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Should we go to more races?


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#51 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 08:54 AM

... there are other tracks in that area such as Portsmouth Motor Speedway (The Beast of the East) as well as Scale Speedway in Dover, PA, that all have great programs aimed at local interest.


Just to beat the horse again, and to emphasize my point about grassroots/bottom up vs top-down, I'll take your word for it that Portsmouth and Scale Speed Raceway have well-attended and active racing programs.

But who knows? Neither has an entry in the Club & Home Raceway list here at Slotblog. I see they both have Facebook pages, with 427 and 823 likes respectively.
My assumption is that neither track has growing participation as part of their agendas, nor does it seem they have any significant desire to increase the visibility of their chosen hobby. More like preaching to the choir to be sure the church doesn't get too big... LOL!

I'm not suggesting that growth and visibility have to be items of concern for club & home track owners, but feel there are long-term ramifications to the overall model racing hobby that will result from a universe of small, unpublicized tracks whose existence is known only to the small number of participants.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#52 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 08:59 AM

I have been hearing about the complete demise of commercial slot racing for around twenty years now.


The commercial raceway industry in the US is in the worst shape it's ever been in since it began in the early '60s, Sam.

I'm not going to bother to total them up, but Slotblog's commercial Raceway List shows less than 150 traditional raceway entries. I'm sure there are some raceways that aren't listed, but I'll suggest that at least 95 percent of the retail 1/24 raceways in the US are shown.

And the number is not increasing...

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#53 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 09:44 AM

Model railroads for the most part are either based upon home or club layouts. The only this they have that's different is modular layouts like NTrak which would be an interesting concept for the US.


In a number of European countires, many of the big slot car races are held on tracks temporarily set up for the event, which is the slot car equivalent of Ntrak in my view.
 

How many commercial tracks are there in England and on the Continent? Maybe a handful and that doesn't stop them.


The only other country in the world to have a noticeable commercial raceway industry is Australia. There are US states that currently have more commercial raceways than the rest of the world combined (excepting Australia...).

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#54 Dennis David

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 11:01 AM

I've raced in Australia and I've only know about one commercial track but there might be half a dozen. In Europe they run on plastic track and they don't really have modules that each have an owner. Not an exact match since the races are sponsored by the manufacturers at a level unmatched in the US.

In my earlier post I suggested that racers form clubs and build home tracks like what is happening in SoCal.


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#55 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 11:15 AM

Well, there are a dozen raceways shown in the Australia section of Slotblog's Raceway List, though not all of them are 1/24 wooden tracks.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#56 Mayberryman

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 12:24 PM

Cheater,

 

There might be a reason that these other tracks do not participate in getting their tracks on a list of tracks. Home club tracks have a different agenda than commercial tracks.  Commercial tracks are dependent on keeping the flow of new people spending money to pay the bills. 

 

Some I have met in the home club scene are just as concerned if not more concerned with keeping the atmosphere on a friendly level and also are more concerned with potential "bad apples" that might come into their homes if they do too much commercial advertising. Not saying that they all are like that but I know of at least two club level groups who are very aware that one aggressive and obnoxious new person might scare off five long time members.


Spencer Wilkinson

#57 Dennis David

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 12:28 PM

Has my club been talking to you behind my back? LOL.


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#58 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 12:51 PM

Spencer,

 

The reason you mention is why Slotblog's Club & Home Raceway list entries rarely have complete addresses, only avenues of contact interested racers can use to wangle an invitation to come play.

 

If the concern you raise is operative, I wonder why both of the raceways mentioned in your post #49 have open Facebook pages giving their full addresses?

 

Here's the problem. Lets suppose I've just moved into a new area and wish to find like-minded racers to compete against in club and home venues. Facebook is essentially useless for locating club and home tracks in a specific geographical area.

 

What happens to the overall hobby in the long term if racers can't locate places to race?


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#59 Samiam

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 02:11 PM

The commercial raceway industry in the US is in the worst shape it's ever been in since it began in the early '60s, Sam.

I'm not going to bother to total them up, but Slotblog's commercial Raceway List shows less than 150 traditional raceway entries. I'm sure there are some raceways that aren't listed, but I'll suggest that at least 95 percent of the retail 1/24 raceways in the US are shown.

