08_24_2009_asher_upfront.jpgThe problems at NHRA have nothing to do with the racers, it has everything to do with the two politicians at the top (Tom Compton and Graham Light) with no personal oars in water except for sucking large paychecks out of the organization and whatever else is being stuck in their back pockets.  The sooner those two quit, or are forced out, the better for all of us that truly love drag racing. - Jason Bonham


08_24_2009_asher_upfront.jpgThe problems at NHRA have nothing to do with the racers, it has everything to do with the two politicians at the top (Tom Compton and Graham Light) with no personal oars in water except for sucking large paychecks out of the organization and whatever else is being stuck in their back pockets.  The sooner those two quit, or are forced out, the better for all of us that truly love drag racing. - Jason Bonham

I know this is Old News....however nothing seems to change so it still matters. IF....NHRA was run like any other, sucessful business on the planet, there would be a "Board of Directors" [ not on the management team ] who would have the authority to fire or change the mangement team based on performance. Then there would be a place to go to get "Change"...

At this time the only place to go... is HOME - Jim White


I have not read Jon's editorial about the NHRA but I have read all of the recent feedback dealing with his editorial. I agree with all those that had their feedback published. The NHRA is no longer the drag racing association that I grew up with. In years past I couldn't wait until the NHRA had a race at Bristol or when they raced at Rockingham. Now, I wouldn't go to an NHRA event (and I live within driving distance of at least four major tracks) if you paid me to do so. Tom Compton and his crew should take a page out of Kenny Nowling's book on drag racing. Kenny and the ADRL staff put on one hell of a show. I went to this year's DragStock VI and in all the years that I've gone to the Rock, I have never seen that large a crowd. As a matter of fact, I've never seen that large a crowd at any drag race, including those put on by the NHRA, the IHRA, or even the AHRA. That crowd was standing room only and in some places it was four rows deep from the fence. I am a member of the ADRL and will be for very long time. Me become a member of the NHRA? Not in this lifetime. - Chris Buck


It's been M A N Y years since I competed in an NHRA sanctioned event; but as an interested observer, it seems NHRA thinks of nothing but the almighty dollar. Sportsman racers, minor (but extremely important) sponsors, and fans are deemed to be tools for their use to make money and that is all. "Wally's NHRA" made money only for the organization until the mid-70's, but were still promoting the well-being of the racers and the sport as a whole. It seems that since his passing, the MBA types that took over are running it into the ground even more than in the recent past.

I think they need more old racers running the show besides company man Graham Light, who seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth, whichever pleases the "suits". I just went to the Fall National show at Dallas, but I think my next $60 bucks for drag racing will be to attend 2 Outlaw Fuel Altered Association and 2 Soutwest Junior Fuel Association events. Not as hot in the evening on this old man, no $4.00 bottles of water, and not near as much down-time to manicure the track. - Jeff Merrell

I am 55 years old and have been a hard core drag racing fan since I was a kid and a very long time NHRA member. Well, I have had it, This organization commands no respect from me anymore. I have never seen any organization favor a competitor like NHRA favors John Force Racing. I am just sick and tired of it. I have attended milestone races like the 40th and 50th US Nationals, 40th Gators and more. I live in Virginia and I am glad they will not be back at Virginia Motorsports Park. Adios NHRA.- Robert Anderson


"Tell it like it is Jon"

We can live with the truth!---but what is the truth?

Almost reminds me of whats going on in Washington--integrity, honor, pride, and most of all trust has appeared to have escaped our leaders.

It takes a lifetime to earn trust and you can give it away in a minute--- and that appears the road NHRA is headed down. - John Wiebe

If there was a super bowl for burning bridges, NHRA would be the hands-down winner. - David Ray 


I feel much the same as Jon Asher on the subject of NHRA I have stopped watching any of their races, I will not attend another one and out of pure disgust of no protests I no longer support their pro racers. When they started with their 1000' races that was it for me, it was bad enough before with the blatant favortism but this is just ridiculous. I cannot put my words as well as Mr. Asher but we are out here angry , fed up and no longer willingy to support such corruption in what is supposed to be a fair playing field. What they are doing to the sport of dragracing is disgraceful. What the racers are continuing to allow them to do is equally disgraceful. But unfortunatley as I have had the distinct displeasure to realize is that the pro racers( I say them because the lack of protesting to protect all racers) and the NHRA do not care about their fans- the people that pay the high ticket prices, memorabilia, over priced food and drinks and sweat their butts of to see you run and get your autograph. I am saving my money for our own motorcyle racing (which NHRA won't have anything to do with) and staying away until there is a change. - Kathy  Sabatine

I as just a local racer and NHRA member, fan and race attendee I'm with Asher. I attended this years Topeka race as I have done every year since it started. I was very upset on Saturday my only day to attend that not one fuel car or dragster made a full pass. Yes I know it was hot but with 16 cars and every one in the show all we saw was testing. I had brought 2 new people with me paid 45 dollars each to see what? It truly is sad. Let Them test and save race day for the fans! - Craig R Horton

