Has Winning become TOO important?

I think too many racers are far too focused on winning, and when their budgets can’t keep up with the “have’s”, they get out of the sport. Sure, everyone would LOVE to win… but aren’t their some personal victories that could be just as much fun?

I’ve seen plenty of racers over the years that had a great battle for 8th place, and got out high 5-ing each other. Those guys had FUN… and isn’t what this sport is SUPPOSED to be about?

There are way too many racecars sitting in garages because they can’t afford what the guys up front have got. If they don’t feel like they can WIN, they stay home. There can be a LOT of fun in bringing 10th place equipment, and finishing 4th with it.

There’s too much thought and expense going into WINNING, when I think there’s ways too spend a whole lot less, race more often, and have a hell of a lot of fun.

Bruce Everette, in the old “Chocolate Thunder” didn’t have an extra nickel to spend on his racecar, other than to get it to the next race. But, he showed up everywhere there was a race, spent very little… and had a blast with all of it.

This guy never expected to win (but did ONCE), but he had more fun than anybody racing today.


[B][I]Yep! Winning, affording everything, keeping up with the Jones, and the whole nine yards. And it’s worst in little classes.

I remember in 1998 when I was working at a race track I started a new class, we then call them ‘‘Amateur’’. It was a Camaro or Chevelle, couple of cross bars, safety stuff, and a 2 barrel //305 CI(stock beside 410 lift rule)//3 speed automatic tranny, 2.42 gear. Stuff that then there was gazillion of. And we had very good field. In 2000, field of 20+ were the norm. All good and great racers, having fun, open trailers, good old days like.

Then, 2 guys showed up with enclosed trailers, had their engine built by so and so, the roll cage and chassis preparation done by Mickey Mouse Chassis engineering, so on and so forth. And it kept going into the money line. Today there are 2 tracks with that same class, and between the 2, they don’t have 20 cars, 2 tracks combine.

What was a 2000$//$3000 investment is now 15,000$ for the car and another 15,000$ for trailer and ‘‘looking good’’ stuff. Which is completely ridiculous for the class level.

Today a lotsa people go racing in entry level division but wanna look like Cup team, and if they can’t, they don’t get involved. And a lot of that is the sponsor chase that everybody have in their mouth today. That’s all you hear, sponsor sponsor sponsor.

They spend 25,000 to look good to get $500 sponsors. Well I have news for them, major corporations do not sign checks to weekly racers, big trailers or not. You will have to spend a 100 times what you will ever get from anything big, in order to prove yourself. So unless you have a very rich family fortune, and looking to get to highest level of racing, it’s not worth it.

Just get out there, get a good used race car to start with, an open trailer, get a few friends involved, and go enjoy yourself. When the night is over, take your little reward cash they call purse, stop at a bar or restaurant and pick up the tab for your friends, and start all over again next week, And instead of chasing dream sponsor, write the names of your helper friends on your car with big Thank You beside it. You might be surprise how much fun you could have with very little cash and a good surrounding.

Have a wonderfull day,


Jerry, my dad and brother have been racing like that for 36+ years now :slight_smile:

Always raced out of our own pockets, had two REALLY good years - thirty-plus years ago…LOL… - and still doin’ it because they love this stuff. No sponsors on the car, a ten-year-old-plus chassis (maybe twenty-years-plus… :slight_smile: ), a used motor, old dual-axle open trailer, hauled by a 25-year-old truck…and still love pullin’ all the way up to Orlando from Vero Beach - a 100-mile trip one-way.

And they’re doin’ all this with a Super Late Model. Hopin’ they’ll get some good runs in this season :slight_smile:

A few years back, my brother ran the Orange Blossom at Orlando. Qualified at the back of the field, stayed out of trouble, got all the way to lap 81 of 100 before they even got lapped. Then they got caught up in someone else’s mess again, and ended up finishing like 13th out the 24 that started. But it was a pretty stout field. It was my brother’s first 100-lapper ever, and I was proud of the way they ran that night.

But yeah…if you ain’t havin’ fun doin’ this stuff…then you can’t have fun doin’ this. :wink:

When you are facing a new challenge like entering a new class, driving a new car or just beginning to drive, then nothing can keep you away from the track. But after you get a taste of victory and win a few, then its hard to settle for a night when you feel like you can’t win.

