Why have Legends cars collapsed in Florida?

I need a little education here…

Why have Legends disappeared from the landscape in Florida? They are healthy and active in many other areas of the country. I’ve seen them on dirt, on pavement, and even road racing with SCCA at Daytona. Around here I see they have been booted from Auburndale, Orlando is getting very few, and I don’t think they have run for quite some time at Showtime or Citrus.

Why is this?

I like Legends, and have thought for some time that I’d like my sons to spend a few years in them.

No track bashing please; I don’t think that is the answer. It is also going to take more than “they don’t pay enough” to convince me of anything. I’d like to learn what is going on, and what we can expect in the future.

Anyone know anything?

My guess is the sheer cost of operating one. It’s gone up, up, up over the years.

I have been told that the overall cost of racing a Legend Car has escalated over the past couple of years, especially engine re-builds and tires… David Owen’s family (the only Legend team that’s made each race at OSW this year) is looking for a Pro Truck and they feel it will actually be cheaper to run and maintain it… There is also no real “push” being given to Legend Car/Bandolero Racing right now… When Russ Thomson was in charge at Legend Cars of Florida, he would have special practice sessions for people interested in purchasing cars and did a great job of promoting and working with the race tracks… As the younger drivers left the Legends to move up to Mods and Late Models etc., Russ would always have some “new blood” ready to go racing every year… The South Florida Legend group that was headed by Josh Williams’ dad has apparently folded and they don’t have a track to run at right now anyway… Just as many stock car drivers can’t afford to race as a “hobby” anymore, same thing with the Legends/Bandoleros… the money just isn’t there for most folks.

Look at the Summer Shootout in Charlotte that began this week… In years past, there would be 200+ cars racing there on a Tuesday night… This week they had a field of around 120 Legends and Bandoleros… That sounds great but you have to remember they are split up among seven “classes”… The field for each feature is limited to 28 starters and not one race this week had enough cars for a “full” field… There used to be 40 or more guys trying to make the Masters class race (age 40 and over), this week they had 13… Actually, the racing there is probably better with fewer cars on the track rather than the crash-fests of the past, but still the writing is on the wall… Between the cost of purchasing and maintaining a car plus the traveling expenses, most teams just can’t afford it right now…

Also look what’s happened to some of the really good young talent we had here… Patrick Conrad, Sam Watts and Jeremy Colangelo (among others) went Late Model racing and did very well but they are no longer even racing… Remember Chelsea Schillig? I thought she would really get the chance to prove her talent in the higher classes, but last I heard she was finishing up a mechanical engineering degree at UCF… Haven’t even seen any of these young folks at a race track in a long time… Kory Abbott probably had the most natural talent of any Legend Car driver out there but he hasn’t raced at all this season… I guess when you work every day as a stunt driver at Disney, the last thing you want to do at night is work on a race car!

Most everyone’s been running at Desoto speedway, we’ve been gettin anywhere from 8-10. Nobody has the time to go race Orlando and personally they have not gave me enough interest in coming to race there again. Auburndale wants a guaranteed car count, I heard Kevin williams has control of citrus and will setup races, Bronson pushes to get cars but not to many people are interested in driving so far for 5 cars to show up, we’ve had one race at showtime this year but many people did not go cause of rain chances. I would love to get it back to where we were starting 24 cars but unfortunately i do not see that happening anytime soon. Willie Wilson is trying to setup races as we’ll.

If Orlando were to be interested they could have David Owens (with two cars) Keith sinkula, me (with two cars) ted ruffo, Dave England, mark bibeau. That’s 8 cars and if people saw that there was 8 then we could get people like mason ketterman, Danielle Stratton, Joey azzata, Robby Lyons, and few others to show up. But to do that they need to show they want them which I have not seen any effort towards doin so. (Not bashing)

Thanks, I see that they have some dates at De Soto. They are probably better on smaller tracks, but at least they have a place to race.

Not trying to start a fight, just a conversation: what is it about Orlando that does not interest you? They are the closest track to where you live, and they run on a regular basis. Does any track pay significantly more money than Orlando does?

Both Butch Carr and Mrs. Owen have made numerous calls trying to get Legend Cars to Orlando… we know most can’t run each week but there just seems to be an overall lack of interest right now… OSW has the cars on the schedule every Friday night… the track is there and open and if you want to race, you can race there and earn both track and national points…

Since Humpy Wheeler was forced out up in Charlotte, Legend Car/Bandolero racing has been on a decline… I forgot to mention that earlier… He had a lot to do with bringing the whole program to the forefront nationally… The people running it now don’t have a clue how to promote… all they want to do is make money and don’t realize they would make tons more if they’d just promote the whole concept of Legend Car and Bandolero racing…

