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Red Clay Report - Ten Percent (Read 2139 times)
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Red Clay Report - Ten Percent
11/03/14 at 1:30am

Red Clay Report - Ten Percent

Late Model Mark
Pinson, Alabama (November 2, 2014)

Seems like overnight the weather went from hot and mucky right into winter. Just days ago it was in the mid eighties, today it is near freezing. Outside as I bang away on the keyboard, it is a quiet and cold Sunday morning, usually I would be on my way to East Alabama Motor Speedway for the high dollar National 100 final, not this year, taking the weekend off, so here I sit with a question regarding purse money. A well worn out subject for sure, written about for years with various opinions. I am going to take a very slight left turn on this question,this Red Clay Report is about ten percent.

What is ten percent? Ten percent of what? I'll get to that, let me go back some weeks. Back in early October I put on a Talladega Short Track racecar show at a busy grocery store inside a mid-sized shopping center. I had started this project in early July with the store management and some select Talladega racers. It would be a win-win for the store as higher sales were hoped for and much needed exsposure for the race teams. During the day we would have the show from 10:00a.m. thru 2:00p.m. I had a major soft drink company bring in a show trailer to pour drinks, a major meat and pork company from the South to cook ribeye steak sandwiches and hot dogs. $3.00 dollars for the steak sammy and 2 hot dogs and a drink for $1.00. That night at Talladega was the second running of the Nesmith 525 Super Late Model "Dega 100." I had some posters made up by an excellent graphic artist man, Ed Davis, he did a great job, put those posters all over town as well.

I had arrived at the store around 7:30a.m. to get set up and things positioned, I had arranged from many companies to have some goodies donated for drawings inside the store, got 'em in the store to sign up. Prizes included Alabama Crimson Tide and Kingsford BBQ 8x10 picnic tents, Kingsford BBQ grills, drinks, chips, and t-shirts as well as hats. I had asked the invited racers to start to arrive at 9:30a.m. The racers invited were Mark Dowdy in his Super Late, Crate drivers included 13 yr. old Cruz Skinner, Mike Combs, and Adam Gauldin. Limited Late Model drivers Joe Noojin and "Dangerous"Andy Davis. Also on had was Mini Stock heavyweight Josh McBride. Everything was ready, all we needed was the racers, had spots right in front of the store roped off. Right at 9:30a.m. the first racer showed up , Cruz Skinner rolled in with his huge rig, then the rest came in line next. The excitement had started as shoppers looked in awe of the rigs and the racecars on  open trailers. Each car was unloaded and the driven in all their unmuffled glory to the spots designated. Shortly after 10:00a.m. the show was on. The meat was cooking on a oak wood grill and smoker, the soft drinks were pouring and the show running.

One unique event I thought of I got from the nostalgia drag races at Bakersfield, why not have a Late Model cacklefest? Right at high noon after announcing this event inside the busy store, all the teams fired up their cars rumbling the parking lot, idling, then whacking the throttle, it sounded awesome and the folks on hand loved it!! Pictures were taken thruot the show, drivers signing stuff and just a good time for all. The Late Model fireup was so well recieved the store manager asked for another one, so to close the show, right at 1:30pm. The sweet sound of Dirt Late Models rocked the shopping center, again, man did it sound good. The show was a smashing success, I am going to do it bigger and better in 2015. In this setting, I had the chance to really hang out and talk to the racers, not at the track were their minds are on the race, but a relaxed environment.

Talking about that nights race with 525 driver Mark Dowdy we got to yappin' about costs and purse, I had asked many questions on his costs, expenses, and his expectations on some form of return. That is where he brought up the "ten percent" deal on purses. Mark felt that  the starting money should be ten percent of the winning purse. For example, if it is a $5000-to-win show, the start money should be $500. If it is a 4-grander, 3-grander, or a 2-grander, the start money should be ten percent. Going thru the drivers present they all agreed that ten percent would be fair. I agree to a point. Being involved with many tracks over the years, especially with Green Valley and now Talladega, the costs of operating a weekly track are enourmous, employee,food, ambulance, and the godzilla of costs, insurance are huge. In some cases, depending on the area and track, an across the board ten percent payoff on specials can be met, other areas it simply cannot. I do  believe that for tracks, their signature event of the year should have the ten percent payoff for starters. One last thing, the store that hosted the show had a increase of 16% on the day for sales over any other Saturday since opening day. What do ya think about ten percent? Till next time.

Late Model Mark
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