Good job Jon Asher. I have thought the same things, and said so in print, for years. The NHRA is the epitomy of a corrupt organization, and operates well outside the conventionally accepted guidelines of a not-for-profit entity. To be a legitimate not-for-profit, you must behave as one. No rationale review of NHRA's business practices would suggest they do so.  - Jeff Leonard

Jon Asher has stated the truth about NHRA and Force, or Farce as I call him and his poster children. But NHRA must be smart to recognize these many issues that Asher brought up.  But they are not smart, they are stupid, and stupid people don't recognize their own stupidity, that is why this keeps going on. Larry Morgan's t-shirt said it best and I wear it as much as possible and especially to races.  As for the integrity of Drag Racing going to the pit of hell, it is because Compton and Light and the rest, including John Farce, have NO integrity of their own. PERIOD - Mark Elms

Just read your most recent article about NHRA.
The glossy veneer of NHRA is fading and a strong beam of light will soon be blasting through the doors of Glendora. Watch closely. - Bruce Noland

As usual you speak from the facts and the heart. I am 49 and grew up with drag racing in Tulsa so you know the kind of racing I witnessed over the years. My inner passion for what was still burns and yet every time I attend a "National" race, whether IHRA or NHRA I am disappointed. It is not the cars or the racers that kills it for me, it is the ambience which I can only attribute to the organization putting on the is not the same, the love for the sport at the top is no longer present and that shows.

I have not attended an ADRL show or made it to one of the bigger nostalgia races yet but I predict that is where my leisure 'drag dollars' are going to be spent for the time being. At least until someone who really cares for drag racing is once again in charge. - Matt Arbuckle

Long time reader - first time feedback...

Your article hit the nail on the head but failed to drive it to the wood...

You never mentioned the under-rated supercharged Mustangs in stock, but you could write an entire article on taht subject

You mentioned that NHRA increased the costs for the sportsman racer, but missed mentioning the article that publically insulted the sportsman racer by telling them they weren't carrying their share of the financials

You also should have mentioned that the rise in ADRL popularity

I wish the organization was run like a true club - officials, yes - but with a sportsman representative attending races and having full access to the tower / teardowns / etc., and a review board comprised of racers and officials to consider disputes - such as the Force decision, or any disqualification for XXXX reason...

NHRA should be run openly, by true racers who love the sport

NHRA executive management should somehow be elected, where the memebers have some sort of say in who runs the organization - Donald Braun

Excellent article about the complete and total failure of the NHRA to do the right thing - and not just about the Force testing issue, but all the other things you mention and probably many more.  The problem, as I understand it, is there is nobody with the power to remove Tom Compton, or Graham Light, or any of the other people who run the NHRA.

I have no idea why that is so, but maybe you could educate your loyal readers.  What real power does Tom Compton have, and why can't he be ousted if he is doing such a lousy job running the organization, which seems to be the consensus opinion of everyone but the NHRA brass themselves?

Maybe, if things don't improve soon, the racers will finally get together for real, give PRO (or some other, new organization) some real teeth, and boycott one or more races - or even form a new organization.  Without the cars and drivers, what does the NHRA have?  Sure it would be hard - for awhile - but sooner or later either the NHRA would buckle under that sort of pressure, or the new organizaiton, with all the cars and drivers, would just supplant it.

The problem, of course, is getting folks like John Force and Don Schumacher on the same page.  While both (I trust) love drag racing, and feel at least some loyalty to the NHRA, there is no particular reason they should feel loyalty to Tom Compton.  And from what I can tell, Force and his team did obey the letter of the rule, if not the spirit (and I am not now, nor have I ever been, a John Force fan).  I think you blame the NHRA for the testing fiasco, as I know I do, but I also think it is disingenuous of Force and Robert Hight and their teams to shrug and say, "Oh well, the NHRA allowed it so we went ahead."  And what?  Cheated!  Can Tim Wilkerson put his son in his FC and let him "test" four times (or however many is legal)?  I doubt the NHRA would ever allow that.  But then again, Wilk is not one of the big names (though he should be).  Could Schumacher bring back Baze and put him in Hagan's car to "test" four days, prior the the US Nationals?  Would NHRA allow that?  No way in the world, even if Schumacher put a team together and allowed Baze to drive that weekend, I bet.
But John Force can have one of his drivers test for a fifth time because they "switched teams"!  Yeah, right.

Once agian, the NHRA favors the big names and forgets all about the little guys who got them where they are now (or at least where they should be).

Interesting points about the special races, too.  It never occurred to me that it only cost half a million or so to put them on (or would there be additional costs for promotion, etc?), but that sure does make it sound like a good deal for a sponsor - if the NHRA handles it right and promotes it properly.  Fat chance of that ever happening, I guess, at least not with this crew.

