Competitors React To News Of Thompson Speedway Changes For 2020 Season

Keith Rocco celebrates his eighth Thompson Speedway SK Modified championship at the Sunoco World Series in October (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

Last October Keith Rocco raced to his eight SK Modified division championship at Thompson Speedway. 

In 2020 he hopes to chase a ninth title in the division at Thompson Speedway, though it doesn’t mean that he’s at all happy about the circumstances surrounding a return to the track for another season.

Thompson Speedway management informed competitors Friday that the track will host a six-event schedule for the 2020 season, if the support is there from competitors to with some major changes.

It wasn’t the reduction of events – from 10 to six – that caught competitors by surprise Friday as much as the reduction of purses across the board for the track’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competitors. 

Purses were cut by about 75 percent for the 2020 season. SK Modified division competitors will race compete for a total purse of $1,650, which will pay $425 to race winners and pay only the top-10 finishing positions. 

“It’s not good for auto racing but it’s not going to stop us,” Rocco said. 

Thompson Speedway CEO Jonathan Hoenig sent a letter competitors Friday spelling out the issues faced by the track when it comes to their oval track NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program. In the letter it was stated that track officials may decide to drop their NASCAR sanction and six event program if they don’t feel it will get the support needed to make it viable. 

The letter read: “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.” 

Rocco said he didn’t like what he was reading between the lines through the letter from track management. 

“After reading the email that they sent out and seeing what the actual payout is, the way I read between the lines is they’re in a roundabout way trying to push the [oval] track guys away … without blaming … to me it seems like it’s going to be ‘Ok, you don’t want to race so we probably won’t race.’ That’s the way I read between the lines. But it’s not going to stop us.” 

Longtime Thompson competitor Shawn Monahan said the whole situation illustrates the issues faced by many short tracks across the country. Monahan, the 2017 and 2018 Limited Sportsman champion served as the general manager of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2015 and 2016. 

“It just goes to show where the world of motorsports is heading, which is unfortunate,” Monahan said. “I just hope that the competitors can use this as an opportunity to race six times and not put a nail in their own coffin. It’s up to us to try to keep the sport alive. I take that from everything that I learned being on the other side for the few years when I was down at the [New London-Waterford Speedbowl]. It’s not easy to run this type of business. There’s a lot more profitable businesses out there. I wish them the best and I plan on supporting it. 

“They make more money when cars run the road course. I see it as them actually doing us a favor by trying to keep it alive and giving us an opportunity to support it. They could have very well had said ‘The dollars aren’t there, we’re just not going to do it this year’ and then the reactions would be much different. We’ve got to take what we can and run with it.” 

SK Modified division competitor Todd Owen, like Rocco, said he will begrudgingly be ready to support racing at the track. 

“We have these race cars sitting at our houses that we built for there,” Owen said. “It’s what we do. The purse thing, I definitely don’t understand it. They’re going to charge $35 to get in the gate and they’re not going to pay for [11th place or worse], which I don’t understand that. My first reaction is that I’ll go race there. The NASCAR point thing is what we run for kind of, even though that doesn’t pay much either. I don’t know if they’re trying to play hard ball and making people not want to race there.” 

Thompson Speedway proposed 2020 purse structure




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Comments

  1. Highest ticket prices, highest concession prices full stands for tour events and they are losing $$. Something is a foul here
    Check the books

  2. So what happens if everyone calls their bluff, shows up, and car counts are the best they’ve been in years? At what point do the scales tip to make oval more profitable than the road course?

  3. If the sk Modifieds supports this purse – it is like telling Stafford – hey we will race for less….Arute must be very happy right now

  4. They had great car counts last year especially in the late model division. It’s a huge shell game . The management and owners don’t want to take the blame for closing the oval so they drastically cut the purse so compietors won’t race at the track and the can blame the oval track racers for it closing. Big scan to blame the racers instead of themselves.

