Most dirt track racing fans around the United States, Canada, and down-under in Australia, would love to see the major events across our respective disciplines of motorsports to be shown on national or broadcast television.
This is obviously easier said-than-done and would take many moving parts to perfectly align for it to happen. To broadcast races via national television, it can cost upwards of $200,000, or more, per event, which makes it nearly impossible for all dirt track racing crown jewels to be shown on your TV set, each year. Even with this obstacle and the fear that putting races on national television will lead to too many corporate dollars flying around and eventually a watered-down, PC-product, seeing a mix of the top five or ten late model, modified, sprint car and midget races on NBC, FOX, NBC Sports Network or Fox Sports1 would give our sport the chance to be seen by people that may not even know it exists.
Another important aspect of this issue is better organizing the current product and schedule races in a way that would appeal to television companies and sponsors, to be able to sell the needed advertisement and time-slots to an NBC, FOX or similar company. Taking the current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule for example, instead of running nearly seventy events during a given season. we would divide the races into two schedules, making one "TV Series," similar to a few tours in the early 2000s, and leave the meat of their current 70-race schedule to be run as early to mid-week races (Tuesday-Thursday), and have the big money, marquee 30-events take place on the weekends Friday or Saturday, with a Sunday rain-date, (three day shows going into Sunday night or starting on Thursday).
This tactic would give drivers and teams the ability to run for two-different points titles, along with a combined edition, while following one touring championship, with a possible presenting sponsor adding some money incentive for competitors to take on the 50-race regular show, early-week events. Show-up points awarded to the Television Series points championship, as a bonus to that title fight, given to drivers who ran the early-week races, would also be an option to attract a car-count and not take away from the history and tradition of the nearly 70-race schedule and tracks that maybe wouldn't make the TV Series cut, but would still serve a major role in the status of the division, as a whole. An even more landmark idea would be developing partnerships to co-sanction this tour with UMP DIRTcar, for example, to include possible big events like the World 100 and Dirt Late Model Dream as a part of this series, would make the 30-race schedule even more prestige.
Drivers and teams are attracted to the current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule and product due to the obvious competitive edge it has on any other current dirt late model touring series, but also the fact that there are simply a higher number of good or great paying races, at quality facilities. To make sure this aspect of the series was not altered in a negative light, putting our product on the televisional big screen would give series executives the opportunity to pay even more money to race winners and throughout the field purse, at all 70-races, not just those broadcasted on TV.
We would design the Television Series ranging from the Saturday night before the Daytona 500, in February, through the last Saturday of October, with five three-day, five two-day and five single-day events, fifteen weeks and thirty races, spaced out across thirty-six weeks, roughly nine months, with around two race weekends per month. The 40-race regular race schedule, not broadcasted on television would fill out the weeks in-between, with ten two-day shows and twenty single day races, with four-five taking place each month, ending the last Thursday of November.
Television Series races would range from $40,000-$200,000-To-Win for 27 of the 30 events, with the Late Model Knoxville Nationals paying $250,000-to-win, Dirt Track World Championship, and season finale, paying $500,000-to-win and World 100 becoming the first yearly dirt track racing event ever to pay $750,000-to-win, with the opportunity to take home a $250,000-bonus if a driver was to sweep the three-day show, winning both preliminary nights, as well as the main event, making the potential winners purse hit the space-race number of $1,000,000-to-win. All meat of the schedule races, not a part of the television events, will pay between $10,000-$35,000-to-win, with the majority coming in right around the middle, at $20,000.
Now, obviously, as mentioned before, there are A LOT of moving parts to this seemingly ridiculous idea, like gaining the sponsorship, television and sanctioning partners needed to do it right, and make sure the grandstand space at these events would be in place, to make sure they could take-on bigger crowds than ever before, possibly with the series providing portable-stands to be brought in specifically for these races.
Even if this is decades from ever being a thought, dirt track racing is BOX OFFICE, just like it is made for major companies to invest and market in it, but it all has to be done the RIGHT WAY, or it will be just another watered-down, PC form of racing/athletics, with zero authenticity or personality, with the possibility of getting in too deep and ruining an already great American racing product.
There are pros-and-cons to everything, and sometimes in life, you have to get uncomfortable and take chances to see things exceed the level they are currently at and do the promoters and industry leaders of the past justice by not letting this form of motorsport spin-its-wheels, and just stay in place, where it is today. We can compete with any auto racing form or sport around the world, to become the most popular and watched of them all, but the first step of organizing a schedule with an already credible series, like the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, co-sanctioned with the World Racing Group's UMP DIRTcar, would be a huge leap in doing something magical; a 30-race, big money, each race sold out, Television Broadcasted Dirt Track Racing Series!
(Racing News Photo)