And the number is not increasing...

 

I'm not saying it's flourishing like hookah bars and 99 cent stores. But it is far from a complete demise. Been hearing about how we will end up like Europe's raceway situation for years. We still have Port Jeff and Slots-A-Lot raceways here on Long Island along with Buzz-A-Rama in Brooklyn. It ain't dead yet. 

 

Instead of lamenting the death of our commercial raceways, let's put some effort into self promotion. I carry a Flexi car with me all the time to show people it still exists. If interested I give them a coupon for a free 15 min. rental at SAL.  


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Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
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#60 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 02:26 PM

Sam, surely you will admit the trend is not headed in a positive direction?

 

One other aspect worth mentioning is the difficulty of sustaining raceways in the larger markets. Consider the NYC, LA, Chicago, and Atlanta metro areas.

 

NYC metro area, 19,000,000 people - three raceways.

LA metro area, 13,000,000 people - two raceways.

Chicago metro area 9,500,000 people - one or two raceways.

Atlanta metro area, 5,300,000 - two raceways.

 

Does it not trouble you, as it does me, that commercial raceways seemingly have difficulty surviving in markets that feature huge populations of potential participants?


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#61 Samiam

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 02:39 PM

"Does it not trouble you, as it does me, that commercial raceways seemingly have difficulty surviving in markets that feature huge populations of potential participants?"

 

Nope.  :D :to_become_senile:

 

I just worry about whether my Hawk Retro will throw a wind in the eighth heat tonight on the King at SAL.


Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#62 Cheater

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 02:46 PM

I should have known... LOL!


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#63 Mayberryman

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 02:52 PM

It has been my experience that racers who want to race will find places to race. You can locate them by talking to people at your LHS, and also by talking to other hobbies that are similar such as R/C, train clubs and model clubs. 

 

At the present time I race with two groups, The Barn Burners Slot Car Club that is located 60 miles from me in Williamsburg, VA, and the Interstate Home Slot Racers who race about 12 times a year at locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and southern West Virginia. This about suits me current needs for slot racing as the Barn Burners has about 16 events per year and IHSR has 12.

 

Even at my advanced age I do not mind traveling but I must confess that the IHSR events which average about 200 mile trips (one way) have become a two day event.


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#64 MrWeiler

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 04:57 PM

(1) Time-It takes too long to go to the track and go home

(2) Time-It takes to long to run the races.  Local and monthly races should draw for starting position.  Why do we have Qual?  Qual takes too long and should not happen except at big races.  At big races it should be 4 laps or lap attempts and the power comes on for the next guy in 15 seconds.  Wanna have Qual?  Do it the day before.  $5 for 4 laps.  Try as often as you like.  Fastest time takes the pot!  Make it interesting.  Also, 2 hour lunch breaks are stupid.

(3) Cost-Last time I went to Lancaster to race NASCAR flexis it cost me $70 for gas for my "real" car, before I ever put a flexi in the slot.  That $ puts a crimp into how often I race.

(4) Entry fee is too high for no payouts.  A raceway can payout with merch cards or plaques...both are a write off as promotional costs.

(5) Family-see time #1 and #2

(6)-Other stuff, I do other stuff too-see time #1 and #2

(7) FUN-there I said it.  Most races are not so much fun as a grind.  Make your races fun.

 


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#65 MrWeiler

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 05:09 PM

In general - No promotion. The public does not know we exist. Raceways have races but don't promote them, The owner opens the door at 8 AM and expects racer ESP to guide the racers to the track on time. My racer ESP is fading as I age... I use to be able to drive into an unknown town and "feel" a raceway in the area.... ask Boemker...


"TANSTAAFL" (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.)
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"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis de Tocqueville

"In practice, socialism didn't work. But socialism could never have worked because it is based on false premises about human psychology and society, and gross ignorance of human economy."
David Horowitz

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#66 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 11:58 AM

Jim isn't going so I'm not going. Well, if you and Jim aren't going then I'm not going.
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#67 Dennis David

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 01:07 PM

And if you were going then I won't go ...


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#68 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 12:42 PM

Drug dealers do no advertising. Yet many thousands make many sales. Hookers get many clients with most doing no advertising, Are we as a group delusional about how in demand slot cars are? Or if a raceway spent $5,000 per month on advertising would that fill the room?


