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Purse payout for T-STARS Racing at HMP

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Bobby I like the fact you're throwing an idea out there and some of the enduros are working which is similar in a way to what you're saying. My problem is the comment about the "lower" classes not bringing a good fan experience. I'll tell you the last asphalt race I saw was at CTS, the Ecos were the best, most entertaining race that evening. 6 late models that night and by lap 5 they were so spread out. Trucks only got exciting when drivers lost their cool. Entertaining for the fans but not good for the sport in the long run. Same with the streets. The lower end cars WERE the show. I grew up going to CCS primarily and several trips to SAS and Longhorn. CCS and Longhorn the best class was always your Pure Stock type class, SAS was the only place Late Models and Trucks were fun to watch as far as fan experience. Street Stocks were good, especially when the 1/4 miles made them run on street tires. Most asphalt races are hurry up, get to the bottom and follow the leader. Not much side by side racing and when there are only 5 car features, not a fun time for fans generally speaking unless they stay together and can actually have multiple grooves. Not bashing tracks or drivers, just speaking to the entertainment value as a fan. Throw a big money race together for the less expensive cars and I'll be willing to bet they show up and race harder than a big money late model race if you could even get them to show up. Kudos to anyone that tries to tackle the headache of running a track and to those drivers trying to support those tracks. If HMP goes again, I guess you guys would have to travel states away just to race, then think about those costs and racing so far away from your home shop should something go wrong. 

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Top-Shelf

I agree with much of what you say (probably all of it, actually).  I'm glad you said it, as some of it (that it is boring) is not politically correct to say about our beloved asphalt racing.  My own thought is the first five laps and last five laps are interesting.  So why do we have 75 lap races when you only want to see 10?  Because we tell ourselves that we "have to give the fan value".  If we were honest, we would own up to the fact that we are putting on boring shows and do something else.

The enduro concept is actually what I used as a guide for how certain aspects of this would work in practice.

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Speaking as a fan I'd rather see 2 or three 8 lap heat races and a 25 lap feature than one 50-75 lapper. That is what most of us grew up on .

 

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dirt racing cheaper I don't think so.if you own the track out right you might do good. if you treat the drivers and fans right! but if you rent  the track its hard to  make it work. dit or asphalt.we use to pay a pit pass.go race.now its car registration. car and driver extra.we use to get payed for heat races .no more. I don't want to get rich but not go broke.

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6 hours ago, j.j.&s.racing said:

. dirt racing cheaper I don't think so.if you own the track out right you might do good. if you treat the drivers and fans right! but if you rent  the track its hard to  make it work. dit or asphalt.we use to pay a pit pass.go race.now its car registration. car and driver extra.we use to get payed for heat races .no more. I don't want to get rich but not go broke.

still running for the same purse we had back in the 80s in some classes .car count is up in some of those classes and still get paid diddly yet the cost of lets say special build chassis .shocks and just parts over all have cost us ..I never saw the need to spend so much to have the same fun with a cheaper system .poeple want to see racing and they dont care how fast the cars are ..tracks cant charge a higher gate price to pay other classes a higher purse .but paying high price for low car count for upper class is just well you add a word .you have 25 cars in the lower class paid less than a upper class with ten cars .. i never had a problem with having upper classes .i have a problem with five or ten cars getting a large payout over a larger lower class ..

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10 hours ago, Bobby said:

I generally respect Josh's opinions, but if he thinks dirt guys don't complain about purses (even while not having the tire bills), he is very much out of the loop. 

 

Oh I know the dirt guys will complain about a purse, I just don't see it out in the open like I do with asphalt guys.  Maybe its because there is a few different choices that the dirt guys will just go run another track. Maybe I'm just not following the right people.  But wasn't their a dirt track recently who raised the purses because the racers have been coming out and supporting the track.

