The Best Fights In Professional Racing History… Have At It Boys!
I’ve said for a long time that racing needs rivalries. Most people understand where ...
I’ve said for a long time that racing needs rivalries. Most people understand where I’m coming from, but many look at me as if I’m speaking Swahili until I explain. Just think about it… Yankees/Red Sox, Packers/Bears, Lakers/Celtics, Duke/North Carolina and of course my favorite, Alabama/Auburn. Rivalries drive sports and give the fans a reason to form allegiances and help build loyalty.
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You just don’t hear about those rivalries in racing. While this video features plenty of fights, none of these would really qualify as a rivalry, but sometimes a fight like this could be the start of a good long-running feud. I remember specifically from the drag racing world a rivalry between Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom McEwen. The pair developed a bitter rivalry that saw McEwen take on the nickname “The Mongoose”, one of few animals known for having reflexes so quick it can dodge a snake’s strike. Their clashes led fans to form fierce loyalty to either side and guess how they showed that loyalty? By buying shirts and caps and merchandise. There were literally thousands of shirts sold at each event the two competed at, and Mattel even branded “Snake and Mongoose” edition toys featuring their nitro funny cars.
Since then, however, there really hasn’t been any kind of real, intense, long-running rivalries in the sport. Some might say there’s a rivalry between Don Schumacher and John Force, but that seems to be much more corporate than the gritty, throwing-punches type of feud I think the sport needs.
So yes, for the record, I am advocating for more arguing and fighting in the sport of drag racing. Of course, I don’t want to see anybody get injured, but if you look at what last year’s squabble between Alex Laughlin and Tanner Gray did for Pro Stock – Pro Stock is literally my favorite class, but was anybody actually talking about anything else last year? – you can see how a little bad blood can really drive up fan interest and participation.