Guest Column: The Future Of Short Track Auto Racing

The following is a guest column from local racer Sean Foster, who also operates the website Short Track Racer with Max Collins 

Sean Foster

Preface

I am a dedicated short track racer and short track racing fan. I race asphalt Modifieds, most commonly on a weekly basis at Stafford Motor Speedway (Stafford, CT) on Friday nights and it is rare for me to not be in the grandstands of an auto racing event on at least one other night of the week.

I grew up in a racing family and have been around the sport since I was a child. I have been to thousands of auto racing events and I’ve seen the sport from a variety of different angles: playing the role of a driver, family car owner, crew chief, crew member, racecar fabricator, track employee, and fan.

I have also been heavily involved in the marketing aspect of my racing program. My most enjoyable project has been creating my video series called Short Track Racer which is a reality-based show that follows my life as a local racer. Short Track Racer has since evolved into a multimedia, lifestyle, and community website for local racing enthusiasts.

What I’m trying to reveal about myself in these opening sentences is that my life revolves around short track auto racing. In addition to that, I am part of the “millennial” generation, which is the most important group of people our sport has to attract. Therefore, I know the wants and needs of a race team and I have a firm grasp as to what it takes for people to to enjoy attending a motorsports event.

The Future of Short Track Auto Racing

Let’s not hide from it. Let’s not sugar coat it. Short track auto racing has been in a popularity decline in recent years. Grandstands, pit areas, and car counts are low and appear dreary. There is also less interest shown from vendors, media people, volunteers, marketing partners, followers, etc. Racing facilities are continuously shutting down. The future of the sport shows great uncertainty and I have yet to see any noticeable strides taken to reverse this downfall.

Let me clarify something right away: I’m not writing this to knock short track auto racing. My intent is not to be negative. We can call this a memo or a mission statement, or better yet a vision statement because I want to expose the potential of short track racing since I see this as the greatest sport in the world. I want to shed some light on the negatives dragging the sport down because modern day track owners and promoters seem to be stagnant with regard to the future of the sport. I would simply like to share some of my vision and suggest promoters to refocus their approach.

Visit Short Track Racer to read the remainder of the column

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the RaceDayCT staff.

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Comments

  1. That’s mighty big nut you are about to bite on Mr. Foster. No one I’ve ever read has even attempted to take on the scope of issues you plan to. Can’t wait.

  2. One thing that would help at Stafford is to fix or get a new big screen on the backstretch for replays.

  3. Very true statement Shawn racing is on the decline. I’m sure you remember the days when your dad raced late models we would have a full 26 car field and most of the time 10 guys didn’t make the show.

  4. Rich Gourley says:

    What track is that in the picture at the end of the article ?

  5. Race dude. says:

    Question of the day:
    With this ” me too’ movement at full steam which famous racing figure will be accused of sexual harrasment? Personally I think racers are better than that but you never know.

  6. Just Wondering says:

    Rich, that track in the photo you are referring too is the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Photo would have been taken sometime after the 2015 season concluded and prior to opening for 2016.

  7. Just Wondering says:

    Rich, as a follow-up the photo in the article this photo has clearly been photoshopped to make the track look much worse than it actually ever was. The track surface at the Speedbowl is far from perfect but is no where near as deteriorated as shown in the photo and all the hay/tumbleweeds in the infield make me laugh.

    I really do not know the motive behind the editing but it is my guess that the Speedbowl’s ownership/management may not be too happy with the posting of such a false image. This Foster guy says he wants to help the short tracks but IMO posting photos that are clearly fake will not help his mission.

  8. darealgoodfella says:

    Little kids are not growing up playing with racing cars. Slot cars. We are no longer a car-centric society like we were through the early 70’s. I played with all sorts of cars, slot cars, HO, Cox gas powered, etc. when I was a kid. Built Revell models. That stuff is all about nostalgia today.

    We have to get the kids interested, and make sure girls are not excluded.

    After that, it’s all about three things: promotion, promotion, and more promotion. You build it and they will come. We have to re-invent and rebuild, and they will come.

