Guest Column: What’s Wrong With Short Track Racing – Part 3

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


 Racer, Owner, and Team Interest

Sean Foster

Short track racing, with regard to the actual racers and race teams, has deteriorated into an absolutely abysmal state. Racers pay more than ever at the pit gate to participate, and are paid less than ever at the end of the event. From a racer’s perspective it seems as though tracks view race teams with contempt. It’s as though throughout the last fifty years track owners and promoters have been conducting an experiment to see how poorly they can treat the weekly racer while still turning a profit.

The race teams are the people putting on the show. Let’s not forget that. The track management is responsible for keeping the racers pleased. Now I understand the difficulty of pleasing everybody, however, small incentives show appreciation for the competitors and showing appreciation for the racers creates a more positive environment throughout.

In order to gain acceptance from the race teams and gain new competitors, we have to give them what they want. Racers want the freedom to travel and experience different race tracks. Facilities that try “locking in” their racers by having their own rulebooks different from surrounding tracks often show little success. Racers aren’t interested in spending money on something of little to no value. A race car that is only good for one track is not a worthy investment to race teams because it limits their freedom to visit other facilities and their ability to sell if they ever decide to take a different route.

Every speedway needs an executive representative who is widely respected. It has to be somebody who understands the struggles that a race team goes through on a regular basis. This often, but not always, comes in the form of a current or ex-racer. Track operators are not doing race teams a favor by giving them a place to race. Respecting what the teams go through and showing them appreciation for supporting the speedway is vital as racers have lives outside of racing. They are, in fact, choosing to devote time to their home track.

If you were to poll the race teams in the pit area as to their feelings about the track management, many would respond with, “They have no idea what we go through. They don’t know the money, time, and struggles that go into showing up at the track every week”. That’s because many tracks lack incentives for the people who arrive at their facility to entertain their fans.

Let’s talk about a real screwing for the racers: A local speedway director once told me, “There are little things right in front of our faces that are a problem in our sport, one being pit pass fees increasing when a visiting touring series shows up.” Think about that for a second. When an outside touring series shows up, it means the entry level racer has to pay around double for a pit pass. When they pay double, what do they get in return? Well…

1. They lose money since they leave work earlier than usual just to sit around and wait for all the visiting series’ qualifying races.

2. They are shuffled out to park in the distant, usually dirty, and possibly poor terrain sections of the pit area.

3. They miss spectating the touring series race because they are too busy preparing, loading, and repairing their own racecars, or making their way through post race tech inspection.

Basically, racers have to dish out more cash for a complete inconvenience.

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. I agree 100% with the last 4 paragraphs, the whole deal really sucks!

  2. There’s a lot wrong with short track racing when it cost more for you crew to get in and get there than you can win the crate motor rule is a total scam $400 -1400 to seal one for what 8 races a year cost more to seal one than you can win something ant right

  3. Excellent read. Totally agree with all points.
    I feel bad for the poor guy running for points in a mini stock that has to pay $75 for an end of the year show to run a 15-20 lap feature.
    Also find it funny that the DARE, I mean street stock rules are pretty much what the late 80s late models were back then. The late models paid 500 to win back then, why the heck do the DARE, I mean street stocks still pay 125?
    And finally, like you said, with almost every division running electronic scoring, why can’t we bring back letters to spice things up a little bit??

  4. Just Wondering says:

    Sean, you have hit on some great points the racers have been complaining about for years. IMO making the regular competitors pay more than the drivers and teams of any visiting series like the WMT is just wrong especially when the weekly regulars get treated like crap by scrapping their heat races, poor pit parking, etc. etc… Talk about slapping your faithful customers in the face.

    I realize this may be absolutely necessary to make the numbers work for the track but there must be a better way. I don’t claim to know what it is but maybe NASCAR could step in a help out? I heard in the past that NASCAR has offered discounts in appearance fees to some small tracks to book an event where the numbers clearly would not work due to small grandstands and location.

  5. James Scott says:

    Sean ever consider being a race director? I think you would be a good one.

  6. James agree however, remember who the race director takes their direction from and who gets the final say! The track owner and it all comes down to revenue and the owner does not really care how they make it as long as they do.

  7. Sean you hit the bullseye. The racers are the show yet get very little if any respect from the track. As far as a one track car look at the Stafford late models. You cannot race them anywhere except stafford. Back in the days when your dad raced you could take your late models anywhere in new England and race.

  8. I think what is needed is for the 3 Connecticut tracks to get together and come up with common rules for the different divisions so racers aren’t stuck racing 1 track they also need to make it more affordable for crew members getting into the pits each week most crew members only see their race as they are busy during the other races.

