What has happened to racing?My 2 cents worth.

BOZO6106

Veteran
I just wanted to say that as i watch racing die a slow death i just cant hold it in anymore.The racing has died because tracks insist that we need to run 7 classes for a regular show .The cars are all store bought ,no more home built creations.The amount of money spent compared to what the racers can win is a joke.The fan count is way down except for Dirt tracks which there are a billion of.The asphalt racing scene is all divided all over the place.The excitement that i once felt is gone and that is very sad.I used to attend 38-45 shows a year all over the place and what fun it was with huge crowds ,great racing ,great friends,great memories.I am lucky to attend 5-7 races a year now.I know Covid screwed up alot of things but some of what i am talking about is pre-Covid.The tracks just sit there in ruins.
 

jrkenn

Newbie
Bozo you are exactly correct on things. The problem with the asphalt tracks is they all want their own deal and they don't want to share it with anyone. Also especially with the asphalt tracks is when you give constructive criticism on this forum or anywhere else, you get threatened with a lawsuit if you don't delete the post or say your sorry. On the asphalt it takes days for some tracks to post results, no live updates, no posts, nothing because they're afraid of comments. Asphalt tracks have followed big old NASCAR lead for years and that needs to change. This is why dirt is the hot ticket now with live streaming television, live posts from race tracks, they're not afraid of comments. I go back to what the late Fred Osmun use to say " if they ain't talking about you, then you're not doing something right ". I suggest go to Central Pennsylvania where racing is alive and well and I'm not talking the Sprint Car tracks. Go to Linda's, Trailways, Kutztown, Shellhammers, and other tracks like that. This is where the future of the sport is currently and you see the passion and if you can't get excited then maybe a checkup is needed. As far as racers outspending their competition to win, it's always been like that and will never change.
 

uticamike

Racing Genius
Many good points above and for sure it's true for asphalt. It's simple things really they fall down on on a routine basis. As an example this
past Saturday because Evans Mills rained out ( a track you should visit to pick your spirits up) our team headed to a little bullring in Wyoming Co.
As a newbie to that track you would think the owner would even acknowledge you were there let a lone a simple THANKS for coming...nothing.
For a track with a rather light car count in the headline division I find it mindboggling. I won't even get into the disorganization in the officials.
Was told at the drivers meeting and posted on the blackboard the feature was 25 laps. On race control from the RD at feature time he stated it was 30. I mean wtf?. That is one example of many. It's not just them. A little bullring down Pa does similar things and it just floors me that these tracks that have been around for years act like they just opened. A friend of mine had his Modified on display outside the front gate at Pocono this past weekend. He reports the crowd interest and questions about the car and where it's raced were remarkable. He said the the number of people who didn't even know that the bullring was 20 mins west of Pocono overwhelmed him. Promotion outside of a website or FB is lost on many promotors today. It really is sad to see especially in these trying times.
 

raceannouncer

Racing Genius
There are still too many promoters/owners who subscribe to the age-old idea of "swing open the gates and they will come"...whether it be racers or spectators. Some do it right and some don't!
 

leadfoot4

Champion
A number of years ago, I wrote my first post, on the original iteration of this website, and coincidentally it was about the increased cost of fielding a competitive modified. Here we are, about 10-12 years later (not sure about that number, but it seems about right...), and we're still facing the same dilemma, which most likely is the cause of the low car counts, which causes fewer fans in the stands.

'Speedway Illustrated' magazine published an article, a few issues back, which posted the cost of 3, brand new, rolling chassis; an asphalt modified, an asphalt late model, and a dirt modified. All of them were in the $20-22,000 range. It's been a while since I was closely involved, so my figures might be a little off, but in the mid-80s, when I WAS involved, a top-shelf, asphalt modified engine ran $14,000. I would imagine that same engine, today, is probably near $20K. Long story short, how many owners/teams can afford $40K for a current car?
 

jrkenn

Newbie
Hey Utica Mike and I commented on the same topic and neither of us have been threatened by a track with a lawsuit yet.
 

uticamike

Racing Genius
jrkenn Offering up an opinion isn't illegal (yet) and I didn't mention a track or a promoter by name so I'd say tuff sheet to anybody
who doesn't care for my take on things at some tracks.
Not when we have a great example up north (Evans Mills) that is working real hard to restoring that track to what it once was and/or could be.
So refreshing it was to see the buzz up there and all the smiling faces a couple of weeks ago during the Kevin Ward memorial. So....
don't give up hope just yet.
 

luvtorace

Newbie
I think car counts would go up on both dirt and asphalt if the purse went up quite a bit. I know we not in it to make money as a racer, but at least let racers brake even at end of the night.
 

leadfoot4

Champion
I think car counts would go up on both dirt and asphalt if the purse went up quite a bit. I know we not in it to make money as a racer, but at least let racers brake even at end of the night.
I don't disagree with you, but this is a "circular conundrum".....An increased purse would require a larger crowd, which would require a larger car count. You won't get one without the other, but personally, I think that these days, getting the crowd would be the more difficult part of the equation.

