Big Bucks Racing: Too much of a good thing?
Talk about something that is growing and expanding, that’s Big Bucks Bracket Racing. While a lot of local tracks struggle to get cars it seems the Big Bucks Races are being announced everywhere. I asked myself a question the other day, "Are these Big Bucks Races and big entry fees a good thing or not?"
Turned out that trying to come up with a short answer was difficult. But in effort to keep the answer short, how about this: YES! I think they are great for the sport, but there are some things I view as negative and some things I view as positive. Naturally, not everyone will agree with my opinion but that is why we have Letters to the Editor, right?
On the POSITIVE side: When you can take a bracket car to a drag race and have a change to make over $250,000 for winning an eighth-mile race (The Million by Folk Productions) to regional and local races with $50,000, $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 winner payouts, it is amazing. No matter what you think or have heard about these races, they are still a regular bracket race; cut the best light, run closer to the dial-in and you get the win light! That never changes; the best "package" still wins. Sure the cars that win seem to be deadly consistent but they get parts at the same places you can get them, they seem to always have .004-.009 reaction times (which is simply not true by the way) but in reality the guys winning the Big Bucks Races simply had a great day that had some "lucky round wins."
I was in the tower at the SGMP Big Bucks Blast 8 race for all the races. Believe me, the racers who have the reputation as "the hitters" at big races make the same errors you and I do. Miss the tree, take too much stripe, get behind at the strip thinking they are a few inches in front. I feel confidence and having a plan for each round is as important as being a good reaction time driver with a car that repeats within .01.
I watched cars that were built with a $15,000 budget go deep into the races against cars that cost $80,000. The one thing that has stayed consistent in bracket racing is "Money will not win races." Agreed that having fresh parts and new tires doesn't hurt, but if you have all of that and can't react the sale, sense what the car is doing and judge the finish line to within 8 to 16 inches you will need more practice before you get one of the BIG CHECKS.
On the NEGATIVE side: At the Big Bucks Races there are two things that I feel keep them from simply exploding in participation: Buybacks and multiple entries for one driver.
1. Buybacks: I feel the buyback has run its course and now has become a "tool" for the race teams with money to burn. Set up for kill first round, leave nothing on the table, and if you lose you will be at the Buyback window. When you do the math, if buyback winners go into third round it is not really a profit center for the track. My exception to buybacks is IF the event is short on cars and has a guaranteed purse the buyback income could prevent the track owner from taking a financial bath. Other than that...I say "Good-bye buybacks." When I owned my track in Iowa we were one of the first tracks to offer buybacks for regular ET races to help boost payouts. Looking back, I wish I would have never started that option.