Future of Mod Racing
Posted 27 September 2005 - 09:57 PM
Let me start off by saying that if I was still a resident up there I would gladly take on the challenge of bringing together a new Mod association and heading it myself. From everything I have seen, it's needed. I know nothing about Mod's, never have, and never will. I don't know the intricate workings of the chassis or your current rules package. But I wouldnt need to know a damn thing about Mod's to put an association together. You don't need an ego the size of Texas to bring together intelligent people. It's actually better to let those who do know do the thinking anyways.
If you look back at some of the divisions, you will find that promoters have taken some great ideas and turned them into abortions. Let's first face the facts here, I don't know of one damn promoter who has enough knowledge about race cars to even begin to develop a new Mod for the 21st century. That's where racers come in. Call me dumb, call me trusting but I have always believed that with guidance and a few restrictions, racers can develop the very best racecars and rules packages for short track's. This does not mean that Buck Harsen, or Windpushers or Bice or any other mnaufacturer comes in and calls the shots, it means the end user, the racers themselvesdevelop their cars.
Look at the ASALMS and SUPERPRO cars. Do you think some promoter designed that race car ? Do you think Harley or Chas did ? I sure hope you dont think Ron and I did because none of these people had a major hand in developing this car. It was the racers who developed, designed, tested and put to use this race car. All Ron and I did was give the racer an open forum in which to bring forth their ideas. Our meeting wasnt a bitch session, it wasnt us pounding ideas down the racers throats, it was the racers laying all kinds of ideas on the table and then as a group discussing them. All I did was moderate the meeting and all Ron did was make sure we stayed on the same page. The racers did all the hard work.
The same thing needs to happen with the Mod division. It's fractured, its splintered and the promoters have gained control of the division and in time will turn the Mod's into an aborotion like they have other classes of car's, all coming up with their own little twist of the rules to benefit them and their track.
I suggest someone find a moderator, one who has a great deal of experience leading groups of people in brainstorming sessions and who can keep the peace and not throw their own idea's onto the table to lead a Modified discussion. I would also recommend that the promoters and manufacturers not be invited to the meeting so their influence isnt peddled there. Then have any and all modified drivers attend this meeting behind closed doors and allow the moderator to facilitate the meeting. Throw your ideas on the table. Act like gentleman and discuss them without pissing, moaning and yelling. Use your calculator and calculate what changes your proposing will cost. Look at new ideas, think outside the box and do not throw any suggestions out without first hashing them over.
In as far as the MMA, I believe the association is too far behind the times to ever catch up. They are slow in diseminating information. They have not taken advantage of the Internet. They are slow to respond to driver concerns, their wants and the racers need for change. And no one can serve two completely different factions of racing, Dirt and Asphalt. You do one or the other, but never both.
This isn't a slam against the Creeds as I personally do not know them. I have never met them, never talked to them and therefore will not comment on their own personal trait's. I am simply discussing the MMA association here. The MMA was a great idea but never kept pace wih the ever changing times. They are now so far behind and so fractured that it's better to wipe the slate clean and start over.
I know you all can do this. I know that if you all work together you can preserve and grow a great division of race cars and racers. But the time to act is NOW, not next year or the year after. It will do you no good to wait for the promoters to make changes. It's time that the racers themselves make them, together as a group.
In closing let me say, that if your serious you do want change, are committed to exploring new ideas and want to look at ways to preserve Mod racing, then I will make myself available and fly up to Michigan in December and facilitate a meeting for you guys. You give me the location and time. Just remember, when I get back on the plane to come home, my involvement ends...........lol
Let me know if you want to do this thing. Just remember it would have to be done sometime in December because in January my old retired ass will be in Palm Springs for the duration of the winter.
Posted 27 September 2005 - 10:15 PM
This whole idea sounds good to me, as I plan to be in this class for a
long time. I feel the Mods are in a position to be the headliner at
some tracks, as the Super Late Models, as we have come to know
them are in more of a state of change than mods.
The mods are still one of the most affordable class's going, but we
need to get the purse back up some to make the class start to grow
again and recieve some of the influx of ex-SLM drivers or Limited and
street stock drivers who want to venture into this class.