  9. Ya this is going to be about as popular as a skunk at senior prom but here goes.
    I see limited value in a driver from a racing family outlining how race drivers and teams are exploited and abused without some equal weight applied to the tracks position. Now you can blame the track management for being so closed mouth for the Ct tracks anyway but geez Louise this is a whining session. In the 80’s we said the same exact thing. Love us, respect us, pay us more. Guess what, never happened at Stafford. Ben Dodge is the only guy that gave us free passes at Riverside Park for putting on the show. It was great, very much appreciated but did nothing to set the track apart from Stafford and Thompson in that era. It turned out to be a well intended experiment that essentially failed to do anything to further racing at the time.
    The best observations are coming in the comments. I’d ask Joe Lajoie the local Stafford expert and perhaps the Joe LaJoie I see on old KGM youtube videos what the pit fee was in 1980 or 1990. Then let’s run it through the adjustment tool for inflation and see if it has changed that much. And why we’re at it lets look at season pit passes for the teams that show up every week. What they were in the 80’s and 90’s compared to now adjusted for inflation. Their average cost and how they cancel the outrageous fees for special events. I know what the front gate fee was in 1980 at Stafford and adjusted for inflation we pay less now for a regular Friday night show. My guess is that the amount teams spend on those ridiculous enclosed trailers they find so convenient and the truck to haul them far exceeds inflation compared to the open trailers we used way back when. You value money spent lets break that extra cost down and ask teams why they aren’t willing to give up the convenience to save a few thousand dollars. Earth to race fans. If you are good with money, if you want to get the most for what you earn the first two things you don’t do is buy a boat or go racing.

  10. Common rules. Great idea in theory. Now let’s talk Ct. Waterford is a year to year deal. Thompson gave up and is part time. Staffords it. Now if you are Stafford why do you give a hoot about aligning rules? If I’m them I’m thinking you follow our rules or don’t, we don’t care.
    For weekly racing it’s Stafford and the Speedbowl. Sure you can go to Seekonk or up north but most lower and mid level division teams won’t do that. Start with Street Stocks. You can’t match the Speedbowls gear rule at the mid 4’s to Staffords at the mid 3’s. The track distances just don’t work for gears so the rest is window dressing. If you’re talking strictly quick change divisions then fine. Otherwise you’re not being realistic as far as the CT scene goes. There’s practical reasons why we are where we are.

  11. I’m talking about sk’s only – back in the 90’s thru 2000 race gas was $4 (need 10 gals a race =$40) tires were $100 (need a set every 3 weeks = $133 a race) last place paid $120, the most you are out is $50-$100 – if you qualified – now you still need 10 gals = $100 and 3 tires = $500 – last place pays $130, you are out $470 a week. 10th place pays about the same as it did 30 years ago. An sk transmission cost as much as an engine in the 90’s, shocks are out of control also. purse has not kept up with the rule changes and raising cost of tires and fuel. I question the transmission, clutch and shock rule changes in the last 15 years – the older parts still worked so why let the more exspensive parts to be used??? Adds an extra $6k to a competitive sk

  12. Solve the problem get rid of the mod tour , and have all open shows in every division….have a track champion instead or a tour champion , same rules at all tracks , and run Sunday events so that will free up more teams to run open shows , have heats and a good purse…..

  13. darealgoodfella says:

    Back in the day, there were many more tracks and options to run at. The tracks had to attract the racers to their venues. Now there are way less tracks and the racers have very few options. You wanna race? You will pay dearly to do so, it that simple. Supply vs. demand. Tracks have the leverage, very few places left to play cars.

  14. Expanding on Joe LaJoie’s comment. Are the current Street Stocks at Stafford equal to the Late Models of the late 80’s. At the time you needed T/A power to run up front at $4000 at the time that is over 8 grand adjusted for inflation. Power was everything with gears at 4;10 so the motors turned some serious RPM’s. Now RAD’s out the door cost is $4600 for a crate engine and the gear rule is 3:42. Handling and Momentum is everything now.
    If the Late Model check to win was $500 in 1987 that’s over $1000 adjusted for inflation now. So the comparison to the Streets now at $125 to win is even worse. But from 1985 to 2004 there were at most three divisions getting paid and in 87,88 &89 only two. Now there are five and in 2014, 15 and 16 there were six getting checks. In the late 80’s the Late Models fielded some of the best racing in any division ever with full fields and virtual free for alls of racing action and so many competitive cars. Some were sent home with nothing not making the feature. Now everyone that starts a race gets a check and last year the only drama was could anyone beat Johnny Walker.

  15. Fast Eddie says:

    Keep in mind I am just a fan and have not raced at circle tracks before. This might be a crazy idea, but it would help teams a little during the season. have a random drawing every week of a certain number of teams to get in FREE that night. Maybe 2 if under 20 entries, and 3 or 4 if over 20. Example: There’s 17 Street Stocks entered. Easy to do a random drawing before they show up. The 5th and 14th teams through the gate that night are free. A small surprise when a team shows up: ” You’re the 5th team tonight, you’re in free!” I would think that would be appreciated and helpful. Also how about a “hard luck” free entry? Someone has a bad crash or blows an engine; give them free entry for their first race back after fixing the car.

