The National Hot Rod Association enjoyed itself a red letter day on Sunday at the Summernationals at Raceway Park in Englishtown: picture-perfect early summer weather and on-track action, two and a half hours of live FS1 coverage that included (for the first time) the Pro Modified class, complete with an old-fashioned starting line burndown, a handful of legitimate upsets, a live tantrum-throwing by Tanner Gray and a heated dust-up in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, and the dropping of not one, but two uncensored F-bombs live on national television by Alexis DeJoria.
Wait, that last part is a good thing? Damn right it is.
If there’s any one thing sorely missing from big-show drag racing (besides more cars) it’s reasons for drivers to be fined or suspended. Stick-and-ball sports and NASCAR have plenty of it — physical altercations on and off the track, colorful language in speeches, infighting between players, coaches, and the media, balls thrown at players’ heads…you name it. It adds media attention and intrigue and, ultimately, to ticket sales and television ratings. The Roger Goodell’s and Mike Helton’s of the world will tell you such actions are detrimental to their sport, but they’re simply towing the company line while they cash in on every deflated football and Kyle Busch bloody nose . The NHRA, meanwhile, may well not even have a policy in place for reprimanding its drivers in such events, because the sport is perpetually uptight.
That said, we certainly hope Alexis isn’t penalized in any fashion for her language, because she in fact did the NHRA a favor by breaking the mold for a few seconds and displaying some raw, unbridled personality. The network and sponsors may disagree, but there isn’t near enough helmet slapping and bleepity-bleeps in this sport.
For those who may have missed it, DeJoria’s comments came moments after she disqualified herself in the second round of Funny Car eliminations in a race she unknowingly had in the bag, when her Tequila Patron flopper pushed across the centerline just before the 1,000-foot stripe. Opponent Ron Capps had struck the tires early and her victory would’ve certainly been deemed an upset.