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Nearly all Texas asphalt short tracks are gone

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NEARLY ALL TEXAS ASPHALT SHORT TRACKS ARE GONE

by Neil Upchurch

My name is Neil Upchurch. Having been involved in auto racing for most of my 85 years and since I moved back to my home state of Texas in 1968, Ive been closely involved in Texas auto racing for the past 50 years.

Frankly, Id rather go to the dentist than engage in all the research and preparation necessary to write an article like this. Regretfully, this will read more like an obituary since it highlights the last of the deceased Texas tracks.

I am pleased to post it for readers on: www.lonestarspeedzone.com www.lonestarspeedzone.com

The article is also available with several historic supporting photos on: www.texasprosedans.comwww.texasprosedans.com

To all the folks who have been closely involved in auto racing this is a memorial about Texas and Southwest asphalt motorsports, a sport which is essentially gone, but not entirely forgotten because many Texas racers have dedicated themselves to their sport in so many ways. They spent their money, their hard work product and their completely involved skills necessary to support racing on Texas asphalt tracks.

We regret all the money, time and work spent by car owners, drivers and crews and the support of loyal spectators. We also regret all the efforts and funds gambled and lost by the track operators (sometimes called promoters) for which most eventually came up snake eyes. It has been asphalt short track racings version of craps. Even though we all sincerely regret it, but wasnt it fun at the below listed area asphalt tracks?

This is a list and story of the some of the closed or nearly closed Texas and southwest asphalt tracks

Meyer Speedway, Houston (1/2 mile) - Started in 1959 and had one NASCAR Cup event in 1971 which included Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, James Hylton, Ronnie Chumley driving for H.B. Bailey, Tony Bettenhausen Jr. and Walter Ballard and Jerry Schild in a 300 lap night race which paid winner Bobby Allison only $2,000 in those days. It was promoted by Ed Hamblen and Bill France Sr. Later track history witnessed encroaching residential and commercial properties in Houston near Meyer Speedway at the intersection of South Main at Hillcroft. The track was closed in 1979 and subsequently demolished).

Lubbock Speedway (1/4 mile) - The present track owner removed the asphalt in 1978. It was changed to a dirt track and was renamed Arena Park Speedway. In 2017 it was renamed again as West Texas Raceway and is still a dirt track).

Southwest Speedway aka Airport Speedway, Amarillo (1/4 mile) - Due to low spectator attendance and diminishing car counts, the track permanently closed in 1989).

Pan American Speedway San Antonio (1/4 mile) - The track opened in 1965. Ricci Ware took over promotional operations in 1966. He permanently closed his popular northeast track in 1978 while facing a driver boycott. Then the start-up of a brand new high banked half mile track 15 miles south of town and initially known as Hi Way 16 Raceway created unexpected business competition. In addition, encroaching residential properties near Pan American Speedway and diminishing car counts due to the boycott were among the reasons he permanently ceased racing operations).

Twin Cities Speedway, Midland/Odessa (1/4 mile) - Following their ownership of Odessa Speedbowl which was active from 1959 to 1986. John Foster and John David Sr. formed a partnership and constructed the well-built west Texas facility in 1987. One All Pro race was held at the track. The TIDA Late Model Series usually visited three times a year. Both touring series attracted large spectator attendances. A continuing depression in the vital oil industry was felt by many business operations including the track which eventually forced closure. It was sold to a neighboring business which cleared the property for Big-Tex trailer manufacturing and storage.

Sooner International Raceway, Altus, Oklahoma (1/2 mile) - An outstanding high banked track was built without walls except on the grandstand straight-a-way. Altus is small town very near the Texas border. It was close enough to be considered a Texas track. There were two tracks. A quarter mile asphalt track known as Altus Speedway was just across the highway from Sooner International Raceway. AS ceased operation to avoid direct competition with SIR. The local market was unable to support both tracts. The half mile SIR track also shut down and was flooded by rain water. The owners of Altus Speedway purchased Sooner International Raceway to avoid future competition and later reopened the half mile track as a better venue on which to conduct major events such as TIDA Late Model Series races. The nearby airport eventually purchased the land. Sooner Intl was leveled in order to provide safer takeoff and landing zones.

