Oval Track Schedule Expected To Be Cut In Half Or More In 2014 At Thompson Speedway

In late August Thompson Speedway general manager Jonathan Hoenig told drivers at the track that they would likely see a reduced scheduled for oval track racing in 2014 at the facility.

Thompson Speedway Long Narrow LogoHow reduced was the question many were left asking. It looks like a glimpse of just where those numbers will fall is starting to come out.

A Norwich Bulletin story Thursday reports that, according to Hoenig, there will be six to eight oval track events at the facility in 2014 and that track operators have no intention of running more than six events a year on the oval after 2014.

Hoenig could not be reached for comment on Thursday. The 2013 schedule at the track saw 16 events scheduled. That number included two multi-day events at the start and end of the season. Thompson management is expected to release the 2014 schedule the weekend of their season ending event, the World Series, Oct. 18-20.

NASCAR does have a sanctioning program in place now that allows competitors to earn NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points while competing at a track that holds as few as six events per season. It’s unclear what shape the schedule will take. The original 2013 schedule had Thompson in place in to host three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events and three Valenti Modified Racing Series events. Both divisions are part of the season ending World Series weekend coming up next month.

Thompson Speedway management is in the midst of a major overhaul of the facility that will see the opening of a new road course on the grounds that will be operational in 2014.

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  1. Andy Boright says

    Most of Thompson’s success has come with special events. Over the years many different groups and promoters have tried to make weekly events work, and most failed. The reality is that it makes a lot of sense to reduce the oval track to special events as those are the only money makers for the oval track, and there just isn’t much support for weekly events.

  2. disappointed again says

    I knew it… I’ve said at last twice on this site… They don’t care about oval track racing…. Jon Hoenig wants his road course so screw everyone else… Weekly racing would thrive there if they moved it to Sunday’s.. agreed special events are what bring people in to the grandstands but I used to go to Thompson but Thursday’s don’t work for me or apparently a lot of people.

  3. I agree with Andy, however there are many underlying reasons for the lack of a crowd or car count at the Thursday night shows. The economy certainly, but more is a lack of incentive for drivers to show up and fans for the same matter. I believe that with some more incentive to the competitors, via a better purse structure, etc. to get them motivated to come out and race on Thursday, the Track would be more successful. Also, as much as I do not like Stafford, I do like the way Mark promotes the track via commercials, and word of mouth, which generates a lot of hype. There is no hype at Thompson. You got to get the word out. D.R. is using the road course as a cop out for his lack of promotional skills for an oval track. He needs to learn the business of promoting, and alienating one group of racers for another is not good business.

  4. disappointed again says

    Matt as true as some of your statement was. Thompson pays the best payouts for racers.. Stafford is good and Waterford there lucky If they get paid. The economy is bad but car counts are not affected at other tracks. They still get 20+ sks at both other tracks. Car counts always dwindle as the year goes on because of wrecks but Thompson can only field one or may be two divisions a night with a full car count.. the last time I was there I paid more than it costs to go to Stafford so I could sit and watch 3 divisions with a high of 10 cars. The only division s that were over was the ministocks and the limited sportsman.which always puts on an awesome show btw.. with that being said your right Thompson does nothing to promote weekly racing. The only commercial I’ve heard this year for Thompson was there summer nationals for a car show. They don’t try which to me means they don’t care…

  5. pretty sad this is all happening taking away from the true drivers who supported that track for a long time. but i guess that does not matter???? sad sad. people may not be going as much cause of the economy but those drivers put their heart and sole not to mention all the $$$$$$$ to race there and love the track and now to cut it in half? do u realize how small that will be???? i think someone is forgetting who supported that track? well also a few of the NASCAR drivers have raced there one time and still talk about that track lots of racing people do. and now to take half the track away is really sad. i think Mr. Hoey should really think about what he is doing to all.

  6. The track is a buisness and they have to make money at it. I hate to say it but the reality of it all is that special events ARE the future of local racing. If the track is not making money on weekley shows they have to change the buisness model. Its either that or cease to exist totally.

