What works in racing? What does not?

A recent question and discussion on Facebook was “what is wrong with short track racing?” Some things still work, but others do not. Care to discuss?

“Something that works” means it has a good car count, draws paying fans, and attracts new participants. It also needs to be viable in 10 years, so a class based on 1971 Monte Carlos would not qualify as viable any more. Sorry to break that sad news.

What is growing? What is working? Lets start a list.

Chumpcar - This is on a strong growth curve. The equipment is readily available, and things can still be done on a budget. The big events and famous venues are super cool too.

drifting - Is this still a thing? I am not a fan, but it is at least viable and could be inexpensive enough to draw new entry level drivers.

street drags - almost as boring as drifting, BUT there are LOTS of new, young participants, drawn from many races and nationalities, and able to use just about any type of vehicle. Yawn…

SCCA - Their car counts have been strong, but is it true they are dropping off? Last time I went to observe at Sebring, most of the teams looked pretty old (like me).

sprints/midgets - Purpose built cars that use no street parts, so they are viable. Cost can be a factor, but rules have a strong impact on that. Lots of bang for the buck!

Legends - I still like this class: they are viable parts wise, flexible enough to run on dirt, pavement or anywhere, they fit in a small garage and are excellent for the weekend hobbyist.

Autocross - Not much of a spectator draw, but is getting increased attention from TV. Go figure that one out.

Rally cross - Combine motocross with enduro/junk stock cars and you have rally cross. This SHOULD be a success, but is it growing?

Pocket bike/pit bike racing - Novel and interesting, I hope this catches on. The costs are low, the challenge is high, and they can run virtually anywhere.

Mud stuff - It is painful to see the number of former racers who now own one of those damn mud dragsters or monster trucks. They don’t float my boat at all, but we can’t ignore their popularity. I guess it is just a big redneck party atmosphere.

Supermotor - It is a combination track: part pavement, part dirt with dirt bikes racing on it. This can be wild, and has a lot of spectator appeal. The equipment is inexpensive, a track can be made anywhere (think part infield, part oval). Is it catching on?
What else works? What type of racing is OVER?

I don’t know much about some of the disciplines you mentioned, but I will touch on a few. Chump car is definitely one of the strongest. I am tempted to put a car together, but the events are pretty spread out around the country. I think drag racing is going strong as well. I believe one of the big reasons is you don’t have to be an aerospace engineer to be successful, and the costs aren’t too high. I still compete in SCCA, and I think it has declined. I believe it is for the same reasons that short track racing car counts have declined. The costs have skyrocketed over the last 20 years. The late model I ran at NSS and St. Augustine in the late 90’s cost me $20k to build, and I won a few features with it. Today you can’t buy a good engine for that. An average working guy just can’t afford the costs. The rallycross stuff is growing pretty rapidly in SCCA, and again see above about costs. You can take an old Subaru, VW, Nissan or what have you and go have a blast. Get the costs and effort to participate down, and car counts will go up. As far as increasing spectator attendance, I am afraid that ship has sailed. People today just aren’t going to an event and sit watching for 4 hours plus. There are just too many other things to do today.

I think that rally and chump cars have a lot of hope and potential, not to mention sprints and legends if people would get a hint to how cost efficient and fun they are, but I have never seen things like pocket bikes and supermotor racing. I am not even going to bring up mud stuff because it is not worth my time and attention.

What works and what doesn’t?

I think any of us that have been around race tracks for more than the last five years have already witnessed what has worked and what hasn’t.The bigger question is probably what will be around for more than the next few years? Several things mentioned aren’t viable alternatives for a local weekly oval track since they require some sort of road course.Cable and Satellite television seems to be a driving force in the visability of some growing forms of racing in televisions quest for around the clock programming.But can they truly survive for more than a minute?A trend I have been noticing as 2017 fades away and 2018 schedules are being released is winner take all events.Can these draw the cars AND the fans? I think they absolutely can but can it grow the sport and my opinion is in some ways yes but other ways no.They will draw top tier teams and cars which will draw fans.It will also drive out mid level and lower teams that have to have some return on their investment just to keep on going.Even a traveling fan can usually only make it to one track on any certain Saturday.So track owners need to band together to make it possible to make their tracks visible to people that aren’t local to their area.I have been in the stands at every operating blacktop track in Florida and had conversations with people who had no idea where the next closest racetrack even was.If you keep yourself hidden its pretty hard for people to find you.So the next question to the track owners would be how badly do you want your track to survive? Enough to work with someone or say you will and change your mind five minutes later?

North Florida Speedway has a good current working model.romoters who love the sport and have equal concern for the fan and the participant.I say current model as the millennials and younger Gen,ers are showing a significant disdain for the current NASCAR model and ridiculously long races with long strtches with little or no passing.There are no APPS needed to enjoy local races.How this will play out going forwards will have to be closely monitored and the tracks will have to prepare for change.I am fortunate that at my age I am on the back side of this upheavel… I would cautionthe industry to remember how quickly tracks went from sold out to vast areas of unsold seats

A recent indoor event in Tenton, NJ attracted nearly 100 Micro Sprints and they put on one heck of a show (check it out on youtube)… These cars are sort of a cross between a TQ Midget and a Champ Cart and are becoming quite popular throughout the Northeast… A track down here could begin attracting new blood quickly with these things… First they are cost effective, they would be a step up for kids who have been Kart racing and a new thing for veteran drivers who are tired of racing old Monte Carlos but can afford something like a Sprint Car that is just too expensive… plus they run on any type surface… Tracks could also become “dealerships” for these cars… Somebody has to try something different and this might just be a good starting point…

There are micro sprints in Florida. I had one for 4 years. They’re not as cost effective as they might seem. A complete brand new car can run upwards of 20-$30,000 bucks. Engines don’t last for crap when you’re pushing them hard enough to win since they’re turning 15000+ RPM constantly. I didn’t push mine as hard as some guys so mine lasted OK, but i saw other people going through 5-8 engines per season.

