RACING: WHAT EVERYONE IS THINKING

As the crew of Arkansas Motorsports Magazine has traveled our great state we have interviewed numerous drivers, promotors, car builders, and other people involved behind the scenes of motorsports in Arkansas. Over the past five months we have asked a series of specific questions and thought we would follow up on the results of those questions thus far.


We have discussed with many people about the time length of a race event. Time and time again it is the consensus of the race fan, that they want the program to start at the advertised time, and last approximately two and a half hours. Within this category would also be the answer of the number of classes that the fan feels makes up for a good night of racing. Surprisingly the answer was three (3) and no more than four (4). Also fans said overwhelmingly that they were not interested in a race program that had an intermission that was more than fifteen (15) minutes in length.


Also to co-inside with the event or show, dirt track fans and drivers alike feel that constantly rewarding the fastest car by having them start on the front every week for the feature race does not make for a very entertaining show. The fans don’t like to watch races that are easily predictable as far as the outcome. The drivers for the most part, feel less fulfilled as a driver if he or she starts on the front every week and never passes any cars to take a win.


Several solutions to this issue was discussed and it was suggested several times that some type of system with a deeper invert be used. Or, there was a lot of discussion about going back to the old days where they high point car started on the pole one week, and on the back the next. This was more popular among drivers than we thought it would be, and was extremely popular among fans as they said time and time again that they wanted to see passing during a race.

Another area that drivers and fans agreed upon was that fans want and need greater access to the drivers and cars. As some race tracks are large spaced out compounds. This often places the pit area too far away from the grandstands which prohibits the fan young or old to create an identity and friendship with a specific driver.


There was a time that drivers stayed in the pit area until all the races were over to meet and greet with the fans. But now it seems that as quick as a specific class is over with its feature race, those drivers are loaded up and are headed out the pit gate. It was the consensus among the fans that the promoters need to educate the drivers more these days on how important it is for them to stay after the races and meet with the fans to help strengthen the tracks fan base. When a race fan creates a personal connection with a driver, they are more likely to return to the track more often to watch the races.



When we talked to people who were potential future drivers in both dirt oval and drag racing one thought came to mind the most for both sports. The idea was that both sports needed an entry level class for beginning drivers to race beginning drivers. This would enable the new racer to learn the sport without being subject to racing the veterans of the sport right off the bat. Motorsports has a sharp learning curve, and constantly being out raced by the veterans of the sport can be very exhausting and cause new comers to leave the sport as quick as they got into it. The fact of the matter is that talent pool in Arkansas for motorsports is very deep.


Most every class has racer with twenty plus years of experience in it. This can be very intimidating and we had several people tell us that this alone had kept them from trying their hand at the sport.

Naturally, another item that was constantly discussed was making the sport more affordable. It wasn’t that all classes had to be affordable, but at least one division be a class that most everyone could afford if they wanted to race. This was a prime example of how the sport might attract the younger generation into the sport. As younger people, especially those right out of high school, do not have the level of income to field a car in the classes that most tracks currently offer.


Also on the drag racing side of things it was suggested several times that promoters should occasionally consider mixing a strong heads up class with its bracket program. It was thought that this might help increase the fan count for the bracket racing program. Drag race fans also stated several times that they missed the Quick 8 style bracket races that use to be associated with many bracket race programs.


And just as a suggestion to the racers of all motorsports. We understand the importance and the value of enclosed trailers. As racers ourselves we own several of them. But to help the promotion of the sport. Every so often, pull your race car to the races on an open trailer. Young kids in today’s world see and enclosed trailer and they have no idea if it’s carrying a race car, or a load of furniture. But when kids see a race car traveling down the highway on an open trailer, they want mama and daddy to take them to the races. And this is where the racers of the tomorrow come from.


In closing we found the answers to some of our questions totally different than what we expected, especially from the drivers. If nothing else, the results may give track promoters something to think about in the future. Outside of that: See You At The Races.


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