Scott Salzberg
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#69 Half Fast

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 02:00 PM

 if a raceway spent $5,000 per month on advertising would that fill the room?

 

Nope! May bring more business but you would never recover the cost.

 

Cheers


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#70 MSwiss

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 03:12 PM

Sam, surely you will admit the trend is not headed in a positive direction?
 
One other aspect worth mentioning is the difficulty of sustaining raceways in the larger markets. Consider the NYC, LA, Chicago, and Atlanta metro areas.
 
NYC metro area, 19,000,000 people - three raceways.
LA metro area, 13,000,000 people - two raceways.
Chicago metro area 9,500,000 people - one or two raceways.
Atlanta metro area, 5,300,000 - two raceways.
 
Does it not trouble you, as it does me, that commercial raceways seemingly have difficulty surviving in markets that feature huge populations of potential participants?

 

I hadn't looked at this thread after a post or two.

To answer the above, to go along with the huge Chicago population, is the high rent, compounded by the true seasons, with distinct climate changes.

Chicago landlords want their money every month, not just your busy ones.

As a few people said, you have to gear for the casual customer, not the serious one.

And of course, parties.

And not just going through the motions.

You have to show some enthusiasm.

Sano Dave's nickname for me is the "The Partymaster". Which along with the rah-rah, is a crazy high tolerance of kid's screaming and performing minor mischief.

To answer Nelson's question about rental customer-racer coexistence and the rental cars screwing up the track, I would never consider being masochistic enough to subject my customers to Whisper-Jets.

Real cars with real tires leads to repeat business. I get a ton of repeat casual rentals.

It might once a month, or 1 ,2, 3 or 4 times a year, but people come back on a rainy Saturday, a long holiday weekend, etc., if running on the track isn't a frustrating experience.


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Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
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Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#71 Dave Crevie

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 03:54 PM

As just an aside to all of this, Wednesday nite is Mike's busiest nite. This is because he took a small group of car enthusiasts who worked in the area, and originally came in to just goof around, and developed it into a great night of racing by encouraging them to race each other.

 

He created a truely entry level class, in which he supplied the controllers to help reduce the cost and to level the playing field. The cars are JK Cheetah 7 RTRs, which the racer purchases and learns to tune. And now he gets 10 to 15 entries, on a weeknight.

 

Mike could have just sat behind the counter waiting for someone to come in to rent a car, but he chose to actively promote participation. And the word spread, to people who would not have otherwise become involved, and ended up being glad they tried slot racing as a form of entertainment.   


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#72 Dennis David

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 04:36 PM

And he promotes the results on Slotblog which is cool. Work parties are like the bowling leagues we used to have everywhere.


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#73 MSwiss

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 08:20 PM

The original races were very bowling league like.

Especially the first month or so when the races were run IROC style, with the "good" rental cars, I pontificated about, a few posts ago.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
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mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
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Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#74 Dennis David

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 11:16 PM

Would be great if we could have company affiliated teams with "slot car" shirts.

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#75 Dave Crevie

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 03:42 PM

Slot racing teams is not a bad idea. It was done during the heyday back in the '60s, could still be fun.



#76 MSwiss

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 12:29 PM

Work parties are like the bowling leagues we used to have everywhere.

 
I had the sales manager in from the local BMW dealership, wanting to book a get together for his sales staff.
 
Super-nice guy.
 
Maybe not a weekly deal, but possibly a start of some semi-regular "grudge matches" against the neighboring Infinity, Lexus, Mercedes, and Porsche dealerships.


Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#77 Dennis David

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 05:16 PM

Wouldn't that be awesome, I'm sure you'll pull out all stops to make sure they have a good time.

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#78 MSwiss

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 11:29 PM

When I get a group big enough to take up the whole track, if not busy with anything super important, I run an IROC race for them,

moving the cars around to the track position that the racer finished the previous heat at.

 

Speaking of high end cars, raceway owners need more like this, sitting in their lot, waiting to race, when they go to open up.

