Big Changes Coming For Oval In 2020 At Thompson Speedway

With rumors swirling for months, Thompson Speedway oval competitors have been anxious to get their hands on the 2020 schedule for the facility. 

On Friday competitors got that wish through an email announcement from track management spelling out some major changes coming for 2020 at the facility. 

The track will have a six-event schedule for the 2020 season, down from 10 events in 2019. 

Outside of the opening and closing events, the other four events will be held on Wednesdays. 

The track will open with its traditional Icebreaker weekend April 3-5. The weekend will be anchored by the second event of the season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Modified Tour, the Icebreaker 150, on April 5.

The track will close out its 2020 schedule with the Sunoco World Series Weekend Oct. 9-11. The closing weekend will also showcase the Whelen Modified Tour with the running of the division’s season ending World Series 150 on Oct. 11.

In between the Whelen Modified Tour will run a third time at the track for the Budweiser 150 on Wednesday Aug. 19. 

The track will also host NASCAR Whelen All-American Series  events on Wednesday June 3, Wednesday July 8 and Wednesday Aug. 5. 

In the email announcing the schedule, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park CEO Jonathon Hoenig explained to competitors the issues being faced by track management in running the oval and announced that purses for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions would be drastically reduced for 2020. 

Below is the letter Thompson Speedway management distributed to competitors Friday:

Dear Competitor,

I hope you are having a nice holiday season.

Thompson Speedway and my family have been dedicated to motorsports, especially oval track racing, for 80 years as of this coming May. Throughout the generations we have endured many ups and downs, challenges and changes within the sport and the business. During the last decade we have experienced the most dramatic decline in interest in the sport. This was largely triggered by the decline in the economy in 2008 and was matched by a decline in national interest in NASCAR. Unfortunately, this negative trend continues today. I am sure this is not a shock to any of you when you look at the fan counts in our grandstands during a NASCAR Weekly Series (NWS) event or when turning on your television and seeing the absence of fans at most NASCAR Cup events. The business fundamentals and the interest in this category of motorsports is much different than they were 15-20 years ago. Low fan counts, increasing expenses, and continued losses on NWS events, have put us in a position where we need to make some significant changes in order to continue the legacy of oval track racing at Thompson into the next generation.

Our decision to invest in renovations in 2012 put us in a position to attract a new type of motorsport customer with a new business model that has allowed us to continue to offset the decline and the losses being incurred from the NWS shows. If it was not for this move, the NWS program would have ceased to exist years ago due to the mounting losses. Additionally, as you all are aware, the oval track surface needs an upgrade within the next few years. As of right now, revenues from NWS events simply do not justify this major expense. The track condition will eventually not allow for safe racing conditions which will lead to the inevitable abandonment of portions of the track.

We are dedicated to working hard to continue the legacy of oval track racing at Thompson, but with this will come some difficult changes in the fundamentals and financial structure of how we manage the NWS events. In 2020 we are introducing a six-event schedule (including the three major touring shows) and continuing our NASCAR sanction. These six NWS series events will be running under a reduced purse structure which you will see on the following page. In order to be able to continue hosting these events we will need full support from you, our valued competitors. We are asking for a response and commitment to this new structure before January 15, 2020. If we find that we are not getting the support and commitment in order to move forward with this new program, we will be forced to eliminate the NASCAR sanction and the NWS program entirely here at Thompson.

This is a very difficult decision to make on our part and we understand that this will also be a challenging change for most of you. Let us remind you that we are passionate about the sport and this business and are trying to do what is best to preserve the future of oval racing here at Thompson Speedway above everything.

We look forward to your response and feedback on these decisions. Sincerely,

Jonathan Hoenig


Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

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  1. So much for Terry saying would be racing on Sundays. Purses being reduced the late model purse hasn’t gone up from $700 in at least ten years

  2. What a kick in the pants to every individual who supported this track.

    Decreased purses? A few years back when I ran the full mini stock schedule I needed to finish 4th to make back just my pit pass for world series, not to mention all the other expenses and being treated like a door mat all weekend.

    Keep everyone in the dark all fall and give everyone 2 weeks to respond, or else? I’m glad I don’t have a horse in this race for 2020 because I’d be livid.

    And good thing for Raceday because as a registered 2017 and 2019 driver at TSMP I never received this email.

    Things like this make me long for the Speedbowl even more.

  3. I live down on long island … I try and get up there as much as can . I hate hearing and reading this news .. let’s keep our sport going happy new year.

  4. i’m sure glad the speedbowl will be back in 2020.

  5. Reduced purses is a major insult to all competitors. I realize the regular weekly shows had a poor grandstand turnout. On the other hand the shows featuring the mod tour featured a packed grandstand and had to be a huge success financially. I can understand reducing the regular shows down from 10 but cutting the purse is not the answer. Thompson already charges the highest front and pit admission in the area. Thompson is my favorite area track that I have faithfully supported for over 45 years. I hope this insulting decision is not the cause of the end of NASCAR weekly events at the Big T.

