Read your article about drag strips of the past and current strips of today on the Drag City website. I really enjoyed the history on all the great tracks formally of Southern California. But the end of your piece about the current state of drag racing in Southern California was interesting. I generally race in the San Diego area and will attend / race a few races at Fontana and Famoso. I also used to race quite a bit out a Carlsbad and although run down, I do miss their Saturday Test and Tunes and Sunday Outlaw Bracket race series. Every year as a spectator I attend the NHRA Finals at Pomona.
What I wanted to point out is that characterizing Barona 1/8th Mile Drag Strip as a “street legal” track is not accurate at all. You may have been thinking of Race Legal which runs its program at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. BDS is officially sanctioned NHRA racing facility, and Mr. Marocco’s opinion that “no permanent drag strips have been built” in Southern California is untrue. BDS from day one has hosted NHRA Summit Series races for the past 3 years, as well as hosting King of the Track and National Dragster Track Challenges. At each of these events - NHRA Wally’s are awarded to the various racers in each category. The track has also sponsored a CIFA Funny car meet and NE1 front engine nostalgia dragster meets. Bracket racing has been embraced as well with many hi roller-guaranteed purse races being held. Also at the very heart of drag racing BDS has offered Jr. dragsters a place to run thus building a whole new generation of drag racers to keep drag racing going in years to come. In the near future BDS will be holding a Fox Hunt nostalgia race which will feature Nitro dragsters / funny cars / altereds / competition coupes ect, which goes way beyond the classification of “a street legal track”.
Mr. Marocco’s statement “why are racers settling for tracks that don’t have professional standards”- I find curious as well. I would bet that the reason for that is most racers are sportsman racers and they don’t need or care if a national T/F or F/C race is going to be run or not. As long as the track is safe and a program is offered to where the average racer (and they make up the majority of NHRA membership) can compete I think that is more than half the battle. Which brings me to his last comment “But drag racers for some reason have deemed those venues as acceptable”-, I would like to know what is un-acceptable to these venues? I will agree that the Fontana track is in the parking lot of California Speedway- but so what? Its safe, has a good racing surface, you get a time slip and you can run various programs that they offer. As well as BDS is a permanent facility offering all things that go with a first class operation and gives the average sportsman racer an excellent place to race. For all the reasons you stated in your article referring to the escalating costs / time of running a professional team, I would think that again for most sportsman racers having professional drag racing at his or hers chosen facility doesn’t mean much. This isn’t 1965 and most guys can’t get a bunch of buddy’s together to start a T/F team and run on their spare time on the weekends between families and day time jobs. I would suggest that Mr. Marocco focus less on a dream of running National Professional races and focus more on the sportsman racers who make up the majority of drag racing fraternity. - Pete Wrieden