  16. Anybody remember that interview

  17. Anybody remember that interview with Terry Eames years ago? He explained why he wouldn’t raise the purses.

  18. Just Wondering – Thank you for the back up. It seems like title sponsors for touring series events are key in making sure ends meet. Effectively promoting these events is an important factor… and should be if it’s the track’s biggest show of the season. But if a track’s weekly show isn’t drawing a healthy crowd then they prob aren’t in a position to attempt a touring event. Weekly product is priority.
    James Scott – Thank you! I did some track officiating and realized race directing doesn’t interest me too much. I’ve done a lot of research and made some attempts at track managing/promoting so that’s a route that interests me. Right now I’m too wrapped up with building a website LOL
    Doug – Maybe a whining session but I’ve pointed out specifics. Also not sure how improving the relationship with race teams is a step in the wrong direction. Practices in the pre-2000’s might have worked fine but remember we’re in a different era. An era where business success is built on long term relationships. People aren’t interested in being involved in an activity where appreciation and communication is absent; nowadays they’ll just find something else to do. Car counts are down and with all the complaints around the pit area you can’t tell me this isn’t a legitimate factor in people losing interest. Remember the title… What’s Wrong with Short Track Racing. Improvements have to be made in all areas of the sport.
    Thanks to everybody for sharing their thoughts.

  19. darealgoodfella says:

    Racing is a form of gambling. You have to pay to play. The teams are going to compete, hoping to win the jackpot, and they have to ante up. The tracks have the leverage, there’s no need or incentive to provide free team entry or freebies. You wanna race, you pay the price, from your own funds or get sponsorship.

    You people are great at finding all sorts of ways to spend other people’s money.

  20. Fair enough Sean. Leave the past in the past.
    Sorry about the term whiny. Inartful and inaccurate. To be clear, I appreciate the racing Fosters and always have. Essentially I view your articles as extensive comments since the are general and wide ranging. Comments that elicit some pretty good replies like Steves mention of the transmissions and shocks. Specific and valid to local racing.
    You’re saying that now we are in an era where business success is based on long term relationship. That will need clarification. Entertainment choices as they pertain to business relationships? I hope that’s what you mean. If you’re talking business in general depending on personal long term relationships that’s a non starter. Amazon, Ebay, Home Depot, Auto Zone, healtcare and drugs, internet shopping is all based on value and zero personal relationships. Value is the key. If value includes long term relationships fine but value is the key.
    Any person that considers spending their discretionary entertainment dollars on racing wants value. That could include being treated with respect and made to feel they have value or maybe not depending on the person. It’s a dead end. Value to people that race is too big to corral with bigger purses, lower pit entry fees, pyrotechnics and confetti. It’s fine to say it will help and increase car counts and in turn put more butts in the stands. But if you can’t quantify it, it’s no more then an opinion which we have plenty of here.
    One thing we sorely miss in these conversations is the opinion of management at tracks. And I’m thinking the Arute’s specifically. They are an encyclopedia of knowledge on current conditions and realities in putting on the show and we never hear a peep from them. Scott Running will provide a steady stream of press releases on what the racing Arutes are doing on the track but is there any record of Mark or Lisa Arute sitting down with anyone in media to jabber about the future of racing? New Hampshire Motor Speedway General Manager David McGrath can sit down with racedayct and answer questions but the Arutes……….nothing to my knowledge. I don’t care what Podunk Raceway in Hooterville USA is doing or saying. I care about Stafford, NLWS and Thompson and other then promotional stuff they never say boo.
    http://racedayct.com/2017/07/qa-with-new-hampshire-motor-speedway-general-manager-david-mcgrath/
    So here we are with one side of the story. The racers viewpoint. There’s a big blank sheet of paper on the opposite page.

  21. Spot on with the rule book deal, I’ve passed on getting a Sport Truck for the sole reason that I don’t want to be trapped at one track. It is good to see the Truck tour pick them up, but not convincing enough.

    The stock 4 cylinder is probably the most versatile division, where you can go to most tracks with as little as a tire change. But even still there’s annoyances in the rule books that could be leveled at least regionally. Some tracks are too thickheaded to show appreciation for their drivers.

  22. Just Wondering says:

    Sean F. and/or Shawn C. Doug has hit on an interesting point regarding the lack of info from the Track Owners in CT regarding anything besides scheduled events. Maybe it would be a good time for a round table discussion all at the same time with the Arutes from Stafford , Josh from Thompson, and George Whitney from the Speedbowl to get all their thoughts on the current status and future in short track racing in CT. Maybe it could be recorded and available online (maybe the new pay to view thing RaceDayCT has recently started)? How about allowing us race fans & teams to post or email questions a head of time for them. Any thoughts?

