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Sprint Car Bandits announce tentative 2020 schedule

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Sprint Car Bandits Enter 5th Season with Same Drive & Dedication to the Sport

Garland TX (10/18/19) -  You can think about it. You can talk about it. Or you can do it. That famous Nike adage still rings through today similar in the actions of the Sprint Car Bandits series.

At the series inception five years ago, we identified a primary concern of sprint car racing, from the fan, track & team standpoint; which was the change in economics associated with the sport after the events of 9/11/01.

The impacts of 9/11 were never really addressed across the board (fans, teams and tracks) and it began to take its toll. Specifically, the cost of fuel for teams and fans doubled (from averages pre-9/11 of around $1.50 for gas or diesel), and for quite a while costs were substantially more than double.

All the sudden, everyone had a substantially increased cost to attend or participate in an event, which squeezed everyone’s budgets. Yet nothing in the financial model changed – as the tracks alone couldn’t absorb the impact.

Fans started saying “hey, it now costs us more to get there and back than the tickets cost” and started factoring that reality in to their decision-making process. The teams felt it even more, which made traveling to events further away less attractive – and feasible.

Of course, some of these changes to the matrix weren’t felt across the board nationwide for quite some time, but the majority of tracks have felt its impact.

Pushing that aside for a moment, we have to factor in that we’re all just cogs on a wheel in this sport. We all need each other for it to work and sustain itself. Fans and teams need racing venues, and the venues need the fans and teams.

Paralleling the timeline and economic effects of 9/11 is the fact that there has been a significant increase in the entertainment options available to fans – that tracks didn’t have to contend with in the previous decades. So now the tracks had a double dose of impacts going forward.

This means the fan entertainment component had to be addressed, which is one of the primary focus items of the Sprint Car Bandits series.

Back in the day, there were enough fans attending sprint car events that in many cases there might only be one support division, and the races would be over early enough for fans to flood the pits to meet their favorite drivers.

In many cases now tracks can only swing a quality sprint show by adding several divisions to the racing program, which makes it very hard to connect fans to teams – as they finish later.

That’s where the Sprint Car Bandits pre-race Fan Fest comes in. We simply bring the teams to the fans, exactly inverted to the way it was in the past – but it still generates the same result, as fans now can interact with the teams again.

That is step one in the fan-focus commitment of the Sprint Car Bandits series.

The next step is to address the economic reality of travel expenses. So, the Sprint Car Bandits developed a simple solution – that didn’t require teams to go buy some expensive ‘fix’, like under the hood.

We restricted the maximum wing angle to 20° (degrees) and require the left rear tire to be a 92 casing – and that teams must run the same two rear tires throughout the racing program.

And not only has it worked, it’s REALLY worked.

We have proven that you can run the same set of tires all night because the wing angle rule restricts just enough downforce that doesn’t cause excess wear.

That in itself has saved race teams in the Sprint Car Bandits series $1,000’s annually in consumables – which helps to bridge that gap caused by the increased travel expenses of 9/11.

But that’s not all. It’s also allowed the cars to be more freed up so faster cars can pass easier – bringing back what fans want: more racing and less follow-the-leader racing. In other words, fans are getting to consistently see more entertaining racing – which helps with fan retention.

And if you don’t believe that is an important fan component, you don’t have to look hard to see that this is a constant fan complaint on the forums of sprint car racing today.

Here’s a live post on the subject: http://www.hoseheadforums.com/forum.cfm?ThreadID=113502 

If you take a moment to skim the post you will see all kinds of ‘what if they did this’ scenarios, from changing track lengths, engine components, wing sizes; etc. In the opinion of the series, why go through all of that when our rules address pretty much all of it – without having anyone going through the expense of reinventing the wheel. And we’ve proved it with our base rules package, as we have no rules changes in the pipeline for 2020 – nor have we – since series inception five years ago.

For race teams that want to be rewarded more for their driving skill and ability to set up a car – not just having a big budget to gain their edge, the Sprint Car Bandits continues to prove its rules work in the results. In the past 29 Sprint Car Bandits events there have been 19 different winners. Not to dog on the WoO by any means, but they’ve complete 67 events in 2019, yet have exactly the same amount of different winners, 19.

In addition, we do not penalize top performing drivers in our heat races. We line up feature events straight up by driver’s performance. Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s a ‘gimme’ in the Sprint Car Bandits, as in those same past 29 feature events, the polesitter, or top qualifier didn’t end up winning the feature event 19 times.

