Norwalk Sportsman cancelled
Talk about a bummer. With the wettest spring in the history of history, Bill Bader, Jr. and NHRA were forced to cancel the six true Sportsman classes set to compete this week at the Summit Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Allegedly, these classes will be rescheduled for another date, but a cursory look at Norwalk’s very busy race calendar makes it hard to find a slot. Opposite the Denver or Brainerd national events are really the only options I see, but what are the odds they have a rain out along the way somewhere and need those dates?
Honestly, I don’t think the NHRA brass really cares too much whether Sportsman are there or not; it’s going to make life easier regarding the all-important TV schedule, and God knows there will now be plenty of time for leaker fuel car XYZ to oil the track for a second or third time. Chances are when the Sportsman are run, whether it’s at Norwalk or another venue, they’ll open up the quotas to benefit us, with the accidental byproduct of taking in more revenue. With that said, I am somewhat curious as to what the story will be on the entry fees. Of the $330 a whack to get in, $120 of that is veiled as an “insurance surcharge”. Obviously not one of us will have set foot on the grounds when the Pros were in attendance, and there’s no insurance fee at divisional events, sooooooo…
Moving on, I do think Bill Bader, Jr. cares, and I think it really bothers him to not have Sportsman cars in attendance this week. The first time I went to Norwalk was for the Halloween Classic in 1983ish and they’ve always cared about the racer. I’ve seen the track grow from its humble beginnings to the uber fan and racer friendly facility it is today. It’s my closest National event track, and also one of my favorites. I believe Bader was totally sincere in the release on NHRAracer.com when he said “Sportsman racing is the foundation on which we’ve built our racetrack, you’re our valued customers and friends!”
Let’s face it, this sucks for everyone. I know how much planning and effort I already had put into preparing for this event. It’s amazing how many people this ultimately effects, and I don’t mean just racers. We had four cars entered with three drivers, but we literally had ten people going with family and friends. Multiply that by 300 with the six classes removed from competition! Everyone had vacation time planned or amended work schedules to get the time off. For instance, Timbo’s fiancée Dee is a nurse, and she’s in the middle of five straight 12 hour days in order to get the time. Thomas’ outlaws were coming, and father outlaw had actually bought some pick-up truck quasi tent contraption because hotels were outrageous or unavailable. Hell, I already had the cat’s litter box in the motor home!
But like my buddy Pirate would say, these are first world problems. We’re talking about not being able to attend a drag race, not going hungry or looking for shelter. NHRA and Bader ultimately made the right decision. This is not a case of the big bad meanie NHRA dumping on the downtrodden Sportsman racer. It would have been a total shit show, and for BB, Jr. to throw in the towel is all I really need to know. I’m sure we can all find somewhere else to race this week, I know I will…