  9. You want cars and fans put dirt down and pay $5000 to win a main event. nascar and asphalt promotores are killing their own product slowly but they won,t admit it to themselves never the less to the race fans .30.00 10.00 for a child to see 12 mods a riverhead 30 at staff for sk that are now out numbered by the
    sk lites. if i lived up in conn i would be at leb valley every sat 11.00 2.00 for a child to see full field of BB mods and 358. OCFS in middletown 30 BB every sat 358 every other week full field sportsman 14.00 admis stss south and north series full fields. New Egypt , Bridgeport 3 tracks in one now. i could go on. I will quote an asphalt track owners own words from 2 weeks ago in AARN ( go back and look at the post) ( I tested american racer tires on two occasions at my track to see if i could save the racers money on their tire bills every week .( 900.00)( The american racers were good not just good they were too good ) you were just as fast on used american racers as new ones so we are( not) going to use them we will stick with hoosiers and you will have to buy 4 new ones every week. from guess who. and then he went on about something about not being able to ck if the american racer tires were being softened with juice , really so you can juice american racers but no hoosiers. Please this is why the( nascar)group is suffering, They are slowly bleeding the life out of what at one time was their best division . They keep them on life support but one day it will all be over sadly. Look at Oswego the once great Supers are almost finished. and there are piles of clay right outside the the walls, one day it will be put down and never come back up. albany saratoga, utica rome , fulton and ecc ecc ecc all were asphalt once.If by some good fortune the speedbowl gets out from under the cloud they are under they might survive if they never go back to that vampire called NASCAR.

  10. Nice save Just Wondering. It was altered for affect. That I suspect was to symbolize what will happen to all tracks if the current trends continue.

  11. Bountiful Chevelle’s, marine gas tanks in the trunk of Street Stocks, manual scoring, lower insurance company settlements, open trailers and parents passing along their love for cars with their children. Sometimes you can’t go back, trends don’t reverse and you need to enjoy what you have while you have it. I’m just happy a lot of tracks are hanging on as well as they are with some divisions and events actually thriving. Good luck mister Foster helping sort it all out.

  12. WeeklyRacer says:

    The altered photo used in this column is ridiculous, Foster should be ashamed of that. This post is not intended to be negative but then you photoshop in weeds and an over grown Speedbowl? Put some leg work in and find a photo of a track thats actually in disrepair, a simple google search will turn up plenty.

  13. maxim410 definitely raises an interesting comparison. Unity Raceway in Maine is going to dirt next year primarily because of the expense to repave. Should be interesting to see how they do.

  14. So, the fact that he used a LOCAL speedway, that is certainly having it’s troubles, as an example of what could happen if we don’t fix the issues around local racing is ridiculous? I actually give him credit for trying to show the relevance of what he’s talking about to people with no freaking imagination.

  15. Crazy in NY says:

    Wait till a few of the new dirt track promoters see what track prep cost every week. I know a dirt guy here in NY who wishes he was paved.

  16. True But i would rather have to spend a little more to prep dirt if i have full field of cars and some fans in grandstands . just stating facts dirt has more feeder type divisions, pays more in payout money and cost a lot less for tires and has so many more opportunities to race through the year. ever go to a dirt race 2 maybe 4 laps warm up or hotlaps, asphalt they will practice for hours put laps on engine and tires . I watch a top nascar tour guy practice for almost 2 hrs and put more laps in practice the the feature race was. Look i like the asphalt cars but they simply don,t get it. they are dying breed and NASCAR is a vulture flying around picking the flesh off their bones. Tell me how much do you have to pay nascar if you want a tour race at your track. . remember the tour race at oswego were nascar brought more people to run the race then cars that showed up so tell me were is the future for asphalt .

  17. I don’t know what your beef is with NASCAR maxim410. I see the big events at Stafford and Thompson with the WMT and they by any standard look popular and successful. No one makes the tracks take the events.
    But what I am more interested to hear about is why is dirt so popular in some areas. How is it they attract more young people starting out? Are the novice divisions more cost effective. is dirt racing fundamentally safer then asphalt with lower speeds and less adhesion making safety rules less stringent? How long do tires last and is it a gigantic cost savings over asphalt cars that helps ease entry to low budget teams. I don’t know the stands are more full but I’ll take your word. What is the demographic make up of the fans. Are the young teens there rooting for their buddies?

  18. wmass01013 says:

    Well let me say that the future OF NASCAR worries me, anyone who see the declining attendance at tracks weekly everywhere in CUP, now the loss of JR and Kenseth, u call say all the future is bright with Byron, Suarez, Elliot, and other guys but I am not a fan of stage racing and Now Monster delaying to decide as CUP sponsor, would CT tracks survive without NASCAR banner? Yes the cost is not helping 35-50 to see a mod race is ridiculous, I have often asked if u charged 15-20 to see a NASCAR tour race in ct I think u wouldn’t be able to fit all the fans in the track!!!

  19. Kudos to Sean for reaching out and getting the wheels turning, at least in thought. Yes, a lower $ night is ideal for everyone. I don’t see dirt racing happening in CT. I’ve been to Lebanon Valley and was impressed by the show, but CT is asphalt modified country. Need to reach out to the young kids to build the future fan base. NASCAR or not, modifieds have a fan base if it is promoted right.