  23. Steve, not sure where you are getting your numbers from. Tires were $140.00 each, $560.00 per set. 3 tires every 3 weeks? At Thompson 4 per night if you wanted to run up front. You had a choice of Hoosier or McCreary and the Hoosiers were 2 tenths faster even though the McCreary tires got better wear. The tire of choice if you wanted to run up front and rub bars with the big boys, Hoosier. 10 gallons of gas was more like 12 and that was $4.75/gallon. We spent round numbers $700.00 each night and that included tow vehicle fuel and pit fee and the winner got $1,000.00 and last was about $175.00. If you did not finish in the top 2 or 3 you lost money. Not trying to pick a fight here but I lived it every week.

  24. Let’s say for argument the cost of preparing a car to race at a Ct track across all divisions is say $20000. Add the cost of the enclosed trailer and truck to haul it of $20000 and your at the back gate with $40000 into this form of entertainment. You can make up your own numbers if you like.
    Now lets say that is 17 races the average team across all divisions wins $150 a night for total winnings of $1800 for the year. Let’s magically double those winning. Add another $1800. Then lets cut the pit fee by $10 an event for 4 people that gives us a yearly additional track give back of $40 times 17 events equaling $680 a year per team. So in my magical world the track just gave back the added winnings on average of $1800 plus $680 for a total of $2480. In my guesstimation we have $40000 to get the car to the back gate and now the track gave back an added $2480 which is 6.2% of my total outlay.
    First I don’t think the track could afford to give back over $200,000 for the season based on roughly 86 teams. Secondly I don’t think $2480 would convince anyone to spend the $40000 to get a car to the back gate and increase car counts. And lastly I don’t think many teams would either race or not race based on a 6.2% give back. But I’m pretty sure it would make converting the property to condo’s look a whole lot more attractive.

    And just for the record racing is not an investment. Gold, stocks, bonds, real estate, art, coins, stamps are investments. Racing is an entertainment expenditure and the opposite of an investment. Unless you’re Rocco of course in which case it may be a business.

  25. darealgoodfella says:

    It’s deja vu all over again.

    darealgoodfella wrote, “You people are great at finding all sorts of ways to spend other people’s money.”

  26. I absolutely agree with Doug and Just Wondering’s follow up. Doug you pointed out David McGrath’s interview and that is an excellent example of keeping everybody in sync with future plans of a speedway. His interview made me go from not knowing the future plans of NHMS to feeling a connection with the speedway’s future. Communicating and connecting with your people.
    darealgoodfella- Part of my vision here is to reduce badmouthing around the pits/internet and increase track support. One common complaint is “my payout doesn’t even cover my entry pass”. I’m not saying increase payouts and I’m not saying racers should be making money at this game. I’m saying that since this is a semi-professional, spectator sport then the participant payout should at least cover entry costs. It just makes sense in my opinion.
    Doug- I’ll try not to pick your comments apart word by word anymore LOL. I appreciate everybody’s comments and hell, some people might find flaws in my statements. I actually prefer discussions for that reason.
    Many of my thoughts on business success and long term relationships has to do with communication and approval from customers. There’s a book called The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk that talks about giving consumers a voice, methods of communicating/interacting with consumers, proving to customers that they are valued. That’s my biggest point… race teams find value in having a communicative relationship with the speedway. So with race tracks shutting down and car counts dwindling I feel part of this is due to unanswered voices from the racers. Those large businesses you mentioned have their own methods of communicating with their customers. Their social media pages are often used to answer customer’s complaints/concerns, consumers are encouraged to rate their purchased products, their support team is quick and responsive. People find value in companies who allow their voices to be heard.
    darealgoodfella & Doug – I think you both dislike my use of the word “investment” but I have to continue using that term. Racing is most often a negative investment but if I am going to purchase a race car then I still foresee the long term usage of that purchase. Example: If I see a division that has dwindling car counts and with no other nearby tracks that host that car type… then I foresee the possibility of the division being discontinued and being stuck with a useless car and inability to sell/make my money back. I will get deeper involved in this on part 5 of my blog/statement: “Divisions and New Racer Captivation”.
    Racing might not seem like an investment or business but racers still run the operation as such. Race car purchases are based on long term investments. Racing operations are run as a business… income/expense reports are made and expenses are written off in tax reports.

  27. darealgoodfella says:

    SF 22 wrote: “darealgoodfella- Part of my vision here is to reduce badmouthing around the pits/internet and increase track support. One common complaint is “my payout doesn’t even cover my entry pass”. I’m not saying increase payouts and I’m not saying racers should be making money at this game. I’m saying that since this is a semi-professional, spectator sport then the participant payout should at least cover entry costs. It just makes sense in my opinion.”

