Friday, February 10, 2017

My Random Thoughts during an off season !!!!

Hello and welcome back to another edition of "My Thoughts".  This week I would like to touch on a few different things that have been rattling around in my brain recently. I will share my thoughts on the Racing Extravaganza car show this past weekend in York.  I will also address the absence of car owners in sprint car racing and offer a viewpoint that many people in Central PA may not agree with.  Finally, I plan to touch on a debate I read on Twitter the regarding which track, Lincoln or Port Royal has the better competition on Saturday nights in Central PA.  So how 'bout we get started....

This past Saturday I attended the 2nd annual Race Car Extravaganza race car show in York Pa. It was great to walk around and talk to some friends that I haven't seen since November (Yes, contrary to what many believe I do have a few friends contrary). Naturally, we discussed the show and how it was compared to the past Dirt Trackin' shows at the Fairgrounds that many of us have attended over the past 20 + years. Now this is not a knock on promoter and organizer Scott Gobrecht.  He has certainly worked hard to breathe some life back into a show that appeared to be on life support the past few years.  The following are just random musings on things that I think could be done or improved upon to make it more fan friendly for the attendee paying $12 to get in.

The first thing I noticed was the car counts. They advertised that they had well over 150 cars in attendance this year, but the lack of sprint cars at the show was noticeable.  I realize that there are more then just sprint cars that race in Central PA, and in the past have publicly championed for fans to go and support a race regardless of the types of cars. However, Central PA is sprint car country and the lack of full size sprint cars for the fans to check out was disappointing. Hopefully, in years to come more sprint car teams can attend the show and help make it bigger then it is currently.

My second observation reflects the booths that they have for the fans. It is tremendous that every local race track was represented at the show, but what exactly did they do to promote their facility or make their presence memorable for attendees? The big takeaway seemed to be a 2017 schedule. No offense but big deal. In the modern world, most of us have instant access to schedules with a click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger.  Perhaps offering old programs, decals, or promotional coupons worth a few dollars off would make a longer lasting impression. Most of the tracks I observed when i was there on Saturday seemed more preoccupied talking to other race track personnel than interacting with fans. When I stopped to talk to tracks about different things I ended up walking away after a few minutes because I felt ignored. Props to Trail Way Speedway for having a booth where they had cars on display as well as videos portraying the action that fans can expect if they make the trip to the track. Their personnel from the track seemed more than willing to answer questions anyone might have.

Finally, what exactly are the fans getting for their money? We get to walk around, look at the cars, and pick up a schedule but is that worth $12? A buddy of mine commented about how cool it would be to have a simulator to race against other fans or even drivers. I think the show could benefit by more interactive features that would give fans a little more bang for their buck.  Again, this does not fall completely on the shows promoters but many vendors could put more effort into making a lasting impression.

Now let's see how many people I can upset with this one.....

I see interviews from drivers all over the country (not just in Central PA) asking where all the car owners went. Why isn't there any new car owners jumping at the chance to spend a lot of money for little return? While I was on the phone with a former multi-division car owner I asked him this question and floated out a theory on why we lost so many of the great car owners we once had.  He actually agreed with me (surprising I know).

Here is the theory: It is the drivers themselves that ran the car owners out of the sport.

Now calm down folks and hear me out. Back in the day we had a considerable number of car owners willing to spend money to let guys race here in the area. Most of these drivers had full time jobs. At some point, drivers figured out the best way to make a living was to ask to be a full time driver in an area where most if not all the drivers did it as a hobby. This trend added considerable cost to the car owners. Having to pay salaries to the drivers and a full-time crew chief is not cheap. Additionally, they may have had to pay for insurance for the full-time employees and their families. Add all of that into the already escalating cost of running a sprint car team and it's not hard to imagine why car owners decided to step away and find something cheaper to do. It's one thing to pay for a car to race 80+ times a year, it is another to do that plus pay all the non-racing expenses required to keep a full-time driver and crew chief. I had a car owner tell me one time after a Central PA Live show, that a well known driver was receiving six figures a year to race a sprint car. Six figures! This salary was paid at the beginning of the season. Think about that for a minute, $100,000 just to show up each week and race. That's on top of the thousands upon thousands upon thousands being spent to field the car, trailer and everything else.

