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California Midget Racing


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#1
Midget2154

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Before I ask some questions, first, in advance, this is not at all meant as a topic to slam on promotions, tracks, etc.

What are some things that could be done to help Midget racing in California?

We all know Midget racing is in a sticky situation - improving on dirt, but still very much on life support on pavement. Even though surviving, what are some things and ideas to improve the future of Midget racing in California?

Rules changes or unification?
Tire compound rule (such as checking tires with durometer opposed to brands and labels/numbers)?
Less frequency of racing?
More double shots?
Less pavement races?
More points money?
Better purse payouts?
Better marketing?
Better branding of products?
Less travel?
More races, but at fewer tracks? i.e., race at four tracks, 4 races each, rather than 1-3 races at 10 tracks)
Reaching out to feeder series?

How about from the fans - what would make Midget racing more fun and interactive for you?
Double-file restarts? (again, don't bash it, looking for fan input!)
More rivalries/excitement within the races?
More personalities?

Any other thoughts and ideas?

I'm just curious to hear what people have to say - please, no bashing - just looking at creative input, from the racers and fans alike - there are likely some very unique ideas that promotions, sanctions and tracks can read and benefit from.

Not being a pessimist, but if things keep at their current pace, Midget racing is going to take a side seat to almost anything and everything - very few places right now on the Left Coast where Midget racing is a spectacle!

#2
Revolution Racing

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Many years ago, when the Focus Series was just getting going, we were spending a lot of time talking about how to help the program go. We got lots of input from well-meaning individuals. Many people made suggestions about marketing ideas, and things to increase fan awareness of Midget racing in general and the Focus program in particular. But when it comes to promoting and growing Midget racing, the single smartest comment I ever heard came from one of my friends at Ford. He simply pointed out that Midget racing is 'competitor driven', as opposed to series like NASCAR which are 'fan driven'. He went on to explain that this does not mean fans aren't important - of course they are VERY important. His point was simply that marketing efforts for Midget racing are best aimed at the competitors, not the fans. I had a hard time understanding that at first but now I see that he was right.

These days the competition among racing divisions for drivers is fierce. All of the 'track lice' divisions, plus modifieds, late models and Sprint Cars are all competing for the same guys we want driving Midgets. And, many of those divisions are cheaper to run which is a big deal these days. I don't pretend to be a marketing guy but I think my Ford friend had the right idea. I think we could do worse than to just concentrate on getting the cost of running a Midget more in line with the cost of running other forms of short track racer. If we can do that, we'll stop the outflow of drivers to those other divisins and that will improve the quality of our entertainment product. It's not the whole answer, but it seems like the right start. And, if we DON'T do that... well I don't see how the best marketing in the world can dress up a six car Midget field.

#3
jdull99

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Revolution Racing for president!!!

...surprised there are any concerns out there though...I got slammed this winter for a question/post I had made on the topic...


Jason Dull
815 494 6002
jdull99@hotmail.com
jasondull.com (For all the Racing News)

#4
Midget2154

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Keith, very valid point about marketing to the racers ... Makes a ton of sense.
This is one of the things that REALLY needs to be done more - reaching out to feeder's series and organizations to bring more racers into Midgets. Ventura seems to have a great feeder system ....

Any other ideas or thoughts without bashing people?

Maybe ideas that other organizations have implemented on other levels?

#5
Revolution Racing

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Great point. The Ventura thing is not perfect either, but no one can deny that Jim Naylor has PROVEN to be a guy that knows how to build a car count. I think many (most) promoters and supporters in CA could do far worse than to take a few clues from Jim.

#6
jdull99

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They still running the SP4 at Ventura?


