I’m not an expert, claim to know nothing and generally am ignorant.
Today on a drive up north thoughts were buzzing about in my brain, as usual, causing a headache. My train of thought seemed to whiz past an abandoned drag strip in the back corner of my mind. It’s not something I think about often, sure I was around during the mid and late 90’s when “Sport Compact” classes suddenly lit up with a huge number of competitors. When even piddly 1/8th mile tracks had line up’s of European and Japanese cars out the gates. Muscles cars, ages ago were affordable fast cars. Much like the Daytona speed era of hot rods, the 50’s and 60’s brought about organized street racing, off the street. A simple 1/4 mile measurement of who’s wrenching would pay off more. The up rising of the imports during the 90’s was a great reflux of the 50’s through the 70’s, and oddly enough it mimicked the early drag racing timeline of events, but rather in fast forward. Racers became famous from taking their street cars, ‘hopping them up’ racing them, working on them some more, begin to trailer the cars to the track, then modify them past street legal specifications, continue to race and eventually get to the point of, excuse the pun, full blown / full time obsession. This died of quickly and here’s my reasoning for it. With the advent of the internet and the conflict of interests between the young and old drag racing seems to have been lost in the sudden changes of communication types. Let’s take a peek at magazines. During the early 2000’s, car magazines for younger adults nearly died completely. Major publications fell from the shelves suddenly and quickly, much of what’s left now is aimed at an older crowd of restoration, especially that of American cars. What happened? The internet split car enthusiasts up pretty quickly. The young began to communicate through chat and forums where the older crowd relied closely on personal interaction and events. The speed at which the younger generation was communicating to each other, caused the speed of trends to increase and develop to become very specific. Soon there were websites and online groups for nearly every model of car, major and sub genre of modification in every corner of the globe. People’s specific car fetishes could be appeased with a few simple clicks. Those of the older generation who enjoyed the traditional sense of communication were left behind with two problems. An inability to communicate with the youth: understanding the youths hobbies and direction as well as the speed of their communication was much slower. Drag racing has been affected by this. Muscle/American drag racing types have completely lost touch with the future of their sport. Drifting, auto cross and lapping seem to be the focus of the younger generation now, and the older generation has little clue that so much of this is going on around them. The affect is that Drag racing, along with amatuer stock car racing and other older motorsports seem to be dwindling and the tracks are suffering. Drift, auto-cross and lapping events have become outrageously expensive simply because the track owners do not comprehend the $20 rung-what-ya-brung format in anything but drag racing. Even if they did, they’d have a difficult time communication to these new customers. So why is drag racing dead? Because it’s not competitive anymore. The youth from yester year have grown up, built credit and have flooded the track with 8-10 second race cars, leaving no comfortable, low pressure welcome for new comers: you either commit, or not. This is one of the reasons the youth is staying away from drag racing. If you are an elder reading this post and are unfamiliar with the specifics of Drifting, auto-cross or lapping, then your are exactly the problem. Get your ass onto google and start re-educating yourself on the vast majority of young car enthusiasts. If your a youth with an elder who’s into cars but has no idea about the popularity of these newer forms of motorsport, get their ass online and begin the education.