Here’s a question I’ve been getting asked lately: Why does it appear as if the Super Gas class entries are waning? Before we get too far, is that question even valid? I certainly have some sort of affinity for the class as it was where I won my first national event back in ’84.
As a point of reference, I went back and researched the last 11 national event entry lists in relationship to the actual quoted values. In case you didn’t realize (which I think you do) there is a limit (quota) placed on NHRA national event sportsman entries. It’s also easy to see how many cars entered (or ran the event) versus the quota.
In the case of the Super Comp class; primarily dragsters; the difference between the two numbers is seven-percent less entered cars versus the quota. And bear in mind, we’re only talking national events. For Super Gas, that number increases to 16-percent less entries than the quota. Conversely, the Stock Eliminator field for those same 11 events dropped to nine-percent less than the quota.
It’s reported that on a divisional level (Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series) somewhat of the same is happening. One NHRA Division Director reports that SG cars used to be one-dimensional and that may be the reasoning along with the cost versus building a dragster.
On a local basis where there are open-type races; circuits if you will; that are Super Gas/Super Comp specific, those also show a decrease in SG cars versus SC.
First, why? Second, should it cause a concern? And third; and maybe most important question; how can it be rectified?
“Maybe it’s the expense of the type car,” says Iggie Boicesco. “It may be that a guy who wants a door-type car and can afford it, will build one to race in the Top Sportsman class.”
It’s often been thought that a Super Gas car is a one-class car in that there isn’t much else you can do with it. “If you look at a dragster,” says Moroso Performance’s Scott Hall, “you can run Super Comp, brackets or even Top Dragster. If you want to build the ultimate Super Gas car, you build a roadster for ease of visibility. Chances are you can run it in brackets, but you can’t run the Top Sportsman class with a roadster, so it limits you somewhat. And if you’re going to spend 50-75-grand to build a car, you ‘d like to be able to get the most use out of it. It’s just that Super Gas cars are so specific.”
What it may come down to is that you just may be limited in what you can do with the car. However, I point out that in recent years, the increase in door car-only events will enable you to bracket race as well. Some of the high-dollar bracket races which used to be somewhat dragster specific; sort of like in the case of a door car, bringing a knife to a gun fight; those too will usually run the door cars separate from the dragsters for at least a couple of rounds, and we’re starting to see more door cars in big dollar final rounds. But I do agree it is limited.
So is Super Gas dying? No. Absolutely not. Although not any more than any other class may be losing competitors. The problem may well be that drag racing itself has become very splintered. In the early days of the sport, you only had a limited number of classes you could race. Today, we have so many different associations, classes, etc., that if you were to look at it in the case there may be only 10,000 competitors (and there really is way more than that), when you only have; let’s say; five different places to race, today you have maybe dozens. What happens is each place may look dim, but in reality, the sport itself is just as strong.
You may have hit on the reason, You can win alot more $$ at a mid to big dollar bracket race than you can at an NHRA Nat'l or Div race, and for not alot more entry fee at times(some events are alot more) but... have 2-4 races in the same amount of vacation time.
You can blame it on a lot of things, but IMHO, the biggest reason is the NHRA itself.
Over 110 S/G cars at the last d3 event. 2nd largest class of the event. I do agree that the optimum SG car is somewhat of a single use. Sure do like having the option to run Super Pro, Super Comp and Super Quick this weekend in Indy with my dragster. I could also go an hour down the road and run 3 10k’s. Investment sure goes a lot ****her.
I sold my TS car and I have had several roadsters so I wanted to buy a used nice 63 vette sg roadster but after looking around asking prices are way out of touch on used up 15 year old plus roadsters . I looked at building a new one but just can't bring myself to spend that much on a roadster that only fits a few classes and a narrower field of buyers upon resale . So I bailed on that idea and am building a new multi purpose door car again for top sportsman , super , and index classes and not for not a lot more than a nice roadster . Super gas racing is far from dying .This message has been edited. Last edited by: 67TSCHEVY2,
Class I am concerned with is Top Dragster. Short fields at almost every race this year in the 2 fastest divisions 3 and 4.
It is interesting that the “middle” has pretty much disappeared for those classes. It’s the serious ones that are real fast, and then the field fillers way at the slow end.
It makes sense that if you’re dedicated and want to make every field, you had to step up and some just decided to step out.
On Super Gas, the cost and versatility (or lack thereof) are both accurate and when combined, it isn’t worth the investment in many cases.
