I know this topic is a few weeks old and some are tired of hearing about it, but I’m going stir the pot again because I don't understand the issue completely.
When I raced back in the 60’s & 70’s, I wasn’t the track hotdog or a track champion, I didn’t have a lot of money, so we had to make things that the guys with the big money could buy brand new. We begged, borrowed and bartered for most equipment that we ran.
One of the things that saved me money was that I had become friends with Tom Skinner who owned the 659. Every week we’d go to his shop in Hammonton and he’d sell us the used tires from his car for around $25 to $35 dollars apiece and we did this for the whole time that we raced.
Back then, there weren’t any rules that said you had to run a specific brand of tire, there was Fred Haarz who sold McCreary tires who would be at the track every week. There wasn’t any tire scanning, or assigned tires to a specific car, driver or owner, you just put the tires on and you went racing.
There was no way that we could buy an allotment of tires at the beginning of the season from a tire franchise, because we were lucky to have 4 good tires on the car from the previous season.
So now we get to this “tire bank” rule that they have at Wall, which states in the AARN article (here’s a copy of that part as it was seen in the paper):
In an effort to control tire consumption
and thus reduce costs,the teams are allowed to purchase an allotment of tires at the beginning of the season and an additional incremental amount of(two) on each race night.
Tires are scanned when purchased and registered to the purchaser.Once purchased,the tires cannot be sold,borrowed or otherwise reassigned.
So this means that if a driver destroys a tire in a race, comes in to get a tire changed and then forgets to “scan” the tire or someone picks up the wrong tire and installs it, he gets DQ’d. We all know how hectic it can get in the pits and oversights and mistakes happen.
I’m sorry, but first I fail to see how this controls tire consumption and secondly, I know that there has to be some racers today that are running on a shoe string budget that would gladly buy used tires from a race team instead of having to pay a premium price for tires to cut their costs, but this tire rule eliminates that from happening.
I saw and read a lot of comments on the “Unofficial Wall Board” on this subject, and unless racers can come forward and explain their side of how they feel about the tire rule, it seems to have a lot of grey area and uncertainty about it. This is an excerpt from another article:
The Blewett watch was on, while a situation was developing in the pits. A track official approached the Sesely team, and inquired about the tires on the now renumbered 76. The official was informed that they were used tires, but if they were going to create any problems they would buy new tires for use on the car. Problem was, the tire truck had already closed for the night. The official left, and a short time later Blewett arrived.
The Sesely team was quick to argue their point of offering to buy new tires, and not being able to. They also felt if the car wasn't "legal" to begin with, why the same officials who disqualified it would allow it onto the track in the first place. Race Director Rick Collins felt the decision was clear, the car violated the track's rules, and thus the win was taken away
Before I read the second article and other comments, I had already come to these conclusions; if the track is going to have a tire franchise on the grounds, then the tire truck needs to stay open for business until the races are over, that’s just good business ethics.
It would seem to me, judging from the articles that were written about this issue, that the only people that this tire rule benefits is the franchise itself and maybe the track, if they get a percentage of the sales and I don’t know if some of the money goes towards the purse or not. It seems like a lot of bookwork and record keeping, for what reason?
I know that things have changed in over 30 some years, but someone please explain how this rule benefits the racer and any other reason that I may have missed.
Now let’s talk about gasoline, if the track rule is to run “gasoline”, why does there have to be a fuel truck at the track, is their fuel cheaper than a regular retailer, does it have some additive in it that makes the engines perform better or is this another N.J state rule? What’s wrong with getting pump gas outside of the track if you can find it at a cheaper price if it’s the same as what the fuel truck has? Again, these are rules that we didn’t have to contend with in the 60’ & 70’s.
If these rules were in effect when we raced, I doubt if a lot of the guys I raced with and me would have hung in there for 12 years like we did.
I had to use the reply to get the rest of the message on.
I really believe that there needs to be an owner/promoter association started to try to make the rules compatible with each and all race tracks, but there would have to be some provisions made to let the drivers and owners voice their concerns also.
Is this a realistic approach to the problem, I don’t know if it is or not but it would be better to do something than nothing at all.
