Saturday, August 4, 2007

Chowchilla Speedway Story In Fresno Bee

I don't know how much I really want to get into this stuff here, but I can't really help it. This is important to me. I'd rather be talking about my memories in racing, but there's a problem. I WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE MORE MEMORIES OF THIS TRACK! Sorry, I shouted there.

I noticed a story from the Fresno Bee. Check out the link here:

The story mentions that we've had too many tracks closing lately and we have. It sucks, and I'm tired of it. But, I want to grab one point here, ask a question and make a suggestion, if I may. Not trying to offend, but I gotta be honest. I've seen Tom and Cindy take money out of their own pocket to help get a person to race or to help others. This is not a comparison to other promoters, but I know what Tom and Cindy try to do for the community.

In the early days, there were $5 and then $6 adult tickets to spectate. No membership requirements to race and other stuff. Why? Because Tom and Cindy wanted to make a track for the racers and the fans to come and have fun, and be able to afford to do it often. In this economy, that's a risky way to run a business. Some would say crazy, but I would say caring. They care about the racers. When times got bad around here, Tom was the only promoter I ever worked with who called or e-mailed to see how I was doing.

So, here's the thing. Well, let me quote the story here:

Cindi Sagmiller said car counts and attendance have been down this season. She listed the high cost of fuel as the main reason and also said RACE LLC is about $2,000 behind on its lease payments to the fair board. "Yes we're behind. But we're always behind," she said. "I can't see that as a reason for closing us down."

So, I gotta ask. Is this purely about money or is the fair board trying to make a statement? If it's a statement, I suppose they'll just be jerks if they want to be. If it's money...

I don't doubt that at times money has been tight there, but the fair board has gotten their money in the end. It just took certain shows to do it. How easy do you think it really is to run a show down there? Look at car count and attendance numbers at Chow and the closest track to them, and I doubt you can say either track is getting rich. That's not really my point. I'm sure the Chow fairgrounds is making more money with that track than they would without it, and the town has an attraction there that has to help the local economy at least a little bit every weekend.

But, here's the thing. The effort to do right by the racers has probably contributed a little to the late payments. If they went after more money from the drivers and fans, it might not be that way, but then again, perhaps the track wouldn't be there.

Okay, get to the point Don. Sorry, I tend to ramble.

If this is about money, I'm sure there are racers and fans who would donate to the cause to help Tom and Cindy out. Say what? Look, I'm not suggesting Tom go to the racers with his hat in his hand. I don't think he would, and he probably wouldn't like the suggestion even being made. I don't even know if it would work. On the net, we have a thing called paypal, and somebody (not me) could set up a fund explicitly for the $2,000 needed.

Who would pay? Anybody who cares about getting the track back open and supporting promoters who have supported them. If you had fun there and could donate to the cause, do it. It would be up to the people. Would this work? I don't even know. We only know what the newspaper reported, and Tom hasn't made an official statement. I'm just throwing this out there while there's still a chance.

The weekly fun
The Steitz Race
Open Wheel Round Up
Freedom Series
Buddy's Race
Dykstra/Odgers Memorial Mechanics & Ladies Race
And so much more

It's worth trying to save. Isn't it? Well, enough of my rambling. I just hope this story ends with good news.