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Drifting vs. Late Model Racing


debwill

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It seems like the changes in the local racing scene are more widespread than just the state of Texas. See article below . . . quite interesting:

 

 

IS CALIFORNIA AT RISK OF LOSING ITS TOURING LATE MODELS TO DRIFTING?

STOCK CAR RACING

 

Source: RacingWest.com / Janet

Date: 01/07/2007

 

 

It seems that late model touring stock cars are losing their place on the asphalt ovals by track promoters that are in favor of the money they can make off Drifting, a type of racing which features a point based mix of timed stunt-like rally maneuvers on asphalt ovals judged on passes, style, speed and technique.

 

Many of the drivers in the SRL (touring late models based in California) as well as a plethora of displaced drivers from the NASCAR Southwest Elite Series (SW Tour) felt like they had been punched in the gut when they heard having a date at two tracks they historically compete at might not be on the 2007 schedule.

 

The punch was felt even harder when it was delivered by their fellow competitor, touring stock car racer, Kenny Shepherd, who operates two California asphalt ovals, Altamont Motorsports Park and Madera Speedway.

 

Shepherd stated, "Drifting is hot, they bring their own purse and we get a full grand stand, big concessions etc ... Many tracks across the country are experiencing their biggest fan counts with drifting. They are the biggest competition for the traveling series dates, remember we are in business and if we want to keep racing, the tracks have to make some money."

 

Statements like these are not received well by racers and fans concerned Drifting will send the touring late model cars to the history books.

 

In a way it is NASCAR, who is responsible for what is happening today. Many short-tracks have stated for years that they are losing fans to NASCAR's Saturday night Cup races, high costs of buying a date for NASCAR's smaller series and a lack of promotion, but nothing changed. If anything NASCAR went full steam ahead busying itself with all things Cup…working on billion dollar plus TV contracts, gimmicky rules, new products to sell racers, the Car of Tomorrow…they were not paying attention to the little tracks. And now the little tracks have found Drifting.

 

Drifting did not spring up overnight; it just came later to America and when it did it found the jackpot here because it was rich in asphalt ovals…the very arena required for it to put on its show.

 

But while Drifting, which started in Japan, was expanding globally, NASCAR wasn't…in fact with the exception of a few non-points races in Japan and a race in Australia, NASCAR was not doing anything to expand internationally. It is only recently expanding, but its delayed entry into the foreign ring of competition, may have removed the foundation out from under the touring stock cars in California

 

And what is most amusing is the fact that it is Drifting that has a bigger potential than NASCAR to save the touring stock cars. Because it all comes down to money and NASCAR historically has shyed away from investing money in the tracks that support grassroots racing, so now it may be the short track operators, skilled in the art of promotion who will use the money made from Drifting to save the American sport of stock car touring in the Golden State.

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They've been "drifting" for many, many years up at Dallas at the Devil's Bowl, and similar locals. I know, I know, it ain't the same thing.

 

In today's drifting, they're using those tuner cars we've been talking about on here. Get that crowd through the gates and into the stands with some good "drifting", then put on a racing show using the same type cars. They'll get hooked! :)

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I drifting show would be intrigueing.... I mean I would go to see it just to check it out... Down here in south texas I dont know if there is a big enough following for it to do anything postitive for the tracks... Now to get buts in the seats if there was to be like a drifting show followed by normal racing who knows what that would do... To me racing is still the american V8's hualing butt around the track... :) jmo But I do love those pro-sedans they are fun to watch too... :) I couldnt leave oltimer out of this discussion.. LoL LoL LoL

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I agree with chuck put them as an intermission or opening kinda act for the main racing that goes on for like a trial bases or something... I mean what would it hurt to see if its something even worth.... Hell I am a stock car guy but I can share the stage with these guys if need be.. lol lol :)

 

My thoughts are anything to keep the tracks open for us to go play is worth a shot in my opponion, becuase without the tracks what do we have? NOTHING TO GO PLAY ON!!!!! JMO

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If your going to have a contest for drifting its much more than intermission..

 

Alan Jackson sings it best in one of his songs... and the same thing is happening in racing.. .

 

Corp world (NASCAR) is over running the mom and pops (Local Racing) forcing many tracks to either diversify or close...