  5. This is AWFUL news…………. OMG really??? This is gonna piss off alot of competitors and fans alike. Racing for peanuts is not gonna work. UNREAL

  6. Harvey Tattersall once said at a drivers meeting when purses were an issue with the drivers “I could pay you nothing and you’d race for free”. Guess that will now be put to the test.

  7. The tracks current management, Jonathan, doesn’t have the commitment or desire to support the oval. If they chose to put the work and hours in they could have a great oval program, especially with the current situation at Waterford. Like many family owned business, once passed on to younger generations they don’t have the commitment of the founders as they didn’t have to work for the success of the business. They are asking that the competitors make a commitment to the track but since the road course was built where has Thompson’s commitment to the competitors been? Minimal race dates that constantly change from year to year leaving competitors to question whether its worth investing in equipment for a handful of races per year and now reducing the purse’s, great way to show their appreciation to the competitors.

    Don was always a great owner, Jonathan not so much.

  8. From everything i’ve read about Thompson it just seems to me they’d rather play to a packed house and run fewer races on the oval to do so. i’m not sure that’s bad business , i do agree the messaging to the competitors sure leaves a bad taste, and $ 425 to win wont even cover fuel and pit fees. How many tires does a competitive car go through a night ? I think $400 is what Plainville paid modifieds to win in 1980. WOW!! . Do the math, people. You spend $100 K for a car, motors and tow rig, plus everything in your shop is probably another $25 – 50K .You spend maybe $2,000 a week to get it to the track for a race with fuel forr the race car and hauler , pit fees, food, tires – and that’s if you didnt destroy something on the car the week before. You must have pretty deep pockets if you can actually rationalize supporting this financial model. This to me is the rallying cry to all competiitors to band together and get Waterford up and running again, rather than sitting idly by and hoping somone else can make that happen. If you let Stafford become the only game in town, soon you’ll be racing everywhere for chump change,.if you can still afford it.

  9. Stuart Fearn says

    Everyone should really pay attention to the message here from the track and that is : you competitors are worth very little to us and we do not care if you come or not therefore we are giving you a 75% pay cut.
    If You got a 75% pay cut at work would you show up the next day? Absolutely not. So I am predicting the outcome will be no one showing up in the pits and Thompson will shutter the oval track unfortunately. That is very clearly the endgame they are angling towards.

  10. LM, I think you are spot on. They want to dump the oval racing and let rich people pretend to be road race drivers in their street cars because in part they’re being forced out of Lime Rock by the “quiet” rich people.
    Unbelievably sad that a verbal gun is at the competitors’ heads. “Race for next to nothing, or else we’re closing.” How many years did those same race teams keep you going, Thompson management? This is just a GREAT way to thank them! Don’t try to solve the problems, just blame everyone else and threaten the racers who have supported you! Great business strategy! Particularly if you’re looking to fold the company!

  11. If they want the owners to race for less, they better reduce the admission

  12. Simple Math 30K In Payouts 5k each 6 events –400 heads in the stands @ $15.00 is a net $1000 PROFIT Appears the title sponsor doesn’t matter either, no wonder season tickets were not offered, one rain out and its all but done

  13. Very surprising since the ‘bowl has not been open. Would think that would shift some ‘bowl fans to Thompson. Kinda thinking the ‘bowl is done. ✅

  14. Drivers should not go. Let them rot. If they say yes to this crap, they are the biggest fools walking the earth. The letter is a big joke. Did I read it right. $425 tk win. $1625 TOTAL purse. Thompson doesn’t want them. I would not go where I am not wanted. Go to Stafford. Pack the pits. Pack the stands and race for DECENT purses. WHAT A JOKE.

  15. So am I to understand that Thompson is going to charge the usual $50 plus for the Icebreaker, pocket the profit and not pay these drivers a standard purse. Assuming they open at all that is. If they don’t open, they just screwed all the touring series, The Tour, ISMA, NEMA etc who announced schedules with Thompson.