I wonder if this looks good on your racing resume… “I am a CHUMP car driver…” :smiley:

Probably no worse than saying your a powder puff driver …and your name is Bill.

This is another class I think would really be adaptable to racing on the shorter asphalt tracks… These Slingshots are becoming popular quickly… There are some in FL and I know they are raced at Dirt Devils Speedway… Tobias sells these for around $8K and they look like a heck of a lot of fun…

Boneman you win . There are no big body montes left in the world or metric cars or Cameros . even if we still see them racing at alll the tracks . Here?s a little tip nobody running a front wheel drive pos and moving up at the race tracks to run other classes . When they ran a bomber big body Monte / metric car you also learned how to understand how a car worked on the track set up so moving up to the next class wasn?t so hard . You could actually use your same car just had to build it into a super stock / street stock . Front wheel drive not going to happen fact . Racing is dying and it starts at the lower class. Maybe the tracks should let them run old superlates / pro lates in the bomber class with stock 350 why not . That way they will always have cars to run .

Boneman you win

Of course I do, but thanks for giving it a try. And your idea of running old late models with stock 350’s is not bad. Maybe a class like the figure 8 cars that look a little different and could be controlled with engine, shock and tire rules. Of course this assumes that there are enough racers (probably from our generation) who are still willing to build and fabricate.

Luke81, the Florida micro sprints that you raced are different than the class with the same name that ancrdave was describing. The Florida version used 40 year old, two stroke engines that are very difficult to find, right? The more modern class is kart or motor cycle based, and are affordable and durable. I agree with Dave, this is the type of class that can sustain the sport in the future.

It?s a great idea boneman !!! this is the new strictly stock of racing allow them to run super/ pro late with a stock 350 . These new guys will have a car that they can learn how to setup and understand how these cars work on the track. Then move up in class if they chose too . And a car that?s totally repairable. If it gets wrecked or needs a body panel . if you going to start racing do it in a car you can learn with .

E-Late class ?

Many would be elated to have this

Successful or not, short track racing is my first love.

The rest, including Cup, is interesting, but just is not short track racing.

Late models with crate motors? I understand that tube clips are now legal in Sportsman cars.

But hell, they cost as much as late models from a few years ago and unless someone puts the brakes on it they too will have smaller fields.

Currently, crate motors are the way to go. As long as that stays in place, the lid is still at least sort of on Pandora’s money box.

This has been an interesting thread. One thing that’s sometimes left out of these discussions is what the fans want to see. I was really hoping for some spectator input on what types of racing and race vehicles they wish were at their local track, and what types of racing they would be willing to pay good money to watch. What’s affordable for the racers and the tracks isn’t always of interest to the fans.

[QUOTE=Boneman;176091]Boneman you win

Luke81, the Florida micro sprints that you raced are different than the class with the same name that ancrdave was describing. The Florida version used 40 year old, two stroke engines that are very difficult to find, right? The more modern class is kart or motor cycle based, and are affordable and durable. I agree with Dave, this is the type of class that can sustain the sport in the future.[/QUOTE]

They do have those 2 stroke style here, but there are also the bigger ones - thats what I had. We ran 600 and 750cc motorcycle engines with the FMSA series. Down here they call them mini sprints, even though in the rest of the country a mini is a 1200cc car. These are the same cars that ran in Trenton. They run at BRP and I think north florida with the FMSA series, and east bay runs them as their own class too. Marion County speedway in Ocala runs them too, and that is the BEST track for them in Florida just because it’s the best size for these cars.
They really aren’t as cheap or as durable as they appear, and parts are pretty much as expensive as a big car. Right rear wheels are $250+, tail tank is well over a grand, fuel injection system is over $3000 You can get into them with an older used car fairly cheaply (I’d say six to either thousand to get to the track the first time) but there’s a lot that goes on to keep them running. There’s WAY more electronics on these than most short track racers are familiar with. 2 injectors and 2 sets of butterflys per cylinder run by multiple throttle position sensors, electronic injection and ignition, tuning with a power commander, etc etc.
I liked mine, and if east bay had been running them more often a few years ago I probably would have never got out of it. But i dont know if i see them as the future of racing, at least down here. Up north they’re huge though.

For the most part what fans want is a decent/big field of cars (20+) that are competitive. Speed is ALWAYS trumped by close racing. Some of the best races are the lower classes because they can and will go 3-4 wide, bump and bang and often keep going.

Here is a group that has it going on…Monster Jam. Say what you will about monster trucks (they are not my thing either) but the organization is packing huge arena from sea to shining sea. They have 2-3 shows running on most weekends: one group tours the west, another the south, etc… The “star” performers, like Grave Digger for example, are actually multiple truck teams that perform several shows a night.

This weekend they will be in Orlando, and I bet that stadium will be close to full. That is 65,000 seats! I have attended several times and it is a good show. My kids really loved it!

What do they do so well? The show’s production is fast-paced, family friendly and has no down-time. If something happens that causes a delay, they will roll out something else to see: a motorcycle stunt rider, blast some rock and roll, t-shirt cannons operated by hot women, whatever it takes to distract the fans.

We could learn something from the pros that put this spectacle on.

not my thing either. watch it on TV for about 20 mins then turn the channel . I was hearing someone was toying with the ideal running some races at osw this year. and then someone said that the rumor was they went out there and it was a complete mess said the bathroom’s were covered in mold and shit and some of the light poles were broke off at the top or rotted off . and stands were falling apart said it needed to much worked . anybody else hear this ?