February 16, 2009
Racing & The Economy


By Brian Danko

While many people were able to get away and enjoy some of the Florida sun for a week or so, it seems that many, many have stayed away in droves because of the economy.

Now, with everything in the country going on, people losing their jobs by the hundreds of thousands each week, Daytona and Speedweeks is just the first track to be hit with the sudden stoppage of the corporate greed that had gripped the country the past decade or so. I have to admit though, that while I feel bad for anyone who has lost their jobs, health care coverage and in some cases, their life 'nest egg'. The tracks and the ancillary products that go with attending a race I am not feeling one bit sorry for and that goes for all the fine folks in Daytona.

Tracks are cutting their prices, dropping their food prices, hotels have more vacant rooms and are charging just half what they charged in the past and restaurants are near empty. The tracks, when NASCAR racing was booming, were taking advantage of the race fan, or as I like to refer to race fans as 'yahoo's' but now the shoe is on the other foot and they are doing everything in their power to get the fans to come with unbelievable ticket offers but the fans can't afford to go because of not only the fear of losing their jobs but that they can stay home and watch it on the tube for free.

I work with a women, who was lucky enough to hit the Connecticut Lottery many years ago and she has given up her season tickets to the Martinsville and Bristol tracks. "We figured it out, that if we went to the races, took the time off from work, the hotels, the meals and the fuel, that it would cost us around $1,000. I would much rather go to Atlantic City and have a chance of making money."

That folk's is what racing is up against because for the most part, race fans are traveling at least four hours to tracks and that requires an overnight hotel stay. The hotels, especially in places like Daytona and Dover are dying and I for one, don't feel for them. Wait folks, it's only going to get worse.

The tracks, NASCAR and the hotels in race cities have been the poster child for American greed. While the Sprint Cup tracks are going to suffer greatly, I believe that the short tracks in America will have a rebirth and should prosper, IF, they don't over charge for a weekly or special event show. Minor league baseball will also be big this year because it's close to home and it doesn't cost you a weeks salary to bring your family.

The high cost of going to races have hurt even the newspapers, which especially in the south, covered auto racing as their major league sport but now, they are relying on syndicated articles and story to satisfy the race fan.

Yes, sir. The day officials in racing never thought would come and it shows no sign of backing down anytime soon.

Where every Hotel/Motel had "No Vacancy" signs in 2008 and before, the only thing seen in 2009 was "Vacancy".

There was no problem finding a parking space in the Hotel parking lots. While you could get a room in a good Hotel on the beach for as little as $75.00 a night, those with advance reservations usually made a year in advance where paying the regular prices of $150 to $320 or more a night.
(SpeedwayLineReport.com Photos)