  20. Let me ask a question to all . Who takes home the most money after a race is complete at any tour event . The racers, car owners, the track owner or nascar. well the drivers and owners bring expensive equipment, pay to enter buy fuel and tires. the owners pay employees, taxes and insurance for track liability. electric, water track vehicles clean up supplies ecc ecc ecc. What dose Nascar bring a fancy name , and 20 payed dressed up track personal they don,t even supply insurance they sell it So who do you think puts the most profit in their pockets after all is said and payed . You tell me; Stafford speedway ran a 150 lap tour race, did the winner get $5000 ? i don,t know seems as with nascar pay outs are hard to find. But this i know at OCFS in middletown( about 90 miles or so from stafford speedway )Brett Hearn took home 35000.00 yes thirty five thousand dollars with a capital D for a 200 lap win at a local track none sanction event I rest my case.

  21. PS. it is not the asphalt racers or the product that is at fault here. The equipment is the same and in some ways even more sophisticated then dirt and the racing can be just as exciting as dirt. if all the tour cars and other groups were to show up for a big race that payed $35000.00 the fans would flood the place ,even if it was sponsored by the Clinton foundation and Hillary was grand marshal The decline is not the drivers or teams fault its a greedy sanctioning corporation. and they just can,t seem to get off the NASCAR tit .

  22. Just Wondering says:

    Now that Hillary Clinton mention is quite comical, would the butcher of benghazi bring slick Willie along too? Just be sure to lock down your wives, girlfriends, and daughters. I don’t think the racers would be too supportive for the fear of not getting paid considering the corruption at the Clinton foundation. Imo It would be the same result if the old owner of the Speedbowl took over the leade from George Whitney

  23. OK so that answers that. NASCAR, asphalt tracks and a defeated presidential candidate in the cross hairs and no productive ideas.

  24. All politics aside
    Nascar has been very much a part of Stafford and Thompson for many years and how would the loss affect both if ever happened
    the open como races at Stafford are interesting, who will show and will it be more like Tri Track or MRS races?
    yes the NASCAR vs DIRT payouts have been a long debate I do agree with Maxim but will teams support NON nascar races in Ct???

  25. for enough money in payouts you bet they will show, and nascar is a falling star and is not just losing with cup, but has never shown the modifieds their proper place. ill tell you why and i bet you will not disagree They know that if they show case the modifieds to much like at daytona or other big venues during the year. they will show up the cup cars with the quality of the racing, speed and just the looks of the race cars. so they keep them up in ct and out on LI and never promote them . Remember when they ran down at Daytona a few yrs back and they put them on a make shift track that was just awful with the pits a 1/2 mile away and 2 hair pin turns a go kart could barely navigate. NASCAR embarrassed them and they did not care. NASCAR will bleed them to a slow death you watch. look stafrd spdwy is going to run 2 none nascar shows this yr and i believe has a few MRS on tap. They might not admit it but they are seeing that The nascar glory days are behind them. Also if by any chance the speedbowl succeeds with out nascar well that will speak volumes .

  26. I don’t know the reasons that pavement racing is suffering compared to dirt.IMO dirt is for horses and horses asses.I don’t think the reason is NASCAR.I would hate to be dependent on people like the Knights to be running things.We see how well that worked out, although the owners could save money on banquets.BTW could Vince Foster be buried next to Hoffa at the speedbowl?

  27. No need to show your are an ass to start making personal attacks on the dirt people. try to lay out some facts to debate the issue and quite making a fool of yourself

  28. darealgoodfella says:

    Short track racing, and all racing and other forms of entertainment, are competing against each other. Modifieds haven’t gotten bad, people would rather do something else. Which is why sports can’t afford to be viewed as exclusive, misogynist, racist, etc. The increase in women as sports fans has been crucial in recent years.

  29. The call went out for a close minded, arrogant, completely ignorant and disrespectful comment. Thanks art. And not only dismissive but foul as well.

  30. Just Wondering says:

    Art, IMO I don’t think you have to worry about the Knights anymore. From what I can see they and the MTS are no longer a thorn in the sides of us modified fans and racetracks by watering down the entertainment value by splitting the modifieds into too many touring series leading to lower car counts in all the series that the modified compete in excepting the WMT. For whatever reason the WMT seems to be holding its own even without any significant support by NASCAR.

  31. Bottom line, in my opinion, is that dirt is typically cheaper to run at the support levels, and has much better payouts at the premier levels. It is cheaper to attend, bringing more spectators to the events. And finally, there are a LOT more places to race.