  6. Ethan Williams says

    If they are struggling this bad maybe they need to take a ride to Stafford on a Friday night and copy what they are doing.

  7. Fastfastturnleft says

    They got to used to the easy money from the road course. They don’t care about the oval anymore as it’s jist a hassle for them and not worth it because the cash flows easier from track days rather than NASCAR events

  8. No surprise. We all expected it. Jonathon does not like the kids or oval track. We all know Terry Eames c loses places up. As soon as they hired him, I knew the oval track was on borrowed time. The condition of the delapitated stands is also an embarrassment. Good job burying a respected track Jonathon and Terry.

  9. I wonder what the investment is for the Whelen All American Series weekly events compared to the WMT events? I would guess considerably more. Sounds like they are robbing Peter to pay Paul? Interesting business model.

  10. You can’t make any money during the week. People work. Betting if it was Saturday nights or Sunday afternoon they would do much better. Yes the speedbowl races Saturday nights but there is enough distance so both can survive. Beech ridge has 3 other Saturday night tracks within 60 miles and all 4 tracks do ok

  11. Ethan, kinda hard to bring what Stafford is doing on a Friday night to a Wed or Thursday show, The place is empty and has struggled for many years outside a Tour event. When someone sends out a letter like that and needs an answer within 2 weeks, you already know the direction they want to go. They are just hoping their is not enough interest so they can abandon it and continue to make plenty of money on the road course with a lot less headaches. I don’t fault them at all. No reason you should lose money in any business.

  12. It’s sad for the direction the track is going , i said for years they need to have more races on Sunday like in the past but nobody seems to want to listen. It’s difficult for race team to race during the week as also for spectators. Good reason for low car counts and lack of spectators. Its much easier for teams and spectators to come to the track on Sunday than during the week.

  13. They should have open practice on Wednesday’s at least racers will have a place to bring their cars out. Have one big Wednesday show with double purse. Charge regular admission and I’m sure they would pack the place JMO

  14. Uug, putting 4 of the 6 races on Wed will basically doom the Nascar “Weekly” Series. Difficult to even make the Wed shows, as those pesky jobs get in the way for competitors and crews. Question is, if they bounce the NWS, will they still do the 3 tour shows???

  15. So no Tour shows if they dont get the response???

  16. Does Terry Eames still work for TSMP?

  17. Was the financial info any different 8 weeks ago when this should have been annnounced. If they drop the weekly shows would that include the tour events

    This was not handled well. Feels like a bowl operation.

  18. Bill Scrivener, Jr. says

    I’m not going to tell you guys what to do but I would try to talk to the track owners and see what you can do to help and keep moving forward. Don’t do what us drag racers did and bitch about it and do nothing to help the problem. I know it sucks to spend all this money and not get anything back but like us you will have to go out of state because the tracks close and then there is nothing you can do. This is not a Motorsports friendly state and unless you know a few billionaires you have to depend on people that love racing but need your help to keep it going.

  19. My family of 4 and most of the time extended family would attend weekly if on fri sat or Sunday. Instead we split between Stafford and Seekonk. This is strictly caused by the arrogance of management. He has disliked the oval since he took over and slowly began killing it off. This just may be the final nail in the coffin.

  20. There are many valid comments, and as is the case with many businesses there is a lot of room for improvement. It is a fact that there has been a dramatic drop in interest in our sport and for those of us who love it, it is hard to understand. I do not have an answer for that with respect to either Thompson or NASCAR in general. All involved must work with the track to develop a solution and not just criticize.
    There are some forms of professional motor sports that race for virtually no purse, which is essentially what Thompson has proposed. The entire year’s purse for all of the NHRA professional classes is less than that for the first three positions at the Daytona 500 and is not enough to fund even one team. You cannot expect the facilities to fund the racers if there are no fans. If the stands were full this discussion would not be taking place. This is a much bigger issue than what night of the week you race. NASCAR has tried many things with Cup racing, but to no avail. I wish there was an easy answer———-

  21. I try to always be positive when it comes to anything about racing… HOWEVER… This announcement has left me no choice but to break that rule. Apparently from the verbiage above I’m expected to believe that the empty seats at NASCAR events in Michigan, or Pocono, or Texas, or California have some direct correlation to small car counts and lack of spectators for an NWS event at Thompson on a Wednesday night. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? WHAT’S NEXT, ARE YA GOING TO SELL ME A BRIDGE?!? OR MAYBE SWAMPLAND IN FLORIDA?!? Of course, there wasn’t any problem with money for paving parts of the oval to accommodate the road course though… Or build a bridge to the infield… Or put up fancy buildings in the pits… HEY!! Here’s a business model people have been suggesting for years. HOW ABOUT RUNNING RACES WITH DECENT PURSES ON DAYS PEOPLE AREN’T WORKING SO RACERS CAN PARTICIPATE AND CAN FANS CAN ACTUALLY GET THERE TO SEE THEM???

