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Red Clay Report - Oversaturation (Read 1908 times)
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Red Clay Report - Oversaturation
06/13/13 at 12:29pm

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (June 12, 2013)
It sure has been some time since I have banged out a Red Clay Report, just haven't been inspired to write about anything. I sure did not want to talk about tires again. That subject looks to be a problem that will not go away, at least the cheating part. Car counts? That road has been traveled quite a bit and the lower numbers is just a sign of the times as the years progress.  Money? That also has been worked over by many, purse money, cost of racing, cost of tickets, while a solid concern, that deal will not be resolved. So what is the subject this round of the RCR? Oversaturation, over what? Huh?
This oversaturation I'm talking about deals with the area I frequent these days, the southern parts where I chase races or announce at. This is a problem in some ways I thought I would never think about. Right now, within 200 miles of Birmingham, Alabama, there is no doubt a overabundance of operating racetracks, what? You may say there is never enough open tracks, but in 2013 there is oversaturation, there is that word again. The issue is there are now more tracks open and not enough racecars and fans to support them all. In no way  I hope, or advocate any track closing to ease the pain. In my view, any open track is a good thing rather than being closed.
What has gone down in 2013? Tracks scratching big time for fans and cars. It is especially acute when it comes to Super Late Models. Just some examples, there is a region in Tennessee that I frequent, there are 4 tracks tightly grouped, Thunderhill, Tennessee National, Duck River, and historic Winchester that all run Supers on the same night. These tracks are all within very, very short drives of each other. Geez, 4 tracks all bunched up all trying to run Supers. In my neck of the woods, there is Green Valley, Talladega, Moulton, and Ft Payne running Supers on the same night. Then if ya travel a bit, under 3 hours away you have Dixie near Atlanta, Cleveland and North Georgia near Chattanooga all running Supers. A possible 11 tracks running Late Models that I could choose from on a Saturday night.
With those numbers, Late Models are at a premium, even down here. Some tracks that averaged in the low 20s' or high teens are seeing car counts sometimes in single digits. Other tracks still have decent counts like Winchester in Tennessee, or a rebounding Talladega that has seen better car counts in 2013. That tracks racers are puzzling, those guys flat won't travel, there could be a $10,000-to-win show a half-mile down the road but they won't run it, they stay put even though they gripe about things at TST. Shoot, I forgot to mention that under 2 hours away are 2 cool Mississippi tracks that are doing good, a rebounding Columbus Motor Speedway, and the super nice Magnolia Motor Speedway. Columbus has thrown together some smartly promoted shows with good results. Magnolia opens the gates and will draw over 20, usually high 20s' for any show, even on a Sunday night, also the "Mag" will have over 30 Crates as well.
So here is how I see things in this one area, maybe teams that did not have a chance at a win due to funding or any other reason, now have many choices where to go, any Late Model is in high demand. I remember hearing that so and so is coming, he doesn't have a prayer, now it goes like this,hey, did ya hear that so and so is coming? Should be a good show. Now maybe a lesser team is now more important and valued. I respect and value any raceteam no matter the budget or equipment. Can I add another issue? All of this does not address the touring series! We have the Southern All Stars, Southern Regional Racing Series, Mississippi State Series, and the Nesmith tour. Then throw in visits by the Lucas Oil Series and the World of Outlaws, it gets very busy. Promoters are having interesting promotions such as $1.00 admission at Columbus, $5.00 to get thru the gates at Moulton, and then there is one of the tracks I announce at, Green Valley that has $20.00 carload prices, if there are 2 fans, ya pay $10.00 each, 3 or more it's a flat $20.00. The record at GVS was 17 fans in a pickup, do the math, that's a cheap ticket.
Another track decided to open in my area that just crowded the landscape even more and it's less that 30 minutes from my shack in the hills. River Valley in Arkadelphia, Alabama, a track I worked a couple years ago before the promoters bailed, has opened for shows twice a month. Another speedway trying to draw Supers and fans. That makes it 5 tracks within 60 minutes running Supers. I guess the strong will survive and some may struggle, can you say oversaturation? Crowded indeed. Till next time.
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