  32. So we’ve got fixing the jumbotron at Stafford, some shots at politicians we don’t like, a guy on a vendetta against NASCAR that likes dirt racing but has no ideas on what it means to asphalt racing and a guy mocking dirt tracks that has no interest in knowing why dirt is successful. Since we’re being stupid, here’s one more entry to add to the list.
    The Stafford management has has the information. They know the market, trends in insurance costs, their results, have probably hired experts to consult on the future of racing, social media and all the rest. They know everything. If I had to guess they’re managing the decline until the real estate market perks up in Stafford and Arute Realty puts in condos.
    Managing the decline means riding the SK and SK Light success for now. Stafford shows a strong list of SK’s in the team section for 2018 and over 20 in the SKL section and it’s not even Christmas. The rest, meager but who cares. The young guns are flocking to the SK Lights so figure out what that means and maybe you have something.
    Bravo to the Sean Foster and his partner for taking on a monumental task. Imagine a race car driver helping to shape the future of the sport he loves. Who wouldn’t root for that…But looking at the web site doesn’t encourage optimism.
    Number one most popular on the web site…… memes. Blogs include this story and a bunch of trivia pertaining to Sean and his partner. This is the first expansive topic I could find on the site and topics they promised to address if you needed reminding are as follows:

    Visual Appeal and Attractions
    Racer, Owner, and Team Interest
    Fan Interest, Entertainment, and Youth Engagement
    Divisions and New Racer Captivation
    Business Partnerships
    Facility Uses and Extra Activities
    Marketing
    Community Immersion
    The Movement and Communication Between Tracks

    These guys look like everything we old guys think is wrong with racing. Social media based, egocentric and superficial. But maybe this geezer is wrong and they have the answers. Can’t wait for their ideas.
    I do know that after spending time with them on their site I thank God for Racedayct.

  33. darealgoodfella says:

    How can dirt afford those HUGE purses? Where is all the money coming from?

  34. Just Wondering says:

    Doug, good post, im begining tp think maybe us old farts need to evolve. Unfortunately the internet and social media are the wave and connection to the youth that are the future of the sport we have loved for the last 60 years or so. IMO Stafford is the only track in New England except for NHIS that has made any effort in understanding how important the internet and social media is to promoting themselves.

  35. Good observation Just Wondering. Stafford does do a great job starting with the instant feed to this site.
    Do you remember the carnivals Stafford had in the visitor parking lot on occasion. Joey Chitwood. Earnhart, Ron Bouchard, Tim Richmond, Paul Newman paying visits. Fireworks is nice and brings out the families but it seems Stafford has scaled back it’s add ons to reflect lower crowd sizes. Managing the new reality?

  36. How about this idea at Stafford? Safety only, minimally altered compact car race on the road course smack in the middle of the regular program. 10 laps, cautions only when absolutely necessary. Would that attract young teens and their buddies? Are insurance issues preventing that sort of thing?

  37. Just wondering, go look at the check Preece and Coby cashed last week and tell me how Nascar doesn’t support modifieds?

    Thompson with their multi million dollar road course and Stafford with their million dollar light and sound system. I think these tracks know how to make money. Been doing it a long time. Seekonk is also been cutting edge these last few years. They are running all kinds of youth programs on Friday nights. They scaled back the racing schedule in 2018 to add more thrill shows ya’ll speak of. A lot of good things happening there. I see nothing but huge crowds at the races I attend so I’m not sure where all the doom and gloom comes from. LFR and SPAFCO and Troyer and Raceworks are building and selling new cars like hotcakes. Hmmm. Maybe things aren’t so bad. It cracks me up how it’s this nonsense all winter but come April there are 30 mods in the pits and 7500 fans in the stands. Haters will hate I suppose.

    You can’t compare Northeast modified racing with dirt racing. Apples and oranges.

  38. Man NH {the stud}, Mark. What’s with the anger. Stafford’s light and sound system that we all love is over a decade old. The WMT tour show at Thompson and Stafford that you go to are hugely successful but what has that to do with weekly racing? This thread is about what can be improved and so far all you’re saying is that everything is fine for what you have an interest it. A new idea would be nice.

  39. NH Mark,If the top teams can make money with purses, prizes,and sponsorship, what does 5th place and below look like?At what point does it become difficult to continue.Admittedly if your team, car and resources can’t cut it why should you be paid to be non-competitive.At the same time this hurts car counts.
    BTW I made what I thought was a joke about horses and dirt.People should get a life.Dirt racing is obviously wildly popular.It was a joke Dougyboy.He gets all incensed with people on these threads but for his hero, the savior of the bowl and molester of children,it’s hands off.

  40. You kill me Doug, you hijack every thread and ask the same dumb questions a 1000 different ways because your racing knowledge is obviously very limited outside of Stafford but you want to tell me to stay on topic even though I was responding to a direct dig of the WMT that your buddy Just Wondering brought up. Please don’t tell me what to say in the future. It’s not your webpage as much as I’m beginning to think you think it is.