I’ve come to enjoy NHRA racing, but I split my summers fairly evenly between that and bracket races. I can roll my Super Street and Super Comp cars right out and bracket race them anywhere. I usually do take the stop off my Nova and run No-Box, but that’s it.
A good Super Gas car is more expensive than either, and probably has a wild suspension setup to cut a light that isn’t going to work well wide open. I’d love to have a roadster though.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lenny5160,
I ran my Cavalier in Top Sportsman then Super Gas. But at 9.90 and 176 mph it was to fast. Especially coming up on a 129 mph SG car. (Ted Seipel). Found Super Comp a good fit and at 182 mph it messed with Super Comp dragsters. Also occasionally ran Super Pro, very versatile and fun to drive.
When everything is coming your way, your probably in the wrong lane.
I hated having a one dimensional car. It was a perfect car for the class I was running, but fit very little else. I didn't like that feeling. If the series stopped running, I would have to give it away. Now I have a door car I can run anywhere in almost anything. No way I would build a one class type car to run in the NHRA today.
2 years ago I considered building a Charlie Stewart S/G C7 corvette roadster like Luke Bogacki’s car and soon to be world championship car. In the end I decided it was way too expensive to build this class specific car. Plan on $20k minimum uptick for a roller over a super comp dragster comparing apples to apples…full carbon and loaded with all the options.
Bottom line not comparing apples to apples is you can build a very nice, turnkey, aluminum body dragster for what a new carbon fiber bodied roller S/G car will cost youThis message has been edited. Last edited by: 1320racer,
|DRR Top Comp
My friend has one of those 63 Vette roadsters built by Worthy. Must have spent a couple of million over the years chasing the S/G class and has won once--ONCE! Don't know how much he spent to get it to run high 170s, but he just keeps throwing money at it while a deadly bracket car sleeps in his garage!!!!!
Probably spent less than golfing!
When everything is coming your way, your probably in the wrong lane.
I began running a Super Gas car (BBC in a '67 Nova) back in the mid to late 1970's when a 135 mph car was the rare exception. The class was affordable then and the variety of cars seemed endless. A competitive home built car could be built for less than $20,000 so the NHRA purse was reasonable, that's not true today. Race tracks on the West Coast were plentiful, a long tow was less than 250 miles, again that's certainly not the case today, at least on the West Coast.
Attend any NHRA or LODRS event today and the class primarily consists of sleek aero type multi thousand dollar custom built Roadsters towed in multi thousand dollar rigs with multi thousand dollar motor homes. In short Super gas has become a category for the very wealthy people, a class that my meager Social Security income can't begin to cover. Look at the average age of the competitors today and you can see that the end actually happened years ago.
Travel distance, expense and the ridiculous NHRA age old purse structure will eventually completely kill the class, you probably will see many of these cars competing in bracket events or vanishing forever.
I can run a full season of local bracket events for the same cost as two Division 7 LODRS races or one NHRA National event. Tucson 410 miles away, Phoenix 337 miles, Vegas a 366 mile tow, Sonoma 538 miles.....all one way. One local bracket event 13 miles away with a $50 entry fee.
I loved competing in Super Gas, it was affordable and fun. Those days are long gone and they are never coming back. I also believe that NHRA doesn't give a tinkers damn.
There is no rule that says you have to spend a fortune to race S/G or S/C
Just because others do is not a reason to have to do it yourself.
Sure you need decent equipment but nobody is forcing you to have to keep up with the big spenders.
Yea it costs more than ever to win less but a decent car with a real good driver can win.
The big speed cars are tough to race against but again, a decent car with a good driver can beat anyone.
Work on what you have to make it as deadly as possible and if you can hit the tree you can win with any car.
The tougher part is competing on a limited basis vs the racers able to race almost every week.
They have seat time, run data and throw in some really good drivers and their tough to beat.
If you think you can’t win, your already defeated before you even stage the car
When there are so many high paying bracket races in every part of the country it’s hard to justify building a high dollar single purpose car to race in one association for peanuts.When there were some local associations and the IHRA there were some options today not so much.When the travel and entry fees are higher than the payouts even if you do well it’s hard to make any sense of it…Kinda like a rich guys country club and the ole boys are soon to age out
Big $ gambler races aren't for everyone. Matter of fact car counts are down this year. Many don't want to deal the whole shyt show...no tech, allegations of cheating and drug use, pre entries, double entries, buybacks, mulligans, wheel turners, splits and racing well into the next morning. The payouts are meaningless for all but those that make it to the round of 16 and the names that make that round are largely the same at most of these races.This message has been edited. Last edited by: 1320racer,
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