Texas World Speedway, College Station - The Texas Race of Champions and Texas Grand Prix was run on the 1.9 mile road course and 1/1/2 mile infield oval. Some national names that raced in the Texas Race of Champions included Terry and Bobby Labonte, Bobby, Davey and Clifford Allison, H.B. Bailey, David Starr and standout road racing star driver Tommy Riggins. Also, state short track Texas stars Ed Sczech, Jimmy Finger, Freddy Fryar, Slick Yoemans, H.B bailey, John Newlin, Howard Willis III, Leroy Farmer, Tommy Grimes, David Starr, Rick Rapp, David Umscheid, and NHRA Funny Car and Pro Stock driver Johnny Gray competed in TROC road races. The Texas Grand Prix was held in the fall. Both races routinely drew fields of more than 55 short track late models and another 100 support class competing cars. The two most anticipated racing events in Texas were conducted over a 20 year period which started in 1976 and ceased in 1996. TWSs days are numbered as it is expected become a large residential community.

San Antonio Speedway (1/2 mile) - A group of 30 investors formed and quickly built the high banked track which opened in late 1977. A seven race season was conducted. The track champion was a young driver from Corpus Christi, Terry Labonte. The track was initially known as Hi Way 16 Raceway, but through the years, frequently changed names when lease holders and management changed. During the off and on again managements and seasons two celebrity promotions by owner Frank Howell presented NASCAR drivers in races won by Terry Labonte and Jimmy Spencer. The line ups included Harry Gant, Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip, Ernie Irvin, Rusty Wallace, Kenny Wallace, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnet, Eddie Bierschwale and Derrick Cope. Special events included a 7 All Pro Series races organized by Bob Harmon. 30 TIDA Late Model Series races were run by TIDA Founder Neil Upchurch and officiated by his crew. Both series created full spectator capacities in the 5,000 seat grandstand. In 2007 and under its last name as San Antonio Speedway, the city of San Antonio Extra Territorial public safety standards extended to the track and superseded Bexar county laws. Costly repair estimates dictated by city regulations exceeded the current lease holder Terry Dickersons budget.

He called a drivers meeting after only a two weeks of a season and announced SAS was closed. Finally, in 2012 Unique Track Solutions headed by Brian Bohlen and Chris Saathoff leased the track from the Lillian Reeh estate, cut high grass and weeds, made several much needed repairs and ran five races using generator lights, concession food trucks and portable toilets. The first race drew a huge turnout but experienced declining cars counts and spectator ticket sales at the next four races. In 2013 Brian Bohlen announced that San Antonio Speedway was closed again. Since 2013 the fastest short track oval in Texas has again permanently remained unmaintained and without the sounds of racing engines.

It remains silent, except for the howl of a Texas Coyote or the occasional rattle of a snake.

Red River Speedway, Wichita Falls (1/4 mile) - The track originally opened in 1974 as the Pleasant Valley Speedway. It had sporadic runs over the years under different promoters. After several changes in ownership and managers, one last ownership group made major asphalt improvements to the pits and service roads, but spectator success didnt happen. The track no longer races on asphalt. New owners plowed it up and removed the asphalt and changed it into a red clay track in the summer of 2014).

