In my ongoing look into what is making and breaking Sport Compact Drag Racing I am pulling on my first hand experience this past weekend at the 2011 Fall Nationals in Englishtown, New Jersey.
What makes the sport compact drag racing events are the people that attend and race in them. The hardest part about actually racing is getting to the events in my opinion. There is a lot that goes into traveling to an event to compete. Trucks, trailers, diesel, food, and hotel are just some of the obstacles to overcome when trying to compete in an event. Then you have the unforeseen issues that pop up along the way. Last minute car preparation issues and blown out trailer tires for instance.
Regardless of how you feel about a set of class rules, organizers, or the track itself being at the event already puts you in the winner’s circle. The current generation of e-racers doesn't make it any easier on the loyal and die hard racers to do what they are ingrained to do. Keyboard commando's have existed since the creation of an internet message forum and are the naysayers towards growth. I have been known to spout off my opinion on certain issues but I am also committed to the industry and the racing events in all forms (sport compact drag racing, road racing and autocross). You have to be there to even have a shot at taking home the win. Perfect example, Luke Wilson, against all odds he found himself in the final round against the quickest and fastest pro all motor car in the world and came out with the win. Rick Everley is another prime example of attending the event and running consistently nets awesome results and he has done so throughout the entire 2011 Sport Compact Drag Racing season.
One of the best parts about a huge event race weekend like this past weekend’s Fall Nationals is Sunday evening after all the spectators are gone and it is mostly just racers loading up their cars and equipment, shooting the bull with each other, handing out the winnings and enjoying the camaraderie. So back to the main point, BE THERE. It is very difficult to make that happen, gets very expensive and of course is very time consuming but that is the critical element in the growth of the sport and industry. More competitors = more spectators = more sponsor support = more money = more racers. See how that circle works. It all begins with us, the racers, let’s put on a show and the rest will follow.