NARC NEWSLINE (06/22/17) By Jim Allen … Okay race fans, let’s start this episode of the NARC NEWSLINE with a question … How do you make a small fortune in sprint car racing?  The answer … quite simply … Start with a big one!

The debate continues not just in 410 sprint car racing, but in all forms of high dollar open wheel motorsports.  And it doesn’t change when you go run with the World of Outlaws.  True, you are racing for more money, but you’re also spending a lot more in the process.  The bottom line is … chasing points and a championship is not only grueling and tedious, but it’s also extremely expensive in just about any class of race car.  I got my first taste of this a couple of decades ago talking to longtime car owner and NARC Board Member Duke McMillen.  My question was … “How much does it cost for you to go racing?”  He got quiet for a second, put his hand to his chin, and said he didn’t know, and didn’t want to ever know.  He knew .., and I knew .., and we all know deep down that a team could win every race on the schedule and still not come close to covering half of their actual cost.  And it’s probably even worse today in terms of cubic dollars!  So it all comes down to the usual stuff … sponsorship dollars, passion for the sport, and admitting that this is one super-expensive hobby.

Yes, I said it.  Somewhere along the way, grassroots racing evolved into an expensive hobby that can literally rip the heart out of a Visa card.  Let’s dig in a little bit.  In rough dollars, a single rolling chassis is going to set one back $30,000.  A Shaver or Kistler top of the line motor will make you feel like you’re having a stroke at $65,000.  And don’t think that the once super-affordable 360 motors are going to alleviate the sucking sound out of one’s wallet.  Now consider that every 10-14 races, a car owner is going to rack up a plethora of frequent flyer points as he charges another $10,000+ to “freshen it up.”  And that’s assuming nothing blows out of the bottom during those 10-14 races … aka Andy Forsberg fireball style. Now, let’s throw in $45 pit passes, $250 tires, fuel and the one expense that most people never talk about, the cost of getting the huge tow rig up and down the road.  To help fund this passion, most owner-drivers basically drive for free.  For those with “drivers for hire,” there is also the expense of paying them a portion of the winnings.  Holy crap, I think I need CPR!

Thirteen-time NARC & Golden State champion Brent Kaeding says it costs approximately $125,000 to compete in a California-based championship point’s battle and that is barring any type of catastrophic failures.  To put that in perspective, the median household income in Tulare and Chico is less than $43,000 per year.  Let’s pause here for a second, while I go look again for my winning lottery ticket.

So let’s answer the usual questions … Have purses increased in perspective with the cost of racing?  You would have a better chance of sitting naked in a hot tub with Heidi Klum (that’s not happening either!)  Have the crowds increased proportionately?  Do I need to mention that hot tub thing again?  Both of those questions and answers are directly tied together.

That’s why with all of the good things taking place with sprint car racing in California these days, it’s super important that we all stay positive.  If you can’t truly appreciate what these racing teams and series are doing on a week in-week out basis, then I’m sure there’s a Disney on Ice show out there somewhere calling your name.

And finally, we are extremely grateful for each and every fan that supports open wheel racing and travels all over the Golden State to show their love and affection by purchasing $25 tickets.  We just need more of you!  Maybe instead of a “Bring your Daughter to Work Day,” we should consider a “Bring your Neighbor to the Races Day!”  And to all of the car owners and sponsors out there … WE TRULY THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS AND SUPPORT OF OPEN WHEEL RACING!

ANTIOCH NOTES:  Winner Gio Scelzi!  Kaeding 347, Eliason 343, Scelzi 341.

