My conversation with John Sarppraicone

It was an hour long phone conversation since we are a couple hours apart.And as I told him I was only joking about lunch anyway. Even though we got off the phone agreeing to try to meet up for lunch and further conversation at a future time whenever I get up to the Bradenton area.I could describe our conversation in three words.Friendly and productive. I think we only called each other a MF’er five or six times.Lol. Seriously, there was nothing earth shattering revealed in our conversation either way but he did tell me a couple things I found to be rather incredible but I can’t help but believe him as it would serve him no purpose to lie about it.Overall a good conversation and John if you read this I am absolutely serious about meeting up in the future sometime. I think you know from our conversation I’m a straight shooter when I speak and I really do look forward to meeting you as I do any member of this board and I’m holding up my end of what I agreed to on here and reporting on our conversation.

Dying to know…“three words” what was the third word? OSF

It’s there in black and white OSF

Friendly AND productive.That’s the best description for it really. Like I said,nothing earth shattering revealed either way but overall a good conversation.Hopefully more to follow at a later date. And likewise maybe sometime with yourself. I’ve seen you around several times.Usually as your heading in to the ticket gate and I’m hanging out in the parking lot before I go in.But we must go opposite directions once inside since I never see you after that.Or maybe you have ducked in a phone booth and did a Clark Kent after you get inside.

Sounds like a good conversation, & it was nice of John to take the time and for you to take him up on it.

But “productive” indicates that something was… produced.

We talk about low car count and various potential solutions frequently, are there any actual changes coming that you can share?

I had a long conversation with zero four the one thing a can tell you we all put our pants on the same one leg at a time,I understand his feeling about what’s going on with Florida racing it’s a tuff bussiness just think about it only 1 day to make money, the exspense of running a track is a lot more than you think it might be a hobby for you but the track owner has more on his back than you can believe, and the best way to see what goes on at the track voulenteer and help the track see what you can do for them but I don’t see anyone that does that today I did it for a long time and I learned some vauble lessons,you need to stick it out not just one week you all have great ideas and don’t think they have not tried them yet you just didn’t see them, I can’t tell you how many times people would say to me never heard of DESOTO Speedway and my advertising budget was 100,000 a year and that was in the hey day people don’t believe it. It’s not just open the gates on Saturday and load your pockets with cash it’s blood sweat and tears . I love to get people alone or maybe you meet me on the street and you didn’t see me like that until we met away from the track ,so anytime anyone wants to go to lunch with me you are more than wellcome , see ya at the races


Very respectfully…

I can see where you are coming from.

>Taxes, light bills, and probably every other expense is up.

>Old race fans are slowly fading, and the younger set wants their own car to drive itself. The ones that have a car…

>Racers themselves can barely afford to race, and there are not as many car owners with deep pockets as there once was. All of their expenses are up as well.

I would also suggest the support classes will not fill the stands on a routine basis.

But what I cannot understand is why the track owners/promoters do not come up with rules to make the headliner classes (late models/limited late models/sportsman) one class and much less expensive to run. Mods–same same.

I would bet that you could fill a field if the payout was $5k to win and $1k throughout the field (ridiculous, but it makes a point) . Similarly no one will come for trophies only.

So really, the tracks are enticing the racers to come. Really, the ball is in their court. Car count depends on the purse. What is “enough”? I would suggest close to break even for the racer.

And if the tracks cannot significantly up the purse–and I am guessing they cannot and turn their own profit--then the only logical thing is to significantly lower the cost of the upper class cars.

All that and you saved the lunch money!

Wrong old school very wrong Money does not bring cars any track owner will tell you that hands down or they are lying to you sorry,today there’s not enough to go around cars period,these kids are not interested in racing only Facebook and computers no hands on cars today.yes back in the day we had all the rules the same at a lot of tracks here ,Don and I keep it real simpal we all talked had meeting worked everyone in to get a piece of the pie today they backstab everyone and think they will reinvent the wheel and that’s the truth lol

“…today there’s not enough to go around cars period…”–x90
Agreed. Seems like if they were cheaper to build and maintain it couldn’t hurt.

“…back in the day [Don and I] had all the rules the same at a lot of tracks here”–x90
Agreed. Same rules across tracks is a good thing regarding car count. Seems self evident.

Currently there are multiple rules. It is what it is.

It still seems like the tracks are trying to attract the same racers, who then have to change up their cars to run at the various tracks.

BUT, given all that, if a track came up with their own affordable rules that would capture a decent percentage of the current cars and get old racecars out from under the tarp and produce good car count and racing, that would be good for that track.

And at that point, the other tracks may make adjustments to their own deal.

John and Old School

While I agree with many things you have both said there are a couple things for you both to consider and chew on for a few.O S you think racers won’t show up strictly for a trophy and while for the most part that is probably true on the other hand you have the sports car and SCCA types that do just that.Same with the DAARA guys and I have seen times the Daara guys have shown up in numbers that rivaled the particular tracks weekly divisions. As John alluded to in our phone conversation money alone isn’t the fix because if a track owner stood at the pit gate as the racers left and handed each one a 100 bill just to be nice,by the time he got to the fifth or sixth guy the question out of that guys mouth would be why isn’t it 200? O S you don’t think a street stock or mod mini program will consistently put butts in the seats and while that may be somewhat true I know of tracks up in the Midwest who have pretty much done just that and are still surviving.Yes the crowds may be somewhat smaller but the money going out of the track owners fingers is definitely smaller.And I’m not saying ditch the fast classes entirely, just cut down on the number of dates for them but make those dates truly stand out marquee events like New Smyrna does with the governor’s cup or world series or John did with the Icebreaker or a couple other events when he had Desoto.Yes the rules need to be brought in line to ease the burden on the race teams pockets but likewise I think in some cases it would benefit a track owner to establish his own tracks identity and not just a carbon copy of everybody else’s. To some degree Robert Yoho has done just that at Showtime and if the road construction up there wasn’t working against him so much I think his stands would reflect that.

