Late Tuesday evening, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram became flooded with photos of letters from the NHRA. At first, we just assumed one or two of our social media friends received a letter from the National Hot Rod Association congratulating them on receiving their NHRA license. Upon closer inspection, however, that wasn’t the case at all. Within an hour, our news feeds were flooded with what seemed to be the same letter simply readdressed to various cast members of everyone’s favorite reality/street racing show.
Apparently Josh Petersen, Vice President of the NHRA, has issued most of the stars of the Discover Channel hit show, Street Outlaws, with threats of suspending their licenses indefinitely, under Section 1.3.1 Participant Conduct. Citing that the NHRA was founded in 1951 by Wally Parks as an outlet for the then growing breed of hot-rodders and drag racers to legally race their vehicles in a controlled environment, participating in the TV show goes against and contradicts everything that being a licensee of the NHRA stands for. We’ve attached the specific section that the letter sites below, as follows:
“SECTION 1: ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES & APPEALS, 1.3: VOLUNTARUNESS; PARTICIPATION NOT A RIGHT; ALL PARTICIPANTS BOUND BY THE RULEBOOK; PARTICIPANT CONDUCT; COVENANT NOT TO SUE, 1.3.1 Participant Conduct (Page 4)
Participants at events are expected, at all times, to conduct themselves in a professional and non-disruptive manner consistent with good sportsmanship and NHRA’s role as a family-oriented sports organization with events suitable for attendance by all and, as to those events that are televised, suitable for unrestricted viewing by the general public. Any participant who, in the sole and absolute judgment of NHRA (1) verbally or physically threatens another person; (2) uses vulgar or derogatory language; (3) engages in unsportsmanlike conduct; (4) engages in conduct detrimental to the sport of racing; (5) otherwise creates a condition or circumstance that is unsafe, unfair, or out of order; (6) is not honest and truthful in his or her dealings with NHRA, including without limitation making a false statement or creating, submitting or using a false writing or document; or (67) otherwise violates any NHRA rule, regulation or agreement, shall have violated this rule regarding participant conduct.
Future participation in the show or any other show of this nature may result in an indefinite suspension of your NHRA competition license.”
Doing a bit of research on our end reveals that the NHRA ratings haven’t been what they once were, with many racing fans blaming ESPN for the lack of ratings and inconvenient airing schedules. However, the participants of the Street Outlaws program simply see this as nothing more than a tactic to kill their reality show. Whether or not Street Outlaws is a staged/scripted program is besides the point, the NHRA doesn’t seem to be taking the situation lightly at all. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open in the coming weeks to see how things develop.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.