  22. Our society is no longer car-centric. Cars are no longer novelties and statements like they used to be, but have become common, “fungible” commodities. There are no more muscle cars on the streets, attracting fans. Those muscle cars are relics and artifacts. The new Challenger, Mustang and Camaros are not appealing to the crucial younger crowd, but the old grey hairs or bald guys. I rarely see a younger person driving one of these cars. Most performance cars today are of the style that would run at Lime Rock or road courses. Younger folks are just not interested in cars, much less motorsports.

  23. If I were an owner or driver I would be supremely pissed off. I would tell them to stick it. I would then throw in a Stafford setup and do some real racing.

  24. WOW, while YES I agree Motorsports has taken a HIT on fan interest in the last 10 years, Has Jonathan ever Gone to OTHER tracks to witness what others do, YES try STAFFORD, maybe he should have watched FANS CHOICE TV and saw BIG CROWDS at WALL, SEEKONK, Riverhead.
    So the TRACK that has been family owned for decades that has HAD THE HIGHEST TICKET PRICES ON THE WMT FOR 35 YEARS is struggling?
    So the track the brought back THE K AND N series for SATURDAY races when the series has NEVER BEEN A BIG DRAW IN CT AD ONLY a dozen or so teams showed up until the cancel last year is struggling?
    So the track that refuses to race on SUNDAY OR SATURDAY since Waterford has had issues during the SUMMER months is struggling?
    Why not try to BRING BACK the 300? make it OPEN COMP 300, DO THE THING TRACKS FORGET TODAY PRMOTE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jonathan you have turned a HISTORIC FUN TRACK to a soon to be another WATERFORD
    in 2020 owning a racetrack in not easy BUT YOU HAVE TO WORK N PROMOTE, try new things, work yur ass off to make it work, not blame others, SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Johnathan is just waiting for Don to pass on so he can ride off into the sunset with the estate. Joke. Been a joke. The kid had never worked a day in his life. To save this track will take work so he’s not the guy to do it. All of the tracks in the area should have gotten together and came up with a points series that would make sense for all. Problem is between John H and the wackos at Stafford that will never happen so we are all just left watching the local racing go down in flames. Happy New Year!

  26. This will hurt many people in the racing community- fans, Car and engine builders, race fuel and race tire and race part suppliers. Then when they shut down the oval next year that will be the beginning of the end of the Modified Tour in New England

  27. Lebanon Valley Dragway pays $1000 to win for a regular Sunday race. They even toss in a couple of $2000 & $5000 races to keep it interesting. So if you guys can keep them things straight for a 1/4 mile you won’t need all that extra sheet metal or a trailer full of tires.
    On a serious note… if CT Dragway reopened I’d be there every week even if they gave the winner a pat on the back. Don’t let another track close! Find a way to make it work.

  28. Bill realist says

    How about we take a ride way north to thunder road in barre vt. You tell me how hard it is to make it on a weeknight. Especially without any major population area to draw from.

  29. I don’t think this would be such a big deal, 6 races total but reducing the purse by 75% and paying only the top 10?

  30. Bill realist says

    There is one track in the north east that has put in and used extra seating capacity, new lights, new concessions and new sound system. They also operate on a weeknight.

  31. Wow – what a kick in pants to racers. Jonathan killed this place. He is nothing like his grandfather. Jonathan thinks he knows it all. What happens when the road course dries up! Sad news. The track could make $ if promoted correct. Jonathan doesn’t want to work just wants fast easy $. 75% cut is purse? There is no way in hell they will get more than 6-8 cars in a division!

  32. Yeah it would be nice if the CT tracks could unite and bring the rules together, would help with car counts at the tracks.. I would hate to see racing go away at Thompson my favorite viewing and racing track. I go to Stafford every week and would support Thompson if it was closer. Stafford has the Hartford/Springfield area for crowd support and Thompson is a bit more rual. I think going back to Thursdays might bump up the crowds.

  33. I sure don’t have the answers but it does seem like they are making excuses for not putting in any effort, Stafford makes some kind of improvements every year to the facility so they have to be making some profit, as far as younger people not interested ,I agree it’s not what is used to be but a big reason for car count at Stafford is the wild thing kart kids moving up . So much easier to blame everyone else for your lack of effort I guess .obviously someone different should be in charge.You can’t make chicken soup with chicken s..t


    $450 To WIN a MODIFIED FEATURE??? And “NOTHING” after 10th Place…A JOKE!! WALL STADIUM Pays $1300 PLUS to the winner…EVERGREEN and MAHONING VALLEY almost 2 GRAND!1 With the CROWD they get there this is a SLAP in the FACE TYMES TWO!!

  35. top row observer says

    With a reduced purse and just a few events they won’t be seeing a penny from me!! I’m sure they will have the audacity to charge upwards of $50+ for Icebreaker and World Series as well, nevermind what they will try to charge for the Wednesday shows!

  36. Is that the most depressing, pathetic and negative communication from a race track actually planning racing for the next season or what? Actually no. Danbury Racearena and Riverside Park were worse but you get the idea.They all moved on to use the property in more profitable ways.

