Car counts

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by 310TAD, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Bill Naves

    Bill Naves Member

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    until this year, treading water was almost possible.now $300 first round almost covers the anchor they threw on us!
     
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  2. larrymiersch

    larrymiersch Authorized Merchant

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    RRRRRRRRRRRRRrandy!!

    Glad you said it. I, like you, am very happy with my BAE products. I guess I need to start recycling plastic bottles......:rolleyes:

    BTW, I like the direction of Duane's post.

    Regards,
    Larry
     
    #82
  3. troysitko

    troysitko New Member

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    Not On the Sidelines, But Not TA Racers Anymore...

    I, like some of you, got a little upset reading Will's post showing the email he sent out to certain NHRA higher ups (although we don't exactly know who he sent it to). But, then I let myself cool off a bit before posting. The truth is, if we all bombarded our division directors, or the track managers which run divisionals (or even run nationals) and even the people in California, it might actually grab some attention this way. Emails, phone calls and especially mano-et-mano might actually be the only surefire way to get any information from these people. And, maybe then we can all post what we find out here and compare notes.

    But you all have to be prepared. It could go either way and some might not like what they have to hear.

    There does need to be some seperation of ideas here though. I believe there needs to be a few categories. The categories could answer their own questions then be combined at the end to make an informed decision by everyone involved.

    What can we do to improve car counts in our division? What can we do to show the track we deserve more money? What little "something extra" can we do to bring fans out to the races to see Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car? Similar questions by the division directors could be answered by them. What can I (division director) do to improve the turnout in the top alcohol classes in my division? What can I tell the Top Alcohol teams we (the division) need to see from them to raise the payout money for their classes? How can the division help out each track on our schedule maximize their potential for a strong return, to gain fans which will come back year after year and to create new fans? The track manager could answer these same questions. Maybe then we could all work something out. Just an opinion.
     
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  4. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    Money, it's a hit...

    I'm trying to take a business-like approach to this picture.

    Our money comes from the track. Whether it's a national or divisional. Our payouts come from the revenue the track takes in at the front and back gate.

    So asking the tracks for a pay raise right now isn't much different than asking a boss that is struggling to find ways to keep you employed for a raise. You may deserve it, but the revenue/business is just not there right now.

    I have only heard back from about 4 tracks. All of them say they think the alcohol cars belong at divisionals. Two of them say they actively go after a front gate event. The other two said they have tried in the past but had little success. One track shared that nearly every track in their division has lost money on their event. One track owner said while he likes the event and thinks a divisional without alcohol cars would be pretty lame, he looks at his event as a "charity event for the racers" once a year because he never makes any money on that race.

    The problem is bigger than the alcohol cars. My fear is our purse is the first thing that will be on the chopping block for many.

    When you say we need to have a pay raise, do the math. Small changes in payout add up quick once you spread them out over 4 first round losers, 2 semifinalist, a r/u and winner. Then multiply times two for both classes.

    So contrary to what some of you may think, I'm trying to make sure there are a few options for the alcohol cars in the future outside of a national only series. There are some that really support that, and I see some benefits there. That will put quite a few teams out of business and we definitely don't need that.

    I'd like to see the current model we have work. If we can fix the model and make the events profitable, then, and only then do we have a chance at increased purses.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  5. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    Alcohol "Open"

    I think one thing we are going to have to push for to keep our number of events up is potentially having Alcohol-only events at tracks that want to have a condensed front-gate show. Furthermore, it may have to be one class.

    This would also give track owners more flexibility to make it a 'show'.

    Cut qualifying to two shots, and we could have a one day show for tracks.

    Especially in the instance of only having 1 class, we become price competitive with some other forms of booked in shows.

    Make it a night race when the weather is warmer, a day show when the weather is cooler.

    Maybe a heads up TD/TS shootout, Comp, etc., could be brought in to fill the down time.
     
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  6. troysitko

    troysitko New Member

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    Two Days Max

    I agree that the show definately has to be more streamlined and more packed-full of entertainment. If an event runs for two days instead of three, that would automatically happen. It also helps the track by being able to cut staff 1 day and a day less of water and power consumption. I also agree with two qualifying passes. I believe it was Jeff who pointed out earlier that it would actually be a bit more fair anyway, then everyone gets one shot per lane and there aren't guys who have a possibility of two shots in the "good" lane of a race track. And of course, this would help saving parts, saving a bit of time and again help streamline the show.

