Danny, I love ya man, but I gotta disagree with you on this one. Yes Rich has his moments, and maybe he is not the nicest-people friendly person, but he is putting in a lot of hard work and he and his crew run a smooth race program.
Rich chooses not to post sign up lists. Why is this a problem for everyone? How did people choose whether or not to go to a race before race hosts started putting sign up lists online? Also, most people do not pre-enter the races and instead sign up trackside. I know at this race Rich had about 35 or 40 pre entries, and everyone else signed up trackside. Add to that the fact that Rich removed the late fee from the race fee, which means there was no penalty for signing up late. Maybe he should re-instate a late fee and everyone can pay more to sign up trackside.
You are absolutely right that the Vegas race turnouts have been dropping off over the past few years. My first Vegas race was in 1998, run by MARCAR. There must have been over 150 people at that race. I also remember a time when the Texas Biggie would fill up (they had about 20 people this year), the ROAR Sedan Nats would fill up (9 heats total this year?), the ROAR 1/8th Nats would fill up, and the list goes on and on. Even off road racing and electric racing turnouts are dropping. Is Rich to blame for the poor turnouts in Vegas? Maybe he is partly to blame for turning some off from coming back, but I donít think it is fair to blast him and place the blame squarely on him. As for the RAMS and MARCAR, both clubs have had their ups and downs over the years. MARCAR stopped running races this year entirely (see www.marcar.org
). There was a second club in Vegas (remember Speedworld?) but that did not go far. Maybe they should come back and hold races.
Regarding the track conditions, I thought they were just fine. Sure your shoes would not stick to the track and cars were not traction rolling in the morning, but the track was very much drivable and I turned some 18.9's, which I have never done before. It is not true that the track has not been used since April, as there has been several test and tune sessions since then, and the track is on county property, so anyone can drive on it just about any day. Yes, the track was not as clean as we are used to, but Rich and his crew did spend several hours prepping the track (blowing, vacuuming, spraying VHT) on Thursday (I was there I saw), not to mention the track was the same for everyone. In other words, the track had not been neglected and many hours of work had gone into bringing the track into reasonable condition. I think here in LA we are spoiled and every time we want more traction, we go out and spray the track some more. The rain on Sunday morning was accompanied with wind, which as you have seen in yearís past, is all that is needed to mess with the track conditions. The A mains at the 01 ROAR Nats in Vegas (which was run by the RAMS I believe) had to be called because of a wind storm which covered the track with a layer of dust. Before the wind storm hit, the track was as clean and sticky as could be. No one blamed Rich Browne (who I remember giving it to T Rex) or the RAMS club for the dirty track. Letís not forget most parts of the world (including WCís) donít use VHT or other traction compounds on the track. Clean track or not, they race and adjust their cars as needed.
Sunday morning, we pulled up to the track around 8:30 to find Rich, his dad, Rusty, Craig, and Mike Braun working on the track. We pitched in as did a few others (Mark Klenin, Gus Wood, and anyone else I am forgetting) while most everyone else stood around and watched. I know you have been on this side of the fence- you bust your ass working on the track while everyone else does nothing except maybe complain). We did the best we could and instead of calling the race on qual results, a round of practice was given and mains were run. To get your car to work you had to work on your setup, thatís all. The track was not complete junk, it was certainly not great, but the same for everyone and good enough to run the mains on.
The rain during the mains (as well as the rain that morning) is in no oneís control. I was in both mains and IMO the rain was not heavy enough to warrant stoppage. Earlier this year it rained in the main at the Byron race in Illinois. The first time it rained (drizzled really) it lasted about a minute and went away. The second time it lasted a couple of minutes (very similar to the rain in Vegas) but the race continued until it really got bad and started a downpour at which point the race was called.
I am not sure if Rich ever met Ron Paris, but I donít think it is relevant. Most of the newer racers never met him either. I was fortunate enough to meet him and it was a lot of fun racing against his team drivers, and I think he would be happy to know the race is still being held in his honor. Maybe I am an exception, but I have never had issues with Rich. I know others who have and sometimes their gripe with him is reasonable and warranted. However, he and his crew work really hard to put on these races, and more often than not, their work is not appreciated. The fact is we really donít have a lot of places to race at. How many times has GLARCRC lost a location due to a noise complaint? CP is/was under pressure from the local government for not meeting zoning requirements. MARCAR stopped running races this year. Revelation (on road) closed as did SVM. I think even the RAMS club has stopped racing at some point in its 40 year history. We all have complained about each and every single one of these clubs and the people who run them. Dana never had enough parking and the bite was sometimes very strange. Glenn often showed up late to the track and races were compromised. Do we want all these people to stop doing what they are doing and close the tracks down? Then what?
I hope you and anyone else who left Vegas with a sour taste will take a moment, reconsider things, and attend future events there. Maybe we should all offer 20 minutes of our time to help make the races better? I know you put in your time at GLARCRC so you know how much work it takes. See you in a couple of weeks at GLARCRC TFTís.