  37. I’ve been paying Thompson the highest gate fees, by far, for all these years only to be told that hasn’t been enough?

    Please call in the forensic accountants.

  38. Hey, the ‘bowl is making moves like it’s opening in 2020.


    Here’s the real problem… racing is a sport where the remaining participants and fans are addicted to it. The tracks know this. The tracks and other support businesses know this, and they are leveraging that addiction. When you have a captive audience, you can abuse them. They keep coming back for more.

  39. The BIG T has always been the place to go on a Sunday afternoon. GET IT BACK THAT WAY!!!!

  40. Racing has never had to promote itself. Way back in the day, the muscle cars from Chevy, MOPAR, Ford, Pontiac, etc. were the promotion, and going to the tracks was where people go to see these Gladiators go at it. There’s nothing like that on the streets anymore, no chance for people to see what goes on at the tracks.

    The tracks and industry never had to promote themselves, and the money rolled in faster than could be counted. There was massive growth and expansion. Now the fans aren’t showing up like they used to, and the track managements are absolutely lost, they haven’t a chance at a clue on what is going on.

    They need to promote their livelihood. They used to be able to live on being lazy and complacent, money automatically flowing in, but no more.

  41. I can’t believe how negative these comments are from all. Goes from three races to six and people are upset. If I owned the place I would shut the oval down, just to not deal with the oval crowd. You people are sick. I think they should be commended on trying. You all should put your money where your mouth is. It is dying! Kid’s don’t even care about cars anymore like 20 years ago. Get a grip and be happy you can see 6 more races! In VT they still don’t have internet so that is why Thunder Road does so well! Most of you idiots don’t even race. How does this help if you own Thompson? Keep it up and we all get just Stafford and the Cement Palace.

  42. Look at baseball… 42 minor league teams might get eliminated. Minor league baseball is equivalent of short track racing. In the MLB, fans aren’t showing up at the stadiums. MLB attendance is terrible, and getting worse. I blame the league and owners. The owners bid up crazy salaries to get marquee players, ticket prices go up astronomically. To take the family and get decent seats can cost a couple grand to go to a MLB game. I went to a NHL game a few years ago, got seats on the top, and that cost well over a grand for four people. This new Yankees pitcher will earn over $10,000 per ball pitched. The NHL went through fan attendance problems a few years ago and instituted salary caps. Yankee Stadium used to sell out without question… no more. What the market will bear. And the prices to get in have far exceeded the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. As a reminder, the Federal Minimum Wage is still stuck at $7.25/hour.

  43. Yeah that’s the way to attract cars and fans. Run 6 shows, on a Wednesday, and cut the purse. Anyone who runs there is totally stupid. Spend tins of money building a car for 6races. Total B.S. then they compare themselves to cup.. what a f. .ing joke. Plow the track over and build condos would be less insulting.

  44. Honestly I support the track decision. More days open for the road course. There has to be a better system in place to get purses up in all series. Drivers should have a separate pool outside of track management.

  45. we will be forced to eliminate the NASCAR sanction and the NWS program entirely here at Thompson. You Can’t run a tour race then!!!!! THe World Series supports the track alone for the year. Too many family members eating off that plate it seams.

  46. This is terry in a nut shell!! the same as Waterford speedbowl BS.

  47. Crazy Larry,
    No disrespect meant to you, but blaming this situation on Terry Eames is simply forwarding an uneducated agenda to make him the scapegoat because of his history at Waterford and your personal disdain for him. Terry didn’t make this decision and inferring that he did is beyond ignorant. Track ownership is taking things in a direction they feel is best for the long term sustainability of what they own, simple as that. Blaming that on the general manager because he’s been an employee there for 15 months is just you wanting to fire daggers at him. You say it’s the “Same as the Waterford Speedbowl BS?” What was the Waterford Speedbowl BS? The guy who owned the track and tried for nearly a decade to keep the place open and operating as a race track? For all the vitriol directed at Terry Eames for what happened at the Speedbowl, people seem to always forget that he had multiple chances during his final years there to sell that property off to suitors who wanted to shut down the track. He could have paid off all his debt and made a tidy profit in the process and walked away from a closed down track with money in his pocket. But instead of taking the easy way out of getting himself out of the financial distress there he was burdened with he chose to spend nearly a decade fighting to keep that place operational as a race track. People should thank him that there’s even still a glimmer of hope today for that place to be opened agin because he could have shut it down a long time ago and he chose not to do that. The kneejerk reaction to blame Terry for what’s happening now at Thompson and bring up his ownership history at the Speedbowl is simply just being ignorant.

  48. Terry Aimes is allot like Donald Trump… Everything he touched dies. Comparing short track racing at Thompson to Cup racing is like comparing turkey burger to fillet minion. Come on now, be real. The road race guys are a clique, they pay entry fees which cover the purse, and run multiple divisions on track at the same time. Doubt you’ll ever see the weather tech series there. The SCCA guys are more like a club, than a sport. It’s such a shame, Thompson used to be one of the premier tracks, and if you won there it actually meant something. Now if you run there for a mere /$450 to win, all it proves is that your economically stupid Wednesday night shows don’t help the matter, people do actually have to go to work on Thursdays, what were they thinking? Run on Saturday night, or Sunday afternoons, and you just might see fuller stands and better car counts. And oh ya, pay a reasonable purse, racecars aren’t cheap to build, or to race come on guys get your heads out of your a***s.

