The off season that isn’t

This article brought to you by:

You know something is a little strange in Australian drag racing when there is a longer break between your opening event of the season and the second round than there is in the off season.

But such is the case currently with Pro Stock bizarrely having six months between the Fuchs Nationals in Sydney this month and its second round at the Westernationals in March.
There are rumours afoot that the calendar could be up for change, indeed it will be one of the things discussed at ANDRA’s competitor summit in October.
Perhaps even more important though is ensuring regular events can occur – and that’s trickier.
The three main tracks can only be expected to host so many rounds of the championship. It’s expensive and not every bracket pays for itself in terms of added spectator numbers.
As mentioned in another editorial, increasing the number of tracks being used in national championship racing must be a priority.
It’s going to have to involve some compromises. Smaller, regional tracks often can’t afford the prize money and tow money to attract big fields or pay for the fees involved in TV. Nationals style events featuring every category are simply not feasible.
But we’ve seen earlier this year two regional tracks in Victoria hosting Slamfest events – and rather successfully at that. Why couldn’t these become points rounds with the blessing of ANDRA?
Does every round need to be a TV round? Could a minimalist TV package be developed to suit these smaller events?
The question comes down to how much would the racers be prepared to give away in order to get more rounds for a championship? For a racer like Shane Tucker, the value of his sponsorship is probably way more than what the team could expect in prize money (feel free to correct me, Shane). But to capitalise on that he needs rounds of racing. I’d argue a team like this may be prepared to sacrifice dollars in prize money in order to get in a few more skids – especially if it was still on TV.
There are lots of tracks that would be suitable for running single rounds of Pro Series categories and that is why I’m a fan of not necessarily running the full complement of Pro Series categories at every event. Even the NHRA beloved of people who advocate this concept drops pro categories as it needs to (Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Modified).
Mildura, Portland, Palmyra, Alice Springs, Hidden Valley – these are all strips that are all capable of hosting racing but they need to remain financially viable. Yes the racing may need to be eighth mile or 1000 feet as safety dictates. You may not get the perfect surfaces seen on the super tracks. But yet again, more racing is more racing isn’t it? And hey, a bit of tyre smoke can add to the excitement, separating racers who can really tune and drive.
These comments go for the Rocket Allstars Racing Series too. If a track hosts regular sportsman events, why not make them into Rocket rounds and provide an incentive for the local racers to participate on a more national scale.
Perhaps alternatives could be worked out – for instance racers taking a percentage of the gate or getting the naming rights to the event and being able to sell that off. These could produce win-win situations for tracks and racers.
At least we then have a chance of giving brackets maybe seven or eight rounds of a championship, which starts to look a lot meatier than the meagre three or four some have currently.
All this begins to look a lot better for prospective sponsors too. The opportunities are there, do we have the flexibility to take advantage of them?

I’d like to hear what you have to say, leave your comments below!

Aeroflow Performance Parts Catalogue

Drag News Magazine