I feel that we also need to get the tracks to work with us and come
up with a schedule, that moves from track to track.
I will be one of the first to work on a place to hold a meeting. I already
have a place in mind.
It will be interesting to see how others view your thoughts.
Thank You, for your thoughts and interest!
Posted 28 September 2005 - 05:09 AM
Bravo, I will take you up on your offer and show up wherever the meeting is set at. I agree with the Gov, we are set to be a headliner class at a number of tracks, but we need to do so with caution and moderation, and not allow our alligator ego's get our tadpole backsides into trouble, monetarily and otherwise.
The more people I talk to about local short track racing, the more I find that they clearly like watching the mods, and enjoy the show that is put on by us. Certainly they enjoy watching the supers, who doesn't, but the mods are gaining more and more of a fan base amongst the casual, and the rabid short track fan. We as a class can help keep and increase that fan base, which is the key to survival of short tracking in general, by being careful with the changes that are allowed, and by working diligently at keeping the mods an affordable race car. Part of that equation is chassis and engine rules, part of that equation is tire rules, and part of that equation is equanimity across and amongst the various tracks in Michigan, which will allow for travel by the racer without destroying his or her racing budget for the year.
Once the car is ready for the season, it is not a big consideration to load up and haul to a track you rarely, or never have raced at, provided you don't need to spend $400 for that track's tires, another $? for a year's registration at that track, etc. Sure, its gonna cost some money, but if I can take my car shod with the tires that I already have, along with others as needed for stagger adjustments, etc., it sure makes it easier and more convenient, and who doesn't like convenience.
Clearly, we can grow and we can prosper and we can be the headliner, we are poised at the brink, but I do not have faith that the MMA can or will be the sanctioning body that can do it for us. It will take something and someone new. (Hell, the season is long over for MMA points and I still don't know where I finished, and I don't buy the excuse that all of the tracks haven't submitted their points to MMA. If they haven't, then the MMA should be on the phone getting the info.) Ok, I'll stop beating a dead horse, it hasn't helped in the past and it won't help now, but it feels good.
Anyway, thanks for the offer Chris, and you also Governor, let me know if I can help and I will.
Have a good day,
Posted 28 September 2005 - 06:15 AM
I forgot to add in my last post, I do not need to be present at this meeting. I am sure someone can come up with a good facilitator to handle this meeting.
All I planned on doing was keeping order, keeping everyone on track, keep the flow going, keep the ideas coming and making sure everyone has a voice. Surely there is someone up there in Michigan that can handle this chore.
If you Mod drivers can find someone who 1.) Has no personal interest in Mod's 2.) Has no stake in the outcome 3.) Has no personal ties to any promoter or manufacturer 4.) Has no stake in the outcome of any rule changes, then you have your man. All it takes is someone who can lead an entire group of people to a common goal and keep everyone moving in the same direction without stemming the flow of information or ideas or allowing one person to dominate the entire meeting or contaminate the process.
I believe the Mod's have an opportunity of a lifetime to make some positive changes for this division. You also have the chance to bring in a few cost cutting measures for the division as well to help build the class for the future and usher in more drivers.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 07:03 AM
We too believe that the mods are the future of short track here in the state. We are building one over the winter.
All of this sounds interesting and we would have a strong interest in keeping up with any association talks. It would take a professional to moderate a group of any size and with its own agendas pulling it in several directions.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 07:40 AM
I would LOVE to attend these meetings. I would gladly take any role that is needed. Or rather any role that my peers want me to take.
The difficulty in this is far more complex in many ways than the forming of USPRO. In many ways it seems easier, but therein lies the difficulty. It was not all to difficult for the racers to come together and form the USPRO. USPRO started frseh with a totally new car design. Modifieds in Michigan, however, already exist. Everyone with a modified is going to have their own ideas of what will work bnest for them. Those with a deep inventory in engine parts, for example, will want to continue to use them and will be adamantly against the use of a sealed crate engine. Thiose who do not have engine parts inventory and who have no decent engines will be supportive of the crate concept. This will go on and on...Those with SLM buddies will want to use SLM parts. Those with 50 junk Chevelles in their yard will be against fab clips. etc...etc...etc...
