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tarcarfan05

Interest in Pavement Racing

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Why does it seem that there is just no interest in pavement racing in NY anymore? I realize that this site is overwhelmingly made up of dirt fans, but you would think that there would be some crossover fans like myself. Other asphalt-dominated message boards are dead now, and most NY racing social media posts seem to be dirt track related. Crowds at the asphalt races I attended this season were dismal, with a few exceptions. 

What can be done to bring asphalt racing back to life in NYS? 

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Probably some more unity or tracks. There  are not any near me in Albany, and when we did have some they raced dirt cars and fans were bitter and never gave it a chance. Majority rules and NY has more dirt tracks, cars and fans.

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Raceny tends to have asphalt topics, at least until they devolve.

 

I am not sure why NY does not seem to have the popularity it once did.  ROC continues chugging along, while the few remaining tracks seem to ebb and flow (like the resurgence of Lancaster).

Unity is a good theme for the tracks co-existing.    I did an analysis on the tracks out here in Michigan to try and look for the trends in asphalt car counts.  I think a similar analysis for the ones in NY might be more revealing...

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I know when we started pavedtrackdigest.com I did some research into pavement Modified world.  What a fragmented mess it is.  Even in NY.  Nearly every track that runs the Modified division runs different rules.  I can't take my car from track a to track b on the weekend.  The tracks have made it so your car is good for their track and that's it.  If they could all get together and run similar rules like we have in dirt racing I bet you'd see some improvement as a whole.  

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They had a good common rule set for asphalt sportsman modifieds 10 years ago with all of the cars across the state falling under the SST banner.  Friday night of RoC weekend in 2008 had 70 sportsman modifieds in attendance!  A field that large in any asphalt division in NY today is almost unfathomable.  That whole thing fell apart when WCIS (who operated the SST series) went American Racer and everyone else refused.

On top that, the three western NY tracks all run against each other on Saturday nights.  

It's just a total mess, and disappointing.  Through the 90's I would bet Holland was near the top of best-attended weekly tracks in the state, dirt or asphalt.  Now, it barely hosts any races and when they do it's short fields in front of dismal crowds.  That track once had an attendance record of around 12000 fans for a NASCAR Modified Tour event!  I grew up going to that place through the glory years of late model racing and it turns my stomach to walk in there now and see it so dead.

It is nice to see Lancaster having a bit of a resurgence though.  I went to the supermodified race there and also an RoC race and the place was packed and had a good atmosphere both times.  I also hit Wyoming County for their $5000 to win modified race...the racing was good as always, but the show was dragged out with thin support classes. (tip of the hat to the 4 cylinders though, that was the race of the night)

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The inconsistent rules in the SST Mods is certainly a big problem. Having to buy track tires and track fuel doesn't help much either.

I think that a big problem on asphalt is that it lacks a true premier division. I like the SST/Sportsman cars, but I wouldn't consider them to be a premier class. They're so much quieter than the tour modifieds, and the skinny hard tires seem to lead to lots of spins and crashes. 

As Matt mentioned, Holland was really buzzing in the days of running late models. They had the best of the best in WNY and Ontario late model racing running there every week and it was the place to be. When car counts tapered off, they dropped the class and moved the SSTs (they called them pro modifieds) to the headliner. It obviously hasn't worked out for them. 

The ROC tour has a real opportunity to be the series that all drivers aspire to run in. Unfortunately, it's hard to justify having a $40k+ car for ten or twelve races a year that you have to spend a couple thousand dollars each time to be remotely competitive in. The car counts on the series this year seem to reflect that. 

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1) Stupid rule changes, 2) bad promotion, 3) tracks becoming an island, 4) the decline of NASCAR, 5) social media.B)

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I think tour type pavement mods are among the baddest race cars around. I have strong interest in them, but with the closest track running them being 2.5 hours away, with the 2 top tracks running primarily Thurs and Fri nights, I can forget really watching them for the most part. I try to get to Thompson for the ice breaker and Wall for Turkey derby, but that is about it.

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The 2 major issues that have completely killed pavement racing in general are rule fragmentation and costs. This is probably going to be a long post but I'm bored and  on night shift so whatever.

Dirt racing for the most part has standardized rules across the board - NE bb mods, sb, and sportsman mods are all identical. Late models are identical. Ump mods are identical, Sprint cars are identical, etc. There are different engine rules but the cars themselves are identical. This makes it far more affordable for racers in every budget range to get a car and also sell that car when they're done with it. It also makes things far more interesting for the fans because you never know who might show up for a regular weekly race, plus then you also get your 2-3 big races every year where the pros all come in and you can watch your local hero race against the pros. That's a really cool thing that everyone loves to see. At ohsweken for example (which runs ascs 360s) in the last few years we have had pros from indiana (ppm), texas (hafertefe), iowa (wayne johnson), plus ess, sod, or patriot touring guys who have the night off, plus guys from pa, ohio, michigan (basically anywhere) randomly showing up for regular Friday night races to challenge the locals, which builds anticipation, plus you have the woo race and the cscn where the real big dogs come from all over. Most Dirt tracks that run unified rules are the same - Anyone from anywhere can run anywhere at anytime because the rules are the same.

Pavement racing however, for whatever reason, just can't get their shit together when it comes to rules. In the old days when I was a kid you never knew who was going to show up for a local weekend pavement race, just like dirt racing is now - Ed howe, jerry makara, chuck boos, guys from everywhere came to race the regulars like jr Hanley, because a late model was a late model and everyone could see how they stacked up against the best. Then a couple times a year the asa would come to town and you could see your local hero race against the real big dogs, But now, Just locally in Ontario for example, we have super stocks, limited late models, pro late models, late model sportsman, and super late models. Everything looks the same but they all have different rules packages. Most of them run either the 602 or 604 crate but each tracks rules package is different so they can't race against each other. The us pavement racing scene has the same problem so that means that there's no such thing as a big big race where anyone in North America can bring their cars and come run against your local heroes in a big race which makes people lose interest. The track specific rules issues means you need a specific car for a specific track so racers have less interest in building a car because there's very little market to sell it when they're done. The local tracks usually have the exact same 10-16 late models running every Saturday night and it's always the same 2-3 guys who spend the most money that win every week so after awhile the fans stop going. 

The other issue is cost. The purses haven't changed in 25 years and the costs have kept doubling every few years. Now you have 2500$ + per corner shocks allowed in some pavement divisions and To be competitive you need to put on 6-800$ a night in tires (to race for 750$ or $1000 to win) which limits who can afford to be competitive. And since the rules are all different there isn't a market for good used stuff at reasonable prices so there's a huge gap in competition- There's mostly either top notch stuff or junk because  most of the guys winning every week are spending 50-75,000$ On new rollers every couple of years that are only good for the track they race at.

To sum it up I'll state the obvious. Pavement racing is in really bad shape. Just like what was mentioned above with the sportsman cars, pavement racing as a whole seems to always sabotage themselves. As soon as they get something good going, they screw it up. I have kept up hope for a long time that somehow pavement racing will find a way to fix itself but in my opinion it's way way too far gone.

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Although it certainly doesn't help, I don't think that the state of asphalt racing comes down to just cost- if people want to race at your track bad enough, I think they'll find a way. Asphalt tracks need to make people want to race there-although that's hard to do when the promoters fall off the face of the earth until a month before the season (as of this post, Lancaster and Evans Mills are the only upstate asphalt tracks/series that have released a schedule for 2018). 

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Lancaster, Spencer, holland,chemung, and riverhead are all in NY and draw big crowds for the mods.

 

I'd post pics of the crowds? But the file sizes are to big.

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