    I don't believe the answer is in the IHRA's excuse for their new format that people only want to spend 3 hours at the races because they have other things to do. One of the great things about drag racing is, for usually under $50 a head for an entire weekend, you get entertained. If I want to go over to Rexall Place here to watch the Oilers blow another game, I have to drop at least $100 for a crappy seat in the back and it only gives me a couple hours entertainment. Seems like my hard earned buck is better spent at the races.
     
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  7. Blown Chances

    Blown Chances New Member

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    Sorry I'm late

    I like Duane's idea...

    http://www.insidetopalcohol.com/sho...for-an-alcohol-NHRA-reorganization&highlight=

    See, its Duane's idea now because no one likes to listen to a kid...

    Also,

    1 motor = Bad idea

    Support from manufacturers = Awesome idea

    NHRA restructuring the entire div. program just because we can't fill fields = Not going to happen. (IE a regional series) So now stock or super street guy in WA is going to have to travel 1000 miles south to PHX to get all 5 in region races in the points?...

    My reasoning, the sportsman racers (Alcohol is no longer sportsman, sorry to break it to ya.) would be happy with 2 day divisionals with a slightly reduced entry fee to not pay for the alky purse.

    The one Sportnat per division would:
    A: Draw a crowd,

    B: Have large fields in all the sportsman classes (Because they're awarded national points and contingency! Just as we would be...)

    C: Have the purse partially paid from the division championship $$$ that's already there

    Add a little of that manufacturer sponsorship money that Marty mentioned and all of a sudden its made it profitable for the track.

    And I'm so retarded I've got 2 of these piles that are 100% legal with all the "BS safety updates." Guess I do it because I like to compete with the best, not just for the money. But without a reasonable payout, there won't be anyone interested in running. I'd much rather run one race a year in Indy or something, for $50,000, where 50 bad ass cars show up and the winner is the man (It would be cool to be the man wouldn't it...) instead of 5 Divisionals where 2-5 cars show up.

    Wasting more money on the road to Seattle,
    Flash
     
    #87
  8. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    clarification

    I'm not suggesting that the entire series is changed to a regional format due to alcohol cars. I'm just saying the alcohol cars may need to be separated from the 7 division format we have now, or start having their own events within the division separate from the normal divisionals that the 'sportsman' cars go to.

    I don't know how receptive Lucas would be to have their purse money redirected to the Jegs Sportsnationals.

    A full national event purse for the alcohol cars is $33,500 per class. $67k for both. There might be two tracks out there that could pull that off, Norwalk and Bandimere. Now given the fact they do it with a divisional payout right now, why in the hell would they want increase their expenses that much for the same amount of revenue.

    Whatever the solution is, whether it's next year or sometime thereafter, any solution has to be profitable for the track, then everything else has to fall in line after the track is profitable. We can't rely on parts manufacturers, a series sponsor or NHRA subsidizing our purse and racing.

    We have needed more money for a long time now. But we have sat along and rode out the status quo of being front gate cars at back gate events. The wheels are coming off the train to speak. This economy has taken the slack out of numerous business models, not just the LODRS model. Businesses have to adapt and figure out whats making them money and what is not. They also have to decide if certain aspects of their business will help them make money when the economy comes back.

    We have to show tracks we can make them money. If not we have no future outside of paying our own purse through entry fees.
     
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  9. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    purse

    Where the purse comes from is important to consider..

    The divisional purse is paid by the track. The track also pays NHRA a fee to have the divisional.

    I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure NHRA pays the purse at nationals. While there are a number of revenue streams they have from the front gate, back gate, participants, fees, sponsorships, etc., I think they get the majority of the money the national events generate.

    I think the track pays the purse at the "Sports Nationals". I could be wrong. If NHRA was putting these on I just think you would have more tracks clamoring to have one.

    Maybe a compromise of several ideas floating around....
     