11 hours ago, TSRSONETWO said:

After racing for years your stating the obvious. At no point am I complaining or bashing the track I’ve apparently already done that. Thankful for what they have done however lowering the purse isn’t going to get the cars out of the barns. Hence even if it was $1000 to win still be close to the negative. You think if they cut the southern super series purse everyone would be jumping for joy? Probably not. Dirt guys don’t complain about a purse because you don’t spend 550 plus on tires every race and still have a chance to win 500. You spend $30 for a pit pass.  I can do the math if your not getting it. I don’t mind doing it it’s my preference of surface. Have been doing it for years, spent more on tires over the years than your cars worth. It’s for fun. 

Raising the purse to get cars out doesn't always work ive seen and been apart of it, the best thing to do is get with the racers and find out why they aren't coming out and running.  The track is making a business decision that helps them in the long run.  This is almost like San Antonio Speedway everyone wanted SAS back and what can we do to reopen they reopen and its sell out stands are packed pits are packed.  Ok lets run another season short season then racers don't show up and stands empty out and then its shut down.  Everyone wanted Houston open HMP is open and they show up and the select races then they give everyone a 12 race season like they wanted and car counts drop.  I've watched the results, I even asked after the first race where everyone was.

When it comes to the expense factor of a night of racing versus the purse I am very well versed in it.  We ran a sprint car for many years and trust me there is nights that we had already spent more than what we could of won before we even left the shop.  We had sponsors we had one that would give us $500 every 1/4, one that gave us $200 every 1/4 and one that gave us $500 every month.  Dry slick tracks and soft tires that sprints had could eat up some tires.  I might would get 2-3 races out of a set of rears depending on which tire it was but most likely if it was the tires that could get me to 6-8 inches of stagger they were burned up that night. Most nights we raced it paid $750 to win and you would probably get $125 from 8th to 24th.  The races that we always tried to make were the ones that paid $1000 to win because it $305 to start the feature.  We run a minisprint now and a couple weeks ago we raced at Edna it was $450 to win we made the feature and didn't finish we got $50.  That didn't even pay back the pit passes, and when it was all said and done after that race we had to purchase a new rear bumper, header, muffler, lf wheel, lf-rr-lr tire to the tune of about $1275.  Hell the Chili Bowl is one of the most prestigious races in the world and its purse is kept pretty secret but has been leaked a couple times.  The winner of the Saturday night A-Main gets $10,000 there is a rumor that during the qualifying nights you might get $100 to start the A-Main that night. Don't get me started on drag racing purses that's a whole nother animal.

In the end its racing and racing is expensive whether your running a Super Late Model or a Go Kart.  Speed cost money how fast you wanna go. The main thing is that for some us its a passion and a fun time, its a stress reliever from our 5 day work week, its time we get to spend with friends and family. So enjoy it the purse might not be what you want it to be but at least you have a playground to play on.

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Many observers feel that asphalt short track racing in the USA is on a death spiral and that the present system is unsustainable.  

Different folks have differing theories as to why this is true and I have summarized, below, four of the redcurrant themes that keep popping up when this topic is discussed.

1) Vendors who service the short track racing industry seem to be the only entities that consistently function as profit-making businesses. If a vendor doesn't make money, they close the doors. If they make money, they stay in business. What used to be readily available at the junkyard now costs big bucks A set of tires that would last most of the season are a thing of the past. Engine tech, shock tech, materials tech, all cost money. Pump gas will kill a racing motor. Vendors know that racers want to go fast, so they offer stuff that will indeed go fast, but at a steep price.  "Speed costs money.  How fast do you want to go?" is an old saying that is very applicable right here. 

it's no surprise that many racers complain that purses are not big enough to cover their expenses. 

2) Way too many asphalt short tracks suffer from poor track management. Sure, asphalt short tracks face ever escalating expenses while new sources of revenue are increasingly scarce, but creative, proactive track managers sees these factors as a challenges to overcome rather than insurmountable roadblocks. The less capable the track manager, the more true this becomes, and vice versa.  Granted, there are glowing success stories to the contrary, but they are few and far between.  Places like Oxford Plains Speedway and Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine are blessed with very sharp, knowledgeable leaders and continue to thrive despite the challenges.  Closer to home,  John Mandabach, who almost single-handedly pulled HMP into the black, is a good example of a competent, knowledgeable track manager.