 

Ooooh, his gear shift goes up to "7". :)

 

100_1658.jpg


Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#79 Joexemm

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:49 AM

I try and make as many races as possible. I get grief from the better half. The cost of being competitive is high because you're making or buying tires every or every other race. Cost is tough. There are different levels of racers. And I think a big problem is the internet! As great as it is it's too easy for us to fire up our computer and buy a car online which is great for the online shop but then you show up at a track and don't give them anything other then a entry fee which doesn't pay the bills. On the flip side of that sometimes your home track simply doesn't have access to what you're looking for. Buy local to keep the tracks around.
 
Sorry, Scott, I am not trying to cut into you and I do buy a lot from you guys. I AM GUILTY!!!  :bad: But it doesn't help my  local track when you're sending it to me. I really don't know the answer to it but...
 
* Cost. 
* Where we spend our money.
* Participants.
* Loud-mouthy folks that feel their way is the only way... I know a few and that's fine. I let them talk and then do what I do. I don't know, maybe reduce that to confrontation with other racers. 
* Rules are all over the place
* Too many classes with not enough variety. We race a lot of flexi cars but we hardly get any attention to anything other then Friday night NASCAR which is cool, don't get me wrong, I just feel like when you're using the same principles across the board the same guys are going to stay in the lead and the same guys are going to get discouraged. 
 
That's my 2 cents...  :crazy:


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#80 cookie4524

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 07:48 PM

For me, I do my browsing on some sites, see if distributors like Eagle Dist have it, go to my local raceway and see if they have it, if not, I'll get him to order.

 

I love going to the raceway to race because we do breakout races (5.500 seconds on a Hillclimb), and it's nice and cheap. All you need is a RTR car, a rental controller, and you can win! (That's what I did :P)


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#81 Cheater

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 08:06 AM

Drug dealers do no advertising. Yet many thousands make many sales. Hookers get many clients with most doing no advertising.


Not very valid comparisons IMO, Scott.

Drug dealers can't advertise their wares if they wish to remain on the right side of a jail door.

And if you don't think hookers advertise, come ride with me down a few selected streets here in Atlanta. Tiny hot pants and plunging necklines are very effective advertising. I can also send you copies of "alternative" newspapers here with numerous ads for escort services and massage parlors, places that are very often fronts for houses of prositution.
 

Are we as a group delusional about how in demand slot cars are? Or if a raceway spent $5,000 per month on advertising would that fill the room?


The song remains the same... sigh. The argument seems always to come down to "the undercapitalied raceways can't afford to advertise". Your banner ad here at Slotblog costs you 68.5 cents a day and honestly, you probably leverage that banner ad as effectively as any of Slotblog's advertisers and I'm betting you've seen increased sales from your presence here. Sadly, just two slot car industry manufacturers currently have banner ads. One major 1/24 manufacturer refuses to be a banner advertiser because he claims that 68.5 cents a day is "too expensive", even though I doubt he catalogs a single product that doesn't sell for more than that amount.

Let me say it again, for at least the thousandth time, the commercial slot car hobby cannot be grown into a visible, viable leisure-time activity on the general public's entertainment "radar" from the bottom up, i.e. through the actions of individual raceways. It could only occur by a top-down approach, i.e. by some sort of national/international industry/hobby organization advocating and promoting the hobby to the general public as a fun, enjoyable activity. This claim is not supposition but rather from observation: it is the approach other visible, stable hobbies have utilized to get to that level. Those hobbies have worked together, to a greater or lesser extent, to create "demand".

The sad situation is that the overall industry has shrunk to such a small size now that suggested approach is probably no longer possible. When there were 600-800 commercial raceways, it probably was doable. With less than 150, probably not.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#82 Cheater

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 08:17 AM

Joexemm,

Your post #79 continues to infer that the organized racing activities at commercial raceways will pay the bills and they simply won't.

Can the organized racing in a raceway be a contributor to the facility's revenue stream? Absolutely, but no raceway in my experience survives for very long only on the profit realized from the organized racing part of their business.
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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#83 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 01:18 PM

If you heard an upcoming race that was within reasonable driving distance was going to give out new, nice, competitive free cars to use, race and keep. Also have no entry fees and no pit pass charges. Also you would get free parking and free minor repairs all day. Add free coffee, tea and the race is held at a place that has a nice track, good race directing and good even power. 

 

Would you attend? 


Scott Salzberg
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#84 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 01:38 PM

I would figure it was a trap.


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