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“We bought three barrels (drums) in California (at the Winternationals) and also it was an ext than $1,500 a barrel. Noþeles you gained from qualifying went toward paying (for nitro). It was ridiculous. It kills you (in the pocketbook). Luckily now, we’re no running a shoestring (budget), yet if you take somebody who is or anybody that doesn’t have a huge sponsor transaction it keeps them from going. That’s why you saw 14 (Top Fuel dragsters) in Pomona.” - Scott Palmer

Competing in NHRA’s Mello Yello collection in height Fuel and also nitro Funny vehicle takes countless dollars.

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With the price of gyeongju on the increase each year, this season racers are additionally paying the price because that the sanctioning body’s decision to stick through a solitary distributor the the lifeblood of expert drag racing, nitromethane.

At the finish of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello collection season it expense $1,195 for a 42-gallon north of nitromethane.

During the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., a 42-gallon north of nitromethane price $1,428. Optimal Fuel and Funny car teams likewise had to pay secondary 9.5-percent California sales tax on the nitro drums, do each north cost around $1,564. This is a 19.5-percent increase, a bump up in price part team owners describe as unacceptable.

Back in may of 2014, it to be announced that Sunoco would come to be the official sponsor the the National hot Rod association (NHRA) in 2015.

The 10-year agreement calls because that Sunoco to become the official racing fuel that NHRA and will it is in the exclude, on-site gasoline and nitromethane supplier at every NHRA Mello Yello traction Racing series national events.

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

“We bought 3 barrels (drums) in California (at the Winternationals) and it was much more than $1,500 a barrel,” veteran top Fuel racer Scott Palmer said. “Anything you acquired from qualifying went toward paying (for nitro). It was ridiculous. It kills you (in the pocketbook). Luckily now, we’re not running a shoestring (budget), yet if you take it somebody who is or anybody who doesn’t have a large sponsor transaction it keeps them from going. It is why you observed 14 (Top Fuel dragsters) in Pomona.”

Competition plus did contact NHRA around the rising price of nitro and the sanctioning body decreased comment.

Since the 2017 season, Palmer has had heavy gaue won backing from Tommy Thompson. However, prior to Thompson’s involvement, Palmer ran his elevation team ~ above a minimal budget.

“The way we survived was $10,000 in qualifying would buy friend a barrel of nitro, a pair of hotel rooms and also get some crew men there and 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 2 barrels the nitro to make the runs, you’re walk to remain home. That’s what’s going come happen, and also they did (in Pomona). That may not it is in why, however that damn sure is a good reason no to concerned the following one. If us didn’t have actually our sponsorship and also Tommy Thompson no helping us and also we didn’t have actually the Magic Dry deal right now all the times that I’ve come out below to the West coast to begin the year off with no money, if it was like that because that me right now I would certainly not have showed up. I might not of. It would take half the qualifying money come buy nitro come qualify.

Just think if there’s 18 cars, also though they upped the purse, that’s $6,500, so girlfriend will invest all your money top top nitro. A small team can’t afford to go. How can they carry out it? It’s not possible. The aggravating.”

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“We need all the cars us can acquire out there and also it is going to do it difficult on tiny guys, but when you carry out all the mathematics for our four cars the going to expense us an extra $150,000 if that (the price that nitro) continues to be there because that the season. “It hurts everybody and a lot of it has to do through tariffs and things that room going top top overseas. That unfortunate that we don’t have a nitro providers or a manufacturer in the United says that we can get this from and also kind of manage the cost.” - Robert Hight (Photo by Gary Nastase)

Robert Hight, a two-time NHRA nitro Funny auto world champion (2009 and also 2017) and the president of John pressure Racing, identified the rising expense of nitro has actually hit JFR’s pocket book.

In 2019, JFR is fielding 2 nitro Funny cars – one pushed by Hight and the various other by legend John pressure - and two optimal Fuel dragsters, one piloted by 2017 world champion Brittany Force and the other by rookie Austin Prock.