This will not be an easy task. I've been thinking about this for a couple years. Honestly I have. Even to the point where I approached Chris in Private messages. When it came right down to it, this task is far to difficult for a guy like me to take on alone.
I do want to be a part of it.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 08:26 AM
Your right, this is going to be a difficult task, but I have found that things that are difficult to achieve are normally the ones with great results. Nothing in life is easy. Just ask Bill Gates or Donald trump who both were told numerous times they were idiots and their ideas wouldnt work.
With that said, your right, we did start with a brand new car for USPRO, but if you remove the body and engine, its basically a super late model chassis. We started with the chassis and built the USPRO car from there.
I guess my biggest fears for you guys is exactly what Mike stated. Its very hard to approach this with an open mind when your race shop has a stack of parts that are for certain engines, certain chassis types, etc. In any process like this you have to take your own personal circumstances and set them aside in order to secure your future. You cannot interject your thoughts and feelings based solely on what you have at home for parts. It has to be based on what is best for the division and for everyone. When personal opinions are based solely on personal inventories, things go to hell in a hand basket quick. You basically slit the throat of 30 racers in order to benefit 2 or 3. That's been the problem with all divisions for years.
I truly believe that all of your focus should be on cutting costs, providing a way for the division to grow with common sense rules and to stand united together as a division, versus a few individuals.
If you think change doesn't bring about good results, look at the USPRO car. Between USPRO, ASALMS and SuperPro there have been well over 100 brand new cars built since Ron and I released the rules for USPRO. I can't think of another division that has seen that kind of growth in recent years. We essentially went from nothing but ideas on paper to full fields of cars in two short years.
Get a set of good common sense rules, cut your costs, level the playing field a bit and you will find they will build them and they will race them.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 08:50 AM
We need modified rules for 10 years from now. For the time when Stock clips will no longer be available. For the time when Stock lower control arms don't exist.
We need a modified that we can build ourselves out of steel we buy in bulk. Or at least a modified that a chassis builder can build for us without spending time stripping something out of a junkyard and adding $500 to the cost.
We need to eliminate rules requiring components to be made the same dimensions of stock components. We need to build this stuff ourselves to fit the cars that we build ourselves. Forcing everyone to build things that must meet some theoretical measurement of a part that isn't built or manufactured anymore not only complicates the building process, but creates tech-lane headaches as well. What's the difference if a control arm is a different shape or length if we can all make them any shape we need. Cost is the issue at hand, not tape measure readings.
It is so difficult to get racers to understand this stuff. Forget about what's in your shop. Forget about what you have been racing in. Forget about the way you have been running your operation. Forget about the junkyard you have ties to. Forget about the pile of rusty parts you've been collecting.
You guys want to cut costs? This is the only way to do it. Come up with a modified that races just like the mods we have now, but can be built and repaired at home. That can be outfitted with readily available components. That won't fail tech because you made a 1/4 inch measurement error on some theoretically located mounting point.
Forget about engine rules. Get rid of the claim. Crate motor, no crate motor, I don't care. Keep us on HARD tires. 8" HARD tires. Limit forward bite. That's the only rule needed to restrain engine costs.
This is the modified I want to be driving 10 years from now. This is a modified that will run fairly with current modifieds. This is the type of change that the modified division will realize over time whether we like it or not.
We can lead, or we can follow. We can get it done now, or we can change things pretty much every year until we end up there anyways.
That's how I see it, so that's the way I call it.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:00 AM
Let me explain why I feel the way I do. Promoters run race tracks. They handle insurance issues, they handle food ordering, they handle local goverment issues, they handle staff issues, the property issues, the financial issue's and a whole host of other headaches. What they don't do is build race cars, order parts, prepare race cars, dial in set-ups, figure out tire staggers, wedge, cross weights, percentages nor do they spend time researching the latest hot shock and brake set-ups, etc. Otherwise, in a nutshell, promoters do NOT know race cars and if any of them say they do they are full of shit, it's their egos talking. I bet there isnt one of you racers out there who knows a promoter that you would allow to set your car up for you for a race.
