Jump to content
NickHolt

Thoughts on the future of asphalt stock car racing in Texas

Recommended Posts

The one consistent class on either surface has been the dwarfs so hats off to you guys.

 

Thank you. We managed to average ~25 cars at CTS this year, if I remember correctly our lowest count was 24. I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of our cars, being small and darty, we can pass with ease. Our cars can work on the bottom, middle, and top of CTS. We are often 4 wide, it rarely works out, but there is always racing going on through the whole field. We also have a good rules package that does not allow money to dictate speed, for the most part. I have 2 competitive cars with relatively little expense tied up in them. A guy can build (or buy) a competitive car for our series for around $5,000.

 

I think we had 35 cars registered in our series for 2016. We consistently fielded 26 cars at CTS, yet only ~16 on the dirt. That's less than half of our cars, I'm very curious to see what happens if CTS doesn't open.

Edited by TexasAggie13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That mustang was built for dirt heard he had esslinger set up /arca head .just like we have ..in tps ..so putting the high power out under the hood .they only race where the payout money takes them ... he was holding back with that motor knowing more bout the track he could have lapped the

whole field 3 or 4 times if not more .. ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is not enough expendable "entertainment" money to fully support the upper levels of asphalt stock car racing at the local level. In the premier classes, true hobbyist have been outspent by the well-funded semi-pro teams. The old saying, "Racing is expensive - how fast do you want to go?" is certainly true these days in those top divisions.

 

Frankly, whatever purse is paid to those few well-heeled upper level class teams at local asphalt tracks is simply a drop in the bucket compared to what it costs to acquire top-of-the-line engines, the latest trick shocks, rigs longer than some parades, monumental travel expenses, paid crew members, etc. That leaves the true hobbyist running for 5th a $200 check (maybe) from the track while the big purse money goes to those teams with budgets big enough to fund an Obama vacation.

 

And if you look at the track's books, it is obvious that purse money is a major part of the recurring expenses.

 

Not saying this is a good idea, but what if tracks stopped paying purse money, stopped putting big bucks into advertising in hopes of attracting a couple hundred spectators (in other words, cut some major expenses) and started charging those of us who claim this hobby as our own a significant entry fee every time we raced (in other words, added some much needed revenue to their bottom line.)?

 

While many race teams would howl up a storm and threaten to (or actually) boycott, at least the existing (failing) model would be replaced with a model that makes at least some economic sense.

 

I know this is not what most of us want to hear, but at some point reality has to hit us in the face, if not sooner, then later...

 

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my class suggestion for CTS for 5 classes I dropped the SLM'S. I think they could get by without SLM and PM and have the top class limited mod or Street. I used to wonder why dirt tracks always have $2000-5000 to win races darn near every other week it seems. I finally figured it out.(I know I'm slow!). There are not enough asphalt racers anymore to do that kind of thing.Therefore the track cannot be expected to do it knowing they won't get the response needed to be successful. Most dirt tracks that pay big can usually count on 50 or more for$5000 depending on the area. $100 entry fee you have covered first place.Add $40 per pit pass and you got the rest.The top asphalt could get in any class would be around 30. I agree , Nick, CTS probably can't afford the top classes.I'd rather drop them altogether than go the drag strip approach.You would lose 22-25 cars but could gain most of that back adding a dropped class. Street Stock down provides better racing,less single file,the kind fans like to watch. I really hope CTS continues. We tried to make a few last year rained twice on the Sat. and the time we made it was the day of the flood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

arob go buy cts ;) ...as for spending money just to race for a 5 dollar trophy .not me I hated trophy dashes for the most parts .......when we race it isn't just for the money but that money we do win may and some time helps offset what we may spend and yes many times that paid our pit pass the next race or made it easier on our pocket book in some shape or form .that in turn helps the track keep us running . I know there are some of you will say if you cant afford it don't race ..well that's just one less car out of maybe ten behind you that will have to park it ..I play the lotto and I expect to win on the odds and do .if I knew I was buying a 5dallor ticket knowing the most it will pay back is 2 dollars I wont play yet I know the chances of me hitting the big one is darn near impossible .I am not worried bout that big one ..just win enough to play again and again for the fun of it .racing is some way like the lotto .its a gamble with lotto and racing I take . no chance of winning anything back but a trophy is not for me ..I want all tracks to make a profit they have too to stay alive .but it is not my duty to make them rich ...you want me to bring a car you gotta pay something ......

