Pulling can not go down the same destructive road that NASCAR has chosen.

Published February 27, 2017 10:45AM, by Dick MorganViewed: 7514 times

Pulling Shouldn't Follow NASCAR's Destructive Path
This weekend we began a new season of NASCAR racing where new rules and a very odd stage system left many fans already disappointed in NASCAR With attendance way down from the best days from the mid-nineties to the mid-2000's NASCAR has tried to recapture that magic with little luck.  To me it boils down to the fact that the moment Dale Earnhardt passed away was the turning point for the sport. Dale was a love him/hate him figure, a true personality and icon unlike anyone ever seen in the sport, even beyond Richard Petty. Dale's absence opened the door to a kinder, gentler, vanilla brand of NASCAR where robotic drivers could recite their sponsors in their sleep and not go off topic.  In a sport that drew its crowds based on the personalities in the drivers seat, personalities have become a rare case.
With today's corporate spokes person driver and the “car of tomorrow” the average fan can not relate to the product on the track. So the question is, why has pulling chosen to go down the same disastrous road with the “any sheet medal, any engine” rule.,with shows that run to long. Even in the highest levels of the sport of pulling we see numbers stagnant and crowds sometime unimpressed.  Those of us that remember the sport from the eighties to the mid-nineties were witness to some fantastic personalities that were on four wheels, our vehicles are the personalities.  Yes, some pullers have a gift for talking to the crowd and are well known for their antics but we remember the vehicles more often than we remember the pullers themselves.  

So what happened to pulling? Component chassis is what happened.  You can go to YouTube and watch hours of video from the eighties and nineties and see a completely different looking version of pulling from today.  Yes the speeds were slower, the horsepower was less but the action on the track was exciting. The simple move to component chassis was good for safety in many respects but in light of how well-designed chassis are today the vehicles make consistent passes that look no different from track to track, from vehicle to vehicle.  It should be no surprise that LLSS, 4.1, and Light Pro are doing well because they are more unpredictable in their actions on the track. 

However there are solutions to the problem. Here are a couple items that need to be addressed to make the show more exciting.   Renew the alky versus diesel battle, somehow.  drop the weight on some classes by 5 to 10 percent so that the vehicles dance more. Embrace classes that are showing growth and take a good hard look at classes that are declining. Make rules that lead to growth in the sport, not rules that are driving the cost in some classes out of the reach of only 4 or 5 pullers in the class. Speed up the shows, like NASCAR races that are averaging 3 to 4 hours per race , and some pulling events take way to long to run.

Unlike NASCAR that has huge TV contracts and major sponsors that are clamoring for a better product, pulling has to rely on their leadership to be the agent of change. I realize that there will be push back from the pullers and I can understand that. However for the overall health of the sport leadership needs to start making some bold changes.

The rural agricultural foot print of America is shrinking and the menu of not only other motorsports but other types of entertainment is growing, pulling needs to sell a products that keeps it's existing fan base but is also attractive to the younger fan.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2017 01:12PM by Jake Morgan.


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