Hello race fans welcome back to another round of my thoughts.....this week I want to share my thoughts on a growing phenomenon in Central PA and racing in general, summer fundraisers and Go Fund Me drives. I want to start this off by saying I am not singling any one driver or individual out but the entire process in general.
For the past few years we have seen summer fundraisers for different race teams happen at different eating establishments around the area. I love the idea of being able to meet the drivers in a very low key environment. Its is a great way for fans to get up close and personal with the drivers in a way they can't at the track on weekends when stress levels are high. It's also a great way for the drivers to shake hands with the fans who support them each week. In theory they were a great idea going horribly wrong.
Why are fans being asked to donate more money to help race teams race all season? Even better why can't race teams work harder or be smarter to gain the money they need to race a full season in Central PA? And before anyone says it, YES I know nobody is making anyone go to them or donate money to the drivers. I get all of that but let me ask you this in return....How hard are some of these drivers and organizations (Yes organizations are getting into the act as well, more on that in a bit) working to secure the funding they need to do what they want, and how much are they just relying on these to get them by?
I have sat back and watched fundraisers be held for drivers who do not need them in any way, but they had them because they are friends with the person hosting them. Now once again I can already hear you screaming at me through the computer WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO DECIDE WHO NEEDS WHAT????!!!!! Well once again I will answer that with a question. Does a race team who sponsors a couple cars, as well as a race track really need a fundraiser to race? Twice I have seen drivers have fundraisers for them after they gave me money to support the 358 point series. Now 1 of those teams ended up giving all the money to a charity that escapes me at the moment, but you can see where I'm going right?
Here is what I think bothers me the most. While on the phone the other week with a former car owner we discussed this very thing and his answer struck me as kind of odd till I sat back and thought about it. He asked me how many of these drivers who have fundraisers actually struggle to race every week? How many of them go without to make sure they field a sprint car every week, or do they live a great life away from the track, and just bank on a fundraiser or a Go Fund Me drive to make sure they can race? Now like I said that kind of threw me off until I sat and thought for a while what he meant. How many drivers do you see on social media posting pictures of them and their girlfriends on a mid week vacation at the beach? Now if racing was such a priority to them wouldn't that money be better served to keep their car on the track every week? How can you ask fans to come out and help raise money for you to continue to race when you are showing those same fans that your money is better spent at the beach for 4 days? How can you a driver or race team ask fans to give when they cant go without? Does that make sense to anyone other then me?
I see drivers who have had these fundraisers walking around the pits with $250 Oakley sunglasses on their faces yet they need me to donate money so they can continue to race? Wouldn't that money be better served going to the race car, and buy a cheap $5 pair of sunglasses from Turkey Hill like I have? Now once again before you start yelling at me, yes it is possible for those sunglasses to be a gift from someone BUT appearances are everything. Something doesn't seem right with that picture, or is it just me? And once again I am not telling a driver how to spend his money, but I questioning his desire to race when he is asking fans to give him money to continue to race. I will give you an example of someone who is doing it right. A few years ago I posted something on Face book asking if anyone would like to do some landscaping for me. I had 2 different drivers hit me up asking about the job and what it paid. When I told each of them what it would pay and showed them what I needed done only 1 of them wanted the job, and actually begged me to allow them to do it. Why you might ask? Because this driver needed to rebuild his 410 motor and was willing to get poison just to get that extra money to help him out. He could have easily tried a fundraiser to get the money but this guy was willing to earn anything to race. Now that is my kind of driver, and a driver I am willing to support if he ever needs anything.
As for the Go Fund Me sites that host fundraisers for just about anything, I actually have a solution. If a driver or race team is looking to host a fundraiser on that type of website, why not make it worth the fans money to donate? I have actually donated to a couple different fundraisers in the past but each time the bands I gave money to offered something in return. They had different tiers for fans to donate for the cause and make it special for the fans. You donate so much and the band would send you a copy of the album you helped fund. You offer a little more and you get your name in the thank yous in the liner notes. If you where a big spender you get a backstage pass to hang with the band for a day at a local show close to your house. THAT is making it worthwhile for fans to donate to a cause. Why can't race teams do something like that to make it worthwhile for the fans to help them? Do I know what a team could offer? Oh I don't know maybe special T-Shirts, wing panels, a night in the pits as an official crew member? Just a little bit of originality can go a long way right?
Now I mentioned a bit ago about a sanctioning body asking for donations to help them do something. Normally I wouldn't even bat an eye at something like this, but being someone who ran a series for 8 long years I know the hard work and sacrifices it takes to pull it off, this one seemed way out there. The Beer Hill Gang and the PASS 305 series have come up with an 6 race series for the 305 division. I love the idea. Any way to get extra money to the race teams is awesome in my book. But now here is what struck me as way off. They have asked for someone to pay for the t shirts for the series. Now I would imagine the money made from the shirts would go towards the series so all good right? Well they then asked for fans to donate money for the point fund so they can give it to the drivers. HUGH? WHAT? REALLY? Isn't that what the title sponsor is for? Why would you have the Beer Hill Cup and not have the Beer Hill Gang pay the point fund? I'm sure they make enough money from their clothing and merchandise that they could help out right? How can you give a business the naming rights for the "series" and then ask others to help pay for it? That would be like me having the Bill McIntyre KING of the 358 series and then asking Capitol Renegade and others to help pay for it. Why would other business and fans want to help with the point fund when they already gave the title sponsor to someone else? I am at a loss on that.
One last point I want to make is this....
Before anyone tweets me, or post a comment about "Real" race fans are willing to donate money to the race teams, DON'T!!!! Every fan that buys a ticket, a t shirt, a beer coozie,or anything else is a "real" race fan. These same "real" race fans where the same ones a few summers ago wishing a driver was killed in a wreck instead of just being hurt because they didn't like what he was doing at the time.
Like I said at the top, I didn't write this to single out anyone I just wanted like always to share my thoughts on it, so please keep that in mind when you start sharing with me how big of an asshole I am for it.
With that I want to say thank you once again for checking out the site and taking the time to read my thoughts on......
Feel free to let me know your feelings on this or any other subject. Hell hit me up on twitter @BillMcIntyreIII if there is anything you would like to see me talk about on here.
I hope you all have a safe weekend as it is opening weekend here in Central PA. Enjoy those classic lines from Wayne Harper as he welcomes you all back to the track for the 1st time in 2017 when he says....."All is right in the world again"
I will be following along at home but my pick for the Ice Breaker 30 is.........Gerard McIntyre Jr.
Until next time hope the weather stays as warm this weekend as it has been all week, and whatever your beverage of choice is Saturday I hope it stays ice cold.
©Central PA Racing Scene & Bill McIntyre 2017