    My other point being, improve what for who? The tracks in this area are highly profitable. I don’t see them crying about racing being dead. Their weekly shows have made them millions. Weekly racing doesn’t sound so broken to me. Times have changed for sure but the good tracks have changed with those times.

  41. darealgoodfella says:

    art, he just takes offense to play the victim card. Overplayed at that.

    Happy Holidaze!!!!!

  42. Sorry Art for reading your dirt track bit wrong. After reading your trashing of Stafford food and essentially calling all people that go to Waterford including women and children perverts I took you seriously.

  43. Seymour Doless says:

    Bring back Seymour the Clown!

  44. You do favor the impactful words don’t you NH (the stud) Mark. ” Hijacking” and “addicted”. I hijack the thread by making suggestions and you don’t by saying all is well and the challenges facing weekly racing don’t exist. Complaining about hijacking is for small minded losers. And the whining. You must go through several key boards a week with all those tears falling. Boo hoo Doug hijacked the thread again.
    As to the content you’re simply being ridiculous. Tracks in the area are highly profitable are they. What area? Weekly shows making millions. That statement is just bizarre. As successful as the WMT shows appear to be no serious, informed person would even remotely suggest weekly racing programs are not faced with challenges. On September 15th, TC’s last race four cars including Christopher raced under a blanket for the last few laps in the SK feature. The crowd was thin and as Ben Dodge called the action he was almost pleading for the audience to tell their friends and family about the great racing the SK’s were providing. But you wouldn’t know the Stud cause you weren’t there.
    Racedayct Alert: contact Sean Foster stat and tell him he’s absolutely wrong and according to some carpet bagger from NH apparently all is well. No suggestions or analysis needed.
    And since we’re categorizing like you Mark like to do so much here’s how I categorize you. Like the 100% profit hamburger you’re ignorant on this topic. That is not bad at all. We’re all ignorant at times on different topics. You’re problem is you’re ignorant and show no interest in learning what you clearly don’t know. All you see is that crowds at races you go to so clearly to you that extends to all of racing.

  45. Man, even his apologies are laced with contempt. Who appointed you the judge of what is valid and reasonable? Many on here are fed up with reading your tripe. Some enough to start calling you out on it. Tone it down, already.

  46. Putting people in the stands and trying to recrute new race fans is the bottom line.

  47. OK that proves you aren’t that bright RichC. It’s mockery, not contempt. “Many here are fed up”. That could be true in which case I’ll say I don’t really care. Mostly because it’s lying, phony, self important clods like you doing the whining.
    More importantly what pathetic wretch makes such pronouncements on an anonymous web site that you cannot possible know is true or not. What are you in High School? Geese Betsy, you know what everyone is saying about Doug. You’re pathetic.

  48. Holy Toledo…. One person has single handedly turned this site into a Days of Our Lives chat room. Give it a rest Doug! Please!

  49. NH Mark says:
    Just wondering, go look at the check Preece and Coby cashed last week and tell me how Nascar doesn’t support modifieds?

    hey Mark, where can we check that? i didnt see the winnings published anywhere. Thanks!

  50. Joe Lajoie says:

    NH Mark, Stafford’s lights and sound system were installed in the mid 90’s, back when there were 4 divisions of 30+ cars on a regular Friday night. A whole different time.
    And to think that at the end of the 2000 season, Stafford got rid of a healthy 30 car Pro Stock division. Can you imagine a track doing that now?

  51. darealgoodfella says:

    Doug makes Trump look like an amateur narcissist.

  52. Fast Eddie says:

    If you want to know how dirt track events are so successful, contact Howie Commander, as he’s about the best there is IMO. Mr. Commander owns Lebanon Valley and leases Albany-Saratoga Speedways. I don’t get there often, but when I do even a regular weekly show is PACKED with spectators with large fields of cars in all categories. It’s $10.00 to get in most of the time. The food is pretty good and very reasonably priced. The racing starts around 5:00 with 5-6 classes and usually is completed before 10:00 p.m. The racing has always been really good with touring teams and weekly racers. And no, I have no connections with them, I just know what I see when I go there.

  53. Fast Eddie,We hear you but why the marked difference with the dirt and pavement worlds?At one time both enjoyed equal popularity.Does anyone know if the USAC sprints and midgets are going thru the same thing?Maybe Shawn can contact Mr Commander for an interview on this subject.Might be revealing.

  54. A couple questions. Fast Eddy can you make any observation why they are so successful?
    Joe Lajoie. The same Joe Lajoie that shot the video at Stafford for KGM Video?

