I have a confession to make. I did not go see the NHRA championship this weekend.
This is significant (OK, it's totally unimportant, but it's my column so naah-naah) because I am ostensibly the kind of person who should be very interested in the NHRA.
I am a car nut. I travel every August back to my home state to go to the greatest car weekend in the entire world. In fact, I have snuck into the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance three years running. I subscribe to three separate car magazines.
And in my self-destructive teenage years, I didn't drink, and I didn't do drugs. I drag raced. Well, mostly I went to the drag races and kicked tires and looked under hoods, but I felt pretty cool.
These were illegal street races, mind you. No NHRA, IHRA or anything like that. Let's hope the statute of limitations is less than 10 years.
Frankly, it's a miracle I survived high school. But then, I suppose if you can't say that, you weren't really there.
Anyway, I should be into the NHRA. But while I intended to go this weekend, it just didn't happen. There wasn't a need to go.
In a story last week, John Force, the face of the NHRA, said they want to be the next NASCAR. NASCAR would never stand for me not going.
So the guys in the newsroom and I have come up with a couple suggestions to make me more likely to go (after all, what's the point of working in a newsroom if you can't tell everyone in the world how he could be doing what he's doing better):
First off, I want to make it clear that you're off to a good start. This John Force fella is well set up. He's a personality, not just a driver.
Good. Step one, check. Now what you need is an arch-nemesis. After all, Ricky Bobby had Sascha Baren Cohen. If possible, make Force's nemesis French. This is nothing new. NASCAR is chock full of rivalry too.
When you want to get anything like this going, you've got to WWF it up. It's the oldest trick in the book. It works. Remember, drama is conflict.
In any sport where you've got to wait 10 minutes for every five seconds of action, the need for drama is doubled. You've got to pass the time somehow.
And while we're on that, one suggestion I've heard is to build a second set of drag strips. That way you could alternate and run one race while you prepped the other course and vice versa. This seems very sensible to me. Of course, it would probably hurt the concessions business to cut the length of the show in half...
Finally, let's talk about the lights. Red, yellow, green. Bor-ring. I get enough of that on my commute.
NASCAR was good when there were fewer rules. When it was more informal. When it was guys in their garages, not corporations in their marketing departments. The NHRA needs to at least feel like guys racing for pinks down by the river. And when guys race for pinks, they don't go off a light.
They start when someone's girlfriend, wearing a skimpy shirt and cut-offs, waves a flag, or a T-shirt, or something. There's just the slightest suggestion that the winner is going to get the bare-midriffed girl. There's two key elements to any good story: the hero beats the bad guy and he gets the girl.
However, the NHRA powers-that-be seem to be doing just fine, and they certainly don't need the newsroom's help. And because our manufacturing base is eroding, I'm glad to see there's an entertainment base coming in to take over.
But seriously, couldn't we work a halter top and a pair of daisy dukes into the show somewhere?