Longhorn Speedway, aka Austin Speed-O-Rama (1/4 mile) - Austin Speed-O-Rama opened in 1960. The track was built by the Father/Son team of A.B. and Louis Wusterhausen. The track counts among its competitors A.J. Foyt in Midgets, Bobby Allison competed in an AMC, Texas and Southeast Legend Wayne Niedecken in the Modified tour. Jack Bowsher, Charlie Glotzbach and Dick Hutcherson all won ARCA Stock Car races at the track. ARCA and USAC Stock Car standouts Ernie Derr and Ramo Stott raced at Speed-O-Rama. Well known Texas drivers who came to Longhorn Speedway and competed and won titles included Late Model track champions: Temple Texas legend Modified driver Bill White who won the LM Championship in 1973, Glen Schwabe in 1974, Freddy Fryar in 1978 & 1979 won the Late Model trophy with Slick Yoemans earning the title in 1981 & 1982. Steve Klestinec won the 1976 & 1977 Limited Sportsman title. Other well-known and winning LM drivers included Jimmy Finger, David Umscheid and Leroy Brooks. Retired driver Jake Wallace served a term as track manager in conjunction with the Capitol Area Racing Association for several years. They were succeeded by former Austin drivers Alvin Stewart and David Trueper who renamed the quarter mile track Longhorn Speedway and served as promoters for ten years. The track hosted Twenty Seven various length TIDA-LM races. The final TIDA Late Model Series race was won by John David Jr of Odessa on October 4, 1997. When Stewart learned of the construction of Thunder Hill Raceway in nearby Kyle, Texas, he determined it was time to return to the drivers seat of his race car. Various people like Sam Hill and later the Chambers family signed leases with then owner Maxine Kissman and tried their hand a track promotion. The gates finally closed for the last time in 2001.

Thunderhill Raceway, aka Central Texas Speedway, Kyle, TX (3/8 mile) - THR opened its doors April 18, 1998 to a capacity crowd and was the first new race track in the Austin area since Austin Speed-O-Rama opened in 1960. The track was the product of the initial track operator Brian Callaway. Callaway designed THR after he travelled the country as the owner of short track race car. THR was the result of the tracks which impressed him during his travels. The sweeping curved front straightaway and a front straightaway-only retaining wall were new concepts at that time. Jim Lynch became his business partner. Lynch, a longtime business owner in Cedar Park, shared the successful business concept with Callaway who operated several Austin car wash locations. Special events included several by the present F 1 race promoter at Mexico City, Tavo Hellmund. He promoted NASCAR West Series events from 2006-2009 which drew sell-out crowds and USAC Midget races. NASCAR drivers appeared in non-competitive races, Terry LaBonte at THR and Martin Truex Jr. at CTS. There were two "Texas Big Shot 250" Super Late Model events held in 2000-2001 that drew the biggest names in late model U.S. racing. The races were won by Chris Davidson and Wayne Anderson. In the mid 2000's Mary Ann Naumann became track GM and later took over as primary leaseholder operating many successful years, until the end of the 2012 race season. Tim Self obtained the lease and changed the name to Central Texas Speedway from 2013 through the final event held at the speedway on November 12, 2016. He vacated his lease in late 2016. Hundreds of car owners and drivers who had loyally supported CTS were left on jack stands without a Texas asphalt track upon which to race. In a May 3, 2017 front page story in the HAYS FREE PRESS NEWS DISPATCH by Moses Leos III, he quotes the owner of the CTS property Rick Coleman, Tim Self came to him and gave up his lease 15 months before it expired. Coleman said he didnt seek another suitor, as he feared the legal liability a racetrack presents. Land owner Rick Coleman ordered the Central Texas Speedway portion of the facility demolished.

 

Note: The Texas Pro Sedans 4 Cylinder Stock Car Series completed 41 years and over 600 races across Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico. TPS suspended all 2017 racing when TPS ran out of tracks after Central Texas Speedway closed in late 2016.