Anyway, thanks for an excellent, informative article, and keep up the good work. - John Murnan II

AMEN BROTHER !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Nominate Alan Johnson's Team Owner as the new Owner of NHRA. With all his money, he still prefers Drag Racing over whatever else his money will buy. Sounds like a true Drag Racing fan.

Maybe because of the amount of traveling he has to do to get to the Drag Races and watch his team run, he might understand why we here in Hawaii find it  cost effective to run Vegas and the finals in Pomona in consecutive weekends with Sema sandwiched in between Monday thru Thursday.  One round trip ticket for all of that. AHHHH, the savings. NHRA would never understand that. I know this for a fact as I have written NHRA about this very subject and got no response whatsoever. So have friends of mine here in the Islands with the same results. They might at least say, well, maybe the Racers need that extra prep time for the Finals or they might say, nay, the Racers can afford to spend the extra money for an extended stay on the West Coast. Might save some money for both the Racers and fans. We can't have that. It would ruin our image, Let us continue to ruin it our way. We seem to be doing a good job all by ourselves. - Ray Dobbs

Touche'! Jon Asher hit it right on the head and between the eyes! I'm a Force fan, BUT the way they wiggled around and got Hight in Force's car is wrong. Ditto the treatment some Sportsman racers get. Yes the pros are the draw for any event, but I'm one of the few who doesn't have to "tour" the pits after the pros run. I want to see Joe Blow in his C/A or K/SA. It is those racers who totally deserve the respect and understanding from the folks in Glendora! When a guy has minimal budget, yet is trying to run divisionals and a national event or two, they need to know NHRA supports them. They don't have that....period! Unless you bring plenty of clout and dollars, you are second fiddle. Yes the pros deserve the perks they get, but any racer, male or female who isn't considered a "pro class" racer deserves to be catered to also.

God bless Asher and the others he listed who decided to write what they did. The truth hurts sometimes. It is high time NHRA grew a backbone and decided exactly if they want their decisions to be supported or despised. Can you make everyone happy, of course not, nobody can. BUT you can go into every situation that arises and listen with an unbiased ear and try to reach a fair resolution! Just like Haddock and Densham....if guys like them don't show up, how do they expect to field enough cars to fill 16 spots? Force should not have been allowed to do the testing switch. Make the decision and tell John Force no. What can he do ... race another series? All of this is why I'm totally stoked about the nostalgia movement. You can actually tell WHAT the Funny Car is vs. the almost "batmobiles" of today. I can only hope that nostalgia races don't get the same treatment some NHRA racers recieve now. Light and Compton should go. Just because you hold a degree doesn't mean you have any common sense. Kinda why some companies fail. You can hold all the education and degrees in the world. Nothing is better than a dose of common sense and decency! - Dale Orange

Jon Asher has and continues to be the pre-eminent spokesperson for how and why NHRA became derailed over the past decade. Aside from his outstanding body of work as a photo journalist, his editorial skills which he exercises with great passion have become the focal point of a great debate within the drag racing community, as to what has transpired in our sport to lead it into the state of disarray ... a place where it now resides.

While editorials such as these most assuredly hit the proverbial nail on the head, I feel it only serves to harden the position that NHRA has taken with regards to racer indifference, apathy towards the plight of the sponsors, and disgust with those parties that would bring to light the major grievances that the NHRA has allowed to transpire amongst these parties. It continues to be a sad situation with no forseeable end insight regardless of who objects.  - Dave Gutierrez

It's sad when I can't even fully support the sport I have loved for 45 years anymore. I go to the local races only. I will not give these clowns at NHRA a dime of my hard earned money anymore. I stopped my membership of over 25 years, 3 years ago because of what they are doing to this sport. - Tim Young

This was another great article written by Asher. He FINALLY said what every racer and fan is thinking, the NHRA heirarchy is a joke. I'm glad that Asher, and people like WJ, are starting to speak out about 1000' racing. I'm sick of businessmen (note I said businessmen, not racers) like Don Schumacher who are only concerned about the mighty dollar, and are quick to destroy our racing heritage under the guise of "safety." Its a joke. Like Asher said, with all the brillant minds in the nitro ranks NHRA should have been able to come up with a solution quickly to get back to 1/4 mile racing.--Mike Parsons

Great article Mr. Asher. You hit the nail on the head. I couldn't have said it any better. I lost faith in the NHRA along time ago. The "Break In" at Wayne County years ago was a joke. And NHRA just sat on their hands like nothing happened. The NHRA has only gone down hill with idiotic rules and decisions. I gave up my National event this year and replaced it with a trip to The World Series of Drag Racing. You keep writing the truth and maybe someday,someone in Glendora will hear the truth. - Scott Johnson


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