Edited by HiTech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my class suggestion for CTS for 5 classes I dropped the SLM'S. I think they could get by without SLM and PM and have the top class limited mod or Street. I used to wonder why dirt tracks always have $2000-5000 to win races darn near every other week it seems. I finally figured it out.(I know I'm slow!). There are not enough asphalt racers anymore to do that kind of thing.Therefore the track cannot be expected to do it knowing they won't get the response needed to be successful. Most dirt tracks that pay big can usually count on 50 or more for$5000 depending on the area. $100 entry fee you have covered first place.Add $40 per pit pass and you got the rest.The top asphalt could get in any class would be around 30. I agree , Nick, CTS probably can't afford the top classes.I'd rather drop them altogether than go the drag strip approach.You would lose 22-25 cars but could gain most of that back adding a dropped class. Street Stock down provides better racing,less single file,the kind fans like to watch. I really hope CTS continues. We tried to make a few last year rained twice on the Sat. and the time we made it was the day of the flood.

Who wants hire this guy as the promoter for every track in Texas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nah arob you just make us laugh and shake our heads .. oh Joshua any track that wants to run with no payout would love arob . but my bet would be arob would be the only person making money the track owners would be the losers .. no cars ..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 2 cents worth and if you don't like it give me change back.

 

I have been a race fan so far back that Pop and I used to listen to Daytona, Talladega, and Indy 500 on the radio and looked forward to the taped broadcast weeks later.

My favorite Grand National drivers were Tim Richmond and DW and I always rooted for the TX guys.

 

On a whim back about 2002 or 2003 I dropped in at THR.

I had driven go carts at the arcade at the entrance but just figured the track ran a bunch of jalopies.

That night the Romco PLMs were the touring show and the local classes were Thunder stocks, Super stocks and Grand stocks.

The Grand stocks then did not run for points, nor did they throw yellows.

I think they were used for the drivers to release some steam or give payback from the points classes.

Man were they a hoot. and after seeing the Romco guys (I told my wife "They had REAL race cars") I was hooked.

I ended up with season tickets for 8 or 9 years and Mom went to a lot of races with me.

We sat a few rows up, 1 or 2 sections from the turn 4 wall.

 

The local drivers were the heroes and having the touring series just added excitement as you did not see them often.

 

The touring series back then were Romco PLMs, TSRS Super LM, TAMS, TPS and Dwarfs.

Not sure when the race trucks started there.

 

There were the 3 local classes and 1 or 2 traveling series each week or 2.

We were on the way home by 10 or 10:30 most nights.

 

Over the years as more classes were added, we were lucky to be leaving before Sunday.

Mom went less and less but I stuck it out.

I moved from Texas before the start of the 2012 season

 

 

At this point I need to say I am a race fan, NOT a wreck fan. I hate yellows when I am at the track. I respected THR's all involved rule so drivers learned to race each other instead of driving through each other.

 

I realize that with only 1 or 2 asphalt tracks operating that big time touring series are a thing of the past.

I echo the sentiment that fewer classes are better for the fans.

 

Thanks for allowing me some happy memories.

 

Skipper Flowers

Edited by skipperf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The simple truth of what has needed to happen for years is that local racing needs to cut the cost. It has become way out of touch with reality and needs to get the local driver's cost down. Fans want to see fast looking cars - Drivers want to be able to afford it. Put an outlaw body on a hobby stock and they won't know the difference but it sure would cut the cost for the driver. You will have one heck of a car count and a better show for the fans and then begin to build more of a fan base to fill the stands.

 

If you are going to have 10 classes, pick 3 as your weekly schedule and alternate weekends for the others as a highlighted series. Make the 3 weekly classes your cost effective classes and build car counts. As much as we love them, PM and PLM are just not cost effective for most weekly local drivers. Keep those for highlighted feature weekends as a special show.

 

Cut cost = more cars = better show = more fans.

 

Ja

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your basic idea is valid, Ja. Bringing local stock car racing back down to the hobby status it once enjoyed seems like a step that just might help save the sport - at least at the local level.

 

For example, NASA (National Auto Sport Association) has enjoyed tremendous success on the asphalt road courses nationwide. They pay zero purse money and they charge fairly hefty entry / membership fees to provide professional race officiating, organization and administration. Similar in some ways to the SCCA business model. They fill the pits every time they hold an event at Texas World Speedway, Motorsports Ranch in Houston and other road courses. This seems to work for the hobbyist. NASA has a Mustang class, Camaro class, a Mustang/Camaro Challenge class, open wheel classes (mostly roadsters), a huge Miata class, a number of Corvettes, a few asphalt modifieds, a former Super Late Model or two, a few Legacys, several different varieties of formula-type cars, a good number of purpose built sport cars and a fair representation of exotic cars like Lamborghini, Porsche, Cobra, etc.