Corpus Christi Speedway (1/4 mile) - CC Speedway was cut out of a corn field by Bill Carlock and became a flat ¼ mile dirt track that featured racing starting in 1945. It is the oldest track in Texas. Shorty Rollins was the first Corpus Christi driver to make it to the national stage. He won the NASCAR Rookie of the Year title in 1958. He also won a NASCAR National Convertible Race in 1959. Track owner Dick Lundstrom held a race called The Fabulous 500. It was actually 500 laps on the quarter-mile track. Cars came from as far away as California for the $5,000 to-win event. 33 cars entered and were started three-a-breast just like the Indianapolis 500. The track operated under a different name when different leases came on and off the scene. The track was known as Speedway Park in 1983 & 1984. It returned to be known as CC Speedway in 1985. When Bob Harmons All-Pro national touring series came to town in 1984, they ran two 125 lap events called The Twin 125s. The first race went green for the first 87 laps with 28 All Pro Late Models on track. On the grid were local favorites Slick Yoemans, Rick Rapp and Terry Labonte plus Front Row Joe Nemecek and many more national stars and cars. The All Pro winners were Gary Balough from Florida and The Beaumont Flyer Freddy Fryar. In later years Terry and Bobby Labonte were other CC area drivers to make racing their appearance on the national stage and win the NASCAR championships. Other famous CC area racers at CCS include Slick Yoemans, Rick Rapp, Dub Rollins and James Mikulencak. A few other drivers who everyone knew were A. J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Lloyd Ruby, Greg and Chris Davidson and John Kelly. The current track owner Dan Monroe ceased operations after the final CCS race was held on November 8, 2015. Results records indicate that no CCS races were run in 2016. Local drivers believe that races are not scheduled in 2017 when Dan Monroe posted that the CCS grounds have been rented to a bridge contractor who is constructing a billion dollar bridge in Corpus Christi during the next five years. This is not a good sign Race Fans!

Houston Motorsports Park (3/8 mile) Track owners are Graham Baker and his brother David Baker. The oval track has been closed for two seasons. The Bakers shared the following update: HMP was rented for six practice sessions by longtime Houston car owner Raymond De La Houssaye to sustain his project and determine if enough short track asphalt oval cars are race ready. Following a few practice sessions, a rental agreement was reached that includes two series races. The first was held July 8th with a large grandstand attendance. The second race is scheduled on September 23, 2017. The series is known as the Texas Asphalt Racing Series at Houston Motorsports Park. According to the Bakers, if the two races are successful, Raymond intends to schedule a full season in 2018 and beyond. Raymond De La Houssaye said, with over 100 registered in the primary four classes, Modifieds, Pro Late Models, Trucks and Super Stocks, I am prepared to have six to ten races in 2018. HMP is well-built oval and facility and is located in the largest Texas market of more than 5 million. It may be the last chance to save asphalt oval racing in Texas.

To learn more about Texas Asphalt Racing Series at Houston Motorsports Park, log on their new website at www.texasasphaltracingseries.comhttp://www.texasasphaltracingseries.com[/url]


So there you have it. The history of short track asphalt racing in the great Lone Star state of Texas has had some success, but has met many challenges and has made some business mistakes in the past 60 years. In too many instances, frequent changes and questionable track management has participated in some of the challenges while some of the mistakes were management missteps. Bad breaks, such as weather, were nearly always unpredictable. Promotional programs were Infrequent, cost much energy and lost a lot of paid advertising money and promotion energy.

Race cars are an uncontrolled asset by any track or the race organizer. Car counts are the inventory which is for sale to the spectators. Car count in the pits is usually unpredictable. Any local track is a marketing gamble.

The main problem for Texas local racing since the early 1950s has been a significant and frequent changes in the variety of entertainment opportunities which are available for public selection.

Before television existed, short track local racing was a good place to go for Saturday night entertainment. Most Texas markets had not yet received major league sports. Tracks operated without much ticket sales competition in those days. Local newspapers accepted automobile racing as a legitimate sport and gave most tracks appropriate and needed promotion. Media coverage reduced as spectator and car counts grew smaller.

For race car owners, auto parts to build and repair race cars were available at a bargain prices at the local auto parts store and were practically free if the racer knew the owner of a junk yard. A sponsorship trade out deal could be secured by painting the companys name on the car in exchange for free or low cost parts. That sort or sponsor arrangement became less likely because the sponsor knows fewer spectators will see his signage.

As if the above reasons were not enough, consider the growth of television and the wall to wall telecast of every motor sports event which is available today on FREE TV. Major league racing, NASCAR, F 1 and IRL are all on TV and you dont even have to travel to the track or purchase a ticket. TV viewers can see all races from the air-conditioned comfort of their homes. To make matters worse, NASCAR invaded local track racing with a lot of Saturday night live TV coverage of NASCAR cup races. Many local tracks dont even try to compete. They just turn off track lights. What a good deal for the spectator What a bad deal for the local asphalt track.