“We require all the cars we can get out there and also it is going to make it challenging on tiny guys, but when you perform all the mathematics for our 4 cars that going to cost us an extra $150,000 if it (the price of nitro) continues to be there for the season,” said Hight, who recorded the location at the season-opening Winternationals. “It hurts everybody and also a most it has to do through tariffs and things that are going on overseas. It’s unfortunate that us don’t have a nitro supplier or a manufacturer in the United states that us can acquire this from and also kind of regulate the cost.”

Terry Haddock, a part-time optimal Fuel and Funny automobile racer, likewise weighed in on the issue.

“The price we paid for nitro (at the Winternationals) was ridiculous,” stated Haddock, who had actually a peak Fuel dragster and a nitro Funny vehicle competing in Pomona. “It’s all crazy and what the problem becomes is the each one of these dare takes 18 gallons that fuel when it is bone dry. If you mix up 20 gallons and also dump it in the car and start it and also do a warm-up, then your mean is four to five gallons, therefore by the time you have done two qualifiers you’re into one more barrel. That bad. I understand there are cases with tariffs and tariffs have to be in place to fix bigger problems than ours, for this reason what do you do. What i don’t recognize is you deserve to still to buy a 55-gallon drum from Schumacher and we bought among those in at an early stage January because that a match race we did, among those Street Outlaws things, and I desire to say ns paid $1,250 because that a 55-gallon (drum the nitro).”

Bobby Lagana, a crew chief with Steve Torrence’s human being championship winning optimal Fuel team, and Palmer likewise each pointed out that nitro teams can gain drums of nitro cheaper from Don Schumacher Racing.

“In testing, we buy nitro native Schumacher, who has actually the exact same Homeland protection restrictions, the exact same rules, yet for some reason we can buy the from Schumacher for a lot less and it is delivered to the track,” Palmer said. “That’s wild.”

Mike Lewis, Don Schumacher Racing’s senior vice president, said Competition Plus that DSR sold nitro teams testing at Wild horse Motorsports Park, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 42-gallon north of nitro for $1,008.

According to Lewis, the cost of nitro take it a far-ranging jump in 2017 and also the high-water note came in may of 2018. He said the high-water note in 2018 was an ext than dual the cost at what DSR paid at all in the summer the 2016.

Lewis stated some of the factors for the boost were as result of the expense of components that get in the nitro blend.

China’s EPA likewise had a crackdown and also tightened up limitations so few of the smaller distilleries that created nitro to be shut down until they comply to brand-new Chinese regulations, which led to nitro price to go up.

Lewis, however, claimed things have leveled off and also come earlier by approximately 25 percent at wholesale from a high in might of 2018. Lewis additionally mentioned together of Oct. 1, 2018, a 10 percent tariff also has to it is in paid.

Mike Salinas, who has a championship-caliber height Fuel team through renowned world championship tuners Alan Johnson and also Brian Husen, also shared his thoughts around the high price of nitro.

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“The parts that we room running, we are diligently working through some teams to shot and make the parts last longer. We are experimentation parts and doing various things indigenous belts, rods, pistons, cranks every these various materials. But, at the finish of the day, what it price to run these cars, the sanctioning human body we room dealing with, I operation several different companies and I’ve been in business because that 36 years, for this reason if ns don’t care about my customers, my client leave. My point is I believe the money that us do obtain is actually pennies. Ns think the the the qualifying money have to be around $25,000. That will get much more smaller (budget) cars out there. Winning have to be $100,000 and also I think anyone is trying come improve, yet the cost of doing organization out over there is quite expensive. That’s why you’re watching vehicle drivers like Tony Schumacher, that didn’t present up (at the Winternationals).” - Mike Salinas

Salinas has completed sporadically in peak Fuel since 2011 and went full time for the an initial time in 2018.

“The components that we are running, we space diligently working through some groups to shot and make the parts last longer,” Salinas said. “We are trial and error parts and doing different things indigenous belts, rods, pistons, cranks every these different materials. But, at the end of the day, what it cost to run these cars, the sanctioning body we space dealing with, I run several various companies and also I’ve been in business for 36 years, for this reason if i don’t care around my customers, my client leave. My thing is I believe the money that we do get is in reality pennies. Ns think that the qualifying money have to be about $25,000. That will certainly get more smaller (budget) cars the end there. Winning must be $100,000 and I think everybody is trying come improve, however the expense of doing company out there is quite expensive. That’s why she watching drivers like Tony Schumacher, who didn’t show up (at the Winternationals).”