  7. disappointed again says

    Anna don’t misunderstand me this is all about the racers … I have a friend that is a current three time track champion there. What they are doing is kicking them all in the teeth but yet are trying to make it seem like they care all at the same time. Don’t get me wrong they had 6 rain outs this year so they only ran 10 anyways so it’s not like it’s a big step down… Maybe they’ll wake up from this dream there in and restart the weekly racing. I hope they do. If I had a car built for that track and they told me not to worry everything will be fine as they said in Shawns last column I’d be pissed. These guys will go elsewhere to race

  8. If done right, six bigger shows could be better than 12 shows with filled with features containing 10 cars on a 5/8 mile speedway. Stafford and Waterford will still have their full seasons and could pick up some Thompson cars that desire a more frequent schedule. In turn, some of the regular Stafford and Waterford drivers may find a six-show schedule at Thompson desirable and run there too. This really could be a win-win for everyone.

  9. disappointed again says

    You might be right bob only time will tell. I do know for a fact the hoenigs don’t need weekly racing cause the golf course itself pays the bills. So it may be maybe an opportunity to bring in bigger events.

  10. Only the strong survive. There are/were probably too many tracks in CT for this day and age. Thompson was caught on the outside looking in when it comes to weekly racing and made the move to road racing. Waterford and Stafford should gain cars which is good for them. They should also gain fans which is even better for them. I doubt those 6-8 events at Thompson will include too many weekly divisions, points and track championships. Hopefully it will still include the WMT but I don’t know how they swing a Nascar sanction for a half dozen races. The argument that Thompson somehow screwed their weekly racers doesn’t hold water. The car counts have been on the decline for a number of years. Teams simply left and now Thompson has moved on. Its no different then when you breakup with a girl. You eventually move on.

  11. Hang on kiddos, we may be in for a bumpy ride. They are building this new road course with the idea they need not apply for permits, etc., and now the townspeople are a little ticked. Guess they’re trying to play the grandfather clause. Did a lot of excavating and re-routing without approval of their plans by anyone. Kind of sneaky, but hey, they got the dollars, so they don’t have to follow the same rules.

    In the dream world, maybe they’ll need to run weekly to get a little more revenue for their projects or at least pay to get them done. So, there might be a 2014 season? Just a dream. Great track, but the disrespect they have for the fans, drivers/owners and rules may be their downfall. Crazy, but oval trackers will still be there to put on a show whenever they need a quick buck and draw of locals.

    They ran advertising in Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, often. Even heard giveaways like they used to do on the radio in Putnam. They also applied for and were given a grant a couple years ago for just under $89,000.00 which was funded by CT taxpayers. It was for improvements to the golf course. They had planned on buying golf carts and hiring 2 people. Don’t know if that happened or not. Did see new carts, though. The economy was never an issue.

    Win-win? Doubt it. Seems to me that the novelty of whatever the new thing is will wear off, but circle/oval track fans are steadfast and true. If the Hoenigs are looking to become an entertainment/amusement venue, the northeast doesn’t have the income or attention span to support it. Judging by their behavior, one thing is pretty clear, loyal race fans are a thing of the past. It’s all about the money and bragging rights. I will not give another penny to this place. Done.

  12. I dunno how the sanctioning works but I don’t believe Eldora is nascar sanctioned but they had a top tier division race there.. Car counts and fan base declined because of there refusal to move it to a night when people can actually justify going. People still have the money to do it but probably not the flexibility the once did with there jobs. Its alot different getting home at 2am after a Friday night show than it is 2 am on a Thursday show having to work Friday.. Waterford in my opinion is the biggest winner in this. All the divisions that run at Thompson run at Waterford. So provided they aren’t shut down next year they’ll be slammed with race cars. If Stafford didn’t have to be so dam different than everyone else they would benefit so muchmore from this than Waterford. Thompson may have big events next year but not on Thursdays. They’ll do what they should have done2 years ago and move it to Sunday’s.. if I had to guess about the 6 or 8 events next year I’d say 2-3 NWMT 2-3 VMRS 1-2 granite state pro stocks, and maybe an ACT and a K&N east race. Maybe a SK NATIONALS race. All will be extended distance and maybe it will just be them and no one else. Supposed ly the schedule will be out on world series weekend. So we’ll know soon enough.