    Who’s fault is it that their weekly program sucks? It’s over. Just shut her down so we can plan ahead and these series can come up with a plan B. Heck, the Washington Redskins are better managed than Thompson Speedway. This whole situation was completely mismanaged. They could have done this with maybe an ounce of class. Instead we got this bull.

    While Nascar is hurting for sure, Cup did sell out Phoenix, Homestead, Darlington and Daytona. There are some bright spots.

  16. Thompson is now officially a Minor League, Mickey Mouse operation. I agree with Stuart Fearn. Totally a slap in the face of racers. Spineless on the part of management. They WANT to close the oval. Grow some b—s and close it. Don’t pull this crap and blame the drivers.

  17. In 1994, the SK’s raced for $1,000 to win and here we are a few days away from 2020, 26 years later and they propose they race for $425 to win? Are you serious? And I suppose the cost of racing has decreased when everything else on this planet has increased? Am I missing something here?

  18. Old Observer says

    Does anyone remember NEDOC??? Thompson should.

  19. Living 15 minutes west of Hartford and having a 8-5 job makes it extremely difficult to make a mid week race. If the races were on the weekend some time, I’d be there.

    In all sports, people attending events demand an experience. They demand comfort. They demand choice. The big tracks are investing a lot of money in making the experience better.

    If you are going to attract casual fans, there needs to be more. I don’t think TSMP has the capacity to invest and create that experience.

    -craft beers, live music, food trucks, comfortable seating, digital replays, etc.

    Here is a hint for the track promoters. Baseball is not the primary attraction at a Hartford Yard Goats game. Its not the ONLY thing happening. They are among the top draws in AA baseball.

  20. cosmo williams says

    YOU PAY PEANUTS YOU GET MONKEYS,

  21. Nick Bendiak says

    Let it burn! It is what they deserve. Would you shop at a store where the “CEO” tells you they don’t want your business in a round about way?

  22. There bluffing there telling the weekly racers this is what we’re paying take it or leave it but there’s know way there going to give up the money they make on the Ice breaker and Fall Final we will all be there no doubt watching Rocco win 😆425.00

  23. The track is providing you the facility now its up to the racing community to put up the purse money. The folks making money from racing have to step up now and contribute to the purse. Those people have major skin in this game. So engine builders, chassis sellers, tire companies, parts suppliers need to put money toward the purse each week. If they did that it could still work. Otherwise racers, go buy a used Miata, make it race ready and hit the road course. It can be just as fun and for less money!!!!!!!

  24. agree with jimbinct better selection of adult beverage ,big screen racing replays ,live music ,great food ,and comfortable viewing sights will attract new and oid racing fans ! This is a hobby , you must have raceday on the weekends .

  25. Divisional racing isn’t about purses, it’s about racing and recreation.. If you have $50,000 to over $200,000 in everything it takes to put a car on a track what’s a few hundred dollars. You want to make money, take what you waste on racing and invest it.
    The drivers in the article seem to get it. The fans not so much. Ironic because it’s the absence of fans and not competitors that is the problem.
    Circle track at Thompson is the losing profit center in a multi entertainment venue. Get mad, point your finger, concoct conspiracies. It’s what we fans do but it won’t change Econ 101. If they can make more money going in other directions who among us wouldn’t do the same thing were we in their shoes.
    It’s over. This isn’t new, it’s merely the last chapter at Thompson that has been backing out of circle track for a long time. They modestly expanded the schedule last year, the non NWMT races were a bust so here we are.
    They aren’t resurfacing the track. New teams won’t be building cars to race there. Race promotion is about hope and excitement for what’s coming and that email is more like a smoke signal that the final death spiral is here. The crown jewel’s are the Ice Breaker and World Series so hopefully that can keep those until the track is no longer serviceable.
    Forget the purses. If you have a car and want to race I wouldn’t suggest getting that new motor you’ve been thinking about but otherwise enjoy it while you have it.

