The Staging

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Net Racing Coverage
by Larry Pfister

Larry Pfister
Larry Pfister
Horsepower Heaven

A local alky racer phoned me yesterday. "I've just got onto the net, so where do I find the Gainesville Federal Mogul results." I went through the usual, by asking him if he had checked GO and Crest. "Ya, nuthin' there." I asked if he had checked the newsgroups. He had no idea what they were.

"With all the damn money those guys (Federal Mogul) are putting into sportsman drag racing racing you would think I could at least get the results of their races." He went on to say that he was a former Prodigy user, and though found the web stuff much easier to assimilate, couldn't find nearly as much, nearly as quickly as with his former 'service'. I decided to surf around and try to find the info. It showed up at Crest and GO a day or so later, but I had to join him in thought. Federal Mogul is missing out on a potentially huge marketing ploy. But after seeing their web presence am sure nobody in that company is a true webhead.

The GO pages for FM include a bunch of boring, old, static press releases, and other 'corporate' stuff, that I cannot believe many will actually read through. Crest about the same. Newsgroups? This should be the last place you go look for a major sponsored racing series' results. You may now be saying "who is this guy?" Could he do better? Been there done that... couple of times.

With a minimum of expense and work I have reported on and updated a web site from a divisional event with both text results and photos... IMMEDIATELY after the race. Same day. It was done with no tie into the track's timing system such as the Prodigy people enjoy. I did it with a cheap video camera, an ancient Mac AV computer and a lot of leg work. A one person deal. Killed me, but what a blast to know that NOBODY had done it before!

With all the resources the 'big' sites have I cannot believe that FMDRS results, stories, and photos (huh?) are not available to us drag race webaholics, minutes, let alone hours or days after the fact. Let's not even mention national events.

Hey Mr. Federal I would love to tell you how easy it is, but then, the thousands of big bucks you are spending on the re-posting of (yawn) press releases is, to the best of my knowledge, your idea of a 'big time' web site.

I'll be at every Div. 6 FMDRS event in 1997. I'll be doing it for the love of the sport and for the many racers, fans and enthusiasts who want it. NO, I will not be paid to do it by anyone. I'll be doing it as an old-time 'print' guy who is constantly amazed at what the web can be for drag racing...and how it is still so far from being fully utilized. Despite stuff such as bandwidth.

The www is about instant updates and news. These high dollar companies should have RealAudio and RealVideo people on site. Either they don't have a clue, or some kind of arrangement with another media is holding them back. Or maybe this kind of thing is a example of how the little people in this sport can get a leg up on the Diamond Ps, National Dragsters and GOs of the world.

I still have a dream of sitting in the top end grandstands of a major national event with a digital camcorder, a RealVideo/Audio stream or two, a FireWire equipped PowerBook and a billion of you sitting in front of your Pentiums watching a couple of Super Gas cars in the final round. Yes, the satellite TV people are getting on board, but very soon the web will be able what they can do for pennies by comparison. And you won't need a pay box or the pay-per-view cost.

Somehow I have a feeling that you won't get that on a corporate site or a television network for pennies.

I can feel the shudders go through those boardrooms now. I also have a feeling you WILL get it sooner on an 'uncontrolled' web site near you than you think... a LOT sooner. THIS is the kind of stuff that makes the web cool.

Text only web coverage should be history a year from now. (It should be NOW!) If it's not, then I'll be dead and/or the 'big' sites are sitting on their butts...or being held back by even bigger companies...Leaving room for us pirates...uh, I mean 'forward thinkers'.

Save me a seat in the top row ok?

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