  13. disappointed again says

    Hmmm I wonder how this conversation went… permits?? We don’t need no stinkin permits!! …. Hmmm cease and desist… What does that mean Daddy?? It means keep digging Jon… Were the hoenigs.. screw em… Haha too much thanks for the info didi

  14. disappointed again says

    Maybe instead of posting pictures of reclaiming asphalt there will be pictures of the hoenigs on the side of the road trying to reclaim racers…

  15. It looks like the drivers will have to look for a new home to race next year. Just guessing. But I think Waterford, Stafford, Seekonk, Lee and others tracks will see a small increase of numbers next year.

    Sure numbers might say the same or decrees for the big shows because a random race with a purse will bring in some drivers. But I don’t think it will be the same number of drivers as it used to be.

    I really hope that Thompson get’s what they are looking for in this road course. Because Lime Rock is going to be a dust bowl next year.

  16. I do not understand why some Thompson residents are upset about the road course. Auto clubs racing on the road course in non-spectator events will generate LESS noise and traffic than NASCAR racing on the oval, not more.

  17. Love it, “disappointed again!” I have to disagree with Fred. Thursday nights aren’t the big reason numbers declined.

    First, hiring Jeff Zuidema is the best decision the track has made in many years! My family and I went back this year on a trial basis and because of his officiating we continued going. He and his staff did a great job! Finally, cheaters were being caught and I believe I may have heard them screaming and crying all the way from the pits! On track buffoonery was being dealt with for the most part and I was satisfied that I was going to see racing.

    Next, the numbers struggled to increase dramatically due to many factors. A few of them for me were the prior 3-4 years of BS on track, in the pits, and price at the ticket office/pit gate. Sorry, but the increase per ticket for the regular night of racing increased by 20%, not the “new” 10% tax they were now having to pay.

    The prices at the concessions are ridiculously high! Beer addicts are a sad bunch. The price they are willing to pay is crazy!

    In my opinion, GREED is the biggest factor at Thompson. It all comes down to their bottom line. We do not matter. Not the drivers, owners, sponsors, or fans who helped finance their vision. Let them have their road course and outbuildings. If they envision an influx of fans willing to pay higher costs all the way around on a regular basis, well then, good luck with that. For all the years I have sat in their stands, not once have I heard anyone mention a desire to see road course racing. Personally, I want to be able to see all of the action, not just the part of the race that goes by my viewing area.

    Also, I searched and have not been able to find information regarding problems at Lime
    Rock. It looks like they have a pretty full schedule, too. As far as Waterford goes, why won’t they pay the participants within a week? I would not race there. There has to be a reason they aren’t paying in a reasonable timeframe. Do you think it might be, oh no, GREED?

    Off to the Fall Final at Stafford.

  18. Big Mike–They are upset about having to follow rules in regards to their properties, taxes, fees, etc., but the Hoenigs don’t.

  19. I see what you mean about the Thompson residents’ concerns. I do not think that the management at the Waterford Speedbowl are greedy – I think that they are broke.

  20. Big Mike–Waterford owner, Eames, has the problem of spending more than he can afford at the expense of the money makers at the track. He is not a business man and you have to be to successfully run a race track. This is not his first time at being foreclosed on, but I think it will be his last. Too bad, but unless someone with a clue to running a track steps in, the Bowl will be gone for good. I’d hate to have just one venue for circle tracking in CT, but so be it. Eames needs to go.

  21. I don’t know why everyone seems to be so excited about the new road course. People seem to think that it will somehow benefit the oval track. When I first heard about it the first thing I thought was I could care less as I have no interest in it. Now we know the truth. Most of the focus is on the roadcourse and to all us loyal fans of the weekly racing series, are getting screwed. At least we still have the world series, for now.

  22. DiDi do your research the people starting the petition are the ones that don’t pay full taxes

  23. Earl–I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t think you do either. Maybe you should re-read what I wrote.

  24. The “why” behind oval track schedule is $$$. The road course is going to be rented to motorcyle track day organizers. Easy money.

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