On contrast, YOU set your race car's up, YOU order your part's, YOUR responsible for it's maintenance, and most of all YOU pay all the race bills in order to get your car on the track ready to race. So can someone explain to me why anyone would want a promoter to design their race car for them and layout the rules ?
To be fair to the promoters I haven't met any racers I would be willing to hand over a race track to operate ( though a few think they could do better jobs ).......LOL In a nutshell, not everyone can be everything and not everyone has a focus and expertise in all areas. Promoters handle race track issues, racers handle race car issues. Thats the way it should be.
My suggestion is to hold this meeting without the promoters, not because they are assholes but because they simply have nothing to offer in the way of technical expertise. Besides, when was the last time any of you racers were invited to an MSPA meeting ?
I also don't think chassis manufacturers should be brought into the mix until later ( after you have a good working set of preliminary rules ). After you have your last draft of rules in place, then bring in the promoters and chassis manufacturers and lay them out for them. Ron and I brought in Harley and Chas AFTER we had our rules package and asked them for their input. Both of them helped us tremendously and I applaud Chas and Harley because neither of them found a way to interject a change that would benefit them. Instead, they offered changes that would benefit the racer and save them money. We then got the very best drivers you can find to test out our theories to be sure they worked which they did. And the icing on the cake was when we proved all of the naysayers wrong.
I won't apologize for having faith in you racers. YOU guys are the experts when it comes to race cars, you guys know your own costs better then anyone else and you guys, whatever rules are established are the ones who have to pay for them and live with them. So isnt it fair that all of you design the rules in the first place rather then having a promoter do it for you then later cram them down your throat ?
Let me also say that there is a reason why the Mod's have never gotten support in the past from the power players out there. The majority of them simply do not want anything to do with the Mod division. It has been sad to see but the division has had a cloud over it's head for a long time. You guys have been put onto an island and not one of the major players I have talked to will touch the Mod's or be involved in your division. The main reason Why ? Because they feel your the hardest, most inflexible group of racers to work with. I know this isnt true but try making them see the light.
I myself would love nothing more then to see all of you come together, throw all your personal wants and needs and self serving interests to the side and develop a set of rules that will make the Mod division one of the greatest at the short tracks. Now go prove them wrong and show these people they are full of shit. I have faith in all of you and I KNOW you can pull this off.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:05 AM
May I suggest that you find a meeting facility that is central to all racers. Otherwise it's easy for East and West side guys to attend. Thats the reason why we always used Lansing as a place to meet because its central for everyone and the locations I picked were normally right off a major expressway. It also can assure you more participation as well.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:46 AM
Let’s say that 60% of the asphalt Mod guys do come together and agree on common rules, points, and things like that.
What is in it for the owners and promoters of Dixie, AC, Spartan, Springport, and Owosso?
How would recognizing this new Mod association’s authority to set rules and regulations be beneficial to the Tracks?
How does this make them more MONEY?
How will a longer lasting tire make them more money?
How would submitting to the authority of this New Modified Association Increase their current revenue streams from the modified class? or would it Decrease the revenue for the tracks?
Does this New Modified association give the tracks more or less control over the drivers?
Would this not be a defacto ‘Drivers Association” i.e. UNION?
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, The current MMA is the way it is because it is in the best interests of the individual speedways to keep the MMA dysfunctional. The MMA was started by the tracks because they did not like submitting to the authority of IMCA, and paying IMCA fees.
Dear Sirs, Please name ONE recognized association or racing series that is run by the car owners or drivers? (Except CART).
In my humble Opinion, the only rules regulations that will be up for consideration by the tracks are rules that do not effect the revenue streams generated from the Mods and regulations that do not take away control over the Mods from the tracks….such as….
