The single biggest problem with Late Model racing in the Northwest, to me, is the lack of a common theme shared among the promoters of the individual tracks in the region. What I mean by this is a sense of direction, working together, common ideas, and rules.
If you look at Late Model racing in its current state within our region, you see a scattered handful of cars at each track. Looking at the Eastern states you see a much fuller field at each track. While some will say that the Eastern states enjoy a denser population, I think the truth is that they have figured out how to work together toward a mutually beneficial result.
So what can we learn from them? A lot, really. The one thing that jumps out right away is that most of those tracks share a similar set of rules. While they may vary a little from track to track, the end result is that a guy can race just about anywhere without huge changes to his equipment. Anyone who knows anything about this type of racing knows that changes in rules mean more money for the teams.
The best way to help keep costs down is to keep the rule changes to a minimum. By sharing a common set of rules between multiple tracks I believe you can start to build on that theme I was referring to. By locking the rules down so they aren’t changing every year, you can help save the teams money they are currently spending on modifications to their equipment just to keep up with the rules.
What else can we learn? Let’s look at the schedules. In the Eastern states there are a lot more tracks in tighter areas than we have, offset by much denser populations. But there are some things that they are doing that we should look at a little closer.
Some tracks choose to run on Friday night instead of Saturday night—some on Sunday and a few on a Wednesday or Thursday night. While this may seem crazy at first, think about what it does for a second. By running on a night that the other tracks aren’t you open yourself up to teams being able to run your track by removing schedule conflicts. You also provide an opportunity for a guy to run multiple tracks in a single season if his budget allows.
How many times in the past have we seen tracks schedule races on top of another track that is only a few hours away? Sharing dates is bad for car count. So why not work toward a common schedule where tracks aren’t competing for the same days on the calendar?
Now, I’m not saying that you should start racing on Wednesday night. What I am saying is you shouldn’t be running the same class of cars on the same night as a track close to you. It really isn’t too hard to figure out, either.
If you take a map of the Northwest and put a dot on each pavement track you can begin to see how a schedule could be constructed in a manner that allows for the best car count at each track and provides the opportunity to run for a championship at multiple tracks during the same calendar year. Think about this for a second.
If we assign weeks to tracks, starting with what we’ll call "Week 1" and working through a typical three-week turnaround, it might look something like this:
Week 1—Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, Douglas County Speedway, Spokane County Raceway
Week 2—Southsound Speedway, Yakima Speedway, Stateline Speedway
Week 3—Evergreen Speedway, Ephrata Raceway Park, Columbia Motor Speedway