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Warren Johnson Rants About NHRA on ESPN Race Telecast

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  • #31
    Re: Warren Johnson Rants About NHRA on ESPN Race Telecast

    The '70s were OK (as long as you wanted to see 36-38 car fields that were 95% GM) But at least the bodies looked stock and some of the parts would still interchange. And they still raced at North Wilkesboro, and on Labor day at Darlington, and at Rockingham, and on the old oval (not tri-oval) at Atlanta. . . .

    The '80s were a little better (unless you were Buddy Arrington trying put a Chrysler in the show) because Ford was making its way back (after the stupidest decision in the history of motorsports in November 1970), the bodies still looked sort of stock, and some parts would still interchange with production cars. A family team such as the Elliotts, with modest factory support and moderate sponsorship, still could win races with a single car team and a production-based engine out of Dawsonville, Georgia (not a "Garage Mahal" staffed with 100 mechanics in Charlotte)

    But NASCAR started letting GM convert FWDs to "NASCARs" . . . and the Hendrick juggarnaut started trying to buy championships with cubic dollars . . . and NASCAR started letting the teams fabricate their own fenders and body sides instead of starting with factory sheet metal . . . . And we got the "Bill Elliott" restrictor plates back at Talladega and Daytona . . . .

    Then NASCAR let GM widen the back of the FWD Chevrolets for a bigger spoiler. And we started getting radial tires that weren't as forgiving as the old bias plys and virtually ended tuning with "stagger" . . . . And we started getting "media schools" which taught the new "star" drivers how to give those canned, homogenized "I wanta thank my sponsors" answers to every question and intervew.

    But NASCAR really started going into the tank after the 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta (on the old pre-trioval layout . . . the race Kulwicki won the championship in the "Underbird" . . . and one of four drivers could have won the championship WITHOUT THE CHASE FORMAT). The grotesque GM funnycars started appearing from Hendrick, Gibbs, RCR and Morgan-McClure . . . the Taurus funny car was homologated . . . almost nothing from them would fit production bodies . . . We started hearing about huge fleets of specialized cars for particular tracks . . . four and five car teams . . . The explosion of "cookie cutter 1.5 mile tri-ovals . . . Then Dodge and later Toyota were both permitted to develop non-production "NASCARs" based on mostly Ford specifications (with a little GM mixed in) . . . Then we got GM's non-production "cheater" SB2 engine . . . . In that era we also started hearing about hearing about "big bar, soft spring set-ups, cornering on the bumpstops, and "aero push" . . . we got stuck with annoying new broadcast packages with NBC and Fox . . . .

    I simply don't think the demise of NASCAR can be tied to the rigid Hendrick frame (except that it facilitated the BB/SS suspension set-up, going through the turns on the bumpstops, and consequently the overreliance on aerodynamic grip)

    Of course Earnhardt's death (which was due to improperly installed seatbelts, no HANS device, and his refusal to give up the 1960s-style van seat for a safer fabricated aluminum racing seat) prompted the chain of misadventures which culminated in the hideous common-template "funnyCar" of Tomorrow . . . .


    • #32
      Re: Warren Johnson Rants About NHRA on ESPN Race Telecast

      Warren, thanks for saying what all of us Sportsman Racers think. Obviously, none of you who posted a negative response have ever driven a race car. How soon we forget the Wayne County incident when they cheated Warren out of at least 2 championships.