 

Just saying it seems to work for NASA and their hobbyists. Why not adopt a similar business model for oval tracks?

 

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to say it but you can be cost effective all you want but racers are still going to spend money in a non cost effective way. Racers are the ones that price themselves out of the market not the tracks. Remember when the pro late models were supposed to be the cost effective class. They had GM crate engines that were "sealed". Then a rebuilder found more horsepower by changing valve springs and some other things. So then you bought a crate motor from GM then send it off to a "certified" rebuilder and spend another couple thousand dollars to be competitive because if you stayed stock you just ran in the back. Tell racers they have a tire rule and they go spend more money on shocks. Make a shock rule and someone will come up with the next latest and greatest thing that will make the racers spend more money. Hell look at CTS Super Stock, there's some cars in that class that might as well be PLM's for as much money is in the racecar. There's always going to be that one driver that out spends everyone in the class, and once that person starts winning then people are going to have to have the same things he does to be competitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your basic idea is valid, Ja. Bringing local stock car racing back down to the hobby status it once enjoyed seems like a step that just might help save the sport - at least at the local level.

 

For example, NASA (National Auto Sport Association) has enjoyed tremendous success on the asphalt road courses nationwide. They pay zero purse money and they charge fairly hefty entry / membership fees to provide professional race officiating, organization and administration. Similar in some ways to the SCCA business model. They fill the pits every time they hold an event at Texas World Speedway, Motorsports Ranch in Houston and other road courses. This seems to work for the hobbyist. NASA has a Mustang class, Camaro class, a Mustang/Camaro Challenge class, open wheel classes (mostly roadsters), a huge Miata class, a number of Corvettes, a few asphalt modifieds, a former Super Late Model or two, a few Legacys, several different varieties of formula-type cars, a good number of purpose built sport cars and a fair representation of exotic cars like Lamborghini, Porsche, Cobra, etc.

 

Just saying it seems to work for NASA and their hobbyists. Why not adopt a similar business model for oval tracks?

 

Nick

 

This sounds an awful lot like the business model I’ve seen used often by dirt tracks that go out of business quickly. The distinguishing feature is that the fan experience is an afterthought. Essentially the management (I won’t call them promoters because that would be an obvious misnomer) just lets the word out to the racing community when there will be an event. They usually tell what classes will be running, but that is often subject to change. Sometimes you really have to be connected to know what will actually run.

 

The racing program is informal, it starts whenever it starts, it ends whenever it ends. Little business attention is given to the fan side of the equation. Some nominal restroom, food and announcing facilities are made, but the overall experience is not of a deliberately designed entertainment event (such as one you would bring your family to), but more of having accidently stumbled into a group of friends racing in an abandoned field. Since the experience is not fan oriented, the fans don’t come, and the enterprise is essentially funded by the racers. Naturally, the racers don’t feel they are getting what they paid for either, so their participation lags and the track goes out of business.

 

HMP and CTS have been notable exceptions, at least by appearances. From a fan perspective, their events feel like they deserve your admission price. Certainly the stands have been full, and equally obviously the tracks have put some effort into getting them. If the last seasons of those venues were not actually successful, I don’t know what to suggest, but surely the answer is more in that direction than the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some racers spend the money to cover their lack of talent and or knowledge ..could it be I was in that category ..I like to know how many racers would admit to that cuz I sure know a ton of em ..

Edited by HiTech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Racers are the ones that price themselves out of the market not the tracks. Remember when the pro late models were supposed to be the cost effective class. They had GM crate engines that were "sealed". Then a rebuilder found more horsepower by changing valve springs and some other things. So then you bought a crate motor from GM then send it off to a "certified" rebuilder and spend another couple thousand dollars to be competitive because if you stayed stock you just ran in the back. Tell racers they have a tire rule and they go spend more money on shocks. Make a shock rule and someone will come up with the next latest and greatest thing that will make the racers spend more money.