    These teams are not even semi-professional. These are teams made up of volunteers. A couple teams may have a full-time or some part-time paid crew, but overall, these are volunteer crew.

    The racers, from the owner to the crew, are racing addicts. They will pay whatever they can to get their racing fix. This is not a business for the racers. If it was, at this local track level, it would have been bankrupt a long time ago and all short tracks would have been abandoned and turned into malls and housing developments. These are overgrown boys that are still stuck on playing cars. The racing addicts are enabled by the tracks that fill the role of enabler. The racers can’t race on the streets, so they have to go to the tracks to fulfill their fix. And the role of the enabler is filled by the track.

    Wanna make a small fortune in small track racing? Start with a large fortune.

    Racing is like gambling. In gambling, you should only risk what you can afford to lose. That’s what the racers do. They do what they can afford to do, what they can afford to lose. That’s why there are so few full time teams and so many more part time operations. Teams that run in the top 5 or 10 know they are running a 💰💰💰💰 losing deal. Geez, even if one team wins all races on the NWMT, that team will lose money over the season. It’s a hobby or an addiction, call it what you want.

    Mike Stefanik said it best a few years ago when he commented that the biggest concern to the future of Modified racing was the lack of new owners coming into the game. New owners that had the means to fund their addiction, or hobby.

    Payouts need to be increased. You can’t reduce the cost of racing. To increase payouts, we need to get more people in the stands, that will get more sponsors to take interest for they can get more minds on their products. More sponsors brings more revenues to increase the payouts. That’s a lot more fans and sponsors.

  28. SF22 “Short track racing, with regard to the actual racers and race teams, has deteriorated into an absolutely abysmal state.” (Fact or Fiction?)
    SF22 “Part of my vision here is to reduce badmouthing around the pits/internet and increase track support.” (Fact or Fiction?)
    So what is it you are actually doing?? Creating a platform to badmouth NASCAR, track promoters, staff and management and putting a blanket statement out there that infers that all short track racing is wrong or in your words in an “abysmal state”. Wow didn’t know your vast experience could gain you such knowledge regarding racetracks nationwide.
    Come on, get off your high horse, “invest” in a race car, or maybe get a sponsor to help you “invest” in your race car and start working on it, like the rest of us do all winter. It might be more productive. Now that would be something to write about. It could be a best seller- “Sean Foster’s Race Sponsorship Recipe for the Short Track Racers.”

  29. darealgoodfella- I think terminology is the only thing causing a mix up here because I agree with a lot of your statements. I use the term semi-professional because the owner/drivers are getting paid plus it being a spectator sport. Whether one of us is right/wrong? I’m not sure but I didn’t read your comment and completely disagree. And like I’ve mentioned: although Shawn has been nice enough to share these to his site it’s not based on CT race tracks alone. In certain regions/series/tracks there are racers who follow money shows to help make a living.

    I agree with your last paragraph. I’m avoiding making statements like “payouts need to be increased” because that’s more of an end result. I plan to state that in my concluding blog of this series.

  30. Fact or Fiction: “So what is it you are actually doing?” Part 1 basically states my objective… I’m suggesting owners and promoters to refocus their approach. Trying my best, I’m sorry if it’s not captivating you.
    This blog/statement has nothing to do with me going racing next year. Either way thank you for the suggestion… perhaps someday I will attempt such a blog post.

  31. It always great to have a race driver and/or owner mix is up in the comment section and my hat’s off to Mr. Foster for taken the time to provide immediate feedback on what’s said. I don’t know about the others but what I say comes from an abiding respect for the author and the subjects discussed.
    You can call what you spend on racing pickles if you want but it doesn’t make it a pickles. Any accepted definition of investment involves the expectation of gaining a “material” result. I suppose you could say the enjoyment and personal satisfaction is a material result but it’s a stretch. Tax deductions. Interesting. That would apply to sponsors and guys like Stuart Fearn with businesses that likely write a portion off for advertising. If you have no business which is most racers you shouldn’t be writing anything off. Semi professional. Also a stretch but money is paid to people that race so OK.
    I wouldn’t be as blunt as Fact or Fiction but the first paragraph of the article including the “abysmal” adjective was an attention grabber. Again I suppose things are abysmal somewhere in racing America and I suppose our local tracks could make some changes by abysmal. And tracks having “contempt” for the people putting on the show. I look at Staffords Tom Fox, his resume and what he has meant to area racing and if I’m him I don’t think I’d be thinking the author was fostering productive communication. Throwing a grenade seems more appropriate. I’ve listened to pre race drivers meetings at Stafford a couple times over the last two years and they were very respectful of the teams as far as I could see. I’m not saying thats the sum of all interactions but it’s an indicator.
    Most agree we’re missing track ownership input. I add to that the absence of more drivers and owners weighing in. What’s the deal guys, Sean Foster is one of you. What do you think?

