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Since I was a kid, it seems like the term 'full field' was always synonymous with a 24 car feature. By definition or perception, whatever...

Given the economics of the sport and how money in general has been tight for everyone, are most tracks happy just to get 20? I see a LOT of tracks this year struggling just to get 20 Modifieds through the back gate on a regular weekend event. It's barely May and counts will only get worse....
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Our expectations are less than they were, but nothing is worse than time trials or pill draws and heads up starts at weekly tracks. We could pick a lot of reasons why there are less people in the stands, but at alot of tracks, watching the fast cars start up front just bores me.

 

And we do the above despite the fact that there are less cars than there used to be. 

 

Tracks are now grateful to get 20 cars in a division.  Remember when the top guys would have to qualify through the consi? 

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Time to go back to the future. Modified-Sportsman Racing, { restricter plate the modifieds } Sportsman up front, Modifieds in the back. Early 1960's style.

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As a fan, it`s awesone to see 24-28 cars taking the green. Only problem with that is, the more cars taking the green flag, the more green flags you will see.( = restarts)

Myself, racing street/purestocks, I always felt more comfortable with 18-20 cars on the track than 24.

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I think there's too many tracks, lots of people are outta racing now that used to be in it because of cost. And for less cars theres tons of tracks.

 

I agree that there's more tracks now than there are available teams to race, comparatively.  I've been a proponent of tracks working together and running every other week, maybe even having a dual track point fund.  That way if there are two tracks getting 20 Modifieds each on a Saturday night, they could (theoretically) get 35-40 Modifieds every other week instead.  Ditto for Sportsman, Pure Stocks.  Those extra cars bring in more fans, more back gate $$, more concession revenue, etc... Plus your expenditures for concession workers, electricity, track prep, insurance - all get cut in half.  As a fan you wouldn't have to miss Jimmy Phelps going to Fulton instead of Canandaigua, or Mike Colsten running Five Mile instead of Thunder Mountain....they'd run both.

 

I don't know why some tracks don't at least try it for a year and see what happens, rather than banging heads with each other every week all summer.  

 

People will say that each track would likely only end up with 10-12 races each year after rainouts and other conflicts.  So what? Oswego runs less than 10 races a year for their premiere division and nobody complains.  I honestly think that half the number of well attended shows would work out better financially for a promoter than twice the number of shows that barely break even.

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I don't think we will ever see the car counts return to what they once were.  When I started driving modifieds in mid 70's at Weedsport on Sunday night there were many times when the number of cars slated for the consi was over 24.

 

They would put everyone that made the call onto the track and if there were more than 20, the inside line would get split to the infield and the outside line would be the first consi and then the inside line with half as many qualifying from each consi.

 

I would have almost ran over my mother to avoid being in the consi!  Everybody was desperate to make the feature and accidents were plentiful

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I guess I'm just spoiled. I grew up with Lebanon Valley having to run 2 consolation races and starting a minimum off 33 cars in the feature. Watching these 20 car starts is like seeing a restart 3/4 of the way through the LV 200

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Only the middle of May and things are getting scary already.  Jamie W compiles a list of dirt Modified car counts, and here are some of this past weekend's numbers -

 

Afton 23, Thunder Mt 22, Lebanon Valley 22 (19 Small Blocks), Penn Can 20, New Egypt 20, Woodhull 20, Brockville 20, Utica Rome 20, Glen Ridge 15, Sharon 14, Sportsman 13, Five Mile 12.  

 

Accord, Orange County, and Delaware each rained out, and I think all of those tracks have had 20 of fewer cars each week so far this year as well.....

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but when are people going to start looking at the long term feasibility of this type of racing?  How much longer can anyone afford to put 750 hp engines into their store-bought cars; throw on $3,000 bodies, $300 aluminum wheels, $175 tires (2 or 3 per race event); fill up with $10/gallon race fuel; pay $4.25/gallon diesel fuel to drag their 12 mpg diesel toter trailer down the highway; pay $30/person to walk through the back gate.....and run for $200 to start feature money every Friday and Saturday night??  

 

I know it's not written anywhere that racing should be affordable, or that everyone should break even every race, but the bleeding has to stop somewhere.  Lower car counts are going to equate to fewer fans, less revenue, etc....  There's already another thread on here about people saying they aren't going to go watch a 12 car show anymore.  I would not be surprised one bit to see a few tracks throw in the towel before the end of the season and board up.

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Was surprised with the 358 mod counts at Brockville this week. A few of them were not regulars ( 2 or 3 Quebec cars ) and running in a special series race one of three, so they will more than likely not be there this week or in the near future.

 

A number of regular cars like Andy Lloyd, Adam Moore, Jeff Ciglich were not there. The LaSalle #96 was there but not driven and has no driver as of yet etc. Might only be 16 or 17 mods this coming Saturday at Brockville based on what we have seen.

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lebanon valley really only had 18 big blocks the rest of the field were 358 cars just filling in to get there 100.00 for starting. i started going there 51 years ago and after watching all the big shows and full crowds they had ,its hard to see it all fall apart. but when the guys that have money are willing to pay 50 grand for a motor you can see why no one races there any more . the same modified purse has been paid there for over 25 years.so as a past fan i just cant go there as a regular fan anymore.