  26. And another thing, the track won’t post this story on FB because they don’t want people on their site posting reactions. Cowards! They are getting killed across the board in racing and media circles they don’t have the stones to own it. I get more angry the more time I have to digest this.

    Ken nailed it, this is now a Mackey Mouse operations.

  27. kenneth f ouellette says

    I race dirt now But possibly the racers could talk to track management and form a committee to get contingency sponsors to fill in the purse from part manufactures to suppliers It would be in their best interest to keep the track in operation. That’s very big in Drag Racing and Dirt

  28. Maybe daddy should reduce his inheritance by 75%. I’ll bet that grabs his attention. Another spoiled kid that thinks he deserves everything without having to earn it. God forbid he has to work to attract sponsors to help offset the costs.

  29. This is certainly disappointing. The Thompson Scrooge job, Certainly not the Merry Christmas race fans and drivers were hoping for. I was afraid something bad was coming when Thompson didn’t announce a schedule when they typically do. Then you see Pass and Whelen make announcements that indicated less involvement at Thonpson. I was thinking it would just be a schedule cut, less races over the course of the year. I didn’t think a drastic reduction in purse was on the table. Pay only the top 10 what incentive is there for cars to show up once they are down in points. Their weekly program is going to be reduced to very small car counts and Thompson being a big track cant get away with short fields. The drivers and teams are already losing money when they walk through that gate. I am thinking even if they go through with this season. then over the course of the next few season they end up cutting down to just the Spring Sizzler and World Series until the grandstands are deemed unsafe then the oval will be closed for good. They certainly haven’t invested much in the oval and I don’t see that changing. They have been less and less interested in the circle track ever since they put in the road course. I do think blaming everyone but themselves for the downturn, then put it on the competitors to keep the track alive is absurd. Is Terry Eames still there? I didn’t see him mentioned in the release. I thought they were going to Sunday shows for weekly racing. This schedule release has all Wednesday shows with the exception of the opening and closing weekends. I hope it works out in spite of what Thompson management is doing here but I think the tone of this announcement indicates the oval racing will eventually be abandoned by Thompson.

  30. I am sorry to say it, but Johnathan Hoenig doesn’t give a crap about the historic Thompson Speedway. There is far more money coming in from club racers who pay for the thrill of running their Walter Mitty cars on the road course. No purses to pay, just sit back and rake in the money. Who remembers back when Thompson ran more Thursday Night Thunder races in a single season than the total number of races now on the schedule? Does anyone remember the schedule back when the road course opened? The priorities were 1) Road course races, 2) Drifting racing, 3) Kenny Bouchard’s Driving School (I am NOT knocking Kenny B!), and finally 4) around 10 races for the oval where they could be squeezed in. Capitalism is a good thing until we lose another race track. I loved the Danbury Racearena, but the mall makes money 365 days per year. Riverside Park was another home track, but Superman the ride runs every day. Soon the Thompson oval (“the oldest track in New England”) will be just another memory. The racers will play into Johnny’s hands. “Take a 75% pay cut, and only pay the top 10 finishers? Screw therm!” Johnny’s response: “Sorry folks, the oval is dead, but come pay to play on the road course, we will happily take your money.” In 2025 Hoenig will announce plans for the first Thompson oval reunion, and charge charge premium prices to have drivers and fans come back to remember racing on the oval. A separate larger fee for those who want to actually drive on the track in their road cars will be available. Another Plainville Stadium in the making.

