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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby teambehnracing » March 27th, 2007, 4:32 pm

It is interesting to see that some organizations are speeding up the process of oval racing dying and doing away with more of the stock classes for more of the confusing mod classes. This sport is going no where with out spectators so I took an in depth look at this and called a few people who attended the Fire On Ice race in Weyauwega just to see what spectators had to say.
I asked them why they went to the snowmobile race in Weyauwega? Answer: to watch snowmobile racing. No Kidding, what kind of snowmobile racing? Answer: you know polaris, skidoo's. How about a driver? Answer: I did not know any of the drivers.
Fact of the matter is this is not NASCAR spectators who watch snowmobile racing, except for a few diehards, do not have a favorite driver they are there to watch their brand win.
I was once told that people come to a race to watch loud machines go fast. How about these facts. We had people buy a ticket at the gate to come in and complain about the noise, we also had people tell us that if we did not have ear plugs next year they are not coming back. So much for that idea. By the way a stock sled set up the way it should be is just as fast as some of the others and quieter.
How about this, f500 class comes out, great class, inexpensive for the driver to get into, (fans can't tell that), competative, loud, spectators can't tell what brand they are, maybe not so fast, too loud, let's go get that brat. Solution: Make them look like the trail sled someone is still driving or did and throw in a 1991 Skidoo MX you might have something.
Sportsman 600, awesome class, you can modifiy a little, inexpensive to get going, and guess what? When a formula III lines up against a ZRT that some of the fans are still trail riding, there is a side bet going on.
How about the Pro Stock 500 final? 5 laps, side by side, Behn/Duchene who is going to win? Side by side coming out of turn 4 ( in the video my sister was taking, people where running up to the wall, other people where standing up to see turn 4). Guess who won. a SKI-DOO. No offense P.J. great race.
Lets go to the manufature view point.
You have someone running a Polaris front end, a Ski-doo motor and an Artic Cat hood. Who is going to sponser him? Yamaha? Hoping that he doesn't finish.
Remember the day when 30,000+ people would line the track at Eagle River hoping that their brand would win? Funning thing here is that they all new who their factory sponsered driver was.
How about the thousands of people who attend the Duluth National Snow Cross race. Giving up their entire Thanksgiving weekend to watch mainly sport racers race. They do not care. You can tell by the jackets they are wearing who they want to win and it is not SANTA CLAUS. Unless he is on your brand.
The snowmobile industy is all about BRAND loyalty and to get reconition we as oval racers have to realize that. To get the manufactures involved we have to give them a reason to do so. Why do you think snowcross is so big to the manufacture? Answer: Spectators see their BRAND that they can reconize on the race track performing as if they were driving them on the trail.
The only thing that can keep oval racing alive is spectators at the races and manufacture support.
So is stock racing dying on the vine? Or is oval racing?
Dan Behn
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby proton » March 27th, 2007, 5:04 pm

You are right with some of your views...brand identity and more fans at the track, however...the main focus of the manufacturers is in the 600/120hp class, this where most of the sled sales are...nobody rides 440's anymore, that's why the shift to 600 in snow/x...ovals racing needs to showcase the same market, that's why sprint racing really only needs the ONE class to accomplish that.

You are also right, the fan wants to see good close racing...if the racers are few and far between in each class, wouldn't it be better to have alot of stock racers in one stock class...the more racers you have in a class I'll guarantee it produces better racing

Its so expensive to prep a stock sled to race on the ovals these days...the natural progression in sprint is to the champ class, you can get into semi-pro champ cheaper than you can race at the top in stock...I think this has had an effect on the stock class...you just don't see as many strictly stock racers any more

so with the lower stock sled counts, I think its the right thing to consolidate the numbers with fewer classes
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby Spy-Guy 74 » March 27th, 2007, 5:15 pm

Dan I believe stock racing is dying and ovals are hurting, but so are the four snowmobile manufactures. If they didn't make any other products besides snowmobiles they would all be out of business. I hope ovals turn around, but forget about getting manufacture support. Sure more people are into racing snow cross sleds, all they have to do is add 96 studs to the track and maybe valve the shocks and the sled is ready to hit the track. That's far easier than trying to make an oval stock sled work now days and alot less money too!! Snowcross is on the way out to, at least with the manufactures look for less support for this venue next year. They had a little renewed interest this year with Team Blue coming back and Tucker Hibbert returning for a few races. We need more competitors and less classes in ovals and closer racing to bring back race fans. It's never going to be what it once was, it's a way different world today. Today we have computers, chat lines, dish net work tv, and many more electronic devices that we didn't have years ago. Believe me the things I just mentioned have hurt snowmobile racing and the selling of snowmobiles today. When I was a kid, the snowmobile was our only winter option, today they have many more and they don't involve being outside in the elements.
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby Fontaine Racing » March 27th, 2007, 6:03 pm