I maintain that club racing and short track racing are very different.

However, as Jacko sez, it may all be club racing someday.

I would suggest the “money ain’t everything” thing is an example of the “us against them” mentality that has gotten us where we are today.

Want a big field of race cars racing? Make it affordable for them and treat them well.

Old school have to dissigree with you on this one ,I’m sick and tired that the track owners don’t treat the drivers well,the racer brought this upon themselves why can’t I run this or that do you know how much I paid for this item no I don’t care it’s in the rules it says no in plain English,then the mf comes and everything else I’m never coming back I wish I had a Penny for all the times we have heard that.number 2 respect as soon as you say to them no it’s an all time war when are you going to realize the track owners do not start this shit,they get nothing but ridiculed over and over again, come on track owners stick up for yourselves. Its no they will not dare to stand up for themselves you know it’s true, I love how you only here one side of the story,there’s 3sides to it yours mine and the truth ok track owners let’s see who will back me up ,see ya at the races.


Am certainly not trying to be insulting. Actually, am not disagreeing.

I realize that the racers can be a handful as well.

But it seems like car counts are currently down.

Made my suggestions, maybe some will be of use sometime.

I’m glad you see that , car counts are down I feel bad for the tracks hopefully they will turn around before we lose some tracks as I said before talk positive about race tracks and help out when you can see you at all he races .

Oh I Thank whome ever put this thread on top finally made it to the top lol

John,veering off topic

You mentioned to me you were from New York State but you didn’t mention what part.And in the words of a former boss of mine,its a long state.That being said two questions come to mind.First considering how many people are here from that area of the country in the winter months do you think a big Super modified event could do well here in Florida around speed weeks? The other question is do you remember a couple of late model hotshots from around the Buffalo area named Art Clark and Dick Flaig?

Old school

I wasn’t trying to ignore your question, I just now noticed it.And no John and I haven’t secretly started to launch a new series or any new earth shattering solutions to save Florida racing or racing as a whole. I meant productive in a sense of a little info that we didn’t know about each other or Desoto Speedway before I came to Florida and revealing in how much of a soft spot in his heart he apparently still has for the track in Bradenton.I echoed his sentiments that I feel that it’s the nicest facility in the state.And I really do want to see the place rebound.It will probably come in baby steps but the place is nice enough that with the right decisions,and my opinion here,much more effort,it could happen.

I have never owned a race track, but I have owned lots of race cars, and I completely agree with Mr. Sappraicone. Racers always push the envelope of the rules, and that is fine at the top levels of the sport. But, it has destroyed the hobby aspect of it by making it almost impossible for the average guy to afford to race a late model or modified. The funny thing to me is, you can buy these cars used for pennies on the dollar, simply because no one wants them because they are too expensive to run!

“Racers always push the envelope of the rules, and that is fine at the top levels of the sport. But, it has destroyed the hobby aspect of it by making it almost impossible for the average guy to afford to race a late model or modified. The funny thing to me is, you can buy these cars used for pennies on the dollar, simply because no one wants them because they are too expensive to run!”-- Jacko


Fact: Racing is expensive, both monetarily and time wise. And it is a very compelling sport. This leads some to spend more money than they can really afford, either to keep up or to gain an advantage.

Fact: Racers will then lobby tracks to let them run “the good stuff”.

Fact: This practice escalates upward until all but a few are priced out of the game.

Fact: The above ain’t all the track’s fault, Jack.

BUT, they are accomplices. Without their capitulation, the costs could not have escalated upward.

Back in the day, modifieds had $500 claimer motors, there were a lot of them, and they put on a good show. Are there any claimer rules now? How did they change?

And I think I understand a potential promoter’s viewpoint: “They done it to themselves, and they bitch about it. And now my car count is down. The racers need to fix it!”

Do we really think the broke racers with parked cars that spent more than they could afford are going to “fix” this?

On the other hand, consolidation of classes, inexpensive motor and tire rules, and old school chassis rules could change the outlook of the racers, and bring them back to the track. All they need to think is “Hey, my stuff would be competitive, and I can afford to build that motor with the parts I have. And the chassis rules? A little welding and maybe some lead and I am there. I never thought I would say it, but I am coming back!”.

“The Problem” may partially be the fault of the racers, maybe a big part, but only the tracks can fix the issue.

Actually, whose fault it is is beside the point. How to fix it is the point.

Unless one wants to be “right” with either a handful of cars or a closed racetrack.

Zerofor Long Island NY Seaford I grew up on the island raced at islip and riverhead and raced go karts up there before moving to Florida, guys who cares who caused the mess we all did if you want racing to grow here you need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel go to race tracks with a smile enjoy it feel it race it and have fun, forget about the past shake the track owners hand and bring people it’s a cheep night of good entertainment see ya at the races.

The lack of cars, which equals a poor evening’s entertainment, certainly isn’t the fan’s fault, nor is it their responsibility to fix it. Or spend their evening sitting on a hard bench watching a few cars mindlessly circulate.

There are a 1000 other things to do, starting with the instant-gratification-“smart”-phone.

I know of a racer–a racer–that recently traveled for hours to go from a close-track-with-few-cars to go to another track that had more cars.

As for me, I travel to them all, and buy front or back gate tickets, and food. I take guests when I can and buy their way in.

To the best of my knowledge, none have returned on their own.

Come up with a good show with lots of cars and donuts on the doors, and then hope for the best. No guarantees even then.

No cars…really, I see Jacko’s “rent the venue and race for racer-purchased tropies” coming. With few-to-no spectators.

The ball is in the court of those that write the rules.