  31. I agrew they had higher car counts, some higher than staffords here or there.
    Hardly enough room in the stands at the ice breaker and world series the place was packed.
    The good prices and ticket prices are higher than most tracks,
    Yet they are losing money?
    This makes no sense and sounds like they are doing some bad business over there with also Jonathan who never seemed interested in the oval track anyways. Soo
    With nascar finally starting to turn a corner and start listneing to their fans trying ro get back to its roots, and in a time where business is growing in the country and the economy is the best its been in Decades, How The F are they losing money, unless they are doing some shady crap, or its just #fakenews and just the first faze of Jonathan fazing out Oval racing. Go back to the Golf course Jonathan and play on your road course, let someone else make the decisions for the ovel

  32. I agree with Stuart Fearn. If your boss walked in and said ” oh buy the way, were cutting your pay by 75% and the guy 11th in seniority ain’t getting paid” that business owner would probly lose his work force. What Thompson is doing is pissing on your head and calling it rain. I say BOYCOTT By both racers and fans. Let their prissy boys from the Hamptons show up to run their nostalgic race cars. See how long they last. Not far from where I live they built a state of the art road course. SCCA guaranteed them 4 race dates per year, that was 5 years ago, and not a single race has been run. Every now and then they have “track days” but no real racing.Willing to bet you’ll never see an IMSA event, or Weather tech, or Michiken pilot challenge event at Thompson. They’ve betrayed the trust of very loyal NASCAR stock car racers in favor of a bunch of yuppies. Anyone who shows up to run a modified for $425 to win is economically challenged, as well as a kiss*as. Just my opinion. Don’t forget there are other tracks to run at who actually embrace stock car short track racing, sorry, Thompson ain’t one of them.

  33. Was this email sent to all the racers or just biweekly people . This also must mean no more tour racing or Mrs or supers etc

  34. Here is an idea, let’s cut the fuel and tire prices by 75%, let’s reduce the admission and concession prices by 75% that way it will be more affordable for the competitors to race for the 75% reduced purse and the fans to watch 75% less cars compete. Sounds pretty fair to me.

  35. Assuming you’re right on everything Slapnuts what’s it change. I don’t think you can label it mismanagement when you don’t know the priorities of the facility. It could look like mismanagement for the sport we love but great management in prioritizing more profitable income streams of the facility. If you only have so many dollars to spend you put them where they can get the highest return.
    I’ve been through this twice with the Danbury RaceArena and Riverside Park. A lot of rage but little you can control.
    My main worry is the Icebreaker and World Series. Those aren’t just race dates they’re celebrations of racing that open and close the season in these here parts.

  36. Wonder if the so called “pro” late models will make more appearances at Stafford, now that it will be the only fully functioning Connecticut track, with any stability. Others should study the Arute families success, and take really good notes

  37. I just read my post from earlier. That should say Ice breaker not Spring Sizzler. I should read these things before I post them.

    Anyway having had a few hours to digest the news. I am still disappointed but I don’t know what can be done. Nothing I say here is going to have any affect on Thompson and their decisions going forward. Its their track they can ru(I)n it however they want to. I can not believe race teams will survive long term on a purse cut of that size. At least they cant without sizable reduction in costs which were not outlined in the email release to drivers I know most teams were already struggling to run with the old purse structure. I think Thompson knows that and they put this out there so they can say we wanted to run the oval but the drivers wouldn’t work with us. If they drop Nascar sanctioning then all the guys who run for Nascar points have even less incentive to run at Thompson It stinks but what can you do. It is pretty clear Thompson prefers left and right turn Mazdas over turn left modifieds.

    I think people should concentrate on supporting Seekonk, Stafford and Waterford if they reopen. Maybe some of the SK drivers and SK light drivers can band together and get a few races at Seekonk. That would be a great addition to Seekonk.The SK and SK lights have Stafford and Waterford if they open. The late models and limiteds can run Seekonk or Waterford. The minis have Waterford. Have you hugged your local race track lately?

  38. Did their tax break form the State of CT.expire? I thought in order to receive the tax break,they had to run X# of shows and employ x# of people?Let it close…been mis-managed for the better part of the last 10 years and the place has fallen into dis-repair.I’ll help them start taking the stands down also.

