By David G. Firestone
Got a few news items I want to discuss this week. First, I need to discuss the NHRA Summernationals situation. I discussed the shuttering of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Last week. I even got a statement from Cruz Pedregon. At the time, he thought that there wouldn’t be an event added to the NHRA schedule for 2018. I thought that it might be too soon to add to the 2018 schedule.
Within hours of that being posted, it was announced that the NHRA would be adding the Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., to the schedule on June 8-10. So instead of a week off after Route 66, the teams will travel to Virginia Motorsports Park. The drive from Route 66 to North Dinwiddie, Virgina is about 13 hours, and since many teams are headquartered in Indiana, they could stop at the shop and refill parts and equipment. Virginia has hosted NHRA national events before, so it isn’t that difficult. The one thing I’m wondering is how well the teams can adapt to a track that they haven’t raced on since 2009.
Moving on to IndyCar, I learned recently that IndyCar is testing a windshield. With the new car being debuted this year, safety is the focus, and the windshield is 20 years overdue. The less of a driver that is exposed, the safer the car is. This new test is a major step in the right direction. I’m glad this has finally been addressed
The next thing is there was a news story that Formula 1 has decided to eliminate the so-called grid girls. Grid girls would stand at each spot on the grid, wear a sexy outfit representing the host country, and hold signs indicating which spot on the grid they are. According to Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1: “While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
It’s nice to see that Formula 1 finally figured out that in 2018, women are more than sex objects. With women becoming more involved and having more success in auto racing, it’s time to start treating them as racers as opposed to bikini models. Granted that racing is a male-dominated sport, but more and more women are getting involved. It’s only a matter of time until a woman races in Formula 1, and I’m glad they joined the rest of the racing world.
Finally, I have to take Dodge to task for their ill-advised commercial at the Super Bowl. Who in their right mind thought that using Martin Luther King Jr., one of America’s greatest citizens, to sell trucks was a good idea? It came across as tasteless, and given King’s thoughts on capitalism, it’s amazing to me that this even made it past the idea stage.
What really amazes me here is that King’s family, who is very protective of King’s speeches and trademarks, allowed this to happen. Documentaries and historical museums can’t get to use King’s speeches because the family has a tight grip, but a freaking Dodge commercial can? Why in the world did this happen? Dodge should be ashamed, and King’s family needs to focus on his legacy, not profit off of it.