be heard. - Ken Tesoriere

I have a new found respect for Bob Vandergriff after reading his thoughts of racing to 1000FT. He is one of the only drivers that I feel understand that 1000FT is not the answer, and I commend him for standing up to people like Jim Head who are way off the mark. If only I had $2 million to invest in auto racing I would throw it at Bob and let him run. Don't give up the fight Bob! It's the right thing to do. - Mike Parsons, San Diego, CA

Hats off again to Bob Vandergriff for speaking his mind. I agree with every word in that article.

While I doubt he'd want the position, HE should have been appointed president of PRO. - Bill Huseth

DISCLAIMER - The views presented in these feedback letters are the opinions of the individual author, and do not necessarily represent those of, its staff and advertisers.   


{loadposition feedback}