I’m just an old racer from the past who’s a little confused at what some say is cutting the costs of racing
We have this forum to discuss these situations and welcome all that have some constructive input to address these situations, so please give us your opinions we’d like to hear your views.
When the big teams purchase four tires a night and burn the tires off, the little guy does not have a chance. The way Wall is,I doubt any tire is worth 25 to 30 bucks after a feature. You need fresh rubber to run fast in a Pavement Modified. In this economy the track tire provides funds for the track. The tire bank offered a solution but has its flaws.
It is 2012 and the open tire rules are long gone. Just look back at the Goodyear tire complaints earlier this season. Sprinters blowing tires left and right. Don't know the answer maybe Jerry Fried had it right with the Recaps. Than again tire softners would get used or owners will look for choice tires. (Think some one stated that Happend at Nazerth)
The days of the little guys winning in the top divisions is almost history. Modifieds have just evolved to much. The only thing that could change is to figure a way to un-hook the tires on the track. The main board had a similar thread about Dirt Modifieds, they were glued to the track. This has made racing expensive and out of reach of the majority.
If there was an association it would have to be done carefully. Any rule change could cost racers even more $$"s. Dirt did that with wide bodies. The old Dirt soft, Dirt Hard, and Dirt extra Hard was a good idea. But the current tracks get money from the tire dealers and put it into the purse or in the owners pocket. Unless everybody works together racing is not going to change much.
I also raced and owned cars in the 60's and 70's and as much as I loved the sport watched
the small guy get slowly beat out of bussiness by money. Frankie S. said it best back when
"these store bought cars are gonna kill modified racing", if wall or any other track makes these
stupid rules,under the guiese of "help the little guy",then why don't they make some provision
to make the used tires availible to the little guy? Then they could rescan those and control
the cost. The gas deal is just stupid,unless they sell it cheaper than a gas station does.
I know next to nothing about the financial side of running a track, but my guess, and it's only that, is that the reason things are the way they are now (have to buy a certain tire, have to buy a certain fuel, etc.), compared to the way they were when everyone ran what they wanted... buy whatever you wanted wherever you wanted... is because most tracks no longer have enough of a front gate (I'm talking regular $15 or $20 a night paying fans.)
I can only imagine that the owner/lease holder of a speedway has a certain amount of fixed expenses (mortgage/taxes or rent, insurance, electric, permits, track equipment) and the expenses that occur with each event (staff, track prep, operational expenses of track equipment, etc.) and of course, the purse. (Note: all of the expenses mentioned with the possible exception of the purse are incurred even on those nights where they attempt to run, but end up getting rained out.)
Back in the day, I'm thinking that the front gate (fans in the stands) paid for most everything (the expenses, the purse, and even the end of the year points funds.)
Unfortunately over the last few decades, the cost has grown exponentially, while the size of the front gate is in some cases 1/3rd of what it was those same decades ago. I think few of us are really aware of how close some tracks are to having a "pay to play" show, meaning, 100% of the cost of the show is on the back of the participants and the charade of having fans pay to watch them play is just about over... Don't get me wrong... there is still some great racing to be seen at some short tracks and there are still some very exciting divisions... But all too often, the track will stick in a few "stiff divisions" that don't have "fan value" and next thing you know... the show's too long... there's not enough excitement value... and fans stop going.
That's why tracks are so willing to add classes... The fans sit and shake their head and say, "Are you freakin' kidding me... another division?) And at the same time the owner/promoter has to look at it as a new revenue stream by saying, "Let's see... each car that shows up will have to pay for a pit spot, and each crew member will have to buy a pit license... X 3 or 5 crew members per each car... plus each night they are here, they'll have to pay admission.... So very quickly, each "new car" in each "new class" becomes a quick $200 everytime they show up to run.
Charging for pit spots, pit licenses, certain tires, certain fuels... "buy ins" to the field when you don't qualify but still want to "play"... all are a sign of the shift from front gate paying the freight, to the back gate paying it.