TULARE NOTES:  A month ago, Gio Scelzi didn’t have one KWS-NARC Fujitsu Racing Series victory to his credit.  After his Thunderbowl excursion, he now has three winner’s checks driving the Dennis Roth Motorsports KPC.  Bud Kaeding was second. Mitchell Faccinto finally earned a podium finish in Stan Greenberg’s ride, which says a lot for the overall talent level of the King of the West-NARC series.  Faccinto has been a frontrunner for just about every hardcharger award this season. They say it’s easier to win races when you start closer to the front.  He’s getting closer!  …  The track took rubber early, making it extremely hard to pass. … There are some haulers in the “Race Savers” division that would be the envy of some NASCAR teams. … Kyle Hirst took the Roth Motorsports Tailgater Challenge in the headliner in an attempt to chase down $1500 from Dennis Roth and $1000 from Williams Roofing.  He started in the back and got up to seventh. Did I mention that the track had taken rubber?  The night before in Hanford, Hirst rocketed from 21st to third.  DJ Netto won at that aforementioned Friday night show at Keller Auto Speedway. … Craig Stidham had a rough night after getting reeled into a three car melee in his heat race.  From a distance, there didn’t appear to be much damage.  Up close, it was a different story.  Do I need to mention that Visa card thing again? … The Antaya Motorsports crew worked their butt off changing out a variety of components before settling on a complete motor change before the feature. Helping out was Willie Croft and Kyle Hirst.  All that work paid off with a sixth place finish for Cory Eliason. … Scelzi takes the point lead over Kaeding 407-406.

PETALUMA NOTES:  With a first name of Chase, we knew it was just a matter of time before Mr. Johnson scored his first career KWS-NARC victory.  A killer slide job as leader Bud Kaeding got momentarily hung up in traffic on lap 17 proved to be the winning move.  Congratulations to car owners Shawn and Cyndi Thomas. They became the sixth different winner this season.  … Sean Watts scored his third top 10 feature finish in a row.  His heat race victory was the first of his KWS-NARC career. … The “Real Deal” Jamie Veal from Australia was in the field.  He was piloting the familiar BK Racing Maxim #69 of Brent Kaeding.  This team got off to a rough start when their tow rig blew a tire on the trip to Petaluma.  Everything settled down for Veal, who scored a third place feature finish after a torrid battle with Andy Forsberg and Gio Scelzi. … Speaking of quick qualifier Scelzi, and second quick Cory Eliason, neither transferred to the dash out of their heat. … Does anyone have an extra 410 ride sitting around?  Geoff Ensign would be an excellent candidate to give it a whirl!  Racing a 360 in a 2007 chassis, he made it to the dash and was running third in the feature before mechanical problems knocked him out. … The final checkered was waved at 9:22 p.m.  How sweet is that with four divisions racing? …

… Gio, Bud, Cory and Jamie all scored 60 points at the event.  Gio still leads by a point! … Chase Johnson’s donuts in turn four after winning was almost worth the price of admission. … 22 cars … Great crowd. … Seventy-five percent of the KWS-NARC quick qualifiers have ended their night with a top three finish.  Three have won. … 15-year old Nathan Rolfe has quietly worked his way up to 11th in points, getting in some quality lap time in the process. … Hats off to “owner-crew chief-pit crew & driver” Bobby McMahan.  Mr. McMahan finished in the top 10 in NARC points for the first time in 1987 (third) and claimed that honor 10 times over the next 13 years.  Today he is still competitive and is sitting fifth in points.  There are not too many drivers who can celebrate a successful 30-year racing career. … Only one dash winner has gone on to claim the 30-lap headliner.  And that was Gio Scelzi at Placerville. … Andy Forsberg and his A & A team jumped through some serious hoops leading up to Petaluma.  They replaced their blown 410 motor, ran it at Chico on Friday night, pulled it on Saturday, pulled out a 360 from their other car, put the 410 motor in that car and finished sixth at Petaluma on Saturday night.  Heck, I got tired just writing that.

By the way, if you haven’t noticed, all of the race reports on feature MVP video highlights of the event.  No more bouncing around looking for them.  …  That’s all for now!  It’s time to load up for the only doubleheader weekend of the year … the 32nd annual Pombo-Sargent Classic at Ocean Speedway, and the First Annual Boys & Girls Club Dirt Classic at Calistoga.

Coming to you live from Auburn, CA.  See ya!