It can be done, but one must have thick skin, clearly defined goals, tons of perseverance and a touch of verifiable insanity to be successful. Everyone you deal with will have an agenda that they are convincing you to adopt. Your three basic constituencies - fans, sponsors, competitors - have entirely different needs that you must satisfy to some degree or other. Oh, and you must also be a once-a-week restaurant manager as well. 

3) Sponsorship money is finding its way to other venues rather than to asphalt short tracks. These days almost all sponsorship money for asphalt short tracks comes from business owners who are themselves addicted to the sport or from vendors who are seeking to ingratiate themselves to the racers who compete at that track. Vendor support is most often "in kind" or in the form of small contributions to end-of-year point funds. The entertainment industry is always evolving and, obviously, asphalt short track racing has not evolved with the rest of the entertainment world. 

4) Racers have a habit of becoming their own worst enemy. While it must feel good to bash the heck out of whoever "did you wrong" on social media, unrelenting attacks on track management and staff take lead the more casual observer to believe that asphalt short track racing is filled with negativity and people with bad attitudes. Attacking race track owners/promoters/staff has become the norm on many social media platforms. Organizing boycotts after a "bad" call, bashing the track and its officials and conducting personal feuds online are just a few of the ways racers give the sport a bad name.

Along the same line, while we boast that asphalt short track racing is a family sport, fans all too often see and hear blatant unsportsmanlike behavior, brawling, vile language, obscene  gestures, etc.,  at racing events. Sure, some may think this sort of behavior is what draws fans, but I wholeheartedly disagree with that idea. 

I truly hope that asphalt short track racing - the sport that I have been directly involved with for over 50 years - can find a way to reverse the downward spiral. 

Nick

 

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On 5/4/2019 at 2:27 PM, NickHolt said:

I truly hope that asphalt short track racing - the sport that I have been directly involved with for over 50 years - can find a way to reverse the downward spiral. 

Nick

Its going to take everyone's support... fans, drivers, race track promoters and mgmt and the interest of sponsors to fix it...IMHO

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27 Super Late Models in Wisconsin for the Joe Shear Classic,  33 Super Late Models in Nashville for the North/South Shootout and 30 Super Late Models in Vegas for the SRL.    Racing is alive and doing well in many parts of the Country.   There is no reason why it cannot do well in Texas.   The economy here is on fire. 

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On 5/6/2019 at 10:02 AM, toyotatim said:

27 Super Late Models in Wisconsin for the Joe Shear Classic,  33 Super Late Models in Nashville for the North/South Shootout and 30 Super Late Models in Vegas for the SRL.    Racing is alive and doing well in many parts of the Country.   There is no reason why it cannot do well in Texas.   The economy here is on fire. 

There's no disputing that well-funded teams racing very expensive cars enjoy traveling around the country to "big" regional/national events like the ones that toyotatim cites.

But we've been discussing local tracks and local classes, not regional or national special events. 

And, I agree, today's robust economy could certainly sustain a cluster of well-managed, properly-funded asphalt short tracks in Texas. I'm ready to chip in with time and tons of experience if asked.

However, someone, or group, with ample capital must be willing to invest with little hope of immediate ROI and in spite of the spotty history of Texas asphalt short track racing over the past decade, or so. As toytotim says, there is no economy-based reason why asphalt racing can't do well in Texas

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4 hours ago, j.j.&s.racing said:

yea but I still like van Halen,iron maiden,ac/ dc, rat ect,ect

oh com

 

4 hours ago, j.j.&s.racing said:

yea but I still like van Halen,iron maiden,ac/ dc, rat ect,ect

oh come on .I thought you were a beasty boys  ,the sex pistols and blondie fan . 

