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A whole bunch of tracks running with less than 20 Mods this weekend - Five Mile, Afton, Accord, Brewerton, Fulton, etc...

 

Are we starting to see the tipping point ($$) where teams just aren't willing/able to put a car on track consistently?  I think this has been building for a few years now.

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There is a problem with crates as a headliner in the northeastern dirt modified scene. With crates, lower purses are going to follow. Many of the drivers that attract the most fans are race car driver

My home track of Big D had 22 mods Fri night....The past couple of years, including this year, BDS has been drawing anywhere between like 24-28 mods weekly on a Fri night....And last year BDS RAISED t

I have read through most of these posts and I agree for the most part.  The easy explanation is that the costs are too high for the purses which is very true.  The only problem with that logic is that

It has hit a new low this season. Accord was getting almost 30 mods 2 years ago, this weekend 15.  Bunch of the southern tier tracks like Chris said. 

 

There are only a handful of tracks that are doing good in car count.  Accept for Canadaigua, Lebanon Valley, Fonda, Orange County Fair Speedway, Malta, and Utica/Rome. Orange County being the one with a good car count and a poor attendance (compared to their history). Now accept for OCFS which is pretty much an isolate area compared to the others. The others are successful because of quality promoters.  Seeing that the rest accept for Utica/Rome has numerous competition with other tracks.  

 

What is curious to me is why Five Mile has so few cars compared to last year. 

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Modified car counts are actually up a little bit over past years out this way.

To be fair, though, its well known that the Pittsburgh area hasnt been hit nearly as hard by recession as most of the rest of the country.
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It does seem to come in waves. There were points in the 70s and 80s where we lost tracks and others had some very hard times.  In the 90s I know FMP has bad times when Thunder Mountain opened (grass is greener effect).  

 

To pin point the actual cause is hard. You have to look at area economy, promoter/owner, and other factors.

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Well you can't keep paying the same purse when you don't have the same amount of cars.  Car counts drop, its obvious the purse is going to drop. Most tracks I know run on budgets and a certain profit has to be made. 

 

It's up to the Promoters to figure out how to adapt and recover. A good reason why I really would never want the job.

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My home track of Big D had 22 mods Fri night....The past couple of years, including this year, BDS has been drawing anywhere between like 24-28 mods weekly on a Fri night....And last year BDS RAISED their SBM purse, they pay $2750 to win and $225 to start....JMO I think there are a few things that contribute to the car counts these days, but first and foremost it is cost and how much $$$ ya need to keep going these days....Fri night BDS had 22 sbm's (3 reg's were missing, 2 with motor issues)....But I've talked to a few racers recently that don't run BDS regularly but REALLY WANT TO....But the first thing they say is they just don't have the $$$ to and add a 2nd night of racing to their sked....They have to race and stay within their means, tracks closer to home and tracks where what sponsors they do have, want them to be at weekly....As a fan of dirt track racing for over 30 yrs (I love all types of dirt track racing) and my heart being a true mod fan first, the car counts and whats going on these days scares the hell out of me....Things aren't going to get cheaper, whats the mod seen gonna be like in only a couple of years, and it's not too great now....Hope something changes and hope maybe things will 'cycle' around and we see the mod scene start to improve in the not so distant future, but really, I'm not too confident it will....There are so many different divisions out there these days, and so many are the smaller car variety, which is cheaper to race, that racers are going that route cuz they want to race, but they don't want to go broke doing it....The mod racing world really needs to wake IMO and sit down and start to work together and get these rules straightened out, everyone get on the same page, and start to find ways to make mod racing cheaper and keep what teams and racers we have left, and attract new ones, in the sport we all love so much.

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its money and sponsors plain and simple, as a racer and helping out other well known drivers its harder and harder to find sponsor ship..... alot of businesses are starting to veer away from race car sponsorship, many of them that have sponsored teams ive been around say they get little to no return on it just love racing and want to support the driver they have for the last 5 -6 years, meanwhile drivers keep asking for more and more.... and to be quite honest i think drivers are asking for alot, to the point where they almost price themselves out of a ride... theres been a couple times where ive stepped back and said wow i cant believe hes asking for this or that or this amount  of money in times like this....and everyone and there brother now is hauling brand new stackers behind huge semi trucks, and 2-3 race cars in a trailer ready to go.... but your bitching about money?