 

The days of just running a racing show.. are dwindling at many tracks..

 

 

Between Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Nascar, not to mention Saturday night concerts Its killing local racing...

 

Either expand your audence to curb the down fall or diversify.. either way it all takes money... many tracks don't have it ..

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I drifting show would be intrigueing.... I mean I would go to see it just to check it out... Down here in south texas I dont know if there is a big enough following for it to do anything postitive for the tracks... Now to get buts in the seats if there was to be like a drifting show followed by normal racing who knows what that would do... To me racing is still the american V8's hualing butt around the track... :) jmo But I do love those pro-sedans they are fun to watch too... :) I couldnt leave oltimer out of this discussion.. LoL LoL LoL

Putting the money loser on its own saturday seems to defeat the purpose.

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Dirt tracks drift every night . when i watch drifting on tv .i look to see how much smoke they leave behind .im suprised the do gooders with the epa has not put a stop to it so far . you cant burn your tires in your yard . but aslong as they are on a car i suppose you can get away with it .so the future of that sport maybe in trouble down the road as it gets larger .and consumes auto sport racen .hmmm feel threatend yet call the epa .but untill then we will have to fight it or join .

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I drifting show would be intrigueing.... I mean I would go to see it just to check it out... Down here in south texas I dont know if there is a big enough following for it to do anything postitive for the tracks... Now to get buts in the seats if there was to be like a drifting show followed by normal racing who knows what that would do... To me racing is still the american V8's hualing butt around the track... :) jmo But I do love those pro-sedans they are fun to watch too... :) I couldnt leave oltimer out of this discussion.. LoL LoL LoL

You would be surprised at how big a following you would have.

 

Treat it just like a racing class. have a few drifters perform during the heats and bring the winners in for the feature. I guarantee that you would get the street racing crowd in. You get some of these guys entering the drifting, they love the competition, the next thing you know they want to be racing against other racers and they build a stock car. Drag racing has the right idea with their street nights, but the wrong product. (Hold on Tommy 33, I know there is a good turnout for those, hear me out,) Street racing isn't drag racing like it was when most of us were kids. Nowadays it is sometimes more than 2 and it involves turns and traffic, and the works. Get these kids on a circle track and off the streets with some promotion and incorporate the police department and everybody wins.

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mini9r,I watched a drift race the other day,multiple cars on a figure 8 track,more slicing and dicing and sideways racing than you could imagine,I was impressed and alot of the cars were factory backed and I couldnt pronounce any of the drivers names,more foreigners than an F1 race.It's not just imports,it's vettes,camaros,vipers,hi hp and imports.

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LoL Oatey

 

I wouldnt mind the track if they had a drifting show/race incorporated into everything.. I like Rookies idea of treating it just like a class of cars... And he is right, once they get in there with the drifting and actually see the other stock cars race, they probably will go out and want to try it... Before last year I never paid much attention to racing but once I went to a race I was hooked and had to build a car, now this year instead of just watching I will be out there....

 

Hey if anything I dont think it will be bad, but will it be good? Who knows unless you have a crystal ball or something.... JMO

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Cool,,,now we just need to get THR to pace the Infield. And bring in drifting and bring back the FIGURE 8!

 

 

mini9r,I watched a drift race the other day,multiple cars on a figure 8 track,more slicing and dicing and sideways racing than you could imagine,I was impressed and alot of the cars were factory backed and I couldnt pronounce any of the drivers names,more foreigners than an F1 race.It's not just imports,it's vettes,camaros,vipers,hi hp and imports.
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The problem is deciding if you want a race or a show. Drifting is like demo derbies used to be, a show to bring the "watch 'em crash" crowd through the gates that has absolutely nothing to do with racing. (If it has style points, it ain't a sport, let alone a race.)

We're all missing the point. What's different about drifting is that they aren't driving 20-year-old cars. Sure, they have factory and dealer sponsorship: they're driving what people drive on the street. Meanwhile, some of our younger drivers are racing cars that are older than they are, and look it.

Go ahead, follow the SCCA's lead and become a vintage racing organization (if we aren't already). While the old guard complains about "four bangers" not being fast, a four banger holds the absolute lap record at THR and would at SAS if they ran there.