Engine rules, the tracks make no money off of engines, and that’s why many tracks LIKE sealed crate engines, because they REDUCE the Salary costs of employing Good engine tech inspectors, and reduce the number of wasted man hours every season teching engines and it reduces the cost in buying and maintaining tech equipment. Most tracks will listen to engine rules that do not cost the track more time and money in tech personel.( such as AC's restricted exhaust rule for the lead sleds).
Chassis rules, tracks make ZERO revenue from chassis sales and chassis parts sales, Most tracks will listen to rule changes for the chassis from the drivers, so most trracks would listen to your common chassis rules.
Most Tracks will want control of any tire rule; because they want have control of ALL tire revenues. The likelihood of a track giving up control of tire rules IS zero.
Entry fees and association fees, and pay offs, NO track will submit to any associations authority on these issues, imho.
So DO have YOUR meetings, but be realistic on what you can expect the track owner to accept, and ONLY concentrate on those issues that have the greatest chance of acceptance from the tracks. Such as engine rules, chassis rules, and body rules, and race procedures like ABC features, spinner spinnee rules, restart rules. NOT tire rules.
BUT there Still is HOPE To get a common tire rule at most tracks, find the track with the strongest mod car counts, and get that track to adopt your suggested tire rule, then the tracks with poorer car counts will follow suit hoping to attract disgruntled drivers by having the same tire rules.
Which track has the strongest Car counts? AC ,How many? Dixie, How Many? Spartan, How many?
Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:53 AM
I am willing to sit down with other mod drivers and offerers of participation on an initial basis, to set up some of the suggestions for creating the atmosphere to get these creative juices flowing. Governor, MaddMike and a few others of us should do some pm'ing and try to set up a meeting in order to get the process started. Amongst us I am sure we can find a common goal and ground from which to move on to build what Chris has envisioned here.
Small steps get you higher in the end because the big ones wear you out much quicker. Getting a group of us together to discuss how to get to starting the "big step" would be the small step I have in mind,
Any other thoughts?
have a good day,
Posted 28 September 2005 - 10:16 AM
Posted 28 September 2005 - 10:20 AM
The problem with associations is inherently the same problem that we try to fight with an association. Cost. An association takes money to run, what we need is to reduce weekly costs. Not having to join multiple track associations or sanctioning bodies will enable more people to run when and where they want, while not being anchored to one tracks rules and non-existant point fund. If someone has to come to a new track and drop $600 before touching the track, he'll prolly stay home instead. This coupled with a growing lack of interest kept my old car home all year long. How do you keep your goals cost driven and not interest driven by a select faction of drivers?
For an association to survive under a leader it will require money, money that comes from the racers to support the leaders goals. Any given leader will not get universal support. Look how well USPRO went and I still remember how many nay sayers there were at those meetings. So how do you lower/eliminate the cost of the association?
To be sucessful an association needs to be UNIVERSAL, honestly speaking not all promoters will buy into such an idea. So the racers need to ensure that this is universal. Getting hundreds of racers to ban together is almost impossible. The only way to enforce the racers stand will be to simply not race at tracks that do not join the universal rules. This simply wont work, because everyone wants to win, so racers will go to the tracks with fewer cars in an effort to win. How do you gain universalism within the mod racing community?
The promoters have to look out for their own tracks. Why would they support one new sanction over another (or no sanction at all)? They need to see a reason to support this that is based on 2 goals: car count and profit. Unfortunately for the association, the promoters support is needed to have a place to race. Even a petition with all of the mod drivers wouldn't work. The promoter will simply call his regulars back, make a deal to get some of them back to his track, and bang... union busted. How do you convince promoters that this is the ONLY way to go?
Lastly, the racers. What incentive do all racers have to join? The benefits are probably not so apparent. "Hmmm, just another membership fee to pay and for something that is not a sure thing." How do you convince drivers that this is a need?
Having said all that, we used to have a universal setup it was called IMCA. However, it didnt adapt as we needed for asphalt tracks in MI, so we changed. If we can get back to those glory days in terms of racing easily, how do we prevent this cycle from coming full cirlce again?
