ANDRA dropped a press release out of left field today, with the news of a partnership that will allow ANDRA members to access discounted NHRA digital membership.
While the announcement itself is lightweight, for now limited to a digital subscription to National Dragster, the digital NHRA Rulebook and some discounts on NHRA tickets and merchandise, I can't help but wonder (just wonder, I have no information - only imagination) if there is going to be more to come here.
The introduction of the IHRA into Australia was a way for the tracks to take over running the Group One (professional) portion of the sport. The split in sanctioning bodies in Australia has since resulted in the sport losing ground in the hearts and minds of racers and spectators alike, with ANDRA nor the IHRA able to focus on growth when they are still in battle with each other. I don't believe tracks wanted two sanctioning bodies, it makes no sense in a country as small as Australia, but it was a means to an end for them at the time.
An ANDRA and NHRA merger would potentially swing the pendulum of racer favour. The NHRA has a long, highly regarded history and remains the biggest and best drag racing sanctioning body in the world. They are recognised by the FIA. Sharing resources could allow for cost savings for ANDRA (and racers), or we could potentially see a complete transformation where ANDRA becomes the NHRA. If that situation was to happen, I do believe an Australian office of the organisation would be necessary, catering for the regional differences of racing half a world away - not to mention the time zone.
The involvement of the NHRA could restore credibility to our sport, which is badly in need of credibility right now. I'm on the record as saying that I did not care which sanctioning body disappeared from Australia, ANDRA or IHRA, so long as we only had one going forward. But an NHRA/ANDRA combination would have the potential to be a game changer and inspire confidence from the racer base going forward.
There is plenty going on in the background concerning the future of professional drag racing in Australia, and I believe it is ultimately going to be the pros who decide the path taken. If the Top Fuel class were to say tomorrow that NHRA/ANDRA is their desired sanctioning direction, it wouldn't take long for the tracks to follow suit.
Everyone gets back on board with a single sanctioning body, with worldwide credibility, and who knows? Drag racing in Australia may just be great again.
Here is the official statement that was released:
A fantastic new partnership between the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) will deliver new benefits to all ANDRA members.
The partnership will allow ANDRA members to access discounted NHRA digital membership and associated benefits and discounts specifically tailored to the Australian market, while also seeing the NHRA promote ANDRA drag racing to its large membership base through its popular NHRA.TV platform.
ANDRA members will be able to purchase a NHRA digital membership for the discounted price of just $50AUD. The NHRA digital membership for ANDRA members provides the following benefits, including numerous discounts to deliver some great savings to members:
Digital NHRA National Dragster subscription (24 issues per year)
25 percent off a season subscription to NHRA.TV – NHRA’s live streaming service of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and other events (representing a saving of approximately $42AUD)
A digital edition of the NHRA Rulebook
$10 off tickets to your favourite NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events (four coupons for $10 each, able to be used at any of the following events: Winternationals, Phoenix, Gainesville, Atlanta, Richmond, Topeka, Epping, Seattle, Indy, Pomona Finals)
Membership to the Hospitality Centre at every NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event
10 percent off NHRA Merchandise from NitroMall and NitroMall.com
10 percent off Dragmart classified ads placed in NHRA National Dragster
NHRA Membership Manager, Anthony Cali, said he was pleased to be able to announce the new partnership with ANDRA.
“We have enjoyed a long relationship with the Australian National Drag Racing Association and we are very pleased to take this relationship to the next level with the announcement of this new partnership between our two organisations,” Anthony said.
In further great news, the NHRA will also now promote selected ANDRA drag racing events on NHRA.TV beginning May 10th, starting with recent action from the ANDRA Summit Racing Equipment Grand Finals at the Perth Motorplex. This two-day event will feature the following crowd favourite categories: Top Sportsman, Modified, Super Sedan, Modified Bike, Super Street, Competition Bike, Supercharged Outlaws, Super Stock, Competition, Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle.
To celebrate this fantastic new partnership, the NHRA is offering the chance for those taking up the membership to go in the draw to win one of five NHRA.TV subscriptions worth $119.99USD (approximately $170AUD).
“We are very excited to be able to announce this new partnership with the NHRA,” ANDRA General Manager, Brett Stevens, said.
“The NHRA is hugely respected as one of the largest auto racing organisations in the world with a rich history dating back to 1951.
“We have had a long history of technical information sharing with the NHRA as the largest drag racing body in the world. This new partnership will enable all ANDRA members to gain benefit from that enduring relationship.
“Many ANDRA members travel to the US for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events and many more regularly tune in via NHRA.TV to watch the action from the comfort of their loungerooms. For all of these members, both current and those looking to sign up for a new ANDRA membership, this new partnership provides great access and savings.
“We are also very pleased to know that the reach of ANDRA drag racing action will be even greater than ever before with NHRA.TV to broadcast recent and upcoming events in the future which is a great boon for our sport, our members and our valued sponsors; seeing ANDRA and the NHRA working closer together to grow global awareness of the Most Powerful Motorsport on the Planet!
"We are thrilled to be offering ANDRA drag racing to our fans on NHRA.TV," NHRA Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Jeffrey Young, said.
“NHRA.TV has been a phenomenal platform for our NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and will continue to be exceptional for ANDRA. We look forward to continuing to grow the sport of drag racing all over the world!”