“We bought three barrels (drums) in The golden state (at the Winternationals) and also it was more than $1,500 a barrel. Anything you got from qualifying went towards paying (for nitro). It was ridiculous. It kills you (in the pocketbook). Luckily currently, we’re not running a shoestring (budget), however if you take somebody who is or anybody who doesn’t have a huge sponsor deal it keeps them from going. That’s why you witnessed 14 (Top Fuel dragsters) in Pomona.” - Scott Palmer

Competing in NHRA’s Mello Yello Series in Top Fuel and nitro Funny Car takes numerous dollars.

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With the cost of racing on the climb yearly, this seaboy racers are likewise paying the price for the sanctioning body’s determicountry to stick via a solitary distributor of the lifeblood of skilled drag racing, nitromethane.

At the finish of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Series seaboy it cost $1,195 for a 42-gallon drum of nitromethane.

Throughout the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., a 42-gallon drum of nitromethane cost $1,428. Top Fuel and also Funny Car groups also had to pay a secondary 9.5-percent California sales taxes on the nitro drums, making each drum price approximately $1,564. This is a 19.5-percent rise, a bump up in price some team owners explain as unacceptable.

Back in May of 2014, it was announced that Sunoco would certainly end up being the main sponsor of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) in 2015.

The 10-year agreement calls for Sunoco to come to be the main racing fuel of NHRA and will certainly be the exclusive on-website gasoline and also nitromethane supplier at all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national occasions.

The boost from $1,195 a drum to $1,428 has some vehicle drivers miffed.

“We bought three barrels (drums) in The golden state (at the Winternationals) and also it was even more than $1,500 a barrel,” veteran Top Fuel racer Scott Palmer said. “Anypoint you obtained from qualifying went towards paying (for nitro). It was ridiculous. It kills you (in the pocketbook). Luckily currently, we’re not running a shoestring (budget), yet if you take somebody that is or anybody that doesn’t have actually a large sponsor deal it keeps them from going. That’s why you witnessed 14 (Top Fuel dragsters) in Pomona.”

Competition Plus did call NHRA about the climbing price of nitro and the sanctioning body declined comment.

Since the 2017 seachild, Palmer has had actually hefty financial backing from Tommy Thompson. However before, before Thompson’s involvement, Palmer ran his independent team on a minimal budgain.

“The way we survived was $10,000 in qualifying would buy you a barrel of nitro, a pair of hotel rooms and get some crew men there and also run the race,” Palmer said. “Maybe make one qualifying run a day. Now, if you understand you’re going to have to spend fifty percent your qualifying money on two barrels of nitro to make the runs, you’re going to remain residence. That’s what’s going to happen, and they did (in Pomona). That may not be why, but that damn sure is an excellent reason not to pertained to the next one. If we didn’t have actually our sponsorship and Tommy Thompchild wasn’t helping us and also we didn’t have the Magic Dry deal ideal now all the times that I’ve come out right here to the West Coast to start the year off through no money, if it was choose that for me right currently I would certainly not have actually showed up. I can not of. It would take half the qualifying money to buy nitro to qualify.

Just think if there’s 18 cars, also though they upped the purse, that’s $6,500, so you will spfinish all your money on nitro. A little team can’t afford to go. How have the right to they do it? It’s not possible. It’s aggravating.”

“We need all the cars we deserve to get out tright here and it is going to make it difficult on bit guys, but when you do all the math for our 4 cars it’s going to cost us an extra $150,000 if it (the price of nitro) continues to be tbelow for the season. “It damages everybody and also the majority of it has to execute through tariffs and also things that are going on overseas. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have actually a nitro supplier or a manufacturer in the United States that we have the right to acquire this from and also sort of regulate the cost.” - Robert Hight (Photo by Gary Nastase)

Robert Hight, a two-time NHRA nitro Funny Car world champion (2009 and also 2017) and the president of John Force Racing, recognized the climbing cost of nitro has hit JFR’s pocket book.

In 2019, JFR is fielding two nitro Funny Cars – one driven by Hight and also the other by legendary John Force - and also two Top Fuel dragsters, one piloted by 2017 civilization champion Brittany kind of Force and the other by rookie Austin Prock.