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

“Some of you have probably heard the news the our vehicle is parked. We are still functioning on a sponsorship deal. These points take time yet like I stated before, i am absolutely no retiring. I love this sport and have devoted most of mine life come it. Ns love my team and they are the best guys ns know. Unfortunately, our auto will no be at Pomona, however I will certainly still be over there to support my teammates and also fans. Say thanks to you all for your ongoing support and also patience!”

The definition of Tony Schumacher being sidelined because that at least the Winternationals wasn’t lost on Salinas.

“The winningest height Fuel driver in background not having a sponsor set a precedent and if no one wakes up and understands it the sports is going to dice sooner than they believe if we don’t begin remedying things,” Salinas siad. “The sanctioning body should not it is in charging united state $1,000 or $2,000 if girlfriend oil down. That’s just a slap in the face. We’re not planning on walk out and blowing up. We’re make the efforts to race our cars and do a good job and also give the group a great show. They are doing something it is funny and we all know this, they usage the blow-ups because that the highlights to acquire the customers in, the fans, and also then they charge united state for it. If you’re walking to charge me or us for it, don’t usage those on the highlights.

It therefore expensive to operation these points (nitro cars), friend will begin to clock the multi-car teams fall apart because it is too lot money. I know what it cost to run one (car), so throw five an ext on top and also it doesn’t make it any better. I’m yes, really concerned around it.”

Salinas acknowledged running a optimal Fuel team is no basic task.

“It’s fairly the undertaking v your crew, and the hotels,” Salinas said. “We’re make the efforts to cut cost. I’m type of a tightwad guy. I watch mine pennies and also put them in the ideal places. We’re on a weekly budget that we operation our team on. If us go over that budget, we perform not buy the parts. I execute not care since if i break my own rules that going end my weekly budget we’re walking to be in trouble and we will not be the end there. That making everyone who deals with us as much as ~ above the crew to be much more conservative and understand what we space doing since if us blow up all our electric motors at one race, we can have to sit a race out, you never ever know. The not since of a absence of funding, it’s since of a absence of us not being vigilant in exactly how we take treatment of things.”

Salinas stated he has a budget in place for his team the he complies with strictly.

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The nitro price boost is expected to impact well past Top Fuel and also Funny auto racing.

“We have plenty the funding, yet I’m trying to run this thing on a budget plan that I believe is realistic,” the said. “I think we deserve to do it. We were close last year, and this year ns think we are going to do a lot better than that since we have an excellent people top top the team in Alan (Johnson) and Brian (Husen). Castle are very conscious around what we room doing because if we run Mike Salinas the end of business, Mike Salinas is no going to be here. Tell Mike Salinas that we can go win races and do really well through the money, we’re going to it is in out below for quite a couple of years.

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I’m really watching my pennies on whatever we execute from many hotels to our transportation to ours air flights, everything we do. You don’t require 50 cranks sitting on the floor, why nothing we obtain 10 cranks? girlfriend don’t need 800 pistons, why don’t we acquire 300 and also as we get closer us will obtain some more. There space all kinds of various ways to carry out this. We’re stocked for components pretty good for the entirety year best now, but I’m talk in general due to the fact that I understand guys who are running out there, they are from race to race and also if lock don’t gain a examine or get assist they room not walking to make it.”

Salinas believes the 14-car top Fuel ar at the Winternationals no going to be an anomaly.

“That 14-car thing is simply the beginning,” Salinas said. “It’s no going to be any type of honor walking to win a height Fuel championship with seven cars and eight car in the class. Look, I want to race Tony Schumacher. Victory or lose, I desire to gyeongju the ideal guys. I want to gyeongju these men who space legends. Tony Schumacher is the John force of peak Fuel and also we need that guy back out there. Things aren’t like they were 5 years ago and 10 years ago where it was carte blanche to go buy anything friend want. I got my men on a tight leash. We know what we are going come do. We understand what we need to spend. Us figured it out what it cost us per inch going under the track, and I will save that come myself. That’s really, yes, really important because everything in this civilization is hours, minutes and miles, that’s how are whole human being exists.”