  32. I get it now. I spend some time with Gary Vaynerchuk, his books and marketing strategies and believe I understand what may be the core theme in this series. Don’t get why you would apply his strategy to the race teams since they are the product and not the customer. It’s like Vaynershuk making his wine suppliers happy and hoping that results in more wine sales. Maybe it will become more clear in “Fan Interest, Entertainment, and Youth Engagement” .

  33. Doug I feel the tracks should be treating the race teams as customers in such a sense. The speedways should be proving that the race teams are valued, providing open communication/interaction, giving the racers a voice. Building a positive relationship. If the teams feel valued then there would generally be a more positive vibe around the sport and increase interest. There’s a lot of bitching around the pit area. Due to the negative vibes, a lot of racers have decided to just find something else to do.
    Racers and teams would absolutely LOVE to help build the popularity of the sport and their home track. But there’s no motivation if they don’t feel valued by their own home track or if their voices always go unheard.

  34. Just Wondering says:

    SP22 absolutely agree on your recent post. One of the first ways for the tracks to show they care about their internal customers/racers and raceteams is to stop abusing them when the special events come to town. Stop charging the weekly racers more just to get in to put on the show where it is obvious they are just fillers such are the lower divisions that get shoved to the back of the pits and lose valuable track time by getting to run features only.

  35. Race teams are the product. The goal of management is to get the product for the lowest cost possible to maximize profitability while assuring the continued flow of the product for future sales. Car counts and on track competition are the only relevant metrics and team moral is only relevant in so far as it affects car counts. If a track is getting satisfactory car counts the conversation about how teams perceive how they are being treated is moot. Harsh, but it is after all a business first.
    You can apply Gary Vaynerchuk’s sales philosophy to the supply chain if you like but clearly his focus is product sales. His technique will be more relevant in the next installment I would think.
    Teams in the pits unhappy? For sure but where? That’s one of those vague default crutches like all politicians are corrupt and all news is biased. I still say that’s a non starter without specifics.
    Most people would stipulate that ticket prices should be lower, purses higher and paddock fees more affordable. We can also stipulate that none of those components is willing to pay more to give another a greater benefit.
    Man that guy Gary Vaynerchuk and his arrogant, absolutest approach to marketing and social media is a hoot. Potty mouth as well. He’s a 100 plus entry comment section all on his own.

  36. Everything I’m talking about is increasing profitability for the race tracks and building the sport as a whole. Tracks do business with the race teams. Taking care of the racers and saving them money will increase morale around the speedway –> That will increase participation (car counts) –> That will increase back gate sales and the product value (car counts) –> That will increase grandstand attendances –> That will increase profit (sales).

    You say race teams are the product and management’s goal is to get the product for the lowest cost possible? That sounds a lot like take what you can from the people putting on the show or people you’re doing business with. What I’m saying is take care of those people. In the long run it will show profitable. I guess I just don’t agree with race teams being a product.. I see them as customers. Or even business partners. Money is exchanged to and from both parties.

    And what is satisfactory car counts? Does a 25 car field mean kick up your feet and admire your success? That is nowhere near the vision in my head of short track racing’s future. I try to think big and strive for more.

    Yes, teams in the pits are displeased. My blog/statement uncovers the majority of the complaints I have heard over the years.

  37. Fundamentally there is nothing you say Sean that any race team or fan would want to disagree with. The fact is what you say is so vague it just ends up being a racers opinion with nothing to back it up. But it’s great commentary for sure.

  38. Joe Lajoie says:

    Doug, I know you said you raced street stocks back in the day, but when was the last time you were in the pits?

  39. It all comes down to the fact that the track operators don’t care about the racers their mission is to put as much money in their pockets as possible and if you don’t like it go race somewhere else

  40. I totally agree with SF22 but don’t see it ever happening for it to happen the racers would have to unite and there lies the problem if you have 30 racers 22 of them will unite the other 8 won’t go along years ago at Thompson the late model guys staged a protest and when it came time to run the feature all the front running teams brought their cars up to the track entrance to protest 7 or 8 cars took to the track all of whom normally had no chance in hell of winning or even placing top 5. Needless to say a feature was run and the cause was lost. So getting racers to unite is a lost cause.and if you got it alone you’ll find yourself getting black flagged or tech inspected to death therefore I say things will never change and if you don’t like it go race somewhere else

  41. First I want to thank Rob p. for one of the best anecdotes I’ve ever seen here.
    Joe Lajoie; are you the Joe Lajoie that filmed the Stafford races in the 80’s for KGM Video?

  42. darealgoodfella says:

    Doug, when was the last time you were in the pits?

    Please answer Joe Lajoie.

