By BILL FOLEY
What do you think about no regular big-block Modified shows, Sportsman as the featured class, live streaming from your phone at race tracks, heads up starts, a USAC 410 wingless show in New York, Oswego going dirt or even villains?
Writing a column is a privilege and it provides an opportunity to express my opinions or try to generate further conversation about a variety of topics.
Rain outs provide a chance to comment or provide an opinion on things that have crossed my mind during the early part of the season. So here goes.
No Weekly Big Blocks
Personally, I hope big-blocks keep running weekly as long as 20 or so cars are available, but I get a feeling some drivers would be much more interested in enhancing the division by having a tour only schedule.
In talking with Larry Wight, he expressed his opinions, saying,” I think the big-blocks should be a touring show. We need to make this special for the fans. The class needs to be treated like the other touring shows.”
The schedule has been an issue the past few years as Wight said, “It is difficult for many of the teams to travel to midweek shows as most everyone has a full time job. Bridgeport was a Tuesday night and I drove the hauler down and Scott (Jefferies) drove it back as I had to be up at 5 a.m. to work the next day.”
Continuing he said,” There is a core of about a dozen drivers and what needs to be done is they need to sit down, look at where guys live, draw a circle and make shows on week nights no longer than a couple of hours from their home. On weekends you could schedule the shows at further difference.”
If someone were to look at the Super DIRTcar Series schedule they would see there is some relatively ridiculous scheduling of dates. In July on a Tuesday and Wednesday teams head for Eldora, (probably many leaving home on Monday), Thursday is back to Sharon and then racing back to home tracks before heading to Quebec on Monday and Tuesday. A working stiff really has his back up against the wall.
Would a big-block Modified tour only work?
Probably, but there are Modifieds all over the place. Maybe not as many as there use to be, but tracks could schedule Modifieds once a month or so.
The cost of the big-blocks is getting prohibitive and maybe its time for a tour which pays substantially more money and the true “special” label would fit.
Sportsman as Featured Class
A few years ago there was discussion (not sure how serious) that Mods would be dropped at Fulton in favor of a “support class only” schedule featuring the Sportsman.
The costs of running the track would be less and fans would still come out to support the races on a weekly basis. Or would they?
We all know that Mod costs are increasing and many folks simply can’t afford to take that step (even if they are good enough). The Sportsman class is the healthiest class that currently exists in Central New York.
Would fans support a weekly show that didn’t include Mods?
They might, but the scheduling would have to be creative. Sprints, demo derbies, fireworks displays, quirky events and other things would have to be done, but then promoters would be forced to “think outside the box.”
Live Racing Streaming Etc.
Well, we’ve moved to a level technologically that we have never been at before.
I think Race Monitor is an asset as if a fan is staying home to “watch” the results then they probably aren’t fans anyway. I use Race Monitor to follow events all over the country. I would love to go to the Grove, Knoxville or any major event, but can’t because I work every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Race Monitor does not hurt a crowd, but allowing folks to raise their cameras in the air and instantly display the action on the track should be banned immediately by all tracks.
I can’t go to a concert and record (or show live) the performer. Why do people think they can do this at race tracks?
In Florida signs greet the fans indicating that no live streaming of an event is allowed or that fan will be removed. If tracks up here don’t like folks filming then post a simple sign and evict them.
Buying a ticket doesn’t give you the right to broadcast an event live. Ya know “all rights are owned by the tracks.”’
Heads Up Starts Suck
I have never liked heads up starts. Okay so they can happen at a major 100 lap plus event, but that’s it.
It was nice to see last week that DIRTcar was going to use a pill at Eldora for the invitational.
However, I would like to see this expanded for all shows including all heats.
Super DIRTcar Series shows are special and I enjoy attending and writing about as many as I can get to, but what has driven me crazy that basically I am watching hot laps, time trials, hot lap heats and then it is all worthwhile come feature time.
If you are taking five cars from each heat why not invert the top six as basically the same guys are making the main, but maybe someone will try to come from sixth to win. The main race at Five Mile in heat action was an exciting down low move by Jimmy Phelps as he garnered a fourth place for the draw on the last turn of the last lap.
I guess I just want to see more racing.
This isn’t limited to just the SDS Tour, but this is the major group I follow.
USAC in New York
For years I have dreamed of a USAC 410 show or shows in New York.
Fulton would be sensational, but I would think that some sort of four or five race tour would be needed unless you could tack a show on the end of Eastern Storm.
I originally thought that Brewerton would be a great track for them, but after watching Larry Wight in his 360 I think Fulton would be it. Wight noted, “I think we could run them three wide at Fulton. It would be something.”
I always said, “If I win the lottery I would lease a track and bring in USAC.” Guess that won’t happen.
Oswego Going Dirt
Rumor time has hit and all winter long the rumor was floating that Oswego would be a dirt only track next year with specials basically running the old Fairgrounds schedule of Fourth of July, Labor Day and Super Dirt Week.
Who knows, but an interesting rumor.
Considering the Supers aren’t as healthy as they once were and the costs are soaring you have to at least listen to the rumor.
Villains are Needed
One thing that is missing from racing is that good guy versus bad guy aspect.
Sure some fans don’t like Brett Hearn, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen and Larry Wight, but to generate excitement there is always a need to have a guy to cheer for and one to boo.
It’s marketing and sports in general.
At Utica-Rome a few years ago there were some rivalries that had fans buzzing, but I don’t see any on a regular basis. Well, maybe Tim Sears Jr and Bobby Varin.
Rain outs….simply suck.
Well, I don’t get an opportunity to write a column of this nature very often as there is usually plenty of racing and activity to talk about. However, I wanted to float some thoughts out there.
What do you think?
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