Welcome to Gas Crunch 2001
Racing is changing. It has to. With the cost of building
and running any stock car and the present value of gas
to get to and from the track unless you are lucky enough
to own a diesel rig, racing must change. The every
Friday and Saturday night racer may find it harder now
to be an every Friday and Saturday night racer. Just
like our cost of living every year rises, this gas crunch
will definitely effect the local guys.
The majority of all local track racers are every day "Joe's".
They work to pay their bills, support their families with
roofs over their heads and food on the table and somewhere
in there enough money to race. Now an average weekend
of racing is hard to exactly say how much since some
drivers only go across the street to race or others may drive
up to two hours or more. Pit fees vary from $l5.00 to
$25.00, track gas goes from $3.50 a gallon up, and purses
vary between all tracks. What is the deciding factor???
Well, if you ask Tim McPhail, a former Sunshine Speedway
driver, why he drives to Orlando SpeedWorld and New
Smyrna Speedway he will tell you that "it is the way you
are treated at a track that brings you back week after week."
Tim, his wife Donna and their 4 legged children, travel
every weekend to be with their other family. Yes, their
RV drinks gas but racing is what they love and racing is
what they do on the weekend. Now I am sure if gas goes
up to the $3.00 they say it could be, that could put a
damper on their traveling.
There use to be what drivers called "tow money" at tracks.
But nowadays, no one seems to be able to afford such
a thing. Drivers and their crews must tough it out on
their own or just not race and if you know racers like I
do, that is really a hard one. Racing is what they wait
for every week. This is their time and the government
better not screw with that. Making gas prices go sky
high is the worse thing you can do to a "stressed out"
What can tracks do to help their racers in a gas crunch?
Not much really as a gas crunch also affects the fans
that come to the races and almost everything in our lives.
Food goes up, beer goes up, soda goes up, everything
changes because of gas. Sometimes I think the only ones
that are not hurt are the President and his cabinet.
I guess we have one thing to be thankful for and that is
that we don't have to sit in long lines waiting for 8 gallons
of gas, our weekly allowance. We have been there and
we learned how to save gas and just how much or little
we could do in that week. There was not much driving
to race tracks then.
Hopefully this crisis will not last forever. Hopefully we
will be able to survive it and have all our guys do what
they love to do - race. But I guess a diehard racer can
find something to race or than a stock car if they had to.
Have you ever been to scooter races????
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