Drag Illustrated Issue 110, June 2016 | Page 99

D R AG ILLUS TR ATED RO UNDTA BL E PHOTOS: JOHN DIBARTOLOMEO, DRAG ILLUSTRATED ARCHIVES FOR RACERS, BY RACERS From sixty-foot times to car counts, Kyle Seipel keeps track of everything when he’s racing at NHRA national events or hosting the Spring Fling races with co-promotor Peter Biondo. The duo knows what racers want, and they deliver. ent ways. I guess you could say it all started with the advent of electronics back like 30 years ago, bringing the delay box into our form of racing. On a positive side, whether you’re talking about technology in general, delay boxes, electronic ignition, all of the technological advances that our cars have, and then on down to the actual competition, like LED bulbs and crosstalk and auto-start, all of the stuff that makes it easier to make good runs, that’s good because it’s created so much parity. In reality, somebody could come in off the street and basically buy a store-bought combination and they could come out and be competitive immediately. The downside to that is we’ve driven the cost up so much that it’s an elite group that can take advantage of that. Like I said, I don’t know that you can necessarily turn back the dial on that, but I think that’s the biggest problem with our sport. It’s just too expensive. MB: Cost is always the first thing that comes to mind. With so many big money bracket races going on right now, the market is going to weed out some of those events based on what people can afford. We’re actually pretty lucky right now. Gas prices have come down in the last year or so. We saw a tremendous spike at our November race last year. That’s right about the time that the gas prices dropped significantly. We had nice weather and gas prices came down. We picked up like 50 or 60 cars in a single class. At some point racers are going to have to pick and choose which races they can go to, not only based on their budget, but time away from home. There’s a ton of cost in the time. Unless you’re retired or run your own business, like I’m fortunate enough to do, it’s pretty difficult to put the time and money together to do a lot of this. A lot of guys are going to hit a few big money races a year. For some people it’s going to be one a year. As long as we keep doing our job and providing the best value that we can for the racers and the sponsors both, we’ve seen continued growth for years and years now. KS: My dad has been racing for over 50 years and he keeps great notes. In the early ‘80s, 1982 I think it was, he won a divisional in Sacramento and with contingencies he won over $4,000. Now, here we are 30 years later and that $4,000 is more like $2,300-2,400. The expenses certainly haven’t gone down; they’re probably double or triple. So, that’s a big challenge – the potential for profit is getting smaller and smaller. That said, I think we will continue to see a lot of sportsman racers that have typically been NHRA/IHRA regulars show up at more bracket events because, first and foremost, they’re having more fun and getting more track time, but also because they can make some money. DI DI DI DI DI DI DI DI DI DI June 2016 DragIllustrated.com | D r a g I l l u s t r a t e d | 99