  55. Howie commander can keep prices low because he hasn’t spent $100 bucks on the place in the last 50 years, he did spend a little on drag strip

  56. Free web site and a free comment section where Art can suggest the owner of the site how he should spend his time. Sure, get right on that. Or you could do a little work researching yourself.

    Why dirt tracks are more popular then asphalt. A synopsis of some of what I’ve read.
    -According to the 2010 National Speedway Directory, there are 985 oval racetracks in America. Of those, 752 are dirt; just 233 are paved.
    – Racing on dirt is more forgiving. Miss the setup on asphalt, have lesser horsepower and you’re toast. Dirt understates power and handling and makes driving more critical.
    – Dirt costs less to field a car. The tire cost is a fraction of asphalt for obvious reasons. Less friction means horsepower is not as important and that lowers engine costs to compete. Teams that spend more money for more horsepower in dirt aren’t necessarily wasting their money but they do not get as much bang for the buck compared to asphalt where horsepower is critical. Good drivers in dirt with low budgets can compete with the big budget guys.
    -There are more crashes on dirt that the fans like and the crashes tend to be less severe. More crashes means more restarts and more action. More action all through the race in dirt.
    -lower expenses to field cars means higher car counts. Higher car counts with crashes and wild action mean more fans. More fans means more revenue and more people to spread expenses over lowering ticket costs.
    -novice divisions are far less expensive to get into. More young people, more friends of young people supporting a healthy injection of more youth from year to year.
    -dirt tracks tend to be more rural. There are fewer entertainment choices and dirt fans will travel longer distances to see races and are more loyal.
    -in dirt with large car counts heats mean something. Fans like it. in asphalt racing with weak car counts heats mean nothing more then handicapping and that is of little interest to fans.

    My totally non expert conclusions based on what I read.
    Dirt will never be popular in our region. It’s just not a part of our racing DNA as Whip City’s failure proved.
    The weaknesses in car counts, action, injection of younger drivers and fans is a feeding the downward trend. The weakness feeds on itself and makes things worse. A significant reversal of popularity is unlikely. We need to appreciate and support the pockets of success we have.
    Asphalt tire and engine costs will never compete with dirt costs.
    Looking to dirt tracks for answers on how to improve fan interest at our local asphalt tracks has relatively little value. it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

  57. Doug, a couple of corrections to your observations.

    Engines are cheaper – Nope. A big block mod motor is about $45k and a 358 motor is about $50k.

    More accidents – If that were true how would they run a 6 division show in less time than Stafford can? The Valley typically will have only one or two yellows in a 40 lap feature.

    Less tire usage – I’d give you that one except they typically don’t have tire rules because of the changing track conditions and the need to run harder or softer compounds based on the moisture content in the dirt.

    Oh, Whip didn’t fail, they were forced to close by the town. When they shut down they ere averaging about 60 karts on Saturday afternoon, and about 15-20 sprint cars in each of 4 divisions, along with another dozen scale dirt mods.

    The bottom line in dirt is simple. Tracks draw LOTS more people by keeping ticket prices low. My son and I spent a week chasing the 410 sprint cars through PA a few years ago. PA Speedweek, 8 races in 9 nights at 6 different tracks. All extra distance special events. Most expensive ticket was $18. Most were $12. Hot dogs were a buck, cheeseburger $2.50, and a beer was $3. Now you understand why dirt is more popular.

  58. Thank you RichC for adding to the topic. I have zero experience with dirt racing and simply repeated bit’s and pieces of what I read by authoritative sources. I usually attribute the source but there were so many it was not practical. My goal was to further the discussion.
    I’m disappointed that you simplify the low ticket price as being a function of a management decision as opposed to the ongoing success of dirt racing, a broader revenue stream and economies of scale. I’m also disappointed that as usual you viewed this as a tug of war passing on agreement and concentrating on poking holes in what I had to offer with your snarky all knowing arrogance. Offerings that again were not mine except in my opinion at the end but those of sources in the dirt racing business.
    If you want to be constructive pick any one of the corrections you are most interested in. I’ll do some research and we can expand on it.

  59. The last 2 guys get it ,and doug is right dirt will not fly in ct . So your left with basically 3 tracks stf spywy ,new london spbowl, sekok . and 2 spial event trks tomson, new hamp. the most likely way to increase fans is to just find a way to fill mod fields. control shocks, tires and any other out of control costs and find a way to move the feeder classe,s up . Maybe the answer lays somewhere like Brett Dayo did when he started the STSS have different weights for different engine combos. if you have 700hp but have to weight 2675 and a 500hp has only to be 2450 what would you choose . and more open shows with better payouts. look the valley has a 50 50 every week and were dose 50% go to the drivers pt fund.

