Does Drag Racing Belong on Memorial Day Sunday... I Believe So!

By Brian Losness, Contributing Editor - Straight Line News Magazine - Op-ed May 30, 2022

This is an honor for me to help Al launch this new magazine Straight Line News Magazine. So, when he asked me to write an opinion piece. Well, that's like asking a fat guy if he wants a piece of chocolate cream pie. (Yes, I'll have a second piece please.)

This first edition of Straight-Line News will publish after Memorial Day. For those of us who have served in our nation's armed forces, this is a very special weekend. Therefore, I am going to take advantage of this time and wish all my brethren who served a happy Memorial Day, and thanks for your service.

Another reason Memorial Day is a special weekend for me is that it is the most prevalent day in motorsports. Iconic races, on legendary racing courses, fill Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

The Monaco Grand Prix, F1's most prestigious event. The granddaddy of all races is the Indianapolis 500, and then Sunday evening, it is the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, the Coke 600.

I know you are asking, "What the hell does this have to do with drag racing?"

Well, I will attempt to explain. The NHRA is proud of the fact that it is the largest automotive sanctioning body n the world. Yet the sanctioning body does not have a presence on the largest weekends in motorsports.

In the interest of fair reporting the sanctioning body did for a brief period had an event on Memorial Day, and that was the Cajan Nationals held in Baton Rouge. However, this was back in 1984.

After that, there was an event held in Topeka back in 2014.

Baton Rouge and Topeka, and I are not disparaging these two cities, nevertheless when you are trying to match the caliber of races, listed above, Baton Rouge and Topeka, and not going to attract the crowds to be on par with those other races mentioned.

Let's be honest the national sanctioning body is having a trying time making inroads with new fans, I believe that it should be looking at being on the schedule of Memorial Day events.

As stated, it is the biggest day in major motorsports and if the NHRA wants to be back in that group of players, I believe it needs to have said presence on Memorial Weekend Sunday.

What is stopping the sanctioning body from doing this?

It would have to be a traditional drag race from the perspective of the fans in the stands. From a broadcast perspective, it would have to be a tape-to-live type of broadcast, which we already know that Fox Sports can do, as it has proven so in the past broadcasting both NASCAR and NHRA races on the same weekend.

Time would not be a factor either as Indy starts at about 10:45 MDT and the last few Indy 500's have taken just over three hours to run. This year the Indy 500 concluded at 1:58 MDT. That would give the NHRA on Fox two hours to show their event and then lead into the Coke 600, at 4:00 pm MDT. The green flag dropped at 4:15 MDT.

So where to hold this event?

It would take a promoter with resources and a total lack of fear. (Big Brass ones). Plus it would take a city with a sufficient crowd base to support the event, and draw for those coming out of town. A destination location.

Location. Now, this could be one of the biggest hurdles. You would not hold a national event on Memorial Day Sunday within a five-hundred-mile radius of either Indy or Charlotte. That is a given.

The first two places that come to my mind are Dallas and Las Vegas.

So why Dallas?

Track owner and operator Billy Meyer is a born and bred Texan, and "Everything is Bigger in Texas". This means that Texans know how to put on a show. The track is one of the first Super Tracks and is a wonderful facility. The City of Dallas is a vibrant and exciting city to go and visit.

My second choice and most logistically feasible choice would be Las Vegas. Marcus Smith has learned very well from his legendary father O. Bruton Smith to think outside the box, and how to put on a spectacle.

If you have ever seen the Coke 600 prerace you will know what I am talking about.

It would also make sense as since the NHRA and NASCAR races are on Fox, and both would be hosted at Speedway Motorsports Inc. facilities, that it would be more logistically feasible since the NHRA race would lead into the NASCAR event.

Moreover, Vegas is Vegas, and that is just another word for party and entertainment. Which is exactly what this kind of event would require.

Weather-Both cities have a median average temperature of 88 degrees on Memorial Day Sunday. This is based on the last five years. Dallas is

going to be prone to more humid conditions and Vegas will be bone dry. There is also a chance of thunderstorms in Dallas, more so than in Vegas.

I know this is pie in the sky thinking, nevertheless, it could be possible to have the NHRA slide into the biggest days in motorsports again and do it in a big way. This would provide an opportunity for other motorsports fans to also enjoy the sport of NHRA Drag Racing.

It would require someone with the vision and the chutzpah to go to the NHRA, and pitch this idea. Cause God knows NHRA isn't going to listen to a geriatric photographer from Idaho. But if someone else with some horsepower reads this, maybe, something might happen. There is always hope.

I believe it done correctly by the right track having a major drag racing event on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend could be done, and be very successful.