Yes, the entire world had a really crazy situation thrown at us, last year, and we're just beginning to recover from that. Nonetheless, I attended two of the modified shows at Spencer's in 2019, and planned to attend them last year, which as we all know, were cancelled. However, based on my "guesstimates", despite good shows, the stands were roughly at 50-60% capacity. That level of attendance isn't going to be a financial success, to the point that would encourage a track owner or promoter to really go "all out", and schedule a full season of racing.

Sadly, the fan support just doesn't seem to be there, anymore. At the Spencer shows, in '19, again taking a "guesstimate", I would say that 60-70% of the crowd was over 50 years of age. The younger folks don't seem to have the interest that we "baby boomers" had/have. And the local newspapers cover only the "big league" racing, unlike the 60s and 70s, when they would cover the action at the local tracks, so that doesn't help, either.
 

BOZO6106

Veteran
I agree with you Leadfoot.I can remember back in the 80s when Spencer had full capacity at what i would guess to be 5,000 fans.The young people are too busy with social media and video games to get excited by a rumbling race car with its wide tires,cool paint jobs,cool drivers and pure horsepower.I sure am glad i grew up when Evans,Troyer,Kent,Bodine,Cook etc.were at their best.
 

owego26

Newbie
Yes, I agree with you BOZO, I went to OWEGO every Sat. nite, from about 1975 to CLOSE ... Maybe not towards the end, BUT in the hay days, we got to see THE BEST EVERY sat. nite ... We did not have to go to other more famous tracks, it was rite in our backyard EVERY sat. nite ... How lucky we were, oh what wonderful memories !!!
 

leadfoot4

Champion
Yes, I agree with you BOZO, I went to OWEGO every Sat. nite, from about 1975 to CLOSE ... Maybe not towards the end, BUT in the hay days, we got to see THE BEST EVERY sat. nite ... We did not have to go to other more famous tracks, it was rite in our backyard EVERY sat. nite ... How lucky we were, oh what wonderful memories !!!
I'll second that!!
 

kt

Champion
A number of years ago, I wrote my first post, on the original iteration of this website, and coincidentally it was about the increased cost of fielding a competitive modified. Here we are, about 10-12 years later (not sure about that number, but it seems about right...), and we're still facing the same dilemma, which most likely is the cause of the low car counts, which causes fewer fans in the stands.

'Speedway Illustrated' magazine published an article, a few issues back, which posted the cost of 3, brand new, rolling chassis; an asphalt modified, an asphalt late model, and a dirt modified. All of them were in the $20-22,000 range. It's been a while since I was closely involved, so my figures might be a little off, but in the mid-80s, when I WAS involved, a top-shelf, asphalt modified engine ran $14,000. I would imagine that same engine, today, is probably near $20K. Long story short, how many owners/teams can afford $40K for a current car?
The cost of all new asphalt mod today would be closer to 80k than 40k.....
 

leadfoot4

Champion
The cost of all new asphalt mod today would be closer to 80k than 40k.....
I didn't realize that the cost has escalated that much!! No wonder that there are more and more "short fields". Who can afford that kind of expenditure?
 

Turbo01

Veteran
Uticamike, that's why car counts are down and stay down at WCIS. It's his playground, if you don't like it leave. Apparently promoting is a lost art in WNY asphalt tracks.
 

uticamike

Racing Genius
Well..I can promote. Please pay a visit to Evans Mills Speedway this year if you can find a way.

The level of financial investment and time the the Gills have put into the place is paying off.

They are doing what few other asphalt tracks in NY are even attempting and the crowds are coming,
the kids are bringing their parents and a buzz is in the air on race nights.
I'm told they picked up a two seat spectator ride along car and those are a trilling to anyone who feels the need
for speed. Even the crowds at regular shows is really good. Last Sat they had 65-70 cap (my estimation) and running against
Lancaster's Modified show I think the count was 20 cars for the Mills Mods headliner.
The 4 cyl shows are wild and while I didn't see much of the Super Stock race personally I heard it was a good one.

A bit of a hike for some I know but if you need an injection of positive racing mojo this is the place to get it.

Hoping praying the current race tire crisis doesn't put a dagger in the heart of the sport in general.
 

leadfoot4

Champion
Well..I can promote. Please pay a visit to Evans Mills Speedway this year if you can find a way.

The level of financial investment and time the the Gills have put into the place is paying off.

They are doing what few other asphalt tracks in NY are even attempting and the crowds are coming,
the kids are bringing their parents and a buzz is in the air on race nights.

Hoping praying the current race tire crisis doesn't put a dagger in the heart of the sport in general.
Mike, I wish I could help support the track, but I looked at the Google Earth program, typed in "travel instructions", and it gave me a choice of two routes to the track, one being 2 hours 20 minutes, and the other about 10 minutes longer. Going TO the track might be a nice scenic ride, but I can't picture the ride home as being enjoyable. My days of coming home at 1-2AM (usually from the original ShangriLa) are far behind me.

With regard to your comments about the tire supply, I know what you mean. I'm planning on attending the two modified shows at Spencer's, this summer, but I'm holding off on making any definite plans until I hear for sure that tires will be available, and the show actually being held....
 

uticamike

Racing Genius
Foot, save your soda pop deposit money and come to the Burr memorial season closer in Sept.
Grab a cheap hotel in Watertown (4 miles away) and go home the next day.

Spencer race this Fri is still on as far as I know. We were slated to race but....
the back straight wall at the Mills changed our plans.
 

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