Entertainment values and habits have changed. Times and technology has changed almost everything. Local Saturday night auto race tracks have come to the end of providing wanted entertainment. They are no longer a viable business. Just compare the Ringling Brothers circus which recently closed after touring 146 years because it is no longer a viable business.

Thank you for reading my article about Texas asphalt short track racing history. I am proud to have been a part of Texas racing and to have written about it and posted this piece of Texas short track asphalt racing history for your study and consideration. It is unlikely that we shall travel this road again.

NEARLY ALL TEXAS ASPHALT SHORT TRACKS ARE GONE - Was written by - Neil Upchurch
Founder Texas International Drivers Association Late Model Series (TIDA 10 years)
Founder Texas Pro Sedans 4 Cylinder Stock Car Series (TPS 41 years)
Texas World Speedway Race Director Texas Race of Champions (20 years)
PA Announcer at 5 Southwest Asphalt Race Tracks (20 years)
Race Car Driver (20 years)

Following is a list of some very qualified people who helped me in the researching and providing material for this article:

Thomas "Tex-Tom" Taylor The entire Texas Racing Scene
Mike Haag San Antonio Speedway and Texas Racing notes via the San Antonio Express News
Russ Martin Corpus Christi Speedway & TIDA-LM Series PA Announcer
David Umscheid Austin Speed-O-Rama, Longhorn Speedway & TIDA-LM driver
Rodney Rodriguez Central Texas Speedway & Thunder Hill Raceway PA Announcer
Debbie Williams Houston Motorsports Park race coordinator & official
Cotton Sherland San Antonio Speedway & Texas Race of Champions at Texas World Speedway race official

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Great article; we where in Houston this weekend and it was sobering to think about how many tracks used to run there regularly that are gone now.

 

I would like to point out a couple of things; the owners of CCS have publicly stated that it is their intentions to use the harbor bridge money to modernize and upgrade then reopen CCS. SAS is also far from a lost cause, there are multiple efforts underway to reopen it.

 

The mistake tracks made was allowing racing to be stolen from the middle class; if the average family or young man can't compete in a lower level class to learn the sport there's no hope for the next levels. There are promoters in Texas that understand that NOW and understand the importance of marketing to the middle class it's just a matter of allowing it to work.

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Hi Mr Upchurch.....that was a GREAT article and I am appreciative of your time to research and write it along with the contributors.

I am curious about the reason for the drivers boycott of Pan Am Speedway and why this occurred. I didn't get to Texas until 1988 so I am unaware of this

or why it occurred...no other reason. Thanks again for the terrific article and history lesson.

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I grew up going to twin cities between Midland and Odessa.. that's where my love for oval track racing began.. my favorite thing there was the spectator races ( this was in the 90s ) my father was a drag racer and I recall his friends with drag cars going out and doing the spectator races. It was hilarious and extremely entertaining to see drag cars with a big slick on the right front and some camber changes.. I loved watching them hit the nitrous down the straights but have no clue what to do with the turn. I remember there was a guy ( I think his name was eddie) he had a 67 to 72 Chevy C10 that kind of looked like a lowrider.. had a Buick or olds 455 in it. He won the spectator races a lot .. truck was purple or dark blue..said slow poke on the tailgate. My dad worked for a guy named Marshall Stroop. He owned Bevmar Transmissions in Midland. The last time I went to Twin cities there was maybe only 15 cars total that showed up this was around 1995 to 1998 not positive.. I was still a kid. Anyway Marshall was a big guy.. capable of enforcing his will.. I believe drivers were boycotting the track and Marshall started a stand off with the owner to get the spectators there money back. I believe it closed after that because we never went back. I will never forget this place.

Edited by dy97

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Hello readers of my article. I spent a lot of time working on the NSSN article to make sure it was journalistically correct. I will attempt to answer your remarks on questions here.