Our simple and effective rules package (that takes a couple of crew guys about a half hour to make their existing cars ‘rules compliant’ for the Sprint Car Bandits) has essentially opened up this series to just about any engine platform – and it has been proven in driver results. We’ve had teams race with us that have carbureted 360’s under the hood (and competitively, I might add), along with other popular 360 and smaller C.I. configurations – and ALL have found they can be competitive as long as they can drive and set up a car properly. We even know of two teams that are building a LS engine platform for 2020.

This all results in one primary statement: you cannot ‘buy’ wins in the Sprint Car Bandits by outspending the competition.

Of course, that doesn’t work for all race teams out there, especially the few that are well funded, but the few that are well funded doesn’t generate enough numbers to make the sport sustainable. Our platform has allowed racers of all backgrounds the opportunity to compete with teams of a wide range of budgets. Yet, we’ve had well-funded teams race with the Sprint Car Bandits throughout each season and virtually all of them understand our rules and were very quick to adapt to them. Many commented, on an unsolicited level, immediately after jumping out of their cars how much fun they had racing with our rules package.

Click www.SprintCarBandits.com then the rules tab to check out the details of our rules package.

We are constantly receiving feedback from teams racing to us regarding how the Sprint Car Bandits purse structure and rules package helps keep them more ‘on track’ with their weekly racing budget. There are areas in the country that have adopted similar rules with great success, primarily in Minnesota and Michigan. Veteran and young drivers alike have found success in the series – and the parity between age/experience ranges was incredible in 2018:  5 features were won by what I call ‘Young Guns’, with 5 features won by experienced drivers and 5 were won by veteran drivers. Then to add even more to the mix, was the fact that there was also a female ‘Young Gun’ winning a feature last year…technically making the Young Guns the overall winners by group last year.

Next up, the Sprint Car Bandits understands that just booking events isn’t enough.

We are not only hitting on all 8-cylinders in our rules, we also deliver results to our marketing partners, tracks and fans by providing complete pre-race marketing materials, updates and post-event recaps. This gives Series tracks the leg-up to be able to afford to host our events as they’re given the tools to properly promote their event well in advance…which leads to higher fan attendance.

Each event, the Series, the Series tracks and teams are out doing it – not just talking about it. The ‘talking about it’ phase took place the previous 10 years to the inception of this series.

Now it will be interesting to see if more tracks and series dare to step out of the norm and try to do something positive to affect change, and progress, in their area.

On a personal note, nationwide this season I’ve seen more driver press releases out there stating something to the effect of “Bad Draw-Ins Lead to Subpar Weekend Results” or top-notch drivers commenting “this format made me start too far back to win.” Well, some common sense may need to be factored in here. If you can’t pass because the cars are all locked down, is it the format causing the problem – or the car rules they are racing with?  

Change in this sport moves at a glacial pace, and that’s OK. And for those that support our series, we appreciate the fact that they get it and we’re honored to give them a platform to race with that is not only sustainable, but competitive, fun and a 21st century solution to changing economic times.

The first round of the 2020 Sprint Car Bandits racing schedule was posted last month, and here is the latest. Tracks interested in hosting an event should email Darin at 
dssm93@msn.com as soon as possible, as remaining dates are very limited:

FRI March 20 – Heart O’ Texas Speedway, Elm Mott (Waco) TX

SAT March 28 – Kennedale Speedway Park, Kennedale TX

SAT April 4 – 82 Speedway, Petty TX

SAT April 18 – Abilene Speedway, Abilene TX

SAT April 25  – 82 Speedway, Petty TX

FRI May 1 – Heart O’ Texas Speedway, Elm Mott (Waco) TX

SAT May 9 – Monarch Motor Speedway, Wichita Falls TX

SAT May 30  – 82 Speedway, Petty TX

FRI June 12 – Boyd Raceway, Boyd TX


SAT July 4 – 82 Speedway, Petty TX

FRI July 10 – Heart O’ Texas Speedway, Elm Mott (Waco) TX

~Sprint Car Bandits Summer Break~

FRI September 25 – Boyd Raceway, Boyd TX

SAT September 26 – Kennedale Speedway Park, Kennedale TX

SAT October 10 – 82 Speedway, Petty TX

SAT October 31 – Monarch Motor Speedway, Wichita Falls TX

Best of luck to all as this season winds down and thank you to everyone that has supported the Sprint Car Bandits series over the years, and if you’d like to interact with the fans, drivers and Series, visit us on Facebook by typing Sprint Car Bandits.

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