 

ive seen 602 sportsman teams now with this type of equipment..... did we forget this local home track racing? its not nascar, or WoO late model series.... yes hearn and decker, sheppard and full tiem drivers etc need those type of haulers because of all the traveling they do and they may pack 3 cars for the weekend racing they have planned, but alot of people dont and there just draining there sponsors until they throw in the towel.... just like the budget sportsman class which is why it was orignially created for teams to race at a decent price.... it was supposed to be used cars, off the shelf crate motors.... but dirtcar calls it 602 sportsman and now you have enders, rpm , morrison 602 motors, and brand new chassis and semi truck haulers..... for $500 to win ??? if iwas them id bitch too they have 30 grand in a car to win 500 bucks !..... all of that wasnt supposed to happen with the tech program they had in place but once again its out of control to the point where if you dont have new your not competitve....

 

so people cant afford new , know they cant be competitive so they leave it all in the garage , until they find someone to foot the bill or can afford to on their own

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My home track of Big D had 22 mods Fri night....The past couple of years, including this year, BDS has been drawing anywhere between like 24-28 mods weekly on a Fri night....And last year BDS RAISED their SBM purse, they pay $2750 to win and $225 to start....JMO I think there are a few things that contribute to the car counts these days, but first and foremost it is cost and how much $$$ ya need to keep going these days....Fri night BDS had 22 sbm's (3 reg's were missing, 2 with motor issues)....But I've talked to a few racers recently that don't run BDS regularly but REALLY WANT TO....But the first thing they say is they just don't have the $$$ to and add a 2nd night of racing to their sked....They have to race and stay within their means, tracks closer to home and tracks where what sponsors they do have, want them to be at weekly....As a fan of dirt track racing for over 30 yrs (I love all types of dirt track racing) and my heart being a true mod fan first, the car counts and whats going on these days scares the hell out of me....Things aren't going to get cheaper, whats the mod seen gonna be like in only a couple of years, and it's not too great now....Hope something changes and hope maybe things will 'cycle' around and we see the mod scene start to improve in the not so distant future, but really, I'm not too confident it will....There are so many different divisions out there these days, and so many are the smaller car variety, which is cheaper to race, that racers are going that route cuz they want to race, but they don't want to go broke doing it....The mod racing world really needs to wake IMO and sit down and start to work together and get these rules straightened out, everyone get on the same page, and start to find ways to make mod racing cheaper and keep what teams and racers we have left, and attract new ones, in the sport we all love so much.

This post is the most dead on accurate post I've ever read, & I agree on almost everything! Well Said!
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Dinosaurs are extinct.

Wouldn't surprise me to see modifieds a memory in 15-20 years, if not sooner.

Also with fan counts always declining every year, it makes one have to wonder.

Racers are their own worse enemy. You can sit them down and talk rules...

but like a horse, you can lead it to water but you can't make it drink.

A good example...602 Sportsman...engines are SUPPOSE to cost $3400.

Now engine builders are selling them for $8500 plus....and you know there not legal. LMAO!!

Blame that on the Promoters...TECH TECH TECH...(but if they find some illegal that's cars there sending home...thus less money in there pockets weekly.)  LOL This just goes back to my first sentence.

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That's one thing I can say that really isn't an issue at Big D is tech....Everyone knows when you come to Big D you are pretty much gonna get treated the same when it comes to following the rules....They've shown that is doesn't matter what your last name is or what team you race for, if you ain't following the rules, you get DQ'd....Cuz some of the biggest names in the sport have had those 2 letters behind their names in the results when things didn't work out there way a certain night, DQ...And that goes for the undercard divisions as well.

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If costs keep going up and the purses go down (as it has) you will see even fewer cars on the track. 
 

 

Purses in New York have been artificially high, compared to the rest of the country for a long, long time. It's become time to pay the piper and folks don't like it, but they have to realize if the crowds and car counts aren't there, the purses simply can't be kept at that level if the track expects to make any money. If the track can't make money, it'll cease to exist.

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Ransomville hasn't had a full field yet for any of their shows as well.  It does seem odd not seeing 20 or more Mods starting the feature.

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Things are down in my neck of the woods, too.

 

Mohawk had 17 Mods Friday (but 28 Sportsman, including 2 guys who had Mods last season and dropped down to Sportsman) and Airborne has been pulling 20-21 Mods (but Sportsman is up to 19 cars in only its second season).

 

And honestly, there are 4-5 guys at both tracks who I think would probably have a lot more fun if they moved down to Sportsman just because they really don't have the budget to compete with the well-financed teams.

 

Both MIR and Airborne were pulling full fields last season.

 

I think the money just isn't there anymore.

