One of the issues you have in california is fragmentation, races are in multiple places on the same weekend and almost every weekend. That is a bad thing because the racers are scattered all over hecks half acre and theirs not enough racers to have solid high count turnout everywhere. So it may appear that classes are falling off and in some places their may actually be some truth to that. However in actuality it may be that because of the issue I mentioned that the turnout at all the tracks is low. I know that their are alot of guys racing in the west because everytime their is a big race it is packed. so the only conclusion I can see is that weekley you are suffering from fragmentation and lack of structure. Adding a budget engine class to 1/8th scale won't fix this problem it will just make it worse. You will be lucky to fill 2 qualifiers in each class if you fragment 1/8th scale. (I'm also not disagreeing that 1/8th motors are just rediculously expensive) Look at how the 200mm racing is at REV, my goodness their is amature, novice, and pro. Its no wonder theirs only a couple qualifyers in each class. Its the same 12 guys racing each other every weekend in ama, nov and pro. I have raced their before and I can say that what I witnessed is guys running amature and novice that shouldn't have been in there to start with.
A structured series is the key to steady draw. The midwest series we run back east has been around better than 25 years. we run 6 races a year with 2 drops Points based on qualifying and laps turned. Which means finishing is Key regardless of the main your in.
This means fast guys that can't finish consistantly do worse than the slower guys that are consistant.
One race a month.
Mentor Ohio (basically cleveland)
You need dedicated clubs that will travel and support other clubs, not create scheduling conflicts with each other. You also need a dedicated series crew. (you know those guys that do the thankless stuff and aren't told how much their appreciated enough)This is how you maintain 100 plus draw at every event. which we have literally had each of the 6 years I have been racing with them. Yes many of us probably club race less, and most of the drives are 5 hour's or so but the quality of the racing makes it worth it.
after reading some of the recent posts it seems that some areas are struggling and some are not. It certainly seems to be an area specific phemenon. If you look at the entry list for this year you will se that the midwest is certainly not struggling. At any given race the possibility exists to draw over 120 cars. for a 2 day event.
If you go to the site and look at the last couple years point standings you will see the classes as far as draw have been pretty consistant. you will see a big step in 1/8th scale from 2003 to 2004 but we added a masters class so it is decieving.
PS this is the same group of dudes that pull off the Great Lakes Challenge each year
I wish you guys all the best in stemming the tide of retreating racers in your area.