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NHRA Responds To The Hate Over Their Street Outlaws Letter
HOT ROD Speaks With NHRA For Their Side
Man there’s a lot of NHRA-hate out there. After we posted last night about the NHRA sending out letters to some of the NHRA-licensed participants in the cable reality show Street Outlaws, advising them not to continue appearing in a show that promotes street racing, we hit a nerve. Or maybe the NHRA hit the nerve. However you look at it, we had to contact NHRA to get a little more info about why they did this and what they expect in return.
For that we cold-called Geno Effler, who is the head of PR for NHRA, and presented him with some of your comments from the post—at least the ones that didn’t take the NHRA to task for everything from 9/11 to global warming.
Effler told us NHRA officials saw numerous NHRA licensed drivers and some cars with NHRA logos or competition numbers appearing on the show, and feel that since the show promotes street racing, NHRA didn’t want their licensed drivers glorifying street racing—whether it’s staged [which it is] or not. Says Effler, “It’s contrary to their membership as NHRA licensed drivers.”
For what outcome the NHRA expects, Effler went on to say, “We hope that maintaining their licenses and being ambassadors for, and the mission of NHRA, is the course they take.”
He told us that NHRA sent out less than two dozen letters, and that so far none of the recipients has contacted the NHRA, but that “it would probably be a good thing to do.”
When it was suggested that the NHRA is doing this to quell the reality show because their ratings in the 18-49 year old male demographic was not as good as Street Outlaws, Effler laughed then said, "That’s an inaccurate supposition. It’s like apples and oranges. We are not the same type of broadcast and are on at different times and days. We don’t share any sponsors, and by the way, our ratings this year are up, not down. The heart of the matter is that we don’t promote street racing in any form in any way.”
With the amount of attention these letters have garnered, and the negative attacks on online drag racing magazines and blogs hurled at the NHRA over the last few years, would this be a wakeup call for the organization to get back to their roots and help promote “little guy”, Saturday night run-what-you-brung racing? Effler said, “We’ve always been a proponent of the tracks and facilities, and are supporters of track owners. Also, we’ve done a lot to promote programs that involve street legal cars, like our Junior Street program, which has been a huge success.”
Junior Street is for 13-16 year olds that don’t have licenses. They can go to the strip with a parent riding shotgun, and in a car that runs under 10 seconds flat in the eighth-mile. The parent drives the car to the water boxes, hands the wheel over to the child, who then takes it down the strip, and parks the car after the run for their parent to take over. Says Effler, “This is all done in a controlled manner, and shows the young enthusiast this type of racing should be done on a drag strip, safely, and still be thrilling.”
Besides Junior Street there is also the Junior Dragster program for 5-17 year olds that has been going on for years. And NHRA continues to help promote amateur racing throughout the country.
So there it is, straight from the NHRA. In a nutshell, NHRA sees the participation of NHRA-licensed drivers in the Street Outlaws cable show is contrary to license holding and is promoting an illegal activity—an activity which the NHRA was created to help combat, and continues to fight against.