Jason Dull
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jasondull.com (For all the Racing News)

#7
neverliftms

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Yes, unfortunately they are still running the WCM(SP4) at Ventura and most teams are going through just as many as they were SP2's. The track has been very dry and abrasive this year. That being said, the car count has stayed strong and the racing has been very good. I do not make many changes, short of ride heights and shock changes, between running my SP2's with BCRA/USAC and the WCM at Ventura. I still run the same RPM's I always have with the same gear there too, so that theory that the harder tire will reduce RPM's is bogus. I also have run the same RR tire for all 3 of my feature starts at Ventura, the last one resulting in a 5th place finish. The only thing I don't like is having 9 tires mounted and ready for BCRA/USAC shows, and the same for VRA. I am fielding 2 cars this year and that is alot of inventory. But, its easier than mounting and dismounting every week. The biggest problem with Midget racing in California right now is the state is just too ###### big. There are not many races centrally located so the Northern guys stay north, and the southern guys stay south. There are only a handful of central teams that go north and south with little trouble. With fuel prices in the $4 range, its hard to justify driving 600 miles at 10 hours each way for $1000 to win and $125 to start.

#8
StubbyRacer

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Personally with the new Ventura tire rule it gives me a new excuse not to travel down there, i had the posibility of heading down there about 3 times this year and i'm not gonna buy a couple sets of rear tires to run it (LR is spec too). I don't like the management, and its a 6.5 tow each way for me.
One little point about the car count @ ventura, there are a bunch of local guys that NEVER race anywhere else but the chili bowl, they don't need to but it would be nice to see them travel a little bit.

Otherwise the BCRA dirt races are doing a great job! we are getting great car counts.

Pavement has been in the same shape the last 2 years, 10 cars is a solid amount. It doesn't help that there are 2 tire rules again, there was 1 car that left the madera race because he didn't realize that you had to run the American Racer (RR). There isn't much to do to get people to start running more pavement out here, there aren't that many races, 9 BCRA races on pav, starting in April thru October. The AR tire is cheaper to run, we have progressive weight rules, in my opinion some people need to start showing up to fill the fields. In the Western Sprints @ Roseville Andy Forsberg had his dirt races canceled that Saturday and came out with his wingless car to the track and raced with us, we also have some cars that won't be competitive for the win race with us all the time like Marvin Mitchell, and the Duncan cars because they enjoy racing, we need people like that in the midgets, and the cars are around!
I know we trashed to get Prickett's dirt car ready in about 1.5 days or so ready for the race at Madera.

So long as you can ignore my bad grammar and run on sentences thanks for reading,
just my opinion -SP #35

#9
neverliftms

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Stubby, its important too to point out that the entire front brake system we had to build fro scratch to go run Madera, and the brakes never worked anyway and still somehow ran a lap .6 off fast time and was on a 5 race old RR given to me by Dillon Silverman. The fact is, there are alot of people willing to help get cars to the track. There is even a track up north, Shasta Raceway Park, that is GIVING 10 gallons of methanol free to any midget that enters their next race July 3!!! But Shasta will still probably only get 12-14 cars and 3 of them belong to the promoter. It is not a matter of what can be done, but more what has already been done, can the wounds be healed. I'm gonna go out on a limb to say even a $25k to win dirt show in Northern California would still get less than 35 cars. Some things, we may never know.

#10
larryo

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Being part of the FF Midgets for 2-3 years taught me something about promoting, cost, racing and having fun.

1) Originally the FF Midgets paid a purse of 500 to win. Not bad.

2) The tracks were up and down the Ca coast giving the new and young driver a great intro to racing, setups and traveling to different tracks every week. I think that is important to run different tracks. I think this type of racing breeds new young drivers, well versed in changing track conditions and setups, which is vital to someone's career.

3) I still think the FF Midget could make a comeback. But it requires the 280-320 HP FF Midget engine, that was never built but was promised. USAC lost a wonderful opportunity, but it is still their if anybody wanted to pursue it.

In a couple of weeks of participating I am simply amazed at the promoting and genius of the "Minisprints". People are now taking a Spike midget and dropping in a stock 1000 cc motorcycle engine and are really driving fast and having a lot of fun. Car counts were almost 25 cars at the last race at Perris, Ca. I think it paid 225 dollars to win. Why so many cars? A lot of phone calls, a lot of coaching to new young drivers at the race track and a lot of work collecting contingency sponsors for the series. Like all things, many people have ideas, but it takes one person to put out a hurculean effort to make any racing series work and a success. Right now the minisprints in California are doing the right thing and the races are excting to watch.

Larry "O"




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