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  10. Dan Lucas

    Dan Lucas New Member

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    Marty's idea looks to be the future

    Guys,
    I think the re-alignment that Marty has proposed is excellent...it has possibilities and is probably the look of the future if any alcohol cars are involved at the division level.....given that some tracks have the front gate capibilities and some are struggling.
    The key to an events financial success and quality payout is and always has been the same...front gate revenue. I have mention this before and was thrown under the bus for it...but once again...NHRA is not going to assist the tracks financially on the division level in anyway...( I will leave out all of the adjectives on this)...all is on the track...for the track to take all of the "at risK" with the economy conditions..tough to say the least. But Marty and I both know advertising is the key(given the area has the population capibilities)...our experience with UDRA can back that...Advertising...event success..is not a one year deal...it takes several years to build a constantly successful event..tracks need to plan on a long range success program. This falls back to consistant expensive advertising...most events that we knew cost numbers were 10 to 15,000 dollars per event for 3 radio stations for a week at 5 to 7 hits per day....poster etc... Now with this said..Marty's plan (from a financial stand point) could succeed, for the racer as well as the track if the chosen tracks could receive incentives...such as... event price breaks on event fees, post event fees rather than NHRA fees being required months prior to the event (so up front cost could be spent on advertising) or thru additional addvertising funding thru someone like Lucas OIL...but the bottm line is everything in the circle grows stronger as the revenues increase....all problems will fade into the shadows .... back to revenues and the front gate.....What we can do as racers to help promote Marty's plan and a way to assist the track in needed up front funding. I do not have an answer for that...it's obviously pure financial..this is my opinion...take care...be safe Dan
     
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  11. KBuz

    KBuz New Member

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    I am new to the Top Alcohol Dragster class but not new to NHRA drag racing. I have spent my entire (short-22 years) life involved with drag racing. It is a great honor and a dream come true to be racing at a level with people I grew up idolizing. Not only am I now a participant of the class I am also a devoted fan to the TAD/TAFC categories...

    I race for a budgeted California based team that is somewhat reliant on the closer to home divisional races but at the same time I think we can all agree that Mr. Shields makes a very valid point and would be a nice approach for our future as a group. Mr. Manton nailed it on the head by pointing out the customer first. As an up and coming driver for a budgeted team we need something that we can sell and as of now Divisionals in their current state will not do it for us and sponsors. Myself, along with everyone else here I'm sure, base the majority of their sponsorship plans on the national events and tv coverage they may hit and receive. T/A at Divisionals are worthless to a company because spectators don't show up (regardless of who's fault that is) and as of now (besides the points) are pretty useless for us and even the tracks not wanting us.

    The economy is everyone's biggest downfall at this time and unfortunately the people we have elected are doing such a tremendous job to make sure it recovers quickly :rolleyes:. I am continuously creating marketing relationships with people and companies but the biggest downfall is people only want to invest in places that are secure and beneficial and unfortunately a low count, low spectated divisional at a lower quality drag strip is not sellable in this economy. I have raced throughout D7 for years and T/A cars are in constant shadow of the abundance of nitro racing available between our numerous nationals and heritage series and match races throughout CA & AZ. T/A has to become more sellable or manufactures becoming more involved to gain counts again...

    Moving forward I don't think the racers and the fans want to see T/A go to any limiting rule changes such as indexes or engine limits. As for parts limiting ideas...even us on a budget we DO NOT skimp on safety and we do not tune the car softly to prevent failures. This is a heads up formatted category. Parts can break by being too soft, Parts can break by being too hard, Parts can break because they are parts! The guys that are running well are not necessarily pushing their stuff harder but perhaps they are pushing it smarter. Perhaps not restructuring the entire divisional series for the sportsmen racer (which is obviously still working very much so for them) but maybe team up with comp to do a T/A & Comp combo series with a set up previously posted to help combine low count classes and make a more marketable race program. I think a more marketable series with reasonable payouts, manufacture backing, plenty of contingency with tracks that are willing to work with us would be the best fit for NHRA and us racers. Because even with us on a budget does not mean that we wouldn't travel further sponsorship pending. But our pending will disappear if we have a series to sell.

    Kenny Buzdas
    Brazil Racing TAD
    CSU-Fresno Engineering Student
     
    #91
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  12. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    where is this going?

    If it's any indication of where this is all heading:

    I sent this email out to every track operator/owner that has a divisional. I double checked with the division directors on the emails that kicked back, and changed them to 'current' emails. I got 3 immediate responses and two phone calls.

