This is going to start off very lightly. I can’t even tell you where I’ve been this past weekend. Nor can I comment on anything that happened at New Hampshire, new to somebody who’s not looking out for others in the racing fraternity and made it very difficult for me to travel to and from this particular track. If I tell you where I was it could be a dead giveaway. All I can say is something strange was going on and it all comes down to fairness or lack of fairness. My work here and on WLAR [We Love Auto Racing] at 718-707-1052 is becoming a crusade on how to bring people back to this sport on both sides of the fence. I’m expecting this story to be in 3 parts. And as planned stand, the final part won’t be until much of the season’s over. What I can promise however, is that this’ll be another pure example of what’s hurting short track racing. I may never reveal the characters. But that may depend on whether or not the incidents at this particular speedway have repercussions on certain competitors. This is it for part 1.
Now as you steady readers and listeners [WLAR] know that I’ve come up with a lot of different ideas of how to make racing better again. This mostly pertains to the short tracks but if it can work in the big leagues also, then we can all be a lot happier. The more fun we have with our racing the better it is and the more happy most of us are. When bonehead decisions are made and it results in more costs to competitors that results in less cars, less fans, less fun and less happiness.
My “idea for the week” is for a track and association completely operated by owners and drivers. I know this is being done at a handful of tracks around the country. Whether these tracks were bought or built I don’t know. Some of you have heard of SNYRA. This was the club that operated the now defunct but famous Danbury Fair Racearena. There club was very close to my idea. For years and years it was a full house both in the pits and in the stands. There was 1 problem, they didn’t own the place. And now it’s gone.
My idea is to buy the land and build the track. You’ve all heard of a screening process. Serious people only. Money would have to be put up. The club would do absolutely everything from within. This includes buying the land, making everything legal in the surrounding community [and this could be the most important thing], building and designing the track itself and everything on the grounds from bathroom to parking lots. Remember, people in racing come from all walks of life. Officials also would be hired within.
In presenting this idea [pipedream?] this is the only drawback that I have come across. You could have different people sharing each official position. This would decrease the chance of favoritism. The only official I’d keep the same is the starter. The reason is it’s good to have the same starter as his familiarity with habits and driving styles, is a plus to keep the show rolling. It’s good to have a steady announcer also, but you don’t include that person as an official. However, I’d hope the announcer’s also a club member.
As a pipedream I’d say everybody comes in with a $50,000 investment. I guess that’s kind of unrealistic. But I’d expect this process to take at least 3 years. A lot of that would be screening. Anybody can come in the door with all kinds of unrealistic hopes and expectations. And then you depend on them and they’re not there. There’s nothing like the test of time. For what most racing teams spend over a span of 3 years, $50,000 just might sound a little more realistic. If a car owner and/or driver invests that kind of money, I’m sure either they or somebody on their team’s going to want to be involved in either legal matters or promotion and publicity. Every 20 investors would be $1,000,000; one wouldn’t have to be entering a car to make an investment. But if just 40 racing teams make this investment that’s $2,000,000 and if you can’t get 60 to make it $3,000,000 and you still get other interested people to invest what they can, it’ll still be more then $2,000,000. The idea here is to have a place to race that’s guaranteed and a place to race that’s absolutely fare to 1 and all competitors.
Once these investments are made there’s no need for annual club memberships or ridiculous fees to enter people and cars in the pits every week. Another important point. DO NOT; absolutely DO NOT have more then 2 racing divisions. Danbury for years just had 1. If 1 division’s decided upon it must be carefully considered what kind of class it’s going to be. What must be considered is how fast you want to go, how much you want the cars to cost and the expense of upkeep and maybe the most important, is what would be entertaining to the fans. I’d say a total of 60 cars in the pits every week would be about right whether it’s all 1 class or 2. If it’s 2 classes then 1′s definitely a main event division and the other’s entry level, that’s all together different then the main event division. In other words, you don’t have Modifieds and Sportsmen, you don’t have Late Models and Limited Late Models, you don’t have Street Stocks and Pure Stocks, etc. Identification and recognition are very important to the fans. When you bring a new fan to the track, you shouldn’t have to trip all over yourself and split hairs to explain the different classes. It should be easy. The 2 classes are decided upon it should be approximately 25 cars in the main event division and the rest in the entry level division. And stands should be built completely around the track.
And let me tell you, nothing will attract sponsors like a full grand stand. And any sponsors that are picked up should be sponsoring anything but an individual car. Let them sponsor the track, a race, or the entire season. This way all the competitors have a shot at this money. Also, instead of competitors chasing sponsors their energies can go into the upkeep of the track and racing grounds and publicity for the track. Sponsors also want to see that the competitors are helping themselves. You also want to see every car make every race as much as possible. Chasing sponsors take time away from the upkeep of their equipment. And if enough sponsorship’s found you could have at least 1 race per year, or preferably 2 or 3 that can pay $50,000 to win.
In other words, a chance to win back the original investment. Perhaps if enough people are found and screened the competitors that want to race in the entry level division could come in for a lesser investment. Or maybe this is an idea to just have 1 division so everybody’s on a level playing field. Touring divisions that race different types of race cars would be welcomed also. Nothing like a little diversion once in a while. A track that treats it’s own competitors good and that’d be the idea of this operation, would also treat a visiting racing club good because there’d be nothing to be uptight about. Fans, some of the stories I hear [and some are in print] about the deals that tracks offer the visiting clubs are atrocious and totally, out of line. When a club comes to your speedway they’re guests. Do you charge guests to come for Thanksgiving dinner? Can you imagine if you charge them an entry fee, a sit down fee and made them pay for the food? And to boot, penalize them for phone calls? So where does a track get off by offering a visiting club a winners purse that can barely pay for 1 tire? I’d really like to see this happen. Let me know what you think by leaving a message on WLAR.
We’re going to keep track of something here. I have a friend that’s predicting that the Magnificent Martin will win the Cup title. Only if he don’t claim that he’ll win it on his own. Nasser manipulation would be the key. Let’s keep our eye on this one.
Wall Stadium has their final regular show this Saturday 9/26. I explained the points situation in a previous column. Matter of fact I explained the whole show in a previous column. Be there, I know I will.
Quite a bit to say for somebody that couldn’t comment on this past weekends races. What more can I give you? You’ll have to wait 2 weeks to find out as Jalopy Jack Racing Entertainment will only have the hotline next week. So until then, keeping the fans in the stands and the cars on the track, this has been Jalopy Jack.