ZYLA: 10 Observations About The State Of Racing


I disagree with those who feel there is a “lack of good” in racing and the constant nagging about the state of motorsports. I can find this negativity from Sprint Cup to bullring, from drag strip to kid’s kart track.

Complain, complain, complain.

With this in mind, I’d like to make 10 quick observations from my briefcase on the current state of racing:

1. Major League Racing is still healthy: Three major league sports will make money this year, specifically Major League Baseball, Pro NFL Football and Major League auto racing (NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA, etc.).

2. I agree with NASCAR’s “don’t criticize” rules. Remember, NASCAR is not a democracy, so if you want to run with the club and take advantage of its opportunities, then don’t hurt the organization with negative public comments. I’m all for free speech, but in this case, because it’s a private guild, there’s always a “behind closed door” opportunity to vent yourself.

NASCAR’s top divisions of racing were never intended to be easy to compete in, so don’t bite the hand that feeds you when you get there.

3. What’s with all this “bad racing?” Staying on NASCAR a bit, the racing is great right now, and fans are responding. Sadler’s win at Pocono in the trucks, Junior’s magical Daytona Nationwide win under the lights in the Wrangler No. 3, and all the great Cup racing, a la Harvick, Montoya, Ambose, McMurray et al., means NASCAR is reworking its fan-winning formula.

4. Enjoy your local race tracks: Some of the best weekly racing takes place at that track right near your home. For those oval fans who haven’t seen a drag race in a long time, test it out. Ditto for you drag racers, which I promise will be quite impressed when they see a group of sprints or modifieds coming off turn four for the green flag. Additionally, everyone should take in a club road race, motorcycle event and even an enduro.

5. Keep supporting those sponsors: Sure, it’s been tougher attracting and keeping sponsors, but regardless of what track you attend or what race you watch on TV, let the sponsors know you see their company’s car on the track and buy the products that spend money in racing.

6. Act normal in public: If you are a race driver representing the sport, always act civilized when in public. I hear way too many stories of racers going into restaurants after a race and cursing up a storm about their night’s activities. Remember, every race team is a direct representation of our sport, be it street stock ace to NHRA Top Fuel shoe.

7. Have at it, boys: Race drivers have personalities that are very aggressive, and racing has always been a self-policing sport. This aggressive trait will show itself in many ways, from a “return tap and spin,” a good yelling match or even a physical shove. I don’t condone physical altercations, but it does happen and at times clears the air. No wrenches though, as a good shove or push will do.

8. Rolling the Dice: Racing is a gambler’s sport, from promoter to driver to team owner. This “risk factor” is at the heart of every motorized sport. Some succeed, others do well enough to compete regularly and many fail. But for those who race regularly for fun, kudos to you.

9. The Racing Adage: “If you want to make a small fortune in professional racing, start with a large one” still holds true. Just ask the many big league car owners who lost fortunes with hopes of success, even with fairly good operations.

10. “Sport Of Kings:” I truly feel motor racing today is the new “Sport Of Kings,” with all due respect to all the great horse trainers and owners out there. We even have foreign sheiks who now own race teams in NHRA, and they are doing very well. The sheiks still own horses, mind you, but they’re finding out how expensive pro motorsports can be these days.