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DiamondDog, I think you raise a lot of good points. The biggest issue I see with Modified racing these days is the lack of standard rules and geographic exclusivity. I know it's a totally different animal, but look at Pennsylvania sprint car racing. You can run over 70 times a year between a handful of tracks, and have the opportunity to come out on the plus side. 

 

I know this horse has been beaten to death, but universal rules would promote higher car counts. Less engine options, less body options, less tire/wheel options. If there was a standard mold for modifieds and sportsman, it would be a lot easier for guys to run multiple tracks and get more bang for their buck. 

 

I'll use Accord and OCFS as examples since they're my two tracks back home. The modifieds are different and now the sportsman are different. If you want to run both tracks you either need to have a second car or have one hell of a garage session on Friday night and into Saturday morning to get yourself ready for the next night. 

 

Outside of the northeast, the only "dirt" style modifieds run are in Texas/Arkansas/Louisiana, and they run with different bodies and wings on the roof. If there was a push to expand modified racing that would help the cost of used equipment. Look at the prices of used sprint cars, IMCA/UMP modifieds or late models as compared to northeast dirt modifieds; the difference is staggering, and I think a lot of that can be contributed to the abundance of those three divisions around the country. 

 

How many touring sprint car, late model, and midwest style modifeds series are there? A whole heck of a lot more than the ROC and SDS. Parts and cars are cheaper to be had, and you can use your machine in more than just a handful of areas. 

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It just cost so much to race that's y u don't even get big street stock an 4cyl counts anymore even those cost a ton if u wanna be competitive

 

I think there's also a huge misconception that you need to outspend everyone to win. Yeah, racing is an expensive hobby. As the old saying goes, "Speed costs money, how fast you wanna go?" Regardless, you can race on a budget, and you can do well. Some tracks cost more than others to run based off of the equipment you need or tires or etc., but if you have a budget and run the division that your wallet allows you to run you can be successful. Do you need a stacker? No. Do you need a brand new car every season? No. 

 

It was stated in another thread, and I'll say it again. The majority of what happens on a race team happens in the garage. Build knowledge, prepare well, and associate yourself with a group of people who are able and you can run successfully on a budget. 

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Now why is it that you can fill up the grandstands with just a "Night of Destruction" at OCFS but, not a regular Sat night? 

I have season tickets but, have yet to go to one " Night of Destruction". 

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Five mile car counts are down because teams cant afford 3 tires a week, the track surface is all rocks and wears tires badly plus the   weekly purse aint good. 

I88, Penncan and Accord run friday nights and there are not enough cars to go around.

The weekly cost to be competitive  plus what a decent motor is gotten out of hand. 

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Excellent question, SailPanels.  I doubt if anyone can give a good answer.  I still feel they should have an Open Wheel class on the Eve Of Destruction nights, so fans can see what goes on on a Saturday night.  Heats & feature, not a 6-10 car invitational.  More than likely it would have to be the Sportsman class, since they are not afraid of running the track in.  Heck open tire rules and run both Sportsman engines - crate and opens.  Yes, the racing would have to be towards the beginning of the night.

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I look back about 15-20 years ago when the asphalt Modified scene was MUCH healthier - Spencer, Lancaster, Shangri-La, etc... now what do they have left?  An RoC Tour with 8-10 races on it??  And those fields are barely getting by with car counts as it is.   

 

I have to agree with Custom Bob....if things don't change somehow, dirt Mods will be in the same boat in the very near future.

 

Nobody likes to hear this, but Sportsman Mods may be the headline division going forward.

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Would it help costs in modified racing if the engine rules where opened up a bit more to allow aluminum block engines like in the late models or even sprint car engines? Just thinking from an availability standpoint.

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Nobody likes to hear this, but Sportsman Mods may be the headline division going forward.

 

If that happens, how long does it take to get right back in the same position teams are in now in terms of spending money? Teams that can afford to spend of ungodly sums of money with no chance of any kind of positive return are always going to spend it. IMO, the cost of doing business doesn't stay "reasonable" very long if the elite teams of Modified racing would suddenly be forced into a Sportsman division if they want to stay in the division of Northeast Modifieds.

 

Look at 360 Sprint Car racing on a national level. It is so far removed from what the division was in the 1980s that it is barely the same division. There are $40,000 360s out there to run for 30-50 percent of the purse a 410 runs for. That is what I wonder about Modified racing. If the Modified division would go away, how long would it take for the Sportsman to get just as expensive while running for 30-50 percent of the purse that Modifieds typically race for?

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