After reading countless articles of how tough it is to race in the current economic climate I find you making a comment to a young ambitious racer, "hey stop racing until you can afford it" and "sounds like more of an addiction to me". You should be ashamed of yourself! Maybe working with professional teams has left you out of touch with real racing.
Real grassroots racers have to budget, cut corners, buy used, go to swap meets, and make decisions like, "can it last another year?" To suggest a racer has an addiction because he does everything he can to keep going is shameful. How about offering a few words to help his situation? Take a few weeks off, find some sponsorship, or make sure to take your time building your new engine.
We are aware that the price of safety equipment will never go down because it is mandated in most cases. There is no supply and demand, only demand. H&N devices are great but please don't suggest that we give a large portion of our racing budget up to purchase one.
Bob, when is the last time you took a 10th place, 15-year-old street Stock, put it up front with a $2,000 annual budget and purchased a $500 piece of safety equipment? You are probably too busy putting together corporate-sponsored cars and testing them on the most advanced level machines to realize that this is the way we race.
Entry-level racing would disappear with your suggestions. By the way, how are your million-dollar project cars doing? I get the feeling from your articles that you are the best thing in racing since the invention of disc brakes, and looking at the results of your projects, one could argue differently.
Maybe Circle Track should hire someone from Clay Rogers' crew to write a column about winning five times this year. You always have the last word as you did with this young racer so if this article gets published slam me like all the others but realize one thing, I am not a better racer or better person after reading your columns, and that should be your goal.
Ouch! Thanks Stu, I love people who you don't have to guess what's on their mind. You make some very valid points and I agree that racing is expensive and racers need to cut corners to make things work sometimes. Here are my thoughts on what you had to say.
Offering suggestions on how to cut costs to someone who can't afford to race is like asking a junkie to shoot less heroin. The only solution is to quit, not cut back.
I haven't really lost touch with the grassroots racers and I actually did help a 10th place Street Stock team with a 15-year-old car on a $2,000 budget get to the front with much of the same technology I use on "million dollar project cars" (Ed. Note: See "Stock Class Handling Tips," Sept. '09 Circle Track).
It is true that the cost of some of the necessary safety equipment is high for the average racer, and I think the industry is taking stock of that. I see prices dropping for some very good H&N systems. Look around and you might find one for well under $500, or less than the price of a cheap laptop.
By the way, I know Clay Rogers' team very well. Jim, Jon, and Jeff Craig have been friends of mine for more than 10 years now and I helped them with their Goody's Dash cars and their AllPro cars. I pretty much know exactly what they're doing with their setups, but won't share that here. I don't think they will either.
Believe it or not, I'm not the best thing since disc brakes, but as far as our projects go, we don't own these teams, and what they end up doing and the success they have is related to many factors. If I were in complete control of all aspects of the performance of the cars, I could then take full responsibility, but I'm not. What I would like for you to do is read the next letter. It doesn't necessarily prove my point, but it is a true perspective.