  49. Shawn, Seems the same you should ask the drivers if they got paid at Waterfofd not a knee jerk or ignorant thought , I have nothing against Terry !!

  50. Crazy Larry,
    Yes, there were financial issues over the final decade or so, that’s no secret and never has been a secret. And yes, there were times when purse checks were late or held up or something may have bounced and been later covered. But, I know this, even after those issues, competitors were ultimately compensated for what they were owed. It may have been later than expected, or it may have come in the form of track credits or pit passes for the next month or next year or so on. You know, continuing to portray that somehow competitors were left unpaid for thousands of dollars is simply untrue and was never true. For all the vitriol painting Terry Eames as some sort of evil thief of short track racers, show me anyone who was a competitor during Eames’ tenure at the Speedbowl that can legitimately vouch for being robbed of anything significant by him. I’ll keep going back to what I already said, this is a guy who fought to keep the Speedbowl alive and operational. The decisions made by Terry Eames during his tenure as owner are the reason why the Speedbowl is still in existence, despite being not operational at this point. At multiple times during his ownership tenure Terry Eames could have sold the property to someone who had no interest in keeping the track open. He could have shut the place down, paid all his debts and walked away with money in his pocket, and yet he chose to keep it a race track. And still you vilify him because at some points during his tenure some checks got bounced or some people had to wait a month or two to be compensated for a few hundred bucks from a purse? The picture you paint is so far from reality it’s ridiculous.

  51. Slapnuts,
    The plan to run Sunday’s was the intent when that was announced. That was never a lie. Obviously things changed since that was announced. But I can assure there was no conspiracy planned to announce the intent to do that with something else planned that was being kept secret. I’m fairly certain the proposed plan that was announced Thursday came together over the last few weeks.

  52. You know the guy Shawn so what you say I’m certain is on point. Fact is the guy should have sold the property when he could and he joined a sinking ship, put what was left of his reputation on the line as a front man and again is in the eye of the storm.
    People are mad and taking it out on whomever is convenient. Even the good guys in this forum are out for blood. It’s natural when you’re getting steam rolled by circumstances beyond your control.
    The best that can be said about Eames is he is a true blue racing guy that has made some bad choices with incredibly bad timing.

  53. Was this letter sent to all that race at Thompson or just the weekly people and if so does this mean that the tour guys don’t count . That also hold true for the supers the nemas the Mrs ect. This is not right if only the weekly people have a say no more ice breaks or world series bs.

  54. The only way I can see to keep weekly racing at Thompson is to eliminate sk mods and late models from the schedule, charge everyone $10 admission. Sk and late models can use warmups for practice. Pay $20 for spots below 10th…no real rules and eliminate points, trophies to the top 3. dont think they will draw many cars for the 3 tour shows.

  55. In 22 years I didn’t miss an event at the track, and was also a member of the golf coarse for the past 15 years. After reading this letter from Jonathan, they will never get another penny from me! What a pathetic way to end racing on the oval, by chopping the purse 75%. (Stafford $1500 to win an SK race, Thompson $425) (Thompson 3rd place $200, Stafford 16th place $200).

    Maybe Gov Lamont should look into the fine print on that 0% loan the Hoenig family received from the state to build the road coarse. I do not remember the specifics,but remember they were supposed to create a set number of jobs and employ a certain number of employees.

  56. Could make another golf course. Use the starters stand as a handicap tee

  57. THANK GOD FOR THE ARUTE FAMILY. At least they know how to run a successful racing facility, and care about their competitors and fans

  58. Maybe NASCAR should invoke a rule that you have to run x amount of weekly racing series races to keep your sanction, and the benefits it brings. A good number would be 12-16.

  59. One man’s dream 80 years ago, perpetuated through 4 generations, has brought some of the best racing in America to the fans of the northeast and beyond. Through good times and bad.
    To say that Jon hasn’t worked a day in his life, proves you have no clue. Jon and Donald, like DR and Don cut their teeth at an early age laboring on the track and golf course. They learned to work with their hands 12 hrs a day and still do. It’s a work ethic that stared with Big John and has lasted all these years. In fact just a few years ago Don was putting in 10 hr days getting the snowplows ready, in his mid 80’s!
    In my experience, no one works harder than the Hoenig’s, regardless of generation

    The problems with attendance is not a TSMP thing, it’s nation wide. If the Cup tracks didn’t have TV revenue, they’d be gone. It’s not the ’70’s or even the ’80’s. The kids today don’t get their license till their 20 years old, computers have taken the place of cars.

    And with TSMP it’s not the just price of admission, there were $15 tickets, no one came, Vet’s and Military day, no one came.
    You think their just interested in the Road Course? If it wasn’t for the RC, the last 6 seasons on the oval probably would not have happened. You don’t need an MBA or a look at the books to know that.