  60. I ask for maybe an interview done by a real journalist on this website.what I get is a response from a total idiot who spews a long winded vacuous homily and then tells us he doesn’t know anything about his subject matter.RichC the guy he loves to hate answers the question in a lucid way and thanks for that.He should get back to Doug the welfare queen so he can use all his time researching.I think dougy boy is the best thing that ever happened to Shawn’s website.Going up to the lake house to do some work and get ready for New Years.When I get home Friday I’ll check to see if we have hit 300 yet.With Doug home and not gainfully employed that is a real probability since half the comments will be his.

  61. Art – Not sure if it won’t fly in CT, but we’re not going to get the chance to see, because there won’t be a track built in this state again ever. Too expensive and too many people with the NIMBY syndrome. Just as an FYI, WoO Sprint Cars 3rd place in points went to David Gravel from CT, with 18 wins in 74+ races, and I know of at least a half dozen guys who run the Valley on a regular basis.

  62. And as far as Doug goes, I guess I just can’t comment on anything he types, because I sure wasn’t trying to be snarky there, just addressing his observations, and look at what that got me.

  63. darealgoodfella says:

    RichC, I thought you did a great job.

    BRAVO!!!!

  64. Fast Eddie says:

    Art & Doug, I’m guessing it may have something to do with overall cost to race. When you get past the “A list” racers, many are racing in equipment they’ve had for a while. I think dirt modifieds are built stronger and can better take a hit. Also the overall car speed is lower, so the accidents aren’t as bad for the most part. I’ve seen guys roll over in a heat and race the feature with the same car! And for whatever reason, there are A TON of dirt modifieds in NY,NJ, & PA. Case in point: $1500.00 to win for Sportsman Modifieds (dirt version of SK lights). I think they normally run for $300 – $500. They got 55 cars! 5 heats, 2 consi’s and the feature! Plus they still had 4 weekly categories, one of which was 30 big & small block modifieds.

  65. A lot of great race fans in Doug’s doghouse. Glad to have you Art and Rich C. DaReal and I have been waiting for you. LOL

  66. There are a lot of people these days that think doing your homework, being curious and researching the vast internet for bits and pieces of information on things they enjoy is a waste of time. Art, NH Mark and RichC are clearly of that mind set. They know what they know and that’s it and it’s fine as far as it goes.
    RichC sighted his observations that were relevant but limited with the conclusion that there was no more to investigate. “Engines are cheaper – Nope. A big block mod motor is about $45k and a 358 motor is about $50k.” What does that even mean? One track, one division, one area of the country. If it is true does that one example leads to the conclusion that engines all across the country in dirt are the same cost as asphalt tracks? I asked RichC to pick out one item on his list to explore further. Nothing. Then Archie, Veronica, Jughead and the rest of the gang at Riverdale High piled on and vented and that’s fine too but doesn’t really say anything about what dirt racing’s lessons can mean for our tracks. As far as being unpopular with this particular group I’d have to say I’m kind of proud of that.
    I’ll be checking out the statements you made RichC to see if they are universal to dirt racing or simply a truth not typical of the dirt racing industry in general. I’m sure you and the gang at Riverdale High won’t care but maybe others will.

  67. Doug, I hope that you don’t get seriously hurt when you fall off that high horse of yours.

  68. I understand RichC you’re in the Dareal club now with NH Mark and Art. I don’t know how a wine and quiche SCCA guy like you managed to get in the club but congratulations I guess. Good luck learning emoji speak.
    On the positive side I’ve done a ton of reading on dirt vs asphalt. Fascinating and for paved track fans a bit depressing. I’ll be putting together an updated bunch of observations after I get back from Sullivan Metal in Holyoke with some stock. FYI, best prices on small orders of metal stock in the CT, MA border area. You’re welcome to pick it apart or ignore my new entry as you, Archie and the gang see fit. Go Riverdale High.

  69. darealgoodfella says:

    RichC, Doug is riding a horsey stick. No different than tripping. 🐴

  70. I hope one of your observations is that you should attend a dirt race before you ramble on anymore about dirt racing.

    ESPN, the coverage is excellent-Cole Trickle.

  71. Study dirt vs asphalt racing on the internet and it’s a hodgepodge of opinions from experts many years old, old news articles with rarely a comprehensive comparison by a nationally recognized authority. But after exhaustive searching this is the one link that sums it up best. Check it out.
    http://www.onedirt.com/news/the-real-difference-between-dirt-track-racers-and-asphalt-racers/

    On RichC comments.
    -Engines are cheaper – Nope. A big block mod motor is about $45k and a 358 motor is about $50k. This is true as far as it goes. At the top echelons of racing the engines cost is staggering and the big boys across all forms of racing spend a ton for sure. At the novice level a team can be competitive with the basics in crate engines on dirt. Many dirt tracks have iron clad limits on engines in some classes with add ons having lesser impact then asphalt, Few would argue that the driver vs equipment importance ratio as far as results go is weighted more heavily toward the driver in dirt.