  43. If you purchase a paddock season pass at Stafford at it’s highest price of $500 and there are 17 events like the last two years I’m simply asking if average of $29 per event is too high.
    I’m also asking for those that race at Stafford if Tom Fox or any of his staff have mistreated you in any way or make you feel diminished and how? Does he make you feel like you are an important part of the show or do you get the impression he feels like you’re lucky to have a place to race?

  44. darealgoodfella says:

    The product is the racing show.

    The track is the factory.

    The teams & cars are the suppliers and vendors that supply the factory.

    Without the track (factory), the racers have no place to run. The tracks are in control.

    You think a team that spends 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰to put together a car is going to deliberately sit out a race? Ever hear of cut off your nose to spite your face?

  45. Doug when we raced there we we’re never mistreated that’s the truth but I did see a lot of blatant cheating that was overlooked by the officialsdid have an incident where we were black flagged for spinning a car from 4 spots ahead of the guy had to do a drive thru raced back to being on the lead lap only to be black flagged for speeding thru the pits 10 laps earlier turned into a bad finish which ultimately cost us the championship as we would have easily won that race. Lost the championship by 2 points. The track did send us a nice aopology but the damage had been done. There is allot of politics at Stafford and some teams are treated better but that’s the same everywhere

  46. I haven’t been actively involved with a car since 2014 and only attended a few races last year..I do miss it there are allot of good people in the pits and stands at Stafford. Can still remember running against SF22,’S dad those were the good old days when 30-35 cars showed up every week don’t think we’ll ever see those numbers again but can always hope to

  47. Joe Lajoie says:

    Doug, I didn’t film the KGM Videos, but I have a pretty good collection of them. And with Kenny and Tanis’ good graces I post some from time to time for people to enjoy. To me there’s nothing that can replicate the street stock/late model races from the 80’s and 90’s. The racing was awesome, and the cars and drivers had character.
    So Doug when was the last time you were in the pits? In case you were curious I started going in the pits at Stafford when I was 16 (1986) and have probably missed only 4-5 races there in the past 32 years. When I’m not crewing on the 51 SK I stand in the same spot every week to watch the races, turn 1 next to the handicappers booth. The last time I bought a ticket for the grandstands there was 1985.
    Dareal that’s pretty funny seeing you tell Doug to answer my question. I’ve asked you questions multiple times and even offered you to stop by our car at the pit party but you conveniently ignore them.

  48. darealgoodfella says:

    Joe Lajoie, Doug hasn’t been in a pit for decades. He whines here about ticket prices being more than $8.75, so he doesn’t even know where back gate is.

    You and I probably stand next to each other at Stafford.

  49. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LORxXr25u0
    I assume you are the one that posted the above video and all I can say is thanks. You’re preaching to the choir when you say you appreciate the old streets/late models. This particular field had a starting grid of 30 cars and the number of competitive cars and drivers is mind blowing compared to today.
    I have recognized you Joe as a fountain of knowledge on Stafford ever since you corrected me on the restarts in the 1980’s and with that resume of yours I was clearly right.
    I have gone in the pits once in each or the last two years and made it a point to watch the drivers meeting. I recall being struck about how different they were. My recollection is that drivers meetings in my day could be brutal will officials barking at us for our sloppy driving and trying to win on the first lap. Then the SK’s starting up, they were a wreck fest and the barking got more frequent. We were a motley crew at the time and may have deserved it. I was struck how now all the teams top to bottom are much more focused, image conscious and professional. I am also struck by the fact divisions are not segregated, the pits more expansive, better organized and less intense. Those are my observations anyway.
    I shall make a mental note of your location and if I’m in the pits next year at a regular Friday night show and see a likely candidate by the handicappers booth watching DJ intensely I will attempt to introduce myself and say hi. As a DJ fan I’d love to hear what your plans are for next year if you ever get a chance.

  50. Thanks Rob p for the first hand account. Ya I could see how that apology letter wouldn’t be making you feel a whole lot better under the circumstances. But it’s mere existence is relevant and information regarding the the topic at hand. The one and only actual account of actual events I might add. And having followed your comments I believe it 100%.

  51. Thanks Doug I try to keep it real and true I love racing of all types and having been involved with the #17 team for close to 25 years have seen allot learned even more and met some great people. As the symtoms of TBI continue to increase I am slowly but surely losing these precious memories and sometimes go off on a tangent but it’s good to know that someone can appreciate these memories I share from time to time maybe I a few year’s some people will meet me and be able to rekindle these memories for me. It still sucks that I’m unable to build and race cars anymore as my physical condition keeps declining but hey that’s life and I take every day since October 9 2012 as a gift. Hope to meet you in person someday.

  52. You may know me. I worked with Jimmy Peterson and my family business C&S Engineering was one of his primary sponsors for year’s we stayed on as an associate sponsor when Josh Wood drove the 17.