    Bill Bader III from Norwalk called me yesterday and we had a good conversation. If there were more Baders we wouldn't have as much of a problem.

    So you can look at it a couple different ways. Maybe they are too busy. Maybe they don't want us. Maybe they don't want to talk to me because they think I'm stirring up too much shit. I don't know.

    I'm attaching the database I compiled. Feel free to call your local division tracks on your own. I don't want to be 'the problem' here. I'm just trying to head off what I see as inevitable change. In trying to get some feedback from the track and see what they see as issues. If there's only 5 tracks that want us back and we go in and propose a 4 region deal, we haven't accomplished anything. If we are going to offer potential solutions they need to match the problems. Asking for more purse when the tracks are losing money does nothing for us besides drive a bigger wedge between the tracks that don't want us. We can draw up regions, new divisions, etc., but at the end of the day, if a handful of tracks want us back, we're on a fast track to national events only.

    Of course the easiest thing is to just sit back, relax, hope like hell nothing changes, tell yourself it's going to be alright, and let NHRA handle it. Then we can just bitch after they hand us the change. I guess that's the way we've done it for years, why try to be proactive now....

    Here's the contact spreadsheet:
    View attachment LODRS track contacts.xls
     
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  13. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    bump

    Any new comments or feedback?

    BTW, I hear some tracks are questioning whether or not we draw enough fans or present enough value to cover our $67,000 price tag at nationals...

    No need to get concerned though...
     
    #93
  14. Billy Anderson

    Billy Anderson New Member

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    Will - I will only go to a national event that has Alcohol Cars. It is not worth it to me without them. Luckily, being in the Northeast, both ETown and Reading have them. The other events I've flown to on occasion have all had Alcohol classes(Gainesville, Indy, Joliet, Pomona).
    My only exception would be when New England gets a national event, if they exclude Alcohol due to pit constraints. However, I grew up going to that track, and it has given me my love for Top Alcohol Funny Car racing.
     
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  15. Bill Naves

    Bill Naves Member

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    history?

    Car counts....when I was a kid, Top Fuel ran divisionals. There were local fuel racers that toured within the division running occasional matchraces to help with bills.The cars got faster,R&D developed more power and higher costs, more expensive safety requirements were mandated (and rightfully so) the facilities became less accomodating to the newfound performance,expenses went up and the teams began to park their rides..sound familiar so far?...At about the same time,pro comp was introduced and low budget fuel teams found they could step back a little and run basically the same parts they already had that were being antiquated by the now sponsored fuel teams.Still with me?...Then NHRA started cutting the schedule and fields....now it seems that as long as there are 16 ..thats 16.. fuelers willing to put on a show they can sell,the rest are extra fill...Chuck Etchells put it best when he quit.He said that it won't be long before all the cars are owned by 1 or 2 players for your entertainment pleasure.Hmmmm.No One Else is required.
    In the mid to late 70's, I ran the Garlits shorty as AA/Bad. The car was newly painted and Big was checking it out. I will never forget his words when he looked at the car and said this is what procomp was intended to be..iron block,2 speed..those other guys with the KB and Donovans with 3 speeds should be running me.
    I think if some kind of limits were placed back then,car counts would be a non issue.unfortunately,the genie is out of the bottle and we are doomed to repeat history.

    PS if the guys in Top Dragster and Top Sportsman think all is good,you better think again.All these expensive safety rules are headed your way if you stay on the performance path you are on.
    the costs will go up.the car counts will go down.and so on.

    As for the tracks not getting their monies worth..WA WA WA ..these are the same people who would have a carnival set up in their property,do no advertisement,not hire any carnival attractions and then be pissed because their carnival sucked and no one showed up.Do Your Homework..nothing in equals nothing out! If you don't want to run the show,hire someone who does. Here's a novel idea, how about you actually build a product you can sell. Promote some of the talent, build a following to your facility that's actually heard of us BEFORE race day!I've actually been at a divisional where a fan said ..I had no idea you were here, We heard all the noise and came in to see what it was!!... Is that our fault or yours?I guarentee those words nave NEVER EVER EVER been uttered in Norwalk!
     
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