Take away the $'s from the fuel sales that go back into some kind of fund, or that go to the track in the form of a fuel vendor fee, and you now put more of the burden directly on each participant. Same goes for the tires.... and all the other "collective" fees that they end up paying over time. While we're at it, take away all those classes mentioned that provide less fan appeal and get back to a 2 or at the most, a 3 division show.... And If you did that, you'd probably find that you'd have to charge each car/driver that shows up about $400 - $500 just to pull in the pits to race.
I don't think you'd have too many guys continue racing if they looked at it that way...
Like I said, I'm no expert, but I think the solution (if there is one, and that's a really, really big "if") is to fix the show so that it becomes a viable choice for today's entertainment dollar. I'm not talking about just moving the show along faster... having exceptional announcers/hosts... but I'm talking about moving away from the traditional heats/consi/feature format and have more events that get the fans more involved by focusing the action on just a few competitors at at time, kinda of like match races, but with even more "buy in" for the fans by assigning a competitor to specific sections of the stands, so that they have a reason to care.... (That's just one idea... more "out of the box" ideas are needed... and we can't continue to do the same thing just because that's always how we did it...)
Summary: I don't think there is a big enough fan base left to support any kind of an "owner/promoter" association. I think the only hope is for tracks to focus on making the show so compelling, unpredictable and fun that people will want to be there and more importantly will want to comeback. Putting more fans in the stands will take some of the pressure off the current "pay to play" model that most tracks have had to move to. 3 Wide
Ray,I run Sportsman at Wall and we do not have a tire bank as the Mods do.If I was running Mod,I wouldn't have a problem with the bank.It does help at Wall with the expendature.The low buck guy can keep up with the big $$$$$$$ boys in this case.If you need more details,pm me.
Very interesting topic.I was not surprised when I read the story in AARN.
I ran wall many years ago and won a mod feature there.
We were a really low budget team and tried to get 2 weeks + out of our tires,softener on the 3rd week....yep
Our motor was basically a balanced ,bore legal motor with a Lunatti cam.
We ran aviation gas"Yes AVIATION GAS"100ll with a small amount of lead additive
We were usually up front unless a political deal was used.
That particular night we won the heat and main,beat the top five motor builers who were gonna put up teardown $$$$$$.
The tech rep knew the motor and when he said u will be embarressed to see what beat u....
Point is the car handled well,I was not aggressive against my fellow competitors.
I did not beat on their bumpers etc.
We ran well,but at a low $ budget.
There are a few guys who run av gas still today.
Soooooooo maybe the motor heads who are charging a fortune for a motor along with the others could tune for the use of the AV gas.
Of couse they will give 200 reasons why not.
See same mentality.
A motor parts spec rule should be put in to reduce the cost.
Maybe even a claimer rule....wouldn't that be cooll.
Bring the field closer together...
Harder compound,burn a date in the tire and say 2 weeks on a set,unless damaged in an event,u will still sell tires.
Someone has to give to get people on the some what same level,Have teams get together towards the end of a season for a pow wow and ideas on $ the cost of it all suggesstions to reduce that etc,just do not let the track dictate things or the motor buiders or big $ teams...
Pull the politics out.
Now the front gate... Do a better job of spending $ on good sound promotions.
Alot of what is done with the politics of on track stuff effects the fans.
More local company sponsorship with well greased promotions to increased a fan base.
New first time fans.
Local community support.
Have the 50/50 be done by various groups each week,pulled from local groups in the surrounding communities.etc.
Get an trade of promotion package put together with the shore merchants to help all involved in this seasonal business.I can think of alot of things to reduce team cost and generate more from gate $.
Geeee New Egypt does get it.
They seem to be family oriented,they have a formula for the overal promotion.
Plus the on tack NO Favorite set up.
So now we can only wonder where,scanning tires and all the other stuff comes from
the pit officials need to get on the same page,with all involed
I and a couple friends have tried for some time to get a special "Coupe and Sedan night at Wall,Just coupes and sedans,have an early auto graph session with guys who actually drove those cars there.
Tie it in with the Garden State Classic.
Advertise the event ,etc etc.
Fans don't wanna see a modern car lap the field in a 10 lap exhibition of vintage cars.
I understand even those events are on car count numbers.
I would hope that that historic track will find the combination to survive,and be a success for the the promotor and everone involved.
Sometimes people gotta speak up,like I just did