  53. No doubt you’re dealing with a tough bid Rob p the I’m sure is a moment by moment challenge. But you’ve got a lot of gold in that head of yours and you can bet I’ll mine it every chance I get. I’m not the only one that appreciates anecdotes like the Thompson Late Model protest. Others see it, remember and smile. I’m just the one thanking you.
    You’re a decade plus after my experience so no we have never met. My Street Stock experience is so old that even Stafford won’t recognize our feature winners like Pat Chambrello, Paul Suprenant and Jim Ward in their list of Steet Stock all time winners. They won’t even recognize we existed saying Street Stocks started in 1993. At your peak I was out of the area and only returned going back to Stafford in the last 5 years as a geezer in the stands. Cheering for Nicole Chambrello cause she may be related to Pat Chambrello who ran by me on the 30 car feature slug fests clean as a whistle and was a great if forgotten champion-twice.
    We clearly will not agree an many things but when I hear someone say something that spent all that time and money helping put on the show no matter how long ago and no matter where I naturally have a greater degree of respect for them. You’re one of those guys I’m happy is here.

  54. OK Joe LaJoie I answered you. You’re one of the guys I have been waiting for. So what’s the deal in the pits at Stafford? Is $29 on average for a season pass to get into the pits too high? How about weighing in on your, or your teams interaction with management and staff at Stafford. You’re in your race team prime with historical perspective, relevant and knowledgeable and your take would be appreciated.

  55. Joe Lajoie says:

    I’ve been getting a season’s pit pass since 1995. Considering just a regular Friday night is $30 and any special show is up to $50, I think it’s a great deal. It pays for itself by the end of July/beginning of August. Some people actually complained last year about how, with all the rainouts last year, they deserved some kind of a refund on the season’s pass. Really?? How about the year before when there was only one rainout? Did these same complainers offer to pay the track some money back because they got such a good deal??
    As far as team interaction with management, ask me in person at the track.

  56. darealgoodfella says:

    Doug, being in the pits once in the last 2 years does not make you an authority on what’s going on in the pits, nor does it substantiate your baseless inquisitions.

    Is the pit experience worth $29? What’s $29 worth to you? Would that be 2 packs of cigs and a case of beer? It’s your call.

    Some of us have to be in the pits. Heck, the extra cost to be in the pits is worth the shorter lines for the bathrooms.

  57. There was actually 17 races each of the last two years according to my count. Last year two were added because of the number of rain outs.
    I doubt I’ll care about this issue on a sparkling Friday night with races to watch when the season begins but thanks anyway.

  58. Joe Lajoie says:

    And to touch on something that Doug said that is a big pet peeve of mine. If you go to the Stafford website and see the late model all time winners, according to the track the late model division started in 1987, which is flat out WRONG. The name late models started in 87, but before that they were street stocks and super stocks. Same car, different name. The division started in 1976, so all the winners from that point to now should be included. It’s not right that pioneers of the division – Dave Fisck, Tony Modena, Pat Chambrello, Paul Suprenant and the king of streets, Jimmy Ward aren’t even on the list.
    I realize that in the grand scheme of things that this isn’t a big deal, but it’s something that really bothers me. And I hope it isn’t “fixed” by having the current street stock (DARE division) lumped together with the 1976-86 street stocks because it’s not even comparable.

  59. “My recollection is that drivers meetings in my day could be brutal will officials barking at us for our sloppy driving and trying to win on the first lap.”

    That still happens… On the radio! ;^)

  60. Doug I do remember those guys that was back in the days when they had real modifieds no tour yet my dad worked on the L21 modified and I was there every Friday night rooted for chambrello back then. Who was it that endo’d down the frontstretch about 6 times in a street stock. That is one memory that is burned in my broken brain probly 1977 or 78

  61. You guys are bringing a tear to my eye recognizing Pat Chambrello. And you know who else motored by me and was a great guy, none other then Mike Paquette. Really smart guy even at the start and way ahead of everyone on chassis tuning even those barbaric Street Stocks with stock springs and no lead. Generous with his advice as well.
    You’re the best Joe Lajoie. Agree with every word of what you said. Except Jim Ward. Bit of a whiner.

  62. I really have a hard time believing that the radio instructions they give now could be as brutal as the hammering they gave the SK’s at the start but OK. But you never say anything that doesn’t make sense so what do they say now? How do you know?

  63. 1983. Best year for this cat ever at Stafford. Reggie Ruggiero, Bo Gunning and Paul Suprenant as champions. Paul Suprenant with that immaculate 1973 Monte Carlo, best year for a Street Stock ever in the region. Dominated everywhere.

  64. Congratulations to Sean and his partners in their new media venture. This is thinking outside the box and creating something new and exciting the furthers the interest of local racing. And the guy is young with a constant stream of new ideas. Man I’m looking forward to the show.

  65. darealgoodfella says:

    Can’t wait for Part 4.

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