Monday, November 13, 2006

Similarities and Differences in Racing

For all the debate (that even I participate in) on the differences in motor sports, it is actually quite revealing to ponder on the similarities.

To engross the similarities in one term, I would call it the “bureaucracy.” What forms all types of motor sports in bureaucracy is that these organizations operate (as well they should) as businesses. These organizational structures allow for intricate back stories that provide the real motives to many of the decisions that are done in full knowledge and behind the scenes.

As my friend Kevin mentioned in spreading this rumor on the NHRA:

…everyone knows that the minute the awards banquet ends, the crazy rumors start to fly…And surely, there's no truth to the rumor that Alan Johnson is leaving DSR (MK: Don Schumacher Racing) to wrench on Scott Kalitta's Celica FC (MK: Funny Car) next year, right?

What’s important to note here is the back-story that actually exists for Allan Johnson and his crew chief aspirations in Funny Car. Johnson is nothing if not a legendary figure as a crew chief in the Top Fuel category. But his exploits in the Funny Car have been nothing of note, except for his mere participation. Three facts need to be known. First, crew chief Alan Johnson’s Funny Car deeds are rarely ever spoken of. Second, those Funny Car efforts have amounted into very little success. And third, they’ve all been for Toyota‘s effort to gain market share in this “I hate anything that’s not American” demographic. (By the way, did I mention that Toyota had its global master plan

Alan Johnson and former active Funny Car driver, Jerry Toliver, have been key figures in trying to match Toyota to somebody’s Funny Car team.

This is no doubt (while possibly not as complicated) very similar to the stories that are played out all the time in Formula 1 with many car makers debating and talking to different teams in order to see if there is a viable chance that they can enter the Formula 1 series as engine manufacturers. Most recently, Nissan has been discussing its probabilities of entering Formula 1 and what it would take for success. Their talks have been facilitated by the fact that Nissan is in alliance with Renault (current manufacturer champion in Formula 1).

I want to ask Kevin, if he’s so smart: what are the real differences in various forms of motor sports? (Other than the fact that in drag racing you don’t turn; Formula 1 uses primarily road courses; and NASCAR uses oval racing). And I am more than willing to name some of the differences myself. So, Kevin, are you willing to participate in this discussion?
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