    -More accidents – If that were true how would they run a 6 division show in less time than Stafford can? The Valley typically will have only one or two yellows in a 40 lap feature My comment was taken from an anecdote in an article and this comment is an anecdote as well. I looked hard for real data and could find nothing on dirt vs asphalt deaths that was enlightening. This article was interesting however. Check it out. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nascar-auto-racing/thatsracin/article9152399.html

    Less tire usage – I’d give you that one except they typically don’t have tire rules because of the changing track conditions and the need to run harder or softer compounds based on the moisture content in the dirt. Again it depends on the division. At the top levels tire budgets are high as RichC says. It’s a science depending on conditions and stagger sets. Cutting their own tire tread for some top teams and experimenting is a whole new level of expense. At the novice level where money is tight it appears to be possible for some teams to go through an entire season with one set of tires. That’s unusual but clearly the tire cost at the bottom levels is a fraction of asphalt racing.

    Oh, Whip didn’t fail, they were forced to close by the town. When they shut down they ere averaging about 60 karts on Saturday afternoon, and about 15-20 sprint cars in each of 4 divisions, along with another dozen scale dirt mods. The articles I read indicated the town leased the land to the track operators, wanted it back for a development and bought the leasee out of the two remaining years of the lease. Using the terms failed and forced out are both for the most part inaccurate. The point is moot however since in New England we clearly donot have an interest in dirt racing or we’d have more of it.

    We in New England have our roots deep in modified asphalt racing. We appear to be more of a back water exception to the trending success of dirt tracks all across the country. Whereas we talk of things that need to be done to revive our programs here that concern is not shared by the majority of the dirt racing industry in general. That’s what I found anyway.

  72. You are welcome to mock me all you like NH Mark. If I were to use your theories on learning studying history wouldn’t be possible cause you couldn’t be there to see it. Others may find a point or two interesting and add to the subject. I hope anyway.

  73. Doug,

    I’m sure their are plenty of drivers at Stafford who would be open to hearing how they can go faster based on your hypothesis. Maybe that’s your next audience. I heard Phil Moran could use a helping hand in the garage with the 2 car. Every race shop needs a Cliff Clavin. Honestly, I’m not sure how Coby won all those championships without you. If that doesn’t work, Ed Flemke has an open door policy. We’ll find you a race home Doug. Fear not. Your knowledge shouldn’t be wasted anymore on this motley crew.

    If there is a God, Shawn will make Doug the first podcast interview. We are going prime time now.

    Also, I didn’t read your last post. I don’t have that kind of time. Maybe I can bookmark it and complete it over the long holiday weekend.

  74. Who does that? Builds a lengthy elaborate comment of taunting and ridicule and bases it on ignorance. And points out the ignorance as a badge on honor. I thought Art was Jughead but apparently there are two of you.
    The contribution level I made to racedayct does not qualify me to be on the podcast nor do I have the current expertise to qualify in any event. The bigger point is to make a financial commitment in some form to racedayct to show your support for the ridiculous amount of work Mr. Courchesne does that we benefit from. I hope you and the gang from Riverdale High and all those that enjoy the service have seen your way clear to do that or intend to in the near future.

  75. So to be straight, you admit you do not have any expertise but insist on writing daily novels about the very subjects you just said you know nothing about?

  76. darealgoodfella says:

    NH Mark, he reads it on the internet, so it must be true. Reading it makes him an expert.

    “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity.”
    ~ Abraham Lincoln (source: the Internet)

  77. darealgoodfella says:

    No 🧠, no expertise. Pretty simple.

    Or, no expertise, no 🧠.

    There’s no substitute for cognitive ability.

    “Never memorize something that you can look up.” – Albert Einstein

  78. darealgoodfella says:

    Doug wrote, “Who does that? Builds a lengthy elaborate comment of taunting and ridicule and bases it on ignorance. And points out the ignorance as a badge on honor.”

    Uh, Doug, that’s about all you do. And you take massive lengths in doing so. Seems you take great pride too. You are very good at it, the best I’ve ever seen.

  79. I spent a decent amount of time researching and putting together some thoughts on dirt vs asphalt racing others could critique or expand on if they like. Or you can spend your time taunting and ridiculing and that’s OK to. The one thing I do wish you would do without reservation is show support for racedayct with a financial commitment to the site.

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