Well it is about that time of the season when everything gets tossed into turmoil. It is the time of year when promoters, class advisers, and everyone with a keyboard, telephone, or any other form of communication starts going batshit crazy about rules.
Last week we all saw social media a buzz about the changes that were coming and did come regarding one of the most popular classes in the country. That being John Sears X275 class. This was a class that was developed and honed by John over the last 10 plus years, and has continued to spawn spin off versions, as well as the spin off of Ultra Street also. What was also glaringly obvious, was that John wasn’t going to be able to stand by and do nothing when it came to the rules. As well, there were and are other other people in his ear about what they want the class to be.
So then it happened, only days before another X275 race, the rules dropped and everyone lost their damn minds. We saw racers debating on whether they would even continue to run the class, we saw racers that sit behind a keyboard all season long complaining, and we even saw racers that normally don’t say a damn word, speak up and call bullshit. It was one of the first times that I saw everyone truly pissed off with the exception of nitrous racers.
Now to John’s credit, he doesn’t get into the social media bullshit that others do. I know for a fact that he does his best to keep the class strong and moving forward. There in lies the point of contention for a long of racers though. Early in the season, specifically at Sweet 16 we saw numbers that were like a kid at fucking Disneyland. Yes we saw some people go .20’s and that was in great air, on a track with more glue than a god damn Elmer’s glue factory. Then we move to the middle of the summer, when things are more realistic and we see cars not even getting into the 30’s with the same damn rule set. Add to that the fact that these numbers were based on turbos that were running modifications that are no longer allowed, and you can see where racers are bound to get mighty pissed off.
I am well aware that I don’t have a dog in the fight as they say, but I also know the process of rules, and have been around X275 since the very beginning. I am not saying that rules don’t need to be looked at, but when you are talking rules, you need to look at a lot of factors. The fact that you would never again in 2019 see the track conditions that they had at Sweet 16. The fact that the turbos running those numbers aren’t allowed anymore. For someone like John, there is entirely too much external pressure from other places, versus letting the man set the rules of a class he created as he sees fit. Could you imagine if everyone else in the industry told Donald that he had to change the rules in RvW? He would lose his damn mind and tell everyone where the hell to stick it. Instead, John doesn’t get that same ability to do so.
Now this week we have seen that Tyler & Jason have addressed the rules for LDR. Another amazing drag radial class that in my opinion got way outta way much quicker than expected. Then I read the comments from everyone about the rule changes and how they are bullshit. How is something bullshit when a nitrous car is dropping half a tenth to a full tenth on the field? Donald has stated this time and time again, rules need to be based on the potential of a combination. Unfortunately, that means if one nitrous car has the ability to do it, so do others. Same can be said for blowers. Now I don’t know the difference in the combos between Henderson and Darkhorse, but a 4.04 is a light year quicker than a 4.14 or 4.12. If they combo is different, than maybe the rules will need to reflect that as far as weights go. Tyler and Jason have one of the most exciting classes in drag racing, and they don’t fall into the mindset that revolves around the fastest car. The two of them are well aware of the fact that we don’t race on paper, as evidence of last weekends results in St Louis, where Jim Howe was the winner and there wasn’t even a nitrous car in the finals.
And this isn’t all about radial classes either. Lord knows there has been plenty of drama in Pro Mod racing this season when it comes to rules. NHRA took boost and overdrive away from cars on their side. Mid-West Pro Mods made some weight adjustments. And let’s look at that for a second. Everyone cries, bitches, and moans that nitrous cars can’t play with screw blowers, yet Chad Green has come over to MWPMS and proved that assumption to be completely false as well. Yes the screw blowers are limited by the rules, and that is how you allow all the combinations to play in the same class.
What is parity? Parity is defined as “the quality or state of being equal or equivalent”, so what we are saying if you want to use that definition is that all cars should be equal and run identical times? If not identical times, then how close is close enough to be fair? Is it .005, .008, .10? And once you determine what the number is, in what conditions do we use the same numbers? Everyone is well aware that there is blower weather, turbo weather, and nitrous weather. So, when it is 105 degrees and a marginal track, if the nitrous car has either numbers over the closest turbo car, is that fair? And when you are in turbo air and they have the eight numbers over a nitrous car, is that fair? Is that the parity that everyone is looking for?
Humor me for a moment. There was a sixteen car field in the NHRA Nitro Funny Car over the weekend in Seattle. The spread for that field was almost four tenths. While the top ten in the field were an .88 to a .92, so what is parity? Is parity where the top of the field is all within certain numbers and the bottom half are shit outta luck?
Every season we go through this, and every season I wonder if anyone will ever not have to change shit multiple times during the season. Is it time to have full transparency when it comes to rule requests, rule board members, etc? The last thing that we need is to put more bullshit on the rules makers, and maybe some right out there in the open transparency will help that. I don’t have all the answers, but the way that it’s going now certainly doesn’t seem to be working. Or maybe, as some people say, since I don’t have a pony in show, I should just STFU. Well we all know that’s not going to happen. I mean if I did that, who would give you a real, non nut hugging, unfiltered opinion about what is really going on?