Some who participate in sports or recreational activities do spend a good amount of their hard earned money to have the best and latest equipment in order to get the maximum satisfaction out of their favorite activity.
Ironman triathlons are another good proof of this where participants spend thousands of dollars on lightweight bikes and other equipment like clothing, wetsuits and shoes in order to get their best personal finish. They pay a high registration fee to participate and their reward isn’t cash, but achieving a personal goal.
Another side of sports and recreational activities is where people can find a niche within and turn it into a profitable business.
Someone who enjoys fishing could operate a guide service on a popular lake. A sailor could provide romantic sunset cruises for a couple. A bowler could have its own pro shop.
In auto racing, especially short track racing, there are some teams who provide a full service team operation for a driver.
A few days ago, one of those race teams disclosed the cost of their services in a press release looking for a driver in 2017. Almost immediately, people went on social media commenting about the prices and resorting to name calling as well.
After talking to some within the industry, this is just a reality that really hasn’t been out publicly before this press release was sent out. It’s a truth within the sport and it’s nothing new, it just hasn’t been in the spotlight.
One person estimated that probably over a dozen teams that competed at the Snowball Derby last year were on a program like this team.
This is not a new trend, it has been around for a long time and it is not just in Super Late Model racing but in all forms of auto racing. Someone will own a team that will prepare cars then either hire drivers or rent them out.
One of the biggest criticisms was the cost to compete per event. Many have said that a team’s cost is within the range that this team stated in their press release. Some would even charge more.
Comments from people on social media stating they could do it for a third of the cost, etc. are valid comments, especially if they are building and setting up their own cars.
But, one thing people need to consider is besides the cost of parts, engines, and everything else is payroll.
Just take a few minutes to think about this. If you ran a team full-time building cars to compete, one could guess that the successful teams probably have a staff of three to five people, at a minimum, working full-time all year long? Another guess is their salary would probably be anywhere around $30,000-$50,000 per person, meaning that the team’s annual salary could range from $60,000 to $250,000 annually.
Also factor in travel costs, hotels, tires, meals, and more.
At the end of the day, if you are a parent looking for a quality ride for your talented child driver to showcase their skills with the hope of moving up to higher levels of racing, signing on with a team like this may be a sound investment rather than trying to do everything yourself.
Today, we live in a society where it is easy to provide a quick knee-jerk reaction on social media or a message board. But sometimes, it helps to take a step back, think things over, talk to others involved in the business and really think things out before providing a comment.
Yes, some will say this kind of operation is going to hurt short track racing, but this wasn’t born yesterday. It has been around for decades; yet short track racing is still here.
Also, one can also argue their place within short track racing. While some will say that these kinds of operations are hurting the sport, another side could give a valid argument that they are helping the sport. Especially, if they have a good track record of bringing up development drivers and getting them to the next level.
Some forget that a cool thing about short track racing is we can see stars before they become bigger stars. What is cooler is that when they do become bigger stars, many like to come back and race with the short track stars.
Going back to that column written five years ago, one thing noted is that short track racing has something more in common like with many other sports, you can participate at any level, with any budget, and still enjoy it…and be successful.
It’s the free enterprise system that this country was founded on, some were smart enough to see an opportunity and jumped on it.