Dan
Great post, and one we should all take serious!
I refuse to say oval racing is dying, but it does need a restart. lets face it, the racing associations are not helping? seems there is an attitude that since the manufacturers do nothing for us, we will do nothing for you. who wins this childish game? NO ONE. especially the racers who love the sport and racing in general. and I will probably get some flack from some one for voicing my opinion again ? but OH WELL.
we have raced a stock sled every year we have been around, our stock fan sled will be going to another young racer, and then to his brother. this was a very important decision to me. because I want to see the stock classes survive for the same reason as you stated. the fan with the Polaris jacket on, will be having fun with his buddy wearing the ski doo jacket every time the stockers hit the track.
we will be moving into another stock class, and challenge everyone else to runs with us. it is not cheap nor easy to convert today's stockers to run on the ice oval. but in my own narrow little mind, I think it is important to keep stock racing alive and well! not for you or I but for the better of the sport.
I would also like to give a tip of the hat to the people in the mod classes that are wearing the present year plastic. Rydens F500, very nice job, Felegys champer, Houles champers, Moyles cat, PJs cat. I think the fans can relate to these sleds, without asking what is that? we have to start thinking about apealing to spectators.
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby 1p48 » March 27th, 2007, 7:54 pm

first let me applaude everybody on the excellent responses that are being offered on this topic and second i would like to give props to dan behn for winning the pro stock points title this year. good job!! now as far as stockers go i think one of the major problems with the stock class is the lack of availability from the local dealer for a stock 440. i know personally having called all the dealerships around where i live, that none offer a liquid model of the upcoming sled year on the floor to purchase. this is bothersome. i know your answer is going to be they only make 300 to 500 or so, but why not have the actual race sleds that you see out on the race tracks on the dealership floor. o.k. maybe dont put the high compression components on them. maybe set them up for trail riding instead but at least give the consumer a option to buy the really fast one. i know i would buy the fast one over a sport model or a luxury model. i bet the numbers would sky rocket if you offered the race program sleds to the public. also, i think fellow racers should make a consertive effort to sell there equipment to upcoming racers and not to collectors or people who want to sit around and not be serious about racing. i personally ran a 02 pro-x that i bought from spy-guy that actually managed to pull off a third place in eagle river. my point is that even know the equipment may be outdated, i feel , that a racer should always make a conscience effort to promote his sport any way he/ or she could and one way is to always offer the sled your not racing to a fellow that maybe interested in racing and you never know if we all get on the same page we can see a upgrowth in the class we all care about so much!!
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby that 31 car » March 27th, 2007, 8:05 pm

TO Dan,Doug, Greg and others:
Dan: first of all a decision was made at the USSA board meeting after convention, it was made early with the position of we will still gather input on the situation. We collectively have learned over the years that sometimes the best way to get action/reaction is to make a decision. Your representative is working through the process to see what can be considered, and believe me all is not lost. You, PJ and others have a legitimate concern. Remeber this is March, and we race in January, lot's can and does change.
Secondly, Greg is right, the industry is struggling right now, so let's not throw everything to the four winds. I will tell you factory support will wane even more for ovals, with few exceptions. While the Ski Doo guys may well be the exception, others aren't as lucky. Associations need to survive without factory support.
Doug: Your comments are always welcome, you have had access to me and all of the USSA staff. You always got a fair shake as I see it. On the Junior deal, we (all associations) are asking for a review of the Junior parameters. If they change to be more favorable, great, we will be the first to comply. but reality is right now there are rules USSA abides by, if other associations don't and ISR don't penalize them, then the fault lies with ISR, not USSA. When we all get the same basis to operate on, and all abide by the same rules, all will be "cool" untill then, quite frankly only one group abides by the rules, and the other's become good guys by not.
As to the limited deal, I feel it's viable, perhaps it's not, I've been wrong before. But we will give it a try, at 58 years of age, I've been wrong a lot of times, but I've been right a few too. If you don't like the class, it's easy, don't build one. F-500 is great and I love it, but it is not a be all, end all to oval racing problems. Reality is it's a great introductory class for ovals, but remember, it's damn near a vintage deal with 88 era sleds. And believe me, not everyone is as sportsman like as you in the deal. People can and will build high buck F-500's and then we will again ***** about the cost of racing.
As to the Limited deal, it's an attempt at a form of stock racing, hoods must be new style, engines new, but chassis open. Not really different than a kit type Pro Stocker, and in reality cost less. The present style of snow cross sled does not lend itself to oval's or at least that's what most racers have told me for years. So now we give them a open chassis and a stock engine. Maybe we are all screwed up, but it's worth a try. The other real approach would be to run a true stocker like the old days, no lowering, no special stuff, yeah you all run slower, but you are pure stock. I guarantee you nobody wants that. Various reasons why. Most guys say it's safety, but reality is nobody wants to work that hard to build a winner.
Maybe you guys caught me on a bad night, but reality is Behn has a issue that is real and is being considered. Until you hear the final decision let's not all rush to judgement.
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby Ovals Forever » March 27th, 2007, 8:17 pm

Why should the manufactures put any money into oval racing?