  39. There will still be cars there because guys need to run for National Points. The only problem is, if not enough cars show up then the National points are thrown out the window and they they will have none.

  40. This comment is towards Doug who won’t put his full name.” Your statement of divisional racing is not about purses” is completely not true!! Obviously you never raced a stock car. I personally raced at Thompson because of the purse. Without the money available at the finish. I wouldn’t have been able to race.

  41. I didn’t race? I’m getting old and tend to forget things but I could have sworn I did.
    Fair enough Joe. I should have said purses aren’t the reason MOST people race. Obviously they are important to some. Let me take another stab at my point.
    I think I am fairly representative of the thousands of forgotten people that have raced in some form locally over the decades. We were fans, decided to race, did it for a time, didn’t do so well or maybe did then moved on. I like to think of the group I’m in as the backbone of racing. The guys and gals that raced under budgeted, under talented and/or under powered for the shear love of it. Providing the obstructions critical to the front runners everyone remembers. Racing in our window, competing against the other cars we could compete against in our window unnoticed by the fans but having a ball nonetheless. The overwhelming majority of people that have raced are not Paul Suprenant, Bo Gunning, Jerry Marguis, or Tom Fearn. They’re like me. The guys and gals they passed every week that helped put the show on and made the finishes of fan favorites more memorable. Then we are gone. Left only with a large hole in our net worth but enriched with memories and in my case real fabrication skills that have lasted a lifetime.
    So you Joe say the purses made it possible for you to race and I take you at your word. Otherwise I stand by what I said that purses are a minor factor in peoples decisions to race for the overwhelming majority. For me whether it was standing in line at the end of the race at Stafford which is the way payoffs were done when I started or getting the check in the mail later it never meant spit to me..But that’s ancient history and there are better examples that are current. Like the entire field of the SK Light division at Stafford that continues to grow while being paid a pittance for their effort. They race to race, not for what the purse is. Racing is recreation like owning a boat or traveling. Purses are more a nice thank you from the track but in the end you’re paying huge amounts to buy racing recreation.
    So I’ll say it again to the Thompson teams. It’s my belief the track is in death spiral and the clock is ticking. Get past the purse thing because in the end it will mean nothing. Enjoy the track and the experience while you have it.

  42. So if Rocco wants to run for national points, he is going to have to field numerous car numbers.

  43. @Mudbus. Not a tax break.
    DECD will provide the $800,000 loan at 2 percent interest for a term of 10 years. DECD will forgive $200,000 of the loan principal if the company retains its existing 48 employees and creates 23 positions by 2015. The money will be used to upgrade the Thompson facility, including repaving the existing 1.7- mile road course, upgrading safety and fencing systems and building a 15,000-square-foot garage with classrooms for driver education.
    Other improvements include:
    Upgraded bridge structure
    Upgraded storm water control systems
    Upgraded support facilities including registration building, timing and control building with first aid facilities.

  44. we used to race sk’s every Friday Saturday and Sunday here in CT. it was affordable with the purse structure. Then as the rules started to change at the 3 weekly tracks we raced Stafford every Friday and occasionally ran Sat or Sunday to burn up our left over tires and make a few extra hundred bucks. One of the reasons we stopped all together is the purses did not go up with everything else. the NH tracks Modified purse looks really good with 3 tracks

  45. Atleast in Modifieds its a rich mans sport so the purse really dont affect them, most teams are some type of buisness entity and they will just write off more losses with lower purse. You will still get same Sk Teams as you did last year wich is verry dangerous moving forward. You can can bet Stafford will not be paying tripple what its closest rival does for verry long. If lower purses are what is needed to surrvive then we dont need 75k race cars and $20k tire bills, put a spending cap on cars, limit new tires. Engine builders and Chassis builders need to lower their labor rates below Dr and Lawyer levels! Lots of guilty parties in the decline of local Racing here in CT,too many greedy people all got in on the Gold Rush of racing and now its not sustainable. Look at any other State in Country, compare costs of their weekly top division price for fielding a competitive car vs our Sk Modified cost’s, I gurantee we got them all beat by a big margin.

