The drag racing fan: Perception vs reality

There are all sorts of popular stories referring to such national items like the bin Laden killing, Maria Shriver and the Terminator splitting up or Republicans and the presidential campaign. Also, you can add all the weather havoc in Mississippi, plus Georgia and Alabama. Add in the NBA's Lakers and Celtics easily being ousted early in the playoffs and you pretty much have what every internet news source, blog, Twitter or media outlet has talked about the past week or so. So what in the heck does that have to do with fans - actually, drag racing fans or more exactly Nostalgia drag racing fans?

Much more than Joe Sixpack

Well, there's always been talk that the drag racing fan is not representative of average Americans. That none of which I cite above is anything drag racing people care about. They're out of the loop. In fact, the perception is the drag racing fans and horror of horrors, "Nostalgia" drag racing fans are a version of an old Joe Sixpack, grease monkey style. Terrible! Who wants to be associated with that!

Those news stories I mentioned to start with? Drag racing fans don't pay attention to what's going on; they just wait until the next race and bring out the beer and another round for everyone - Yee Haw! Actually there might be a few greasy beer-drinking Joe Sixpacks in the litter and in fact it brings up a point; the fan base is very broad and you're apt to find just about anyone at a drag meet.

So where am I going? Hang with me. Perception is a tough wall to climb. I know. Having talked with several hundred marketing executives over the years, the perception of what drag racing is compared with reality are two different planets. So many people in business, media or wherever believe drag racing is nothing more than a bunch of uneducated, poor, unseemly, aging louts. Those perceptions couldn't be further from the truth.

Drag racing is everybody's sport

The reality is our fans are younger, more educated with more spendable income than just about any other sport! (source Eagle2Team ) Drag racing is the most diverse motorsport … now, think about this. What sport has every ethnicity and both sexes competing head to head? There's only one - drag racing. When you add Nostalgia drag racing to the fray, you add even more spendable income. These statistics are even more incredible when you consider Nostalgia drag racing fans are increasing in numbers as the meets last year and this can attest to - in spite of the Recession.

Perceptions can be startling but we, the fans of drag racing already knew this. Maybe we do, maybe we don't know if any of the GOP contenders could be the next President or if the aging Celtics and Lakers have what it takes to get back to the top of the NBA. And is Arnold and Maria's marriage about to be terminated? What will be the result of the havoc wreaked in the south?

The reality is drag racing fans are everyone; they're families, teenagers, kids, baby boomers, grandparents, immigrants, wealthy, poor, students, urbanites, suburbanites and small town folks. So the rest of general public and indeed the media and corporate business need to put away their perceptions and realize drag racing IS Americana - even if we do like an occasional beer … or two.

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Updated Monday, May 16, 2011