“We require all the cars we have the right to acquire out tbelow and it is going to make it tough on little guys, yet once you execute all the math for our four cars it’s going to price us an extra $150,000 if it (the price of nitro) remains tright here for the season,” said Hight, who recorded the title at the season-opening Winternationals. “It damages everybody and a lot of it has to execute through tariffs and also things that are going on overseas. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have actually a nitro supplier or a manufacturer in the USA that we have the right to gain this from and type of control the price.”

Terry Haddock, a part-time Top Fuel and also Funny Car racer, also weighed in on the problem.

“The price we passist for nitro (at the Winternationals) was ridiculous,” said Haddock, who had actually a Top Fuel dragster and a nitro Funny Car competing in Pomona. “It’s all crazy and what the trouble becomes is that each one of these cars takes 18 gallons of fuel when it is bone dry. If you mix up 20 gallons and dump it in the automobile and also start it and execute a warm-up, then your average is four to five gallons, so by the time you have actually done two qualifiers you’re into another barrel. It’s negative. I understand tright here are cases through tariffs and also tariffs have to be in area to deal with bigger difficulties than ours, so what carry out you perform. What I don’t understand is you can still buy a 55-gallon drum from Schumacher and we bought among those in beforehand January for a enhance race we did, one of those Street Outregulations things, and also I want to say I passist $1,250 for a 55-gallon (drum of nitro).”

Bobby Lagana, a crew chief with Steve Torrence’s human being championship winning Top Fuel team, and also Palmer additionally each stated that nitro groups have the right to obtain drums of nitro cheaper from Don Schumacher Racing.

“In trial and error, we buy nitro from Schumacher, that has the exact same Homeland also Security restrictions, the very same rules, yet for some reason we can buy it from Schumacher for a lot much less and also it is ceded to the track,” Palmer said. “That’s wild.”

Mike Lewis, Don Schumacher Racing’s senior vice president, told Competition Plus that DSR sold nitro teams testing at Wild Horse Motorsporting activities Park, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 42-gallon drums of nitro for $1,008.

According to Lewis, the price of nitro took a significant jump in 2017 and also the high-water mark came in May of 2018. He sassist the high-water mark in 2018 was even more than double the cost at what DSR paid at wholesale in the summer of 2016.

Lewis sassist some of the factors for the rise were as a result of the expense of components that go into the nitro blend.

China’s EPA likewise had actually a crackdvery own and tightened up limitations so some of the smaller sized distilleries that produced nitro were shut dvery own till they comply to new Chinese regulations, which resulted in nitro prices to go up.

Lewis, yet, shelp points have actually leveled off and also come ago by about 25 percent at wholesale from a high in May of 2018. Lewis additionally pointed out as of Oct. 1, 2018, a 10 percent tariff additionally has to be paid.

Mike Salinas, who has actually a championship-caliber Top Fuel team with renowned human being championship tuners Alan Johnboy and Brian Husen, likewise shared his thoughts around the high price of nitro.

“The parts that we are running, we are diligently functioning via some teams to attempt and make the parts last longer. We are trial and error components and doing different things from belts, rods, pislots, cranks all these different products. But, at the end of the day, what it expense to run these cars, the sanctioning body we are taking care of, I run several various companies and also I’ve been in company for 36 years, so if I don’t treatment around my customers, my customers leave. My point is I believe the money that we do get is actually pennies. I think the that the qualifying money have to be about $25,000. That will acquire more smaller sized (budget) cars out there. Winning should be $100,000 and I think everybody is trying to boost, yet the cost of doing service out tright here is rather expensive. That’s why you’re watching drivers prefer Tony Schumacher, who didn’t display up (at the Winternationals).” - Mike Salinas

Salinas has actually contended sporadically in Top Fuel given that 2011 and also went permanent for the first time in 2018.

“The parts that we are running, we are diligently working with some groups to attempt and also make the components last longer,” Salinas shelp. “We are experimentation parts and also doing different points from belts, rods, pisloads, cranks all these various products. But, at the finish of the day, what it cost to run these cars, the sanctioning body we are dealing with, I run several different providers and also I’ve been in organization for 36 years, so if I don’t treatment about my customers, my customers leave. My point is I think the money that we do acquire is actually pennies. I think that the qualifying money must be around $25,000. That will obtain more smaller sized (budget) cars out tbelow. Winning must be $100,000 and I think everybody is trying to boost, however the cost of doing business out tbelow is quite expensive. That’s why you’re watching drivers favor Tony Schumacher, that didn’t present up (at the Winternationals).”