  46. @Rich – You’re living in a dream world. Here in the Northeast everyone talks about the Dirt Mods for comparison, a top 358 motor is north of $40K and a top big block motor is north of $50K. Even the Sportsman motors, their support division, is getting $30K for a motor. And try to tell me that a Troyer dirt chassis is going to be significantly cheaper than an asphalt chassis. Supply and demand. If teams stopped paying the money to have top engines and started building their own, costs would go down. Other than that, it’s the same old song … “How fast can I go?” – “How much money you got?”

  47. There needs to be concern about Stafford. Stafford will pretty much be a monopoly for oval track racing. That’s never a good thing. If they start squeezing the competitors, oval track racing is done in CT.

    Thompson is backing off the oval, Waterford is a mess and will be for years, leaving Stafford. A monopoly is never good for the customers.

  48. wmass01013 says

    MR. mastermind knows it all!!
    I don’t think the ARUTES will do something Stupid like you think, they have a nice track, good fan base, BEST night to race and right now lots of action and making a profit, I don’t think they will add a road course and cut 75% from the purse anytime soon, the others tracks issues can ONLY ADD to the STAFFORD mystique!!

  49. Judging by the devious little posts by Stafford Speedway on social media it appears they couldn’t be happier about the issues at their neighboring tracks. I agree with darealgoodfella.

  50. Don’t be surprised when Stafford increases prices. All prices: tickets, concessions, etc.

    💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵 💰 💵

  51. Stafford has increase ticket prices. I believe they have 2 years in a row now. Went from 16 to 17.50 when the CT entertainment tax went in which is understandable. Then they stayed at 17.50 for a few years before going to 18.50 2 years ago. Stafford then went to 20.00 halfway through last year. They also keep adding special shows so there are less and less regular weekly shows. I am pretty sure that’s the timeline because I started getting into watching Dirt racing online and going to NY for a few shows over the last couple years instead of going to Stafford weekly. I agree devoid of local competition Stafford could attempt another price increase, but I think they are currently at or near the price point where people might consider alternative entertainment options. They are already at the highest price point of any track in the area that I know of, Seekonk gets 14. Monadnock 15, Lebanon valley gets 11 God bless them..

    Isn’t Thompson supposed to announce the future of the oval right around now? Whats the verdict?

  52. Todd Carey says

    Stafford is doing nothing but hurting themselves allowing the 2 kids to put out little shots at other local short tracks. People have commented to them since the beginning and in their silver spoon in mouth arrogance, they just don’t care. They were not around to actually see tracks working together. I think their little remarks are pathetic at best and doing nothing to help their brand.

  53. Stuart Fearn says

    I’ll tell you what Thompson is doing is the worst. I saw one comment from Stafford that said “we love short track racing” or something to that effect. Don’t you dare try to make them the bad guy for putting out a positive comment! What the hell else are they going to say? I agree it was a little tongue in cheek but please, Stafford is doing THE BEST job in the state (only one very very shortly) and there is no place in complaining about their performance versus anyone else.

  54. Two kids? Are you talking about Don Jr. and Eric?

    🤣🤣🤣 🤡🤡

  55. Interesting factoid. Staffords ticket price in 1980 for a regular show was $6. Factoring inflation the equivalent price today would be $25.82 according to the US Inflation Calculator.

  56. Doug

    don’t tell Stafford that. What did the feature pay in 1980 and what does it pay now? I am guessing the payout hasnt kept up with inflation

  57. Fast Eddie says

    After issuing their wonderful ultimatum to “their valued competitors”, complete with a deadline that is now two days old, you would think by now there would be some statement from Thompson indicating the outcome. I would hope they would at least be running this year after committing to NASCAR for the three WMT events.

  58. Stuart Fearn, When looking at history it’s clear to see Stafford has always been least willing to collaborate with other tracks especially when it comes to their rules and divisions. Just look at their rulebooks and notice how frequently the term “spec” is used. This has been a longtime complaint from racers and fans. They make decisions that aim to benefit themselves more than the race teams and sport overall. Have their methods been successful? Seemingly. Could they have been more successful if they communicated with nearby tracks? Many would say yes. What else are they supposed to say you ask? Nothing. Take the higher path. They seems to be the only ones showing excitement for Thompson’s downfalls. Show some class. Southern New England racing is looking gloomy now that 2 of 3 CT tracks are showing an uncertain future. This is threatening to some people in the industry, it may affect their businesses and their livelihoods. Stafford’s “tongue in cheek” comments show no compassion and I’m sure many people find their social media posts as tasteless.

  59. Thompson needs to smooth out and repave the oval. When they do, that track will become the center of the Modified Universe.

  60. If you’re still complaining about spec motors I have to write you off. They run spec engines at the Indy 500 for god sake. Get over it

  61. Has Thompson suggested a possible end to oval racing there? Or, just the possible end of “weekly” oval racing? I’d be surprised if the the NWMT events at Thompson are at risk.

  62. Andrew Bombara says

    Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park wants to focus on the Road Course, Restaurant, Banquet/Private Events Room in Restaurant, Golf Course, Driving Range, Golf Pro Shop that’s where their largest financial/economic streams of revenue $$ are coming from. So big $$, special interests, rich people who can afford the road course, golf prices, restaurant prices that’s what they want. Plus they have that Comcast Spectra deal still going. I believe they are losing $$ on the oval track so when your in ownership/management in any business ventures you have the right to do what your business needs to do to stay financially/economically sustainable. Thompson is 1 Hour from Boston, 2 hours from Lime Rock Park Raceway, 3 1/2 hours from New York City, 1 Hour from Providence so they are catering to that type of audience. I would NOT be surprised at all to see in the next 1-2 maybe 3 years that the Thompson Oval Racing Programs ends up going from 6 Races down to 2 or 3 Races and just keeping the Ice Breaker, Budweiser 150, World Series of Speedway Racing. Will be interesting to see what the Hoenig Family ultimately decides on the future of their business facility complex but specifically the oval racing track.

  63. Thompson fans are understandably hurt and feel powerless. First it was lashing out at the Thompson management decisions and now somehow Stafford is being targeted. I haven’t seen anything coming out of the Arute clan that is inappropriate but if there is it’s bad judgement given the intensity of the emotions at this critical time. Pointing fingers at Stafford for not working with other tracks and not paying attention to fans and competitors as well as charges they’ll increase prices and lower purses has no basis is fact. It’s more like a misery loves company deal but at this point in time it doesn’t exist for the Stafford fan base.
    For years Stafford has been the leading area business in a declining industry. That’s not an enviable place to be from any perspective including ticket pricing power.
    If a race track does nothing else they need to be predictable and reliable. This winter teams can buy engines and parts sold to them by area businesses and build cars according to consistent rules they are confident they can race at Stafford come spring. Waterford has been a Greek tragedy since 2017 and Thompson is in a death spiral, and are the opposite of reliable and predictable. It’s not Staffords responsibility to work with any track. It’s their job to survive and make money.
    Stafford isn’t a powerhouse so much has surviving in a declining market. As far as I can see they have done everything they can this winter to keep the fan base engaged with a constant stream of team information nuggets and media features in anticipation of the coming season. What you aren’t hearing from Stafford is how things are so bad, they’ve cut back this or that, the NWMT races are too expensive and we’re cutting back to 2, we’re dropping the xxxxxxxxx division because of whatever. You get the idea.
    Be disappointed about Thompson or the Speedbowl, it’s understandable. Dragging Stafford into the drama of negativity not only doesn’t make sense it’s just not accurate at all.

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