    You can not lose money for long in any business and survive.

    With the Old Lady needing a new coat at what $2 million or more, what would you do?

    Yes, I’m a friend with a lot of respect for the family and the history of TSMP

  60. OK my .02 again
    The Hoenigs have owned the track land for decades so issues with Mortgage or Rent!
    Thompson has had the HIGHEST ticket prices for 35 YEARS on the WMT!
    While the Icebreaker is always iffy with weather the last few years has been a SUCESS crowd wise and the WORLD SERIES WITH the highest 3 day front and back gate admission of all should be a BIG PLUS for the track!
    When you decide to end weekly racing and go with special events 6-10 times a year, do u think 10,000 people will show up for sportsman and min stock races?????
    The WMT always draws a good to BIG crowd, again the K&N series return was a mystery in thinking big CROWDS WOULD show up in CT.
    As far the OVAL needing repair/repave, did that NOT come into thinking when the RC was built? anyone who knows racing and race tracks like ALL the HOENIGS should know asphalt in NEW ENGLAND with cold n winters wont last forever.
    Do I think Terry Eames FAULT? NO he just arrived, DO I think Jonathan is lazy or a snob rich Kid? No BUT I don’t respect the pay cut or the blame on NASCAR or the downturn of racing, the other CT track is doing pretty well and while I always don’t think the Arute’s walk on water I do think they have worked harder to keep the Track a success!!!

  61. Oswego Speedway, Wall Stadium, and now Jennerstown Speedway all host NWMT races and don’t have NASCAR sanctions.

  62. The Hoenig’s may have a hand in the low car counts, that has led to this situation. Remember years ago, there was a family that raced there, two or three brothers, they made a mess on the track, then it spilled over into the pits after the races. Fights and police. I think some were suspended or banned for lengthy periods. There were other altercations and things that really pissed off competitors, things that were supposed to be MANAGED by track management. Racers left Thompson because of the way the place was managed, and things were allowed to go on.

    Although the Hoenig’s and the track management are taking heat here, they are not without sin. As is usually the case, they are their own victim, and are in the position to blame others and make them pay the price. There have been numerous discussions on social media about the buffoonery that goes on and how it’s not squashed, and other things that the competitors, aka: customers, were not happy about. Things that could have and should have been taken care of by the management and operators.

    But it still comes down to promotion. Is Thompson promoting itself and doing what needs to be done to make potential fans aware? If you were not already a fan that scans sites like these, do you ever see or hear any advertisements to make you aware of Thompson Speedway? The answer is a big fat NO.

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    This explains why the NWMT is looking at Iowa, and more options outside of the traditional northeast region.

    For many years I have been wondering how much more awesome modified racing would be with a repaved and smooth oval track surface. It would vault Thompson into the track to race at, repaving would make Thompson a track that every oval racing series would want to run at.

  63. Benefits a NASCAR sanction brings?!?

    Hey Rob, I have the Tappan Zee bridge, you interested in buying it from me?

  64. From what I hear the Nascar insurance is really good. Also you get to compete for a State and National championship which used to have some money attached to it. I did a quick search and couldn’t find out how much they currently pay, if anything. Nascar has some benefits and they have to be pretty good as most tracks around here go with Nascar sanctioning. I know in the past, Nascar had a minimum race count to be sanctioned for their weekly series, if I were a betting person I would guess it to be 6 events.

    By the way they just recently redid the tappan zee bridge. Its a good time to buy.

  65. I am wondering through all the bitching and complaining why there are no solutions being thrown around ? maybe a race purse based on percentages , maybe another flea market with proceeds going to the purse , just a couple of thoughts for a solution rather than constant bitching , would be a great shame to loose yet another race track

  66. Bernie 2020 Free tires for all says

    Maybe the solution is to hire a promoter. You don’t need bake sales to run a business. You need someone that has had success at this. Someone with vision. Someone that could put sponsors on the track and people in the seats. It’s something they lack.

  67. Hire a promoter??????

    I fell off the couch when I read that. I’ve been saying that for years.

    Where do you see racing advertised? Outside of the racing media sites, NO WHERE!!!!

    There is a sign for Stafford Speedway, I think it is on I-84. That’s it.

    Thompson, please tells us what you have been doing to promote your entire season for the last 10 years.

    Let’s be helpful here. Given the demise of print newspapers, where should racing advertise to attract customers? How are the short track ads targeted to potential customers? How are these ads delivered to get in the eyes and minds of new fans?

