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Ok Racers/ Crews/Fans/Promoters

Postby TWag1 » March 3rd, 2009, 7:02 am

Hi Chip,

Not sure if I have much insight - pretty much me talking out of my hat, but here goes!

I'm thinking the solid base of IMCA cars, despite losing some, should still be fairly strong coming into the year. We've been pretty spoiled with counts over 100 in the pits common place. Tracks here share the divisions - which is a bit of a double-edged sword. Some teams start out the year running 2-3 nights, which allows the individual tracks to boast higher counts. As the year goes on, teams (for various reasons) cut back on nights. Same amount of teams in operation, but from track to track the counts begin to shrink.

Then, of course, you have the normal situation where some call it quits for time or budget or whatever concerns, contributing to lower counts.

My feeling is the season will start out solid again, but as the year progresses, this natural "shrinkage" process will begin sooner.

Related to snowmobiles, many tracks probably have more individual classes than they should. 6-7 classes, which seems common now, is probably too many. Addition of the IMCA Sport Mods the last couple years, in itself, probably didn't add many teams, just redistributed teams that existed or would have found a home in some other class. Result is an overall "watering down" of the existing competitor base.

Tracks here are going to have to make the same hard choices the snowmobile organizations are looking at - a happy balance of divisions to active competitor base. With the competitor base spread out, as that normal shrinkage begins, suddenly you have a lot of classes with just a heat or two. Certainly doesn't look as good from the stands.

Promoters have been feeling it the last few years and that will continue. Less specials at Luxemburg and Shawano than in the past are examples of a reluctance to hitch your wagon to higher priced "one-night" events - - too much risk.

The once spotlight Red, White and Blue series of races at WIR will no longer exist. It will be incorporated into three nights of the regular Thursday night show.

The struggle to get fans in the gate will certainly not get any better. The three-night a week fan might be no more. Getting some new faces in the stands is the key, but much like mentioned here, right now the overall interest in local racing is down.

Probably will still see a good year on the track as there are still plenty of teams out there, but promoters are going to have to hang tough as I don't know that the revenue will be too solid.
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Postby Flying_FEJ » March 3rd, 2009, 10:21 am

Back to the sleds though, I really like the idea of condensing the classes, and another thought on this is promoting or doing classes to show the rookies what to do with set up of oval sleds (hopefully in the summer so these guys can get their stuff ready) This was one of the things we really really struggled with (we know we can't go to the store and buy one of these or any literature for that matter) I did all the stuff off pictures to start off with...NOT a good idea. Then just starting talking to people, but its very intimdating to go into this blind.
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Postby smalls10 » March 3rd, 2009, 3:10 pm

any race team with a county fair near them should ask to set-up a display. not only will it expose others to ovals but it may expose the team to new sponsor opportunities...good idea!
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Postby slandon » March 4th, 2009, 4:55 am

I spoke to a guy just yesterday who was complaining about how few fans are in the stands. He said the promoters charge to much and the media no longer cares. Well the part about the media really made my few hairs stand up because it is not true at least on my end and many others. Few racers, promoters, and groups are getting information to the media and many of the people who are being covered are not supporting the publications still out there which means members of the media can't travel like they used to. As for promoters charging to much people have to realize insurance, water, fuel cost, electric, even porta-johns have gone up in price. Add to that the uncertainty of the the weather, economy and various other hidden factors and you'll find the prices being charged at the gate are pretty reasonable. It is so easy for people to throw stones when they are looking from outside the fence or from the stands.

I have said it as have others - their are not a lot of promoters lining up to do races these days. To keep what we have we better stop complaining and step up to the plate. You can buy post cards with a team picture or an action shot pretty cheap these days to hand out. A bag of candy to throw out to kids along a parade route from your float is a bargain. Taking time to talk with kids about racing and maybe letting them set on your sled for a picture is a great way to draw new people in and like the previous poster said you might even pick up new sponsor opportunities. One thing for sure - a sled setting in the shed all summer isn't going to do your team any good in attracting sponsors.

Sorry to sound so frustrated but like all of you I love this sport and hate to see it suffer. I really do think it can and will come back if everyone works together. What I worry most about is each year at the end of the season we all talk about what needs to be done but few of us follow through once the snow melts and our lives get busy during the hectic summer months. I hope that changes.
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Postby rightprice » March 4th, 2009, 10:22 am

Hey slandon

You could get Race Rangerette
to be your info person. Heck he was to 7 races this year and thanked every person there. Why, what support that is for the sport.As he walks thru the pit's thanking everyone, he could interview them for you, and then print out a story for you to put in the paper. Now this would be supporting the sport. He could then call himself a member of the keyboard racer club or the has beens. Heck he has all the knowledge of someone that went to 7 races. But yet wont give any help to enhance the sport.Come ON Ranger step up and offer your support, and help a fellow journalist out supporting the sport. Your there anyway watching your kids race,if you need a pen and paper I am sure we can get that supplied it for you.