The message is simple: race modern cars people will want to watch and be sure to promote them and when and where they race, or close the gates. Wal-Mart can always use another big, empty space.

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We're all missing the point. What's different about drifting is that they aren't driving 20-year-old cars. Sure, they have factory and dealer sponsorship: they're driving what people drive on the street. Meanwhile, some of our younger drivers are racing cars that are older than they are, and look it.

Go ahead, follow the SCCA's lead and become a vintage racing organization (if we aren't already).

 

 

I agree with you to a point, that we are racing older cars that the younger crowds probably really have no idea what they actually are, and at some point soon there is going to have to be changes to incorporate most of the 90 model or newer cars.... Should those be used the same as what we do now with our 80 and 70 model cars who knows, but at some point us as racers are going to run out of cars to make race cars out of... Hell it took me forever to find me a suitable car here in San Antonio and I had to go to cotulla to pick it up... That said I guess we can all still raid the junk yards but they are even becoming scarce there.. Go look for 70 model camero parts at pick and pull and there is hardly anything worth takeing from the cars left...

 

I think part of this is why the Pro Sedans are as popular as they are is becuase alot of the younger folks actually know what these cars are and may even drive one... You dont see to many 80's models cameros or monte carlos on the streets anymore unless they are some kids or some mid life crisis guys street rod...

 

JMO

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TQ,

I have to agree........ and you know I'm an "Old Schooler" at heart, but I can't even get my own two sons interested (both mid 20's) in coming out to the track to watch.

 

More modern cars are needed on the tracks, that they can relate to.......... the "sporty" coupes and roadsters of modern times are what they want to see race.

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The young poeple today want thier cars look and sound like fast and furious .fansy wide body panals .lights .sterios .paint jobs ..low to the ground . not something that can and will get torn up at a race track .

 

What they want is to run like a latemodel and look like a prosedan

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Ervin Breiten used to be the "ThunderCar Drifter". Back in the day of the Thundercar class, his "loose" #9 always went to the front, sliding the rear out (controllably) through the turns. It was exciting to watch.

 

Maybe the "Drifter" racing class needs to have a requirement that the back end jumps out on turn entry at least once during the 6-lap race..... or the car is ineligible to finish up front.

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I have a promotion that would work for Terry Dickerson or any track promoter for that matter. Look I'll be nice and even put it in list form...

1) Call every drifting team, club, sanctioning body/get online and find drifting forums and websites within 100 miles of San Antonio, offer the biggest sanctioning body the chance to run a drift event in accord with a saturday night stock car race. Work out a situation where they get a portion of the front gate to pay purse but the larger amount is payed based upon their car count and their own sponsers.

2) Organize a LARGE car show with both American and IMPORT cars, have burnout contest and invite one of the local radio stations (but NOT KJ-97, Y-100, KKYX, the loop, KONO or KZEP) to setup and broadcast from the track all day long.

3) Organize a large Modified, Pro Sedan and Charger (sorry, err, whatever they are called this week) race for the same night, PAY LARGE PURSES to attract a good field of cars.

3) Qualify the drifters and the circle track cars friday night.

5- a ) Open the track gates at noon and let the car show setup under the stands, just inside of the tickets gates, and over in the clear area towards the turn one side of the grandstands begin, run the burnout contest around 6pm so people have something to watch as the largest crowds begin to come into the stands.

5- b ) Start the drifting eliminations noon saturday and run em until 6pm with some practice for the local cars mixxed in, run the chargers and TPS cars, more drifting, Mods, more drifting.

6) Give me 5% for coming up with the idea and laugh all the way to the bank.

 

Drifting is hugh even in this area and if a compitent sanctioning body could be found to work with this could very easly be the largest event at any circle track in this area in years. Everybody makes money, everybody sees good racing and if the circle track classes have a good count and run fun to watch races then a huge fanbase is tapped into. This could be a monthly or bi weekly deal. Go ahead and ask Tommy how many people show up a SAR for the Import events and how much disposable income they tend to have, decide if the circle tracks around here could use just a little of that. This must be planned months in advance as to allow all the drifting groups to get organized, but expect a good deal of cars (more then eight, cough USRA SLM, cough...).

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