Before I do, the entire article, with many photos to illustrate the findings along with our contributors is posted and available by logging onto www.texasprosedans.com www.texasprosedans.com and clicking on the first menu item “NEARLY ALL TEXAS ASPHALT SHORT TRACKS ARE GONE”.

Regarding the posting by FSAERacer … Thanks for your appreciation of my article. You correctly wrote; “the owners of CCS have publicly stated that it is their intentions to use the harbor bridge money to modernize and upgrade and then reopen CCS”. I read the same post and I also hope CCS is reopened. A lot of Texas racing history resides at that ¼ mile Corpus Christi Speedway track on 241 Flato Road. However, I understand from TX Dot the new Harbor Bridge construction project in Corpus Christi is a five year undertaking and so is the five year lease use of the CCS property. Their occupancy is to produce hundreds and hundreds of tons of concrete to build the new bridge. Not very many tracks I’ve known who closed for a lot less than five years were able to reestablish their car counts and spectator attendance and therefore show a profit.
Your other comment, “SAS is also far from a lost cause, there are multiple efforts underway to reopen it”. A lot of good luck and much money would have to be poured into reopening of SAS. I worked at Highway 16 Raceway prior to the original track opening in 1977. I organized, promoted and ran a large number of TIDA Late Model Series and Texas Pro Sedans races at SAS and for several years did all the promotional work and advertising production for Don Bierschwale and later Joe Horne who ran the track in those days. I hope you are correct but I wouldn’t bet very much on your ambitious prediction.

From King237“Hi Mr. Upchurch.....that was a GREAT article and I am appreciative of your time to research and write it along with the contributors”. The article was a labor of love by me and the contributors I credited at the bottom of the article. I spent more than two months on it and I very much appreciate your understanding of our efforts. You also commented … “I am curious about the reason for the driver’s boycott of Pan Am Speedway and why this occurred”. I was working as the pace car driver at Pan American Speedway when the boycott happened. A large number of the drivers formed a driver’s association. They felt their understood purse percentage payback was being shorted. Many invested their money in shares of Highway 16 Raceway and its construction. You also wrote: “Thanks again for the terrific article and history lesson”. Thanks again for your comments.

 

dy97 … Your comment recalls the days Midland/Odessa drag racing. My article concentrates only on Oval Asphalt racing.

I appreciate you reading my piece anyhow.

Thank you - Neil Upchurch

Founder - Texas Pro Sedans and Former Administrative Director

Edited by NeilTPS

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Think FSAE hit on a very key point about economic impacts. Houston didn't even run a "Pure Stock" entry level type of class. The past few years at CTS and HMP saw the largest class being an "Eco Stock" type 4 cylinder, mostly stock class. Yes of course, fans come to see the big, fast cars but on the racer side, they typically race what they can afford. It's a big risk investing and running a high dollar operation as I'm sure you know with your TIDA experience. One thing that I've noticed from a fan's pov is asphalt racing just couldn't keep up with the financial costs vs financial reward. Maintenance and travel alone will kill your budget minded racer. Let's face it, how many late models, modified, or even your street stock type classes can be competitive with junkyard/O'Reilly type parts now. Not many arrive on open trailers and 20 year old pickup trucks now. It's not a knock on those that can afford to do so. Promoters have issues getting the large purse money together or the risk of putting big money races together for a more limited car count than before and of course, low car counts usually hurt the box office too. IMO, asphalt racing just got too pricey between maintenence, travel, parts, etc. Cars seemed to have gotten more to the point if you wreck, car is trashed. Less mechanical abilities possibly may affect that too, I'm not too sure. I grew up at CCS and SAS but have come to love dirt track racing. To me it seems on dirt, even in modifieds, you can wreck and still race. Parts seem to be easily accessible to make repairs or at least able to rig a car to still run. These are just mere observations and may not be exactly true. Also, from a fan's pov, it seems more difficult to find multiple groove racing on an asphalt surface which leads to a lot of follow the leader type racing and for the casual fan, can be perceived as boring. Of course racers and diehard fans know that is some of the lure if asphalt racing too, watching drivers set up a pass and sometimes use a bump and run technique. Not trying to start a dirt vs asphalt debate but just some things I've noticed in 35 years of going to tracks across Texas on both surfaces. All that being said, I mean no disrespect towards any driver, crew, owner, promoter, or fan and definitely respect all involved in any format of racing and especially those that took the time to write this informative article. Great piece and would love nothing more to see asphalt racing not only come back, but thrive in Texas.

