You can quickly see that the result is that each track races Late Models one week and has two weeks off before the next Late Model race. Also, no track is running Late Models on the same week that its neighboring track is running them. The end result should be an increase in car count as teams can run multiple tracks during the same year. Instead of having only four or five cars at each track all racing on the same night, we might end up with 10 to 15 cars racing as many tracks as they can. The end result is a fuller field of cars that the fans can enjoy watching.
So how do we build a better show? We’re in the entertainment business, right? The show is what brings the fans out, right? First, we need to look at what’s wrong with the current show.
Programs that start late run up against curfew issues. Gone are the days when we could just race until we were done. Now we live in a time where we fight housing developments that require noise curfews and the reality of families that want to go home at a decent hour and put the kids to bed. Factor in a half-hour drive after the races and think about what that means to a family that has a child they need to put to bed.
Getitng the show started at a realistic hour that allows you to send everyone home at a decent time. Does this mean we need to start at 2 p.m.? No, but we need to think about moving start times to accommodate the reality of families wanting to go home and sleep too.
Another factor in bad shows is huge down times. We’ve all heard it said that a given track had almost an hour intermission with nothing to do and it bored the fans to death. While I do feel that intermissions are a must to allow racers a moment to fix early damage and stay in the show all night, we also need to keep them realistic and entertain the fans in some fashion.
Some tracks use pit reporters. To me, this is a great idea. Send a guy with a microphone through the pits during that intermission. Have him talk to the drivers, ask the fast qualifier how he feels about the coming main event, talk to the guy thrashing to fix his broken car about whether he thinks he’ll make it or not, or just tell us what broke, let the fans hear what’s going on behind the pit wall.
Some tracks have a driver meet and greet time. This is another great idea. Local tracks around here have a huge disconnect between race teams and fans in my opinion. Back East, the idea of a "local hero" means something. Fans cheer for "their guy," they wear his T-shirts, put his stickers on their cars, and they boo his rivals.
Around this area, fans don’t even know who the drivers are other than a name they hear at the beginning of the race. Providing some sort of interaction can only benefit the show by giving the fans a face to put with the name or a person they like after meeting them.
Next we can look at the on-track action. How do we make it better? A topic I hear debated heavily is "full field inverts." Several tracks run an invert of the top qualifiers. A few select series or tracks across the country run a full invert. The full invert should be the only option. Fans want passing, invert the field and make them pass. Drivers will tell you they don’t want an invert because it tears up cars. So make them learn to drive cleaner. It has been proven that it can and does work.
If drivers are forced to do something, they will learn how to make it work. They don’t have to like it; they do have to put on a good show. Give them some incentive for passing all those cars. I’ve seen points given out for each position gained, this seems to be a good answer. In the end, fans come to see passing, give them passing.