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10 Things About Dirt Racing- Which May Not Be Entirely True

Pat Miller Photo

Have you ever been at the track or talking to your dirty friends somewhere, and one of them said one of the following things? Opinions. Everybody has them, or they don’t have a pulse. Anyhow, pre race or caution time chatter many times involves one of these issues. And there’s no one right answer or response for any of them per se.  But let’s not mince words, some people really need to not race the gums and open the ears. You don’t need to rudely correct your buddies, but sometimes, it’s better to offer an alternative point of view for additional perspective.

And so, we present to you 10 things about the sport we all love, which may not be entirely true…

Pat Miller Photo

1. Those national touring drivers make so much cash. They have to to keep on racing right?

Ummm. No.  Okay, some of them may make a decent living at the top levels. But even the likes of Scott Bloomquist have come close to making hard decisions when times are not so good, or sponsor cash stops rolling in like it used to. How many Outlaw sprint drivers had to scale back to an All Star Schedule or a local geography in the last few years?  Odds are, many of them are a bad wreck and two blown engines away from coming off the road depending on how much of their operations they finance. If they’ve got an owner who’s filthy rich, or a sponsor that absolutely is in love with the publicity it draws, then it can be a decent life. That happens in a bout 10% or less of the time with national touring drivers.

2. Pay Per View and Race Monitor Keep People Out of the Stands and Money out of the Owner’s Pocket.

We’ve droned on about this here before, and will do so now. They simply do not. It’s a sensory sport, fans WANT to be at the races, they just can’t be at them all the time. And things like pay per view, race monitor and social media help fans that don’t always have the cash to travel, or fall victim to circumstances. As far as keeping money out of the facility owner’s pocket goes? With pay per view in most cases, the track receives a percentage of revenue beyond a certain cost recapture point. And race monitor often helps keep fans already in attendance at an event abreast of other results they’re interested in.  Social media, periscope and livestream options? Think of them as instant commercials or promotions, they help fans want to make that track a destination point. Because one thing that fans have in common, is that they love catching the action at a place they’ve never been at before! Name us one fan that would rather be at home instead of at the track! Precisely! If they’re not interested…they were never fans to begin with!

3. “Insert Driver HERE”  Is always cheating and they let him get away with it

Depending on how much prize money is at stake, there’s a good bet most of the top drivers may have something going on that might just be a little borderline. But to simply let a driver get away with an illegal practice time and time again will eventually chase the car count down to a bad level, and no promoter wants that! Use your heads! There’s simply no sense in placating an illegal guy just to keep him at your track unless he has 3,000 fans who love the food at the track and are willing to watch a one car feature!!

4. The Crate Engine is the Beginning of the End For Our Sport

Hot topic here, has been for years. For every one instance of bitterness over crate engines and their popularity, we can point to multiple tracks, sanctions and drivers that they’ve helped either stay in the game, or even grow the car count. Look, if you think they’re that bad, and will water down the sport, we can’t probably change your mind.  But they’re not the pandora’s box or scourge of the system either, and they’ve helped more than they’ve ever hurt. As long as they’re teched properly and as long as there’s not a long list of shows that pay at a World of Outlaw level which would really be a hard thing, they’re probably helping more than hurting. It’s time for some to give it a rest.

5. Only the Promoter’s Favorites Get the Breaks.

See the response in #3. Copy and paste it here, our fingers get tired some times here at TDN.

6. If purses were raised….there’d be a lot more interested in racing.

No, there’d be a lot less guys going to race, because at a reasonable purse structure, they have at least a chance of coming close to a break even point. Raise that amount significantly at the weekly level, and invaders with better equipment will come in and simply cause others to rethink going.  Many racers go into the weekend with the mindset that they’re there to compete, have fun, be with family and enjoy themselves. They love to win if they can, but they know that they won’t most nights. Nobody builds a purpose built dirt racing machine honestly believing that they will be the next Donny Schatz and want to live the lifestyle. If purse raises are in order, how about a modest feather back through the field to help the guys that could use more help getting to the track each week.  We can see that type of increase.  But if you want to start bumping local, weekly purses for the top divisions over and beyond at the win level…you’re in for a rude awakening in most cases.

7. If Ticket Prices Were Lower…More People Would Be In The Stands

Are you kidding us? It’s still close to on par with a movie at the weekly level. And you get more entertainment for longer at the track! Look, be honest. Take a look at ticket prices 20 years ago…now take a look at the racers expenses and it’s inflation in just the last 10 years! Still feel like you’re getting the shaft? Bottom line is this, if your track raised ticket prices a dollar every five years would be less willing to go? If you answer yes…turn in your fan card.

Pat Miller Photo

8. Tire Rules Are Killing The Sport

This one’s old and tired, no pun intended. Folks, there here to stay, and there’s reasons. And since we can bet that 99% of you have never seen a tire agreement between a tire company and a track or sanction, that you’ve no idea what it entails. Do they hurt the drivers? In some certain cases where rebates are non existent yes. But let us ask you this. How many drivers that race a lot don’t have two sets on a national level.  Yes and even your local hot shoe that wins half of the features and regional series races has that kind of money too most likely. That leaves the “my local driver can’t afford (hoosier/american racer) tires and he has a great chance of winning and can’t compete now.  We’re betting that guy’s chances of winning are probably not what you think they are…

9. This Driver (insert name here) Is Afraid To Go Up Against (insert a sanction or geography)

Yes…this driver might actually be smart. Odds are he’s not afraid though. He’s simply following the tried and true method of racing where conditions dictate he’ll have the best results for the money he spends. There’s a lot to be said for that.  And not a lot to be said for taking on the best of the best and not being able to keep from being lapped traffic anywhere you go…

10. Racing Was So Much Better Years Ago.

It’s going to be different for everybody this one. Know why, because memories get foggy. And we remember what we’d like to. Racing had problems in the old days too.  Remember the days when drivers didn’t get guaranteed purses? How about the days when injury and death were much more prevalent? Or the days before computer scoring when we only got it right part of the time. Did they have more cars back then? In some cases. Was the racing on the track better….most likely not, it was probably close to or about the same with regards to passes for the lead, multi lap battles with cars close in proximity.  We take our best memories,,,and forget the other times when it was just another night at the track.  It doesn’t make the sport less enjoyable. Quality dirt racing is the memory and experience that the fan takes with them, how they remember meeting their favorite driver, or the atmosphere, or the first time they had a snow cone at the track, and as long as those memories continue to keep being made….there’s no reason to even discuss the topic. It is a stalemate.



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