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15 hours ago, HiTech said:

oh com

 

oh come on .I thought you were a beasty boys  ,the sex pistols and blondie fan . 

Wow HiTech, those bands seem to come easy to you.

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How did this thread evolve into rock bands? Nick wrote some thoughts he had and JJ&S racing ran it off the rails.

We were discussing local tracks (as we should, or we won't have one left)....JMHO

 

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So....to get back on topic....

We all know what the track needs....(1) A full time passionate track promoter (2) Racers (3)FANS!!!! (4) Of course sponsors

In our team we're going to continue to strive to keep racing alive, especially in our class...hell we have (3) cars, so we're well invested (That we own, build, fix and race ourselves). Also within our team we've been working on sourcing a class sponsor, not a track sponsor. The end goal is to get the sponsor to pay up to $1500-2000 for a Super Stock win. Then we will begin to see the beloved heat races and A-main/ B-Main races. Bottom line for me.....I'm simply tired of working on my car for weeks to only get one dam race a night.  You can expect I'm going to resolve that challenge and solid sponsors are what is going to help. 

In regards to Bobby's thought on the bracket racing format, I support it. It's all racing to me and keeps us competive.

If WE WANT THINGS TO CHANGE.......then we have to change. 

 

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55 minutes ago, rocket55 said:

If WE WANT THINGS TO CHANGE.......then we have to change. 

Rocket 55....well said with your entire post .....agree 200% on your quoted comment above.

 

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This has nothing to do with the title of this post or HMP, but to do with racing as a whole, from a racer and fan.

I cannot stand watching the same 2 guys win a class week in and week out, no matter whether it's "lower level" or "upper level" (as if the "level" actually corresponds to a drivers ability, hahahahaha). Yeah there are drivers that don't have it in them; but there are also a lot that do and will not get the chance to show it. The playing field has got to be leveled somehow. I may be biased, being self-funded, but nothing irks me worse than a steering-wheel-holder takings Ws because he or she has ride support. If a guy does his due-diligence in the shop on his own car, and is a decent driver, he should be able to have a shot to win.

From a racer's perspective that knows most of the names and cars, I want to be able to sit down in the stands and watch a race and NOT be able to tell you the top 3 before the race even starts.

Edited by TexasAggie13

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Bring back the 18 speed bicycles that ran at SAS back in the day.  Those things are pretty cheap, can pick them up at Walmart for $100.  $50 if you catch a good sale.  Would probably need to run 30 heat races and who knows how many B mains with all the guys that would show up.  Tires would last 10 seasons pumped full of fix-a-flat.  Put rattles on the spokes so they sound cool.  Just eat your Wheaties and you're good to go.  Give larger fellas a head start of a few laps since they're at a disadvantage.  Maybe add a tricycle class for the kiddos and a motorized scooter class for gramps. 

Seriously, bracket racing?  Like index classes?  I can hear the announcer now...… "Here comes the 15.00-15.99 second class rolling onto the track. Keep an eye on Fast Frank, he broke out last week and got DQ'ed for running a 14.99!" or "Batten down the hatches folks, here comes the 24.00+ second guys, they tour this 3/8 oval at an astounding top speed of 48 MPH!"

 

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9 hours ago, TexasTornado said:

Seriously, bracket racing?  Like index classes?  I can hear the announcer now...… "Here comes the 15.00-15.99 second class rolling onto the track. Keep an eye on Fast Frank, he broke out last week and got DQ'ed for running a 14.99!" or "Batten down the hatches folks, here comes the 24.00+ second guys, they tour this 3/8 oval at an astounding top speed of 48 MPH!"

 

That's one option for how to do it, but as you say, it isn't the most exciting one.  But since you've put it that way, lets put it in perspective.  How is that different from what we have now, aside from the attitude of the announcer?

What I envision is to have the different speed cars running against each other.  Cars begin in reverse order of speed, fast cars chase down the slower ones.  Hare and Hound.  Just to illustrate, with easy math - a thirty lap race, slowest car is eighteen seconds, fastest is fifteen.  Total race time is 540 seconds (18 x 30).  Eighteen second car gets a 90 second head start (540 -450) compared to the last car.  The race is over or flag thrown at 540 seconds, anyone crossing sooner (breaking out) loses.  Winners are determined by how they cross the line.  It is all visual.  After the last car starts the entire race is anticipation over how it is going to end.

The math wouldn't be complicated. The track would  calculate when to throw the checkered flag (or have the announcer announce it, as a flag in the hand of the flagman would give a clue to the racers), and you could let the cars figure for themselves when to start.  Everyone would have to submit a "dial in" to the track.  The track publishes the total race time for the slowest one,  and puts the cars in order.   Driver's would calculate their own delays and start whenever they want, depending on their race strategies, probably with a timer inside the car or with a spotter.  

Edited by Bobby

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11 minutes ago, toyotatim said:

Now it is crystal clear why racing is dead in Texas.  We are not ready for it.

What is crystal clear is that whatever system is in place is not working as far as asphalt short track racing is concerned.

Discussions about how to fix the system are a step in the right direction, but disparaging comments about those trying to find a fix don't help.

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I think Tim has a point, to some extent.  We are no longer able to support racing under the old idea, where the track dictates both how you will build your cars and how much they will pay you to race them, which may not be compatible.  Just as in business, where you can't dictate both how someone will do a job, and what results they will get.  One variable is controlled, the other goes wild, you pick which one you want.

If the variable that must be controlled is payout, then what spec the cars are built to must float.  On the other hand, if the track is going to enforce a class specification, then the payout must be whatever the racers can tolerate.  By the same token, if the track is going to both dictate what classes/rules/payout combinations are, and reserve the right to kill certain classes after investments are made in them, they will have to let the variable of how many participants they have go wild.

People who could still afford to heads up race according to specs they don't control would be welcome to.   But you still need a volume of racers to participate and pay the track bills.  What I propose is an alternative.  It may flounder, it may take off, it may be way more interesting than people think at first.  It would cost almost nothing to try.

It would also provide a fall back position for heads-up racers who are not on their game on a given night because of mechanical problems, accidents, etc. 

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Insightful responses for sure and discussion back on track. If it hasn't already been done, I'd suggest a sit down meeting with drivers/track promoter/mgr at HMS and float ideas that  could be done going forward to get everyone on the same page so that discussions like this one don't have to be analyzed over the internet. Discussions that are face to face and done civilly always lead to better relations and better results.

I don't have a dog in the hunt but just trying to be helpful and provide experience and best practices that I was a part of when I did have skin in the game and a dog in the hunt, long before the internet. IMHO the internet has driven away more fans than attracted them due to the dirty laundry that's tossed around by participants that fans have no business hearing about. Figure out how you are going to change, keep it private between participants, let the fans show you (by attendance)  if they like it.

I offer these suggestions in the most respectful way I can and my wish is that the participants have a place to race and have fun and passion for whatever reason they love the sport. At this stage of my life, I love watching races as a fan and truly admire your passion and skills, not the drama of who did what and to whom and track bashing for any reason (Nick doesn't allow it anyway). I bet other fans feel the same

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As a fan who started going to the races in 1956 or57 at CC Speedway and stayed with the asphalt until Owen took over STS I feel asphalt can make a comeback. The people you need to be asking are those hundreds of former asphalt racers around the state that are running dirt now if they would go back. There are the ones that can tell you cost differences , fun factor etc. One way is to make the rules as close as possible for dirt and asphalt cars. You are going to need existing cars to boost the car counts. Therefore Factory Stocks and Sportmods need to be definite classes.As well as Sport Compacts.The format has to go back to heat races and shorter features. That was the main reason I had no interest in going to Kyle. From what I have read tires seem to be a big issue.There must be a cheaper way to go like going to a harder tire or no slicks other that Pro-Mods. Meanwhile best of luck to HMP and all involved.

 

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