  68. Well, it’s New year’s Eve. Just re-read the article and comments. What’s done is done, and it remains to be seen if any competitors actually show up. At $425 to win the modifieds, it’s a losing proposition, and if that’s what their paying their top division, what about the others. If I owned a car or was a primary sponsor I’d make sure they didn’t race there, but to each their own. Just my opinion. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the gearheada out there, may 2020 bring you all prosperity.🙊🙉🙈🏁🏁

  69. One thing racers and race fans hate to see is a racetrack shut down, or cut back to a handful of events. Very tragic indeed, but a sign of the times in New England. Trump brags of a booming economy, yet it seems not to be the case in most of the northeast. Factory’s closing, people having to decide between food, heat or needed medication. Not many of us can afford to go to the races every race. Hense you get the Thompson situation maybe a major corporation will step up and save our sport at Thompson, stranger things have happened. Maybe Trump is withholding funding that would allow for grants to keep the track open. He’ll he’s already cut much needed funding like fuel assistance, food stamps, Medicaid and welfare. Please Mr Rich guy give Thompson some money, it could be a tax write-off. Oh, I forgot the rich don’t pay taxes anymore. Ok a bunch of poor guys, pool your money and help keep Thompson open. Just another one of my opinions. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the gearheada. Buy your new computers now and learn how to i-race because soon that’s what racing will be.Roger Penske, if your reading this how bout sponsoring a track in Connecticut.
    Oh well it was worth a try

  70. “What;s done is done”. Well said. The time for pulling rabbits out of a hat is over. Racing isn’t a volunteer staffed church bizarre. It has to make money. Too much overhead to be anything else.
    We’ve touched on race promotion before and it continues to be an elusive topic to grasp. How do you promote racing these days and if it’s being promoted would those of us with our best days in the last century even know.. Not only is print media dead radio is so segmented now it’s fairly worthless as well. Is it based on clicks, search engine queries, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter? Is the billboard the phone in your pocket? If the industry is in a downtrend what savvy business person would think bucking the trend is a good idea and put up a lot of money promoting something the public has decided it’s not so interested in?
    Perhaps another time.

  71. TurnOneFan says

    Rob P., very sad that you had to turn this discussion into a political one! Really no need to take cheap shots at Washington! If anything, look to the leadership a little closer to home, say Hartford, to see why Connecticut businesses are hurting and people are leaving the state in droves. Happy New Year to all race fans! At least we can look forward to another great season at Stafford!

  72. Bernie 2020 Free tires for all says

    Dareal, for most of the last 10-15 years people outside of the racing world were shocked to hear that the Waterford Speedbowl was still open. That falls on promotion. Your customer base isn’t just racers. The minute some tracks needed to actually promote their business they failed. They relied on what they had with next to zero attempt to attract new customers.

  73. You did the same thing Rob p did TurnOneFan just with a different target.
    To be fair it was Ct that structured Thompson’s loan to expand and add employees.
    People leaving in droves, might be a little melodramatic. Taxes high for sure. On the other hand World Population Review ranks CT 21. Including 3rd in health care, 12th in education and 30th in the economy. Business environment obviously challenged but overall Ct isn’t as bad as many would paint it out to be. For you people in Mass you can crow even louder with a rank of 8 overall.
    I’m fairly sure Trump isn’t responsible for circle tracks plight at Thompson. Is the high cost of doing business affecting race tracks in Ct you bet starting with the 10% entertainment tax that inflates ticket prices.. Then again Thompson did get that loan package that might very well have stabilized it’s economic outlook overall even if you don’t like what they did with the money.

  74. The smart tracks find outside revenue. Loudon is about to host a country concert. They host Tough Mudder 5k races. Various other fall themed events. Seekonk hosts a 5k, car shows, we all know about their thrill shows. In general, they are creative. They think outside the box. Lee and Stafford have done Monster trucks. Lee has also done a rodeo the last few summers. Just randomly picking a couple of Wednesday and calling them a regular show isn’t trying. Do a SK 5k type race like Stafford. Try a Tri Track event. Do something to stimulate the base which are your modified fans. Seekonk does well with that Haunted Halloween open late model race. Do something like that. Not trying is the real crime. Just don’t charge me $55 – $75 admission on top of the $100 or so for food, gas, incidentals and say you are losing money on the big shows. So am I! Don’t run the June tour race on a school night in early June and say the crowd isn’t big enough. How about late June after school let’s out when the much desired youths are more available. Why not try a late spring Special Sunday show with a worthwhile racing card.

    In terms of the young kids, I’m not sure the road course is any more desirable than the oval and I don’t know too many 20 somethings who could even afford a road course test session in a vette or other hot rod.

  75. Fast Eddie says

    JD, you pegged it. I’d also like to add that I have always known about any upcoming big race going on at Loudon or New England Dragway without checking websites from hearing radio ads and ticket givaways on Boston radio stations. They even have done TV ads from time to time. The hardcore fans will always go hunting for potential races to go to. You have to reach out on non-racing platforms to attract and increase your casual fan base. The dragstrip has been doing that since the 60’s, so I’m guessing it must work to some degree. Seeing as how the radio stations are actually groups of stations owned by a company, I would think they could make recommendations as to which stations have the listener demographic (aka potential race fan) you’re looking for.

  76. And why are road courses gaining popularity? The cars that the public sees.

    That would be Audis, Nissans, Subies, etc. Those are the sports cars of the day. They are promoted and advertised by the manufacturers. You see these cars all day on the roads.