Personally speaking I agree with all of the points of late. How to do it is the problem. I've told Dan this already as well, but for the first time I think that totally agree with his points.... so they must be good :wink:
The problem is how to make it all fit together. I think the USAmods have it the best right now for ease of rules, travel, and cost. The easiest way out is to play by the if you can't beat them, join them mentality. Anyone think Mr Ellis would put together a Northern tour, or help us get our tracks sanctioned? (best idea I got to answer those questions above)
Posted 28 September 2005 - 10:21 AM
As for Trick's post. This is good thought. Theres 2 ways I see to look at it. First, we could set rules for everything BUT tires and leave that up to the tracks. If all the mod owners and drivers agree to the rules, then those would be the rules. Period.
Or, we could vote in our own tire that we want to run, and make arrangements for us to buy them outside the track if the tracks are not willing to carry them for us.
Yes, this would be a union of sorts. I do NOT support unions when it comes to factory work, but this isn't the same at all. If we make the rules and we agree to them and we stick by them, what choice to the track owners have? There's only a couple left that can afford SLM as their headline division, so their other choice would be to make SS their top division????
I don't see this as something we want to use to "stick it" to the promoters, it's just that we want to control our own rules and our own future. I don't see this being used as a tool to force them to increase payouts "or else", and I don't see it as something that we want to use to take revenue such as tire sales away from them. We need the tracks just the same as the tracks need us....But when it comes down to it, the tracks are their business and the cars are OUR business.
The drivers and track owners have to work together to some extent or nothing will work AT ALL. If we say "screw the tracks alltogether" then we might as well call it the "Michigan Show-car and Parade Modifieds" because we won't be racing.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 11:01 AM
""Trick, If the promoters are honest with themselves about their long term business forcast, thier success is dependant on one key thing. That they have a long term popular product to sell. ""
We can agree on that, but it would be hard for a track owner to reduce his tire revenue because he has bills all year and only about 20 days a year to be open for business.
IMHO, the chances of getting a track owner to change their tire rules to a tire that causes them to lose revenue is ZERO.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 11:35 AM
""Forget about engine rules. Get rid of the claim. Crate motor, no crate motor, I don't care. Keep us on HARD tires. 8" HARD tires. Limit forward bite. That's the only rule needed to restrain engine costs. ""
Mr. Mike, your are soo correct....LIMIT forward bite...and personally I hate Claim rules....
But the drivers/carowners will NEVER have control of the tire rules.
But you MAY get the tracks to adopt an engine rule that is easy and low cost to tech, that will level the playing field, and cut engine costs, but the top contenders will HATE this rule.
It is the restricted Exhaust Outlet RULE.
Limit the exhaust outlet to 2 inches max, with a maximum of 2 outlets allowed. Maximum dual exhaust, with a maximum of a 2inch O.D. outlet.
Scientifically, this method has been proven with Dynomometer Test to reduce maximum horse power potential and reduce the RPM at which Maximum Horse power is acheived.
Restricted Exhaust outlet rules will cut engine costs by reducing Maximum RPM's and reducing Maximum Horse power.
Restricted Exhaust outlet rules level the playing field.
Restricted Exhaust outlet rules are LOW tech, easy to inspect, and are Low cost, Under $40 per car.
Restricted Exhaust outlet rules have worked in the lead sled classes and 4 cylinder classes.
Restricted Exhaust outlet rules have about a 70% chance of being accepted by the tracks.
yet, Restricted Exhaust outlet rules have about a Zero% chance of being accepted by Mod teams. Mod teams want the Tracks to save them from them selfs by mandating a hard narrow tire.
Yet the chances of your track tire bill being less is Zero %, and the chances of your tire bill going up is 100%.
yet for $40 per car, by having Restricted Exhaust outlet rules , your chances fo your engine costs and tire costs going DOWN are 100%.
imho, You guys are your own worst enemy.
Posted 28 September 2005 - 11:41 AM
Or you could look at it in another way. A promoter may not be able to afford the purse that he knows the mod class is worth, but since he knows that the mods are the best value of anything he could bring in for his fans...He may be willing to write off the tire profits.
The profits per week are likely VERY minimal when compared to the payout. It would probably be similar to adding $10 or less to every finishing position.