Now I can already hear some of you yelling at me.... If the car owner didn't feel the driver was worth it, then they wouldn't have made the agreement.  Furthermore, who the hell are you to judge how a guy makes a living and how much he makes?

I get where you are coming from and understand it is a dream to get to do something for a living instead of working a crappy 40 hr a week job. No driver held a gun to an owners head and said pay me a lot of money so your car is sitting on the front stretch every week. It just seems to me that if that never happened we would still have a lot of car owners willing to spend money for our drivers to play in the clay on the weekends.

 And last on the agenda is which track has the better competition on Saturday nights,Lincoln or Port? Now I went on line and did some digging and couldn't believe some of the things I found.

Taking the top 10 in points from 2016 at both Lincoln and Port Royal I looked at how many wins each driver had at their home track as well as at other tracks in Central PA. I was very surprised at what I found.

Starting with Port Royal here is the top 10 in points as well as their win totals at other race tracks

Driver / Port / Lincoln / Williams Grove / Selinsgrove
Doug Esh - 7 / 24 / 24 / 1 = 56
Brock Zearfoss - 1 / 0 / 1 / 0 = 2
Mike Wagner - 11 / 0 / 1 / 0 = 12
Dylan Cisney - 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 = 2
Greg Hodnett - 49 / 30+ / 62 / 17 = 158
Lucas Wolfe - 4 / 3 / 14 / 2 = 23
Curt Stroup - 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 = 0
Ryan Taylor - 5 / 0 / 1 / 0 = 6
Blane Heimbach - 11 / 0 / 0 / 1 = 12
Kody Lehman - 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 = 0

Port wins - 90
Lincoln wins - 57
Williams Grove wins - 103
Selinsgrove wins - 20
total - 271

Driver / Lincoln / Port / Williams Grove / Selinsgrove
Alan Krimes - 16 / 0 / 5 / 0 = 21
Brian Montieth - 51 / 1 / 21 / 0 = 73
Jim Siegel - 12 / 0 / 4 / 0 = 16
Cory Haas - 8 / 0 / 6 / 0 = 14
Gerard McIntyre  - 4 / 0 / 2 / 0 = 6
Austin Hogue - 1 / 0 / 1 / 0 = 2
Glenndon Forsythe - 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 = 3
Robbie Kendall - 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 = 1
Freddie Rahmer - 2 / 0 / 1 / 0 = 3
Adam Wilt - 4 / 0 / 2 / 0 = 6

Lincoln wins - 102
Port wins - 1
Williams Grove wins - 42
Selinsgrove wins - 0
total wins- 145

Now looking at those stats what do you think? Port had the better top tier drivers in Esh, Hodnett, and Wolfe all who have wins at all 4 tracks in Central PA. No driver at Lincoln has a win at all 4 tracks and only 1 of those drivers has a win at 3 tracks. So the top or the top I don't think it is a question who has the better quality of cars.

But wait there is more to think about......

After you look at the top guys it gets a little cloudy. The 2nd tier drivers are an entirely different story. Port has two drivers in the top 10 without 1 career win at any race track while all 10 drivers at Lincoln have at least 1 win. Only 3 drivers from Port have a win at Williams Grove (Zearfoss, Wagner and Taylor) while only 2 guys at Lincoln DO NOT have a win at Williams Grove (Forsythe and Kendall). So looking at that it says the 2nd tier is more competitive at Lincoln right?

Now a look at 2017 shows that Port will be loosing Wolfe as he will not be running full time anywhere on Saturdays so that knocks one of the big dogs off the list. Heck even Hodnett doesn't run full time at Port. If you take Greg's wins off the list then Port only has 113 total wins at all the area race tracks.

I will let you make the decision on who has the better competition on Saturday nights in Central PA. For me....I'm like a lot of fans and am glad we have this problem. Just think how boring life would be if the fans from each race track couldn't mess and talk shit to the others. 

And for your listening pleasure a track from the Boston band Reveille.....What You Got...

That's all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my musings. As always feel free to hit me up and let me know how wrong I am, or even better that I got it right. Leave a comment on here at the bottom, tweet me or shoot me an email at I love hearing from all of you on these subjects or anything else you have to talk about. Until next time.....Try and stay warm and keep your beverage of choice nice and cold.

No comments: