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 Columns & Editorials

September 15, 2000

It Is Definitely Worth a Try

by Jane Smith

Lately, I have set back and let others do the talking for me.I have listened to drivers from Sunshine to Hialeah speak about this sport that we all love so much. It is not the sport itself that is causing so much pain and unrest, but the cost of having fun today.

When compared to the cost of tires and gas to race say a Late Model maybe twenty years ago, surprisingly it is not that different than today. Twenty years ago you could run Goodyear, Firestone, Hoosier or McCreary tires. Goodyear and Firestone were the most expensive at about $l20.00 each where the Hoosier and McCreary were between $80.00 to $l00.00 and lasted better and were faster for the first three races or so. Gas was about $3.50 a gallon, maybe a dollar different than today. But the biggest difference in making the $750.00 pay off more worth it then was the cost of the engines.

Engines back then were expensive for the time but nothing like they are today. Use to you could build a good Late Model engine for maybe $12,000.00 where as today, that would not build a open wheel modified engine. I was once told that you should never spend over $l500.00 ona Super Stock or Bomber engine but today, some are $5,000.00 and up. Why????

We could blame this on racing, saying that a lot of it is caused by the cheaters and to compete in the sport, you need to out cheat the next person so the cost of building an engine keeps going up. But what happens when it gets to a point that no one can afford to race????

Take for example, one of our traveling series. I was told by one of the drivers that it cost him $700.00 for 15 laps once (that was new tires, gas, hauling, pit entrance,etc.) and the purse was $1,000.00 to win so even if he had won, he would not have come out very good. Not too many everyday racers can afford this, they are just average people like you and me who race on a budget. Yes, you can say if they can't afford it, then they should not race but that could knock out more guys than you realize.

Just to say raise the purses, that is not the solution. Maybe the solution is to stop and think about what we are doing. Maybe the local tracks need to make it cheaper for these guys to race and keep the expensive cars more for the traveling series. This way, the classes could be fairer which everyone does complain about and the purses could come up from the car counts rising because the cost of racing will lower.

But who says the world is round and the grass is green and maybe it is a pipedream to ever find a solution to local track racing. Maybe we are just born to complain but never find any solutions because we like to complain. But there are those of us who do sincerely love our tracks and the guys who work their butts off to bring you local track racing and really do want to help. Maybe what we need is someone from every track, both dirt and asphalt, to all come together and try to work out a plan to help racing, to help the guys who do the racing, and help eac hother.

It is definitely worth a try.

-Jane Smith

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