The sport never changes, to many involved in it are scared to try anything new, and it sure as hell doesn't sell sleds, it's just the same old same old, to the average fan dam near every sled looks the same from the 380 sprints to the champs, even some of the formula 500's have champ hoods.

Some people are so concerned about keeping the sleds looking like the traditional stock snowmobile so the manufactures will come back, well wake up, the manufactures are not coming back unless the grandstands are full of people.

This sport needs a new face lift, something totally new and exciting.

Draw the fans and the manufactures will be right behind them.
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby teambehnracing » March 28th, 2007, 6:44 am

I am mainly just looking at ways to put spectators in the stands, if that can be done, ovals will continue. Fire on Ice will have another race, however, our concern is fans in the stands. The promotor group really doesn't care about all the behind the scene stuff so to speak, they just want a good show. I may have jumped the flag a little on the stock classes, I must be narrowed minded like Doug and have a certain aspect on racing and that is why I stay stock. I feel fans can relate to the machine I am racing. That is just my own personal opinion, however, it is a known fact that snowmobilers are very brand loyal. All the classes we have in racing are great, I would just like to see the sleds especially the non-stock ones to be more identifiable. The general concensus I got from spectators that I spoke with is that they said most of the sleds looked the same to them except the stock ones.
Maybe the sled doesn't even have to be identifiable by brand per say. I know it will never happen, however, a guy can dream. If a racer could get a big enough sponser and dress the machine in that apparrel that might just do it for the fans. We did that this year to Danielle's 120 champ sled, it is an Arctic Cat but everone knows it as the SnowGirl sled.
I know the manufactures are hurting with the winters we have been having, I feel bad for them. I do think there are other ways to promote our sport and since I was fortunate enough to work with a promoter group my eyes have been opened. I used to look at everything from a racers point. Now I am trying to look at everything from both sides of the coin and I am trying to figure out what trips the spectators trigger. The bigger the crowds the more attention we can draw to ourselves. I will continue to research this topic and any positive suggestions would be great
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby CoryEwingdeactivated » March 28th, 2007, 7:00 am

Dan Behn,

Please give me a call when you can. Thanks. 507-696-3310.

Cory Ewing
#6 HOGLUND RACING TEAM

[b]WWW.HOGLUNDLAW.COM[/b]
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Stock racing dying or is ovals

Postby Bob Riebe » March 28th, 2007, 8:04 am

[quote=teambehnracing]
I was once told that people come to a race to watch loud machines go fast. How about these facts. We had people buy a ticket at the gate to come in and complain about the noise, we also had people tell us that if we did not have ear plugs next year they are not coming back.
Dan Behn[/quote]
This is not the type of fan any series should cater to, much less be worried about.
IF a series becomes sucessful, they might show and they might not.
If they are telling you what to do IF YOU WANT THEM TO COME BACK, they are self-righteous narcissists who are never happy; they always will complain, and threaten about something.

It is the gear-heads who any series should aim for.
They are the ones who show up come hell or high water, but they have to know what is or is not going on, and that means spending money for publicity.

Up here in Minn. there are quite a few vintage races, but unless one is on the computer or knows people, few know they exist because there in no publicity.

Quite a few years ago, I attended a snowmobile race and a boat race, only because I read in the paper, a large enough add (and not a tiny little notice in the want-adds, most seem to think is all they need) that they were taking place.
A fair number of people showed up at both events, sadly racers were lacking so each event was a one time thing, but nost specatators that attended read about it in the paper.(And at the boat race, the local APBA chapter was at the race giving out, "year in review" edition of the club magazine from the year before, so the fans would know what it was all about.)

From the outside looking-in, if one were to judge this year by simply comparing race action that took place, race for race, to last year, this year was far bettr than last year, or the years before that; yet this, and other threads sound like the coffin is being closed.

You have to crawl befoe you can walk, and from a spectator view, the show this year, compared to past, looks like it is ready to break into a full run.

I realize some very big names are retiring, but if you can even duplicate what happened this year, with a horrible winter, and next years weather is better, GET THE WORD OUT--ADVERTISE, and things will continue to grow.

Just my two bits.
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