There have been times when I realize that my tires are left over from Speedweeks 1998, and my engine doesn’t have enough punch to power an Easy Bake oven. Its hard to get enthused when you know you won’t be finishing well. Of course points racing changes all that.

Remember Hal Perry… He showed up every week with absolutely no chance of winning, just to have fun… He won a track LM title at OSW basically just by showing up every week and earning points every week… The guy was doing it as a hobby and to be among friends… a nice guy who actually was a pretty good racer as I remember him winning quite a few Street Stock races at NSS in the early-80s… He and guys like Bruce Everett and several others were the backbone of the LM class… If they weren’t there you got worried because something had to be wrong!

Hal Perry.jpg


I remeber Hal,I also remem Granny Tatrol,I might have her last name wrong…
They sure did it for the fun.
I get to race maybe 5x a year.For us,with very low budget, and a life stle to provide a good foundation for my daughters,leaves not much to race on.So when doin so,just the accomplishment of commin home in 1 pc is a great thrill for ALL involed.A simple fact that we DID IT.is great satisfaction.

I don’t think winning has become too important but I think the people who want to win should race within their budget. Nothing irritates me more than to hear someone crying that so and so can buy tires every night and that’s not fair I can’t compete against that, well if you can’t compete against that then you should race for fun or drop down a class or two where you can afford to race to win. I don’t care what class you race someone will always out spend everyone else to win. Go to the go cart races in Daytona at Christmas and you will see what out spending everyone else to win is all about, and they race for a trophy.


I agree i think racers should go back to enjoying racing no matter where you may finish and remember if a car buys 4 new tires and finishes only 1 position in front of you with old rubber who really won? The only thing that may deter some of those cars is the fact that the payout usually drops way of after the top spots. I will say with these new hoosiers(Grooves) it is really hard for those that run on takeoffs to find a used set that still has a race able right rear or right front like we used to.

When I started driving it was a V-8 bomber and I raced it as it grew into a Street Stock then a Super Stock then a Sportsman. It is todays Late Model Sportsman. I raced it until I could no longer afford to win and then I started over with a V-8 bomber. I raced thru the years the same way until it changed to where i could no longer afford it. I am now on my 3rd trip thru this cycle and will say it is my final trip but the reason I have done this is there is only so much money I am going to spend to race and I am racing to win so once I can no longer afford I start over and I will say for my whole family we have a absolute ball racing.

I’ve bolted a 4 barrel carb on my e-mod and gonna try it out at NSS this weekend. Just because I haven’t been in a good race since last year. Should be what it’s all about… FUN!!

It is suppose to be fun but somehow, somewhere the fun has gone out of our racing. When my ex ran a Runabout, which was suppose to be just a stock car, guys were putting $5,000 in the stupid engines and it became more of a game on who spent the most on their car. They finally threw out that class because it was out of control and thus came Strictly Stocks. But I am sure they spend some money on their cars also and they aren’t exactly just a stock car.

It really is sad to see alot of the fun come out of racing and more of a money game and who has it and who does not have it. And yes, I remember Bruce coming every weekend with his old car and just running for fun since he knew he wasn’t going to win or even be in the top 5 or 10.

It really is sad to see the fun gone but if someone honestly knows how to bring it back, that would be great. Local racing should not be who has the most money or the best hauler but who does their homework on what they have and how to make it go faster on what you got.

In local racing, do you remember who came to the track with the first big enclosed hauler because back then you saw alot of open haulers going down the road and that was nice because you actually saw the race car on it? But who had the first enclosed hauler at your track or can you even remember that long ago???

