On June 28, history was made. Over the past eight months, a group of veteran racers and businessmen put together the concept of a Pay-Per-Lap race. This division of money enabled the teams to earn tire and gas money even if they ran at the back of the pack while still providing incentives to lead and win the race. This could become a model for many other racing programs across America and abroad.

Why were we there? Good question. Yes, we do not do "coverage" of race events. We are a technology based magazine dedicated to improving the racer's knowledge of his racecar and overall racing effort. We are also dedicated to helping improve the sport of short-track racing in general. Any time we see something come along that could have a positive impact on the racing community at-large, we will present it in the magazine. This is one of those times.

The original idea for this unique concept was developed by Gene Coleman of Coleman Racing and it was fine-tuned and implemented with help from Fran Presley, owner of Five-Star Bodies, Mike Bellisle, of North Honda Motorsports, and Craig Van Enkevort, president of Union Station Motorsports. These four met, discussed, and worked out a plan for a special race where each participant was paid the same money for each lap completed, plus a bonus if they led the race. The result was a huge success.

Norway Speedway is a 1/3-mile flat asphalt track in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and is managed by the Dickinson County Racing Association (DCRA), a not-for-profit organization run by the race teams themselves. As such, all "profits" go back into a fund for the teams. There are costs associated with running the programs, just like with any promotion, so it is not unlike those tracks with owners.

This track is very popular with both the area race fans as well as the racers. A typical race night brings over 30 Late Model cars and 2,000 to 3,000 spectators. They run a very healthy program by any measure and one that would be the envy of many other tracks I have visited. The story seems to be: Why are they so successful with their regular shows and how does this format increase their success? Could this format be a saving grace for other racing programs across the country? Let's see how it progressed and what the details were.

This Pay-Per-Lap (PPL) race was designed to enable the top 18 qualifiers to run the Driveline 100. The remainder of the qualifiers ran a B-Main race titled the Power House 50. The cars that finished in the top two positions transferred to the 100 lap race to make the 20 car field. In the race, each participant was paid a fixed amount for each lap completed. In the 50-lapper, a $20-per-laps-led payout went to lap leaders.

The cars were DCRA and ASA legal Late Model cars and crate or built motors were allowed as per local rules, giving the crate motors a weight break.

In the 100-lapper, each car was paid $7.50 per lap regardless of position. Bonuses were paid to the lap leaders, amounting to $100 for leading the first, tenth, twentieth, thirtieth and so on up to the ninetieth lap with the winner getting an additional $100. All other laps led paid $20 per lap. If a team ran all 100 laps without leading once, it would go home with $750 even if it finished last. If a team led all 100 laps, the bonuses would be an attractive $1,100 (for leading the $100 bonus lap) plus $1,780 (for leading the $20 bonus laps) plus the $750 lap money, for a grand total of $3,630.

The point here is not the amount of money, but the fact that all racers got paid decent money to go racing. The fact of the matter is that racing is getting more expensive due to the rise in gas prices. The cost to transport your car to the races has increased 25 percent in the last year or so and will continue to rise.

If you agree that the racer is the one who pays the promoters' bills, and most tracks make more off the back gate than the grandstands, then we need to entice more racers to race in order to survive. Spreading the pay out this way may attract more racers to participate, thereby increasing the back gate and providing a better show for the fans. By the way, many of the people who attend races are friends or relatives of the participants and attracting more race teams will also increase the front gate.