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top_shelf_12 - Thanks for your post which summarized by saying: "All that being said, I mean no disrespect towards any driver, crew, owner, promoter, or fan and definitely respect all involved in any format of racing and especially those that took the time to write this informative article. Great piece and would love nothing more to see asphalt racing not only come back, but thrive in Texas".

I will summarize by self-quoting what I wrote toward the end of the article, "It is unlikely that we shall travel this road again".


Thanks - Neil

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Neil and everyone who contributed to the article.........Thank You.

 

Billy

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Neil, thank you for taking time to comment on the responses to this article.

 

My opinions on the direction racing needs to take to survive aren't just wishful thinking; if you look at the thread on the front page regarding the Lonestar 600 you will see evidence of the direction things need to go. The 600 isn't one of the most popular and well paying races in Texas because it draws high-end cars but rather because it allows a broad cross-section of cars and drivers to run.

 

Racing thrived in this country when the middle class could afford to participate and it will die if they can not; look at areas like Wisconsin, Maine or Florida where numerous tracks survive and you will see creative and inclusive classes aimed at the normal working man. Hell; Alaska has more asphalt tracks than Texas and the reasons are much the same, affordable racing. No track will survive long-term with two premier class (Mods and Latemodels) and 3 near-premier classes (Street Stocks/Outlaw Stocks/TSRS/Limited Latemodels, Trucks and Limited Modifieds) with the Grandstock, Ecostock/FrontRunner classes running for free. Brad Dixon (the guy promoting the Lonestar 600) is the kind of promoter that understands a $2k purse for a latemodel race may draw 10 cars but a $2k purse for a Grandstock race will fill the pits, that is the kind of thinking we need. Thanks for your time, your input is very valuable!

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HMP advertised $6000 to win Late Models I believe and had a dozen show up I think. Boothill just had their $7000 to win Factory Stock race and although I'm not sure of the numbers, but would bet they had more than 12, plus other tracks' car counts weren't affected to dramatically as they still had 12-20 Factory/Pure Stocks as well. Even with the rising costs in Factory/Pure Stocks, I agree 100% that a big money race for a "lower" end class will pack the pits and probably the stands too. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing Late Models, Modified, etc in big races and it can be done. USMTS, ASCS, and WoO series prove that and the successes of big show Modified and Sport Mod races across the state/country are examples. I know most are funded through sponsors and Neil alluded to that too with the expansion of other entertainment options or availability of these options from the comforts of home. It's a tricky thing for sure and none of us may have the right answer. Several have valiantly tried to sustain and grow asphalt racing, just hasn't materialized. Some issues are beyond the racing family control too, CTS for example. Full pits, full stands, yet track is gone. It looks to be a sad truth, go dirt, travel, or find something else to do. Really do hope HMP, CCS, and SAS (if possible) can grow and thrive. It wouldn't be for lack of effort if they don't and obviously there's interest, it's just a matter of finding a way to make it work for all involved.

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Fryar Fan … FSAERacer … top_shelf_12 – I very much appreciate your laudatory remarks about the article I wrote with the help of seven listed contributors at the bottom.

However, I have a comment in evaluating Texas asphalt racing to Alaska or New England and offer the following:


Comparing Texas asphalt racing to Alaska stock car racing is as inappropriate as to compare the popularity of Texas high school or college football with that sport in Alaska.

Comparing Texas asphalt racing with New England is as inappropriate as comparing the popularity of eating New England lobster with feasting on Texas catfish.

To once again use an old southwest saying, “Different strokes for different folks” is appropriate in this instance.

Btw: It was nice to read your reply post Fryar Fan.


Thank you – Neil Upchurch

Edited by NeilTPS

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