    Thompson needs to do cruise nights, like Mark’s does. These are great events. Do a cruise night, once a week during the summer, get all the muscle cars up there, let them do a parade lap on the oval, hang out and show the cars in the lots, nearby the oval, on the midway, it would be HUGE. Have fan voting for Best in Show. While the people are there for cruise night, promote the heck out of the oval racing. Get a couple Tour teams to display a car, maybe run it a bit, do a lap. And perhaps have Mark’s do cross promotion, in that they promote the oval racing at Thompson.

    The Subaru event at Stafford is H-U-G-E!!!!

    Cruise Nights are very popular and draw rather large crowds.

  77. Todd Carey says

    You guys keep telling Thompson about all these things they have to do to draw more people. You do realize that the road course is making money on all those days as it runs from morning to night? The kid has money coming out his ears and your telling him how to make money. Its just pretty comical.

  78. Turn one fan, that was not a political statement, it was meant to be a joke, an attempt to put some humor in a situation that is anything but humerous. I leave my political opinions at home where they belong. Sorry if I offended you.

  79. “Cruise Nights are very popular and draw rather large crowds.”

    I often wonder why ovals don’t try car corrals and/or parade laps like Lime Rock. Some have even been charity fund raisers. Advance tickets are sold to draw similar types or makes of cars to the event, where they all park together, sign the waiver, mingle with the other corralees, and at some point line up and follow the pace car around for a few laps and wave at the spectators. The nicer corrals often draw a lot of visits from the general fan population, too…

    One year, LRP even did Red, White and Blue corrals as a fundraiser for a local volunteer fire dept. Any vehicle was welcome as long as it was the correct color for each corral. I had a blast cruising the track in my red Tacoma.

    It might not be difficult to collaborate with local car clubs, even the Asian and import clubs to draw some new faces to the track, maybe just a roped off parking area and space to sit, a few laps with the pace car, and a welcome shout out on the PA.

    That’s where Thompson is going and I have to say were I younger I might think that’s a pretty good place to be. A lot of alternatives, accommodating a range of budgets is exciting. Who among us were we in our twenties wouldn’t enjoy wheeling our Subaru WRX or Honda Civic SI through Thompson’s road course. Better there then on I84 and I know you know what I’m talking about. Miata’s may be a chick car but they are perfect to get a vintage feel on a road course.
    Young people haven’t lost their interest in motor sports they just moved on. Actually young people and people of any age with a heavy female presence as well.
    We incessantly talk about the high cost of fielding a circle track race car in any division. What Thompson is doing in many respects is returning participation to the grass roots level. A grass roots level where the fans and participants aren’t separated by a pit fence they’re all one group. Socializing, talking cars and strategy, helping each other out.
    I don’t know the details other then what I read. I don’t know the details of LED light bulbs either but know enough to appreciate they have a lot of advantages over an incandescent light bulb.
    I’ll still be supporting Stafford but appreciate where Thompson is headed.


  81. wmass01013 says

    I remember back about 12 years ago I took some of the Family to 1 of those Family Fun Nights Thompson used to have before the road course, I was shocked as being a WMT race veteran going to Thompson TO SEE THE parking LOT double or more times FULLLLLLL for that event than any WMT race, the cost to enter for adults was as usual steep at BIG T and I remember saying wow the were paying $500 to the winners of the demo derbies and endures, they had some monster car crushing of thing, bounce houses and other kids activities on the midway and if you added ALLL that up the cost was to me VERY LOW the the packed grandstands at $20 or 25 an adult not to mention the food n drink all these people were buying, the show was an average maybe 4 hr longEVENT and it took well over 90 minutes I could even think of leaving the parking lot!!

  82. Doug, have you ever seen a Miata with a Chevy V8? The aluminum V8 is lighter than the original iron block I4, so the handling stays intact.

  83. 40 grand worth of adrenaline pumping, physics challenging horsepower to weight magnificence that can also handle corners packaged in a sporty but otherwise mundane Miata. The ultimate sleeper.
    So much for the chick car stereotype.
    Thanks Barry

  84. I hope we have some movement on Waterford. A great track. It has multiple grooves. If their SK’s races are for 50 laps, it would be perfect. I will support all the local tracks, less so the Big T though(if they run). I just want some good local racing. But, what I will do is support people that care.

  85. As it turns out Kayman you may be in luck. Mike Serluca after a long hiatus from posting about the Speedbowl has just posted a building permit that has the fan base understandably excited.

  86. What it boils down to is making the easy money as others have said. Have you ever went to the track on the days the road course is being used by the wanabe race drivers with the rice rockets. Admittedly some of these cars have serious money into them and the owners know how to drive them, but mostly the vehicles are trying to resemble Cali cars and cars from movies. A lot of these cars are unsafe for the road, forget on the track. That is where the money is and they have to do nothing for it. The day I was there, the cars were lined up four across in the parking lot waiting to get on the track, and lined up to the street to get in. That is where there money is. Goodbye oval.

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