Organizations FAIL due to lack of Communication with there members and or POTENTIAL Sponsors and Members.
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Postby slandon » March 4th, 2009, 1:20 pm

I know we're out the loop here but who is Race Rangerette?

My biggest thing is I love this sport and I have busted my tail over the years like many others to give back all I can beyond just words in a magazine and a few pictures. When I hear people say the sport is dying it bothers me a lot because it is exciting. The problem is as a publisher I need support as well as people willing to work with me to get the information in so we can do our job especially in these lean times when we can't travel like we used to. To keep this sport going we all need to work together to promote it and bring new blood into it.
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Postby kh550 » March 4th, 2009, 2:10 pm

The costs of this sport and the lack of manufacturer interest make this a tough one to win. This sport survives because there are still dedicated and interested racers and a handful of sponsors and promoters willing to keep trying. In the last few years we have had some very big names retire from the sport and I'm so glad there a some young drivers coming out to keep this sport alive. Still, I can't help but think that fans are continuing to lose interest in the sport. Just look at Eagle River - the crowds just aren't there. Heck, it was possible to still book a room on Saturday of the WC weekend. Interestingly though, you couldn't touch a room for Vintage weekend.

I'm just a fan - so I can't speak from the driver's perspective. I'm sure a lot of the drivers would disagree with what I will say too. I think somehow the racing weekend needs to combine the efforts of the many different racing formats. I'd love to see more of the vintage racing and modern sled racing combined into the same weekend. I'd also love to see the One Lunger racing incorporated, as well as snocross.

I'd imagine a Saturday that starts with a one lunger race in the morning and moves on to the ice oval racing - bringing in both the vintage and modern sleds. It would also be great to work in the snocross sleds as well.

I know I'm way out there in saying this, but maybe some type of concept that combines the efforts of the different styles of racing into a manufacturers cup might bring back the interest of the manufacturers. So many points for snocross, so many points for ice ovals (in classes with brand recognizable sleds), and maybe even so many points for vintage racing - to combine that into a weekend total. The manufacturers get bragging rights and in return put some more money into the race that can go back to the racers. Whatever the solution, it has to work for racers and sponsors, promoters AND the fans.

As for racing classes on the ice ovals, I will leave that up to the racers and promoters to figure out, however, it sucks seeing a final being run with two or three sleds. That problem has to be fixed.
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Postby USSA155 » March 5th, 2009, 2:01 am

Hello,

Flying FEJ, I have been thinking about putting an oval racing vehicle dynamics seminar together. It would hopefully be free or really cheep (the cost of lunch or something). Kind of a summer meeting where new racers could come and look at some equiptment, bring their equiptment for opinnions, ect. I was thinking I could put together some info packets covering basic suspension set-up, handling probelms, clutching, carburation, ect. Do you think that this type of seminar would be helpfull to new racers? I used to give a similar morotcycle racing seminar for the Superfolw company years ago. Are there any new racers or people who are intrested in racing that would attend? Please contact me so that I can decide if it would be worth the effort.

Slandon,
I am somewhat involved with the marketing aspects of USSA. Are you geting what you need form our orginization? Please call me or reply so that I may help.

Thanks everyone
Josh Wilson
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Postby slandon » March 5th, 2009, 2:22 pm

Snow-Cross was huge when it started out just like vintage. You often could not find a room in the communities we used to go to cover them. Now rooms are plentiful on most race weekends and if you've noticed with the exception of a few venues the crowds are not in the stands like they used to be. Some of the snow-cross people I've spoken to have said the sport has kind of priced itself out of most racers budgets. I think you're going to see this more and more in the vintage community if those racers and associations don't watch out. They're hot now but how many guys can't afford or are willing to put $10,000 into a vintage race sled. Another thing I see is like drags, snow-cross and other formats that had booms in the past, vintage is experiencing over saturation. I can't believe the number of vintage races going on every weekend within two hours or less drive of each other.

I really feel to get the word out on oval racing we need to go to the people during the off season. That Wow! factor still exists with the kids today just as it did when we were young, it's just harder to pull out these days because they have so many things pulling at their free time. The more we get these sleds out in the summer and to other areas the more people will see what we have to offer. It sure doesn't hurt to try and go to a parades, fair, show, or festival. To be honest they can be fun for the whole family.
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Postby pauls650 » March 5th, 2009, 4:42 pm

the ussa screwed up a few years back under estimating the vintage racing group,but i think ussa needs them,but to get them you need to treat them the same, or better,you need real low buck modern stuff,saying its a entry level class,then allow new wahl chassies,in jr to allow new big dollar stuff,this will only kill the class's,without factory support,you need to get the fans back,show them sleds they can tell apart.
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