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lebanon valley really only had 18 big blocks the rest of the field were 358 cars just filling in to get there 100.00 for starting. i started going there 51 years ago and after watching all the big shows and full crowds they had ,its hard to see it all fall apart. but when the guys that have money are willing to pay 50 grand for a motor you can see why no one races there any more . the same modified purse has been paid there for over 25 years.so as a past fan i just cant go there as a regular fan anymore.

They actually had 20 Big Blocks but Gilardi and Soltis broke before the feature and couldn't start. I agree though, it's sad to see the class so small.

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The Promoters carry a lot of the blame here. They saw this years ago and did absolutely nothing. They took care of the bottom line buy adding more low dollar divisions. What should be done for the dirt modified, is a set of rules that are universal .To start with, how about one engine formula  ( small block  360-430 cubic inch ). A price cap on tires ($100.00) right rear, hard and extra hard compound only.

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if you talk to a promoter he would tell you he would  love to cut back the expenses,but says he cant  because many of the money drivers and car owner wont go along with it. the only one that ever did it was cj richards years ago and he was laughed at by many. but he created many good races and had good car counts, then it got out of hand after awhile. car owners are there own worst enemy.

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How about crate motors.............ooops, sorry, we already have that. That's why what are now Sportsman will in the future (one day but not soon) headline at some of what are now modified tracks.

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How about crate motors.............ooops, sorry, we already have that. That's why what are now Sportsman will in the future (one day but not soon) headline at some of what are now modified tracks.


That would be fine with me, but my suspicion is that I am in the minority unfortunately. I'd rather see a 28-32 car Crate Sportsman show than a 12-15 car Modified feature. Honestly the speed difference between the two isn't a lot once the track slicks up anyway; and there is rarely a runaway winner in the Crate class. JMO.
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  • 3 weeks later...

16 Modifieds at Utica Rome last night.  The 4 tracks closest to me (Five Mile, Thunder Mt, Penn Can, Afton) had 20, 16, 20, and 20 respectively.  Orange County had 21.....New Egypt 19....etc....

 

What was particularly scary about Five Mile's field was that of the 20 that they had, at least 5 of them were traditional OCFS/Accord cars - Perrego, Creeden, Jackie Brown, Jashembowski, Elliott.  Where are all of the local Southern Tier Modified cars???

 

I believe we all need to face the fact that tracks running Modifieds weekly is not going to last much longer - not when race fuel costs $10/gallon and tires run $180 each.  I would dare say that even a team on a modest budget can't even pull through the pit gate anymore without investing $500-600 for a regular 30 lap race.  

 

Whether you make that money back or not has long been a moot point, because most apparently feel that it's not a given that racers care about breaking even.  But when they just simply can't afford to shell out that money weekly anymore....you get what we are seeing now.  

 

Getting scarier by the week.

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I think the southern tier is where the issue of too many tracks is the most glaring.  take away Afton and Thunder Mountain and you'd have more than full fields at Penn Can and Five Mile.

here at Merrittville a few years ago we were getting 28-30 cars every week.  last year we were stuck at 18 every week.  this year we are back up to 24-25 each week.  so what does that mean?  did things get cheaper here?  I dont think that money is the main reason behind things.  watching the sport for as long as I have it's apparent to me that guys come and go from the sport somewhat randomly... some move to other divisions, some get out of the sport for family reasons etc.

you doom and gloom guys have been complaining about the sport dying for decades now...

and in reply to the suggestion of a single engine combination... we will probably get there eventually.  saying that anything from 360-430 cu.in. = a single engine formula just because they would all be small blocks does not - a single engine formula though. it's gotta be 360 period.

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I think the southern tier is where the issue of too many tracks is the most glaring.  take away Afton and Thunder Mountain and you'd have more than full fields at Penn Can and Five Mile.

here at Merrittville a few years ago we were getting 28-30 cars every week.  last year we were stuck at 18 every week.  this year we are back up to 24-25 each week.  so what does that mean?  did things get cheaper here?  I dont think that money is the main reason behind things.  watching the sport for as long as I have it's apparent to me that guys come and go from the sport somewhat randomly... some move to other divisions, some get out of the sport for family reasons etc.

you doom and gloom guys have been complaining about the sport dying for decades now...

 

 

While I can accept that oversaturation is an issue in some areas, it's hard to make the case IMO that car counts are a "doom and gloom" issue when some of the iconic tracks previously mentioned have their lowest car counts now than at any point in the past 50 years.

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Agree with what FFTR just said.  When Middletown struggles to get 20 cars, and when more than half the tracks running Modifieds weekly barely have enough cars to fill 2 heats, much less 3, there's an issue.

 

I'm glad that there are a handful of tracks that still seem to be drawing decent car counts.  But without question the number of Modified teams running regularly is waay down this year.   

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For the record Weedsport had good car counts back it the Glen days because Glen had a way of making guys tow in on Sunday to be sure they made that super dirt series race on tuesday... so to speak...

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