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Buy-backs…I think they are hurting drag racing.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about "buy-backs" over the winter and talking to racers this spring. I have come to the conclusion that buy-backs are hurting our sport. I know, some of you are saying "what is he talking about, he introduced them in the Midwest over 10 years ago." You are right, I did. I did NOT say they are a bad thing for track owners. I just think they have worn out their welcome and usefulness. It is another example where racers who have the extra income can get another or a better chance of winning an event simply because they can "afford it."
Do buy-backs make sense, financially, from a racer's point of view? Of course they do IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT! Are buy-backs a bargain if you lose first round and can enter the same race again for about half-price? Of course they are! Does it ruin an event when a "little guy" upsets a local hitter or nationally known racer first round then watches that racer buy-back and end up winning the event? YES I think it does. I know a lot of you are saying if you can't afford the buy-backs you should find another sport. I used to agree with that opinion, but not anymore. What can be done? I am not sure but I have some ideas and opinions.
I know of only two major bracket races that still DO NOT allow any buy-backs. The Tenn-Tuck Series at Bowling Green, KY and the 5-Day at Moroso Motorsports Park. With all the ups and downs that some big money races have endured, these two are HUGE successes every time they are held. Why? I think one of the reasons is "NO buy-backs. You get beat -- SEE YA! The Tenn-Tuck has a Consolation Race for $25, which is great. Moroso doesn't offer that but, with nearly 400 cars, they have a time problem to deal with. I really think ALL the Big Money race series going on right now could benefit from dropping their buy-backs. I feel a lot of racers are staying away from races with buy-backs and especially events using multiple entry cards.
I hope and think the track operators need to drop the attitude that they must cater to the "traveling pros." If you have been to these big money events you will notice a real small showing of local racers. Why? They know the weather, the track tendencies and should be at ease at the events. They are all of those BUT…they aren't ready to buy four entry cards at $125 each or drop the $300 on a weekend entry fee knowing the "pros" will think nothing of spending another $300 on buy-backs or more entry cards.
Without a doubt, the multiple entry cards and buy-backs are a good deal for the wealthier racers. It is just too much to put up with for the budget racer so they don't show up anymore. Look at the car counts at the B&M Series, the Southern Super 10's and others. The proof is in the number of entries they now attract compared to what they used to draw.
A good example is the Millennium Million at Rockingham that just took place over Memorial Weekend. They had about 110 entries! Not 200, not 300, not 400 and especially NOT the 500 it would take to pay the Million Dollars! Was it the $2000 entry fee or the fact that if you beat a "name" racer they could buy-back, at about $500, and you might have to beat them again.
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