Oh you’re all a bunch of old farts. Just kidding. I try thinking back to when I was a kid. There were racers then that had fun and there were others who wanted to win no matter what. I think about the cars and people in the pits now and it’s true many things are much different but some things are still the same. You have people that want to win at all costs and there are still a bunch that are there for the fun and hope they may get a feature win or two along the way. There are people that complain but, for many of these people, they aren’t happy if they aren’t complaining so they’re having fun whether they admit it or not. I can remember racers meeting at the local bar when I was young and they bitched just like today. I don’t really believe it’s much different today. It’s much more expensive and people buy ready made parts, chassis, and motors. Some do their own but most buy.
There are a bunch who have unrealistic expectations and think they will become cup racers. I don’t see as much of that at the dirt tracks where aspirations seem to be to drive a top late model series, etc. There are still some than think NASCAR but not like asphalt. In the part of the country I came from, as well as Frasson, there are a couple handful of drivers who race for a living. To them the winning is important, but so is getting the best ride and sponsor to help them out.
In 1959 my father won a track championship at a small track in NY. He won a small wooden trophy about 8 inches high. The only time trophies were awarded were for championships or very special races. That seemed to change in the late 70’s or early 80’s when some tracks started awarding very big trophies for winning the special races and championships, as well as runner ups quite often. I’m not sure when it became common to give the top 3 or whatever, a trophy for every race or heat win. I think the practice has diminished the meaning of winning a trophy but that’s probably just me and my old age.
I think the fun is still there but it’s different now. Instead of gathering at the local bar to complain, everyone goes online now. It appears it’s not as much for but I think it still is for many. I think winning is as important years ago to some as it is now. I think it’s not as important to others, as long as they can be competitive, have fun, and not spend a fortune. Spending a fortune is what seems to take a lot of the fun out of it for many.

I’ve thought about doing the same thing. I tried running used crap and band aiding old engine parts in 2008 and it still took “forever” to get my car to the track. Ran it two or three races and was getting it fast enough to win when the engine blew. Finished me off for good. I still browse the want ads for hobby stock/ pure stocks but just can’t seem to pull the trigger. Loved my truck and sportsman…

I completely agree with Frasson on this one. Harvey Jones exemplified the way to have fun racing. He continued to race well into his 70s. He was retired from the phone company so we all know that would not support a dirt late model yet he continued to race winning occasionaly but finishing almost always. He did this by taking only what each race gave him and by getting the most out of his equipment. His equipment is another lesson. He bought primarily used stuff, built his own motors and didnot rely on “NEW” to give him the confidece to compete,


tires …$500…fuel…$100…admission…$100…WINNING…priceless. Even when we are out gunned we pull in with the attitude and tools to win. Hard work and dedication will alot of times beat money…not always but most of the time. The price of racing in general is what keeps people away. Im sure all the people mentioned above worked their butts off to get to the track every race. Dont get me wrong we do this for fun and sport.

The most fun I’ve ever had racing is winning. I build, engineer and maintain my own car’s to help keep cost’s down. Race within your mean’s, but race something if you love the sport.

Patrick Thomas 25

yeah i do all my own stuff , That way you dont have to spend alot of money to payto have a engine put together . I only change $300 to put a whole motor together if you buy everything or give me the money too

Winning is not everthin

I have been involved in racing since the early 70’s. Attached is a picture of us racing at Wayne County Speedway in Ohio and our first Legend car that we raced at Barberton Speedway, Midvale Speedway and Columbus Speedway. In both cases, we were racing to have fun. Yes, winning is nice, but it was not the end of the earth if we didn’t win. We had more fun being together. We started racing the Legend Car in 1993 and had just one car, a couple sets of tires and no extra motor and everything was hauled around in a 26 foot trailer. At the time, the governing body of Legend Cars was INEX. this was short for INEXPENSIVE. that concept didn’t last for too many years. It quickly became very apparent to us when we went to Charlotte one year for the Nationals and we were parked next to the Pistone race team with a semi-truck and trailer that had three cars, several spare motors and all kinds of parts that we were no longer an INEXPENSIVE form of racing and that WINNING was everything (even to the point of getting caught cheating). Winning to many is everything and if they do not have a first place trophy to sit on the car, they did not accomplish anything.


Legend Car.jpg

When asked who is the most sucessful racer i have worked with joe Middleton always comes to mind he and Marlin raced for the fun of it and won many champsion ships with the help of the Howard brothers

Just go out this weekend and have FUN. If you can’t afford to race, find a class you can race unless you are already at the bottom of the classes and then save your money until you can. But you ain’t going to get rich doing this so in that case, YOU NEED TO HAVE FUN.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there this Sunday.