By David G. Firestone
To the anonymous keyboard warriors who were whining about the NHRA using 4-wide racing for Las Vegas last weekend…do me a huge favor and get a life. One of the most idiotic things in the world is a sports purist. I can’t stand sports purists. Purists are the kind of people who love tradition, they hate change, and they can’t accept the fact that things change in life. Change in sports is going to happen, and if you can’t handle that, then go cry in the corner, take your ball, and go home. We won’t miss you.
For the last week, these drag racing purists were whining that “I won’t be watching” and “half the racing for the same cost” and “this isn’t drag racing.” Um…how isn’t this drag racing? You think that 4-wide racing is something that was invented recently as a marketing tool to bring in fans?
First off, 4-wide drag racing isn’t a new marketing tool, examples of 4-wide drag racing go back to the 1960’s. I live in Illinois. One of the older drag strips in Illinois is Byron Dragway, which has wide lanes. This was done to enable 4-wide racing, which was held at Byron for some time, though this has since been discontinued. 4-wide racing has proven popular through the ages, but it’s not been given a proper treatment until now.
Second off, I don’t know if you have been paying attention to television ratings and attendance numbers, but you might want to start. Saturday and Sunday were great days for The Strip at Las Vegas because both days were sold out. For a form of drag racing that “most fans hate,” ticket sales were very high. The stands were full, so people were watching the event. As of this writing, television ratings haven’t been released, but I’m willing to bet that they were good, since the NHRA didn’t have much competition last Sunday.
The NHRA is doing better business than ever. Ticket sales, and television ratings are up. More people are getting turned on to the NHRA. As such, change will come to the sport. In this case, the NHRA and Burton Smith took something that had been done historically in drag racing, and made it work for the 21st Century. If you can’t accept that the sport is going to have to try new things to bring in more people, and in turn, more sponsorship money, then grow up. The NHRA owes you nothing, and they don’t have to lose money and lose television ratings and ticket sales because some anonymous keyboard warriors want things to stay the same.
It should also be noted that both Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have expressed a fondness for 4-wide racing. I guess one of the greatest NASCAR drivers in history, and one of the most popular NASCAR drivers in history shouldn’t have a voice, but a bunch of loser douches that nobody has heard of or care about should have the loudest voice.
Another thing that needs to be noted is that if 4-wide racing isn’t working, and people don’t like it, then the NHRA would stop doing it. Mello Yello, Sunoco, Lucas Oil, Goodyear and FOX Sports have a lot of pull. If they thought that 4-wide racing wasn’t profitable, they would convince the NHRA to stop it. The fact that not one, but two drag strips have been reconfigured for 4-wide racing is quite telling, since the amount of money that is needed to make this change is a lot. If the strips weren’t confident it wouldn’t work, they would not reconfigure the track, and save themselves a lot of time and money.
The bottom line here is that 4-wide racing is working. If you can’t look at the evidence and see that, then you clearly can’t see the forest for the trees. I hate selfish sports purists, and I hate people who can’t handle the fact that the world is changing. Get off Twitter, get off Instagram, and get a real life…for many of you, that would be an improvement.