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Old 10-13-2021, 07:11 AM   #1
John DiBartolomeo
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Default SG Vs. Any Other Class

Here’s a question I’ve been getting asked lately: Why does it appear as if the Super Gas class entries are waning? Before we get too far, is that question even valid? I certainly have some sort of affinity for the class as it was where I won my first national event back in ’84.

As a point of reference, I went back and researched the last 11 national event entry lists in relationship to the actual quoted values. In case you didn’t realize (which I think you do) there is a limit (quota) placed on NHRA national event sportsman entries. It’s also easy to see how many cars entered (or ran the event) versus the quota.

In the case of the Super Comp class; primarily dragsters; the difference between the two numbers is seven-percent less entered cars versus the quota. And bear in mind, we’re only talking national events. For Super Gas, that number increases to 16-percent less entries than the quota. Conversely, the Stock Eliminator field for those same 11 events dropped to nine-percent less than the quota.

It’s reported that on a divisional level (Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series) somewhat of the same is happening. One NHRA Division Director reports that SG cars used to be one-dimensional and that may be the reasoning along with the cost versus building a dragster.

On a local basis where there are open-type races; circuits if you will; that are Super Gas/Super Comp specific, those also show a decrease in SG cars versus SC.

First, why? Second, should it cause a concern? And third; and maybe most important question; how can it be rectified?

“Maybe it’s the expense of the type car,” says Iggie Boicesco. “It may be that a guy who wants a door-type car and can afford it, will build one to race in the Top Sportsman class.”

It’s often been thought that a Super Gas car is a one-class car in that there isn’t much else you can do with it. “If you look at a dragster,” says Moroso Performance’s Scott Hall, “you can run Super Comp, brackets or even Top Dragster. If you want to build the ultimate Super Gas car, you build a roadster for ease of visibility. Chances are you can run it in brackets, but you can’t run the Top Sportsman class with a roadster, so it limits you somewhat. And if you’re going to spend 50-75-grand to build a car, you ‘d like to be able to get the most use out of it. It’s just that Super Gas cars are so specific.”

What it may come down to is that you just may be limited in what you can do with the car. However, I point out that in recent years, the increase in door car-only events will enable you to bracket race as well. Some of the high-dollar bracket races which used to be somewhat dragster specific; sort of like in the case of a door car, bringing a knife to a gun fight; those too will usually run the door cars separate from the dragsters for at least a couple of rounds, and we’re starting to see more door cars in big dollar final rounds. But I do agree it is limited.

So is Super Gas dying? No. Absolutely not. Although not any more than any other class may be losing competitors. The problem may well be that drag racing itself has become very splintered. In the early days of the sport, you only had a limited number of classes you could race. Today, we have so many different associations, classes, etc., that if you were to look at it in the case there may be only 10,000 competitors (and there really is way more than that), when you only have; let’s say; five different places to race, today you have maybe dozens. What happens is each place may look dim, but in reality, the sport itself is just as strong.

What’s your thoughts?
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John DiBartolomeo
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: SG Vs. Any Other Class

Dont think its dying. just ask the 114 plus entries at Gateway couple weeks ago
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: SG Vs. Any Other Class

I'd probably rather have a SG car than a SC dragster, but the cost difference between a 'good' roadster or tube chassis door car and a 'good' dragster is pretty substantial.

I'd also agree that of the Super classes, a typical SG car is least likely to just hop over to run brackets wide open with minimal changes.

The quantity of cars running SG seems to be fine, but I've seen some events where it seems about half the field are cars that can run 9.90 but probably can't go red.
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: SG Vs. Any Other Class

I really think the decline of SG started with the changing of the tree from a .400 to .370 LED compensation type tree. For the most part when this came about most cars were back halved bracket cars with “smaller” big block chevys / fords / mopars in them and could compete with everyone, when I tell people we have a 468 BBC, they laugh and say...ohh you have a small BBC for SG. When the tree changed it forced the back half racers to either redo their cars, build bigger motors or buy a new car. I was told by one chassis fabricator “what’s $10,000 to $15,000 to drop to make your car competitive?” Well, for some with the entry cost, prize money and extra days off from work they either quit super gas all together, sold their stuff and retired or went bracket racing because their cars were still competitive just not on the .370 tree. I know of at least 20 racers who were staples on the D1 tour in 1995 to 2010 that now bracket race at the 4 tracks within 4 hours of my house. This also caused the racers to build bigger and bigger motors and go faster and faster so they can hit the tree harder and in turn go 165-175 mph, all that costs money and when you only win $2k to $1,800 per race it doesn’t pay. Racers with slower mph cars also don’t feel competitive against the 170mph cars so they have turned to top end stops or got with the masses and slammed a 565BBC in a Vega Wagon, which gives the high mph car seconds to judge the finish line. Another thing is the youth getting involved, with the high costs for these cars, no kid coming out of high school, college or trade school can afford this, also Junior Dragsters (Love or Hate them) teach the kids how to race via a Dragster, not a door car, so they know where to drop and can wheel race better....yes Door Cars are way more fun than a dragster. Most of the cars are chop-top roadsters but, as you can see they are becoming big in the bracket world because you can see better and the winnings is way better, kids these days are about the $$$, not the legacy that their parents had in a class. At 42, myself, Mike Sawyer, Jason Kenny, Sean Lang, Joe Gallucci are considered the “young guns” of the 9.90 class in D1 and I belive everyone except Joe are in their 40's. I said a long time ago that NHRA let these classes get out of hand and a MPH or ET adjustment should have been made or a class (7.90) added for those who were too fast for 8.90 but, didn’t want to run TD or TS. Last but, not least is tracks are facing the “your track sucks” comments from these high mph cars because let’s face it, your on the stop till 500 feet then come on full throttle, that part of the track is not set up for that type of horsepower or prepped for that.

In the Mid Atlantic .90 Series we still run on a .400 pro tree in SG because we have a few racers who love 9.90 racing but, know they are ducks going to a NHRA D1 or National event because they are .50 to .60 on the tree with no delay. It's a HOT Topic and one that I face every year as president, do you switch to a .370 in SG and risk losing racers or keep it at a .400 and satisfy the racers who don't want to run on a .370 tree. Normally the ones who complain about the .400 tree have been the ones that still win the championships and races. I can personally say, one of them is my father, at 74 he’s just not killing the tree in NHRA anymore so he allows me to run those events while he feels more competitive in the MASGA series. At some of the .90 events we actually draw more cars then a D1 race in Super Gas because people like the one day events and they feel competitive on the .400 tree. I know some racers express their concerns but, this would have to be a division wide call and not just one division and sometimes you wonder if every track is set up on a .370 or .400 tree in the computer. It's a simple fix but, you question it at some tracks, I know it's the first thing I do every morning is go up and make sure the .030 LED Comp is not in the computer in the tower.

I'm sure it's not going to get people back because their stuff is sold & long gone and nobody is building anything new these days.

Last edited by BKSG1198; 10-14-2021 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 10-14-2021, 04:11 PM   #5
Regan Wilson
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Default Re: SG Vs. Any Other Class

The .70 crap should have been fixed ten years ago. It's just a push of a button to deviate from PSMC at a National to Sportsman racers.
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