 

post-3-0-94093400-1484705305_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to say it but you can be cost effective all you want but racers are still going to spend money in a non cost effective way. Racers are the ones that price themselves out of the market not the tracks. Remember when the pro late models were supposed to be the cost effective class. They had GM crate engines that were "sealed". Then a rebuilder found more horsepower by changing valve springs and some other things. So then you bought a crate motor from GM then send it off to a "certified" rebuilder and spend another couple thousand dollars to be competitive because if you stayed stock you just ran in the back. Tell racers they have a tire rule and they go spend more money on shocks. Make a shock rule and someone will come up with the next latest and greatest thing that will make the racers spend more money. Hell look at CTS Super Stock, there's some cars in that class that might as well be PLM's for as much money is in the racecar. There's always going to be that one driver that out spends everyone in the class, and once that person starts winning then people are going to have to have the same things he does to be competitive.

 

That's been the history for as long as I can remember, Josh. I'm just looking for common-sense ways to stop the bleeding even if it means significant change. What we have been doing for the past 50 years just plain is not working any more.

 

Nick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Racing, fishing, hunting, gambling etc are not meant to be cost effective. You can go to the Southeast or East coast and find hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of rigs lined up running these weekly series. The economy is much better here than it is there. They are a little more passionate and business like about it. Drive around Austin and look at the million dollar homes being built, sure cant blame it on the economy. The cash is there, you just have to put the effort in getting some of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dunno, I just seen a track that runs approx 18 - 24 prolates for 17 nights last year. Talked to some of em, they seem pretty happy with their place. Granted no track or management is perfect but they seem to be on the ball. Fyi, they run 4 classes a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know we keep bringing up the number of classes run per night deal. Yes CTS runs the large number of classes compared to other tracks across the country but they do have a valid reason for doing it. When CTS opened you had 6 paved tracks in Texas, (Longhorn, San Antonio, Houston, Corpus, and Wichita Falls. Each of those tracks at that time were running 4 to 5 classes and had the touring series. As tracks started closing other tracks did there best to absorb and accommodate the cars from the tracks that closed. In turn you had tracks that had not like rules so rules had to be adjusted to accommodate the cars coming in. Then you had series that shuttered and the same thing happened again, lets make classes for these guys so they can still race. Now your down to one track that is trying to make it work for everyone. I think part of the problem with the costs of everything was started 10-15 years ago when you had all the separate tracks but they all couldn't get on the same ground about rules because the tracks didn't want to lose their racers to another track. A street stock back then at THR, SAS, HMP, CCS were all different. When you had Oktoberfast at SAS you could conform to SAS rules or stick to your tracks rules with weight breaks or penalties. Some of the tracks started working together on rules and schedules to increase car counts at the racers requests, then only had a handful of drivers take advantage of that and travel to the other tracks. Remember when CTS and HMP and basically identical classes, Trucks, PLM and MOD. There would 15 to 20 PLM at Houston and two weeks later at CTS there would be 6 or 7. Then go back to Houston 2 weeks later and the class is back up to 15 to 20. Same thing would happen to mods and trucks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my opinion but I don't think it'll work until we get rid of these expensive race engine and I think if we don't go to LT small block you buy for 1500 with computer control they turn 7000 RPM all day used and make over 300 horsepower and can be checked with a plugged in scanner to see if there's any cheating then but until we get modern and quit using 60 year old Motors that we have to pay $6,000 to race minimum not looking good for the average guy be able to race much longer

Edited by sam71

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my opinion but I don't think it'll work until we get rid of these expensive race engine and I think if we don't go to LT small block you buy for 1500 with computer control they turn 7000 RPM all day used and make over 300 horsepower and can be checked with a plugged in scanner to see if there's any cheating then but until we get modern and quit using 60 year old Motors that we have to pay $6,000 to race minimum not looking good for the average guy be able to race much longer

A low cost spec engine to reduce high priced race engine costs. Now where did I hear that before? Oh ya, i think its called a crate engine. And now look at this low cost racing. 10K - 15K engines. Hell just a few more thousand and your back to super late model engines. While i understand your point, the comment was made earlier that racers will spend way more then they should one way or another. Trying to make rules to keep them from doing so has and will never work. If a racer bitches because the cost of class A is too high then they should race a cheaper one that fits their budget. You cant make a class based on the racers budget because every one has a different amount of capitol. Me personally i like the built motor option because i could piece together an engine over time in my garage. But thats just me (and now I have a crate, ironic). There really is no one sure fire answer to all of this. But i do suggest that for those that are serious about making racing in Texas work, go to another state to a known successful track and look at how thing work. Watch the races, tech, look at the stands, watch the scheduling, as many aspects of it as you can take in, then compare to what you have BEEN doing and then see if you dont have ideas of what you can do to make an improvement. Just my 2 cents folks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt


×