Tony Schumacher, an eight-time Top Fuel human being champion, announced Feb. 4 on his Facebook web page the following:

“Several of you have actually most likely heard the news that our auto is parked. We are still working on a sponsorship deal. These things take time yet like I sassist prior to, I am absolutely NOT retiring. I love this sport and have actually dedicated the majority of of my life to it. I love my team and they are the finest men I know. Unfortunately, our automobile will certainly not be at Pomona, however I will still be there to support my teammates and fans. Thank you all for your ongoing support and patience!”

The significance of Tony Schumacher being sidelined for at least the Winternationals wasn’t lost on Salinas.

“The winningest Top Fuel driver in history not having actually a sponsor sets a criterion and if nobody wakes up and also understands it the sport is going to die sooner than they believe if we don’t begin remedying points,” Salinas siad. “The sanctioning body need to not be charging us $1,000 or $2,000 if you oil dvery own. That’s simply a slap in the confront. We’re not planning on going out and also blowing up. We’re trying to race our cars and execute a great job and offer the crowd a good display. They are doing something that’s funny and we all understand this, they usage the blow-ups for the highlights to obtain the customers in, the fans, and then they charge us for it. If you’re going to charge me or us for it, don’t usage those on the highlights.

It so expensive to run these things (nitro cars), you will begin to watch the multi-vehicle groups fall apart because it is as well much money. I know what it price to run one (car), so throw 5 more on top and it doesn’t make it any kind of better. I’m really pertained to around it.”

Salinas acknowledged running a Top Fuel team is no simple task.

“It’s rather the undertaking with your crew, and the hotels,” Salinas sassist. “We’re trying to cut cost. I’m type of a tightwad guy. I watch my pennies and put them in the appropriate places. We’re on a weekly budgain that we run our team on. If we go over that budget, we execute not buy the parts. I carry out not care because if I break my very own rules of going over my weekly budobtain we’re going to be in trouble and we will certainly not be out there. It’s making everybody that encounters us as far as on the crew to be even more conservative and also understand what we are doing because if we blow up all our motors at one race, we might have to sit a race out, you never before recognize. It’s not because of a lack of resources, it’s bereason of a absence of us not being vigilant in just how we take care of points.”

Salinas sassist he has actually a budacquire in area for his team that he adheres to strictly.

The nitro price rise is supposed to affect well beyond Top Fuel and Funny Car racing.

“We have actually plenty of funding, yet I’m trying to run this thing on a budacquire that I think is realistic,” he shelp. “I think we can execute it. We were close last year, and this year I think we are going to do a lot much better than that bereason we have good human being on the team in Alan (Johnson) and Brian (Husen). They are exceptionally aware around what we are doing bereason if we run Mike Salinas out of service, Mike Salinas is not going to be below. Tell Mike Salinas that we can go win races and also carry out really well with the money, we’re going to be out here for quite a couple of years.

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I’m really watching my pennies on everything we perform from hotels to our transportation to our air flights, everything we execute. You don’t need 50 cranks sitting on the floor, why don’t we acquire 10 cranks? You don’t need 800 pislots, why don’t we gain 300 and as we gain closer we will certainly obtain some even more. Tbelow are all kinds of various methods to do this. We’re stocked for parts pretty good for the entirety year appropriate currently, but I’m talking in basic bereason I understand men that are running out there, they are from race to race and also if they don’t obtain a check or get help they are not going to make it.”

Salinas believes the 14-auto Top Fuel area at the Winternationals isn’t going to be an anomaly.

“That 14-car point is just the beginning,” Salinas said. “It’s not going to be any kind of honor going to win a Top Fuel championship through salso cars and also eight cars in the course. Look, I want to race Tony Schumacher. Victory or shed, I desire to race the finest males. I desire to race these males who are legends. Tony Schumacher is the John Force of Top Fuel and also we need that man ago out tright here. Things aren’t like they were 5 years ago and 10 years back where it was carte blanche to go buy anything you desire. I acquired my males on a tight leash. We understand what we are going to do. We know what we have to spfinish. We figured it out what it cost us per inch going dvery own the track, and I will store that to myself. That’s really, really important bereason everything in this civilization is hours, minutes and miles, that’s exactly how are totality world exists.”