If you can remember, the Legends had a very good program back in the late-1980s and early-1990s… There would be 20-25 of them at OSW on a Friday night when they were a “traveling” group that ran at DeSoto, Sunshine, Hialeah, Daytona Memorial Stadium and some other tracks as well… Back then we used to call it the “Doctor, Lawyer & indian Chief” class because it was mostly older guys with a few bucks to spend who had very little mechanical knowledge and did not have time to build or work on a race car… so they bought one that was ready to race and if the wrecked it or blew it up, somebody else was paid to fix it… Very few young kids trying to be the next Kyle Busch were racing these back then… I can sit here at my desk and look right at the car that Jim France drove… He’s now Chairman of the Board for International Speedway Corp… Those were good races back then, but things eventually went sour for awhile before the new “regime” took power in the early-2000s… I think it can get back to being good again, but it will take some good promotion both on a national and local level…

Bronson has them and bandos on the schedule every Saturday night they are running, but as someone pointed out earlier no one shows up.


It is true we have been trying to help get the legends back to osw and yes I have two cars. That I have been letting a very people I know race it. A few drivers I know have decided to stop racing to do medical from what I have heard. a few cars were totaled a few weeks back one being Mark Bibeau. I love puttng both our cars out and no one knowing who is in it. but be rest assured david will always be in his main car. :)…

We got out because of cost people were spending 80 thousand a year and we couldn’t compete ted and roger are pretty much done I talk to them no interest running against 3-5 cars when Russ had it it was good he catered to everybody and didn’t travel country with driver so always had somebody at track to represent we spend way less driving our sportsman and love it way better legends run one track mainly over and over again now we can pic what track to go race at and feel a lot safer in big car when Russ and orlando had a fallen out Russ went to adale which was smart he kept a track in center of fl to race at when fallen out at adale nobody stepped up to go to another track after a while people just stopped racing

It does not cost $80.000 a year to run a Legend in Florida.

I’ve never been called by anyone from Orlando regarding racing Friday night. (I actually overheard " I don’t care if they ever come back")And yes boneman, there are tracks that pay significantly more than others. If I run two cars and can’t even get my gate back for three people there is defiantly something wrong. I’m not in it for the money but to show a little appreciation for showing up is always nice. As for it costing to much, I have seen it rise a little but not much. A set of tires is around 550$ for atleast 6-10 good races. Engine prices have gone up, but that started this year. I am defiantly not the richest and do not spend a lot of money but I stay competitive with the front pack. Gotta remember that it’s not always the car that does all the work, a driver can make the car do whatever he wants

You’d be surprised. Call Doug Stevens or Kyle Beattie and ask them to sell you a race ready car and take a picture of the look on you’re face. The setup guys ran the cost through the roof. The “budget” racing that it once was is long since gone. For the money you can spend on the legends, you can run an OWM or Sportsman at the same if not lesser of a cost , and the payout for those two classes is double if not triple what it pays to win in the legends. I honestly think most people want to recoup some costs in racing and the Legends aren’t the best way to get the most bang for your buck.

I have no dog in this fight we went from go karts to modifieds(12 year break between). The problem I see is a lack of regional coordination but more importantly it seems there is a significant number of young drivers starting out in classes much higher than legends and bandos. What little TV exposure granted to classes below NASCAR rarely mentions either class. I wonder if our media driven world has not made us look beyond the local level for any form of competition or satisfaction.

The last year we ran Anthony cataldi Dakota baguette and Jordan black we’re buying tires every 3-4 races 550 set plus tax we had 1500 in brakeman brakes and calipers 6-7 thousand in motors plus plus we couldn’t touch them and nobody buddy else could except Corey and payout was only 200 for first we ran legends for 3 years parts are ridiculous because most parts are dealer item we are in second year of sportsman and spending way less motor rebuild sportsman 1800 legends 3000 plus to 5000 and send up north pay shipping it never used to be that way but new management made it that way suspension parts were more on legend it was crazy

New legends from Doug Steven or one of big setup builder was 20,000 plus now even more

We had a great deal at Orlando when I was there.Over 20 cars every week
After I left they split up and each track in florida has a few.
Orlando didn’t want them then and now they need them…o well


Once again, everything Don USED to do worked out great…

It was everyone ELSE that screws things up.

Ok, I asked for info and we are certainly collecting it.

DPR, you told me that one of your cars was purchased used for around $3000. You spent another $1000, and put in some time and effort, but you have a competitive car for 20% of what a new “prepared” car costs. Not bad!

I’m still interested about any track in Florida that pays a lot more than OSW. If only De Soto and Bronson are running them, I’m betting there is not much of a difference in payout.

The most interesting reading of this thread is right here: the lack of regional coordination, and the number of young drivers who are starting in classes that are already faster than Legends. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that kids are very common in LM and faster classes.

At any class, at any track, racers are going to spend too much and not make it back from race winnings. No news there.

If your kids aren’t doing the iracing thing they’re missing out. They could be Legends racing everyday, cheap, and you could be racing with them.