From the Editor
Two things I think while eagerly awaiting this month’s 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge…
1) I THINK WE COULD USE MANY MORE Mark Maynards in the halls of government. For starters, the West Virginia state senator is a total gearhead—he races ATVs, he collects muscle cars, he helped found the Appalachian Ridge Runners Off Road Club, and for several years in the mid-2000s he crewed on Jim Head’s NHRA Nitro Funny Car team. But he also walks the walk, using his platform to propose and push legislation designed to promote, build, and protect motorsports throughout the region. In fact, just a few months ago he introduced the West Virginia Motorsports Entertainment Complex Investment Act, a bill that calls for incentives to help bring a motorsports facility “that is designed to qualify as an official motor speedway or racetrack” to the Mountain State. So clearly he’s the real deal. But there’s much more to his story, as we learned during an exclusive and wide-ranging conversation with Sen. Maynard that begins on page 40. In it, you’ll discover why he’s so opposed to over-regulation, why he readily gives out his personal cell phone number—and encourages his constituents to use it, and why his “first love is the rumble of an internal combustion engine.”
2) I THINK THERE’S NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL formula for determining purse size or payout structure in auto racing. At least that’s one of the takeaways from our Special Report in this month’s issue of PRI Magazine. While the factors that help determine prize money are relatively consistent from one event to the next—front and back gate, sponsor money, possibly concession revenues—the calculations by promoters, track owners, and series officials on how to distribute winnings are often more nuanced, and frequently misunderstood. The topic itself is largely taboo. After all, at a young age many of us learned not to speak openly about our finances. I, for one, wouldn’t even tell my elementary schoolmates how much I was pulling down in allowance each week. Granted, it wasn’t that much, and certainly not by today’s standards when you factor in cost-of-living increases, inflation, and other expenses. But the idea was pretty simple: my money, my business. And for decades that had been the philosophy of many race track operators across the country. As a result, purse determinations were typically kept close to the vest. Times are changing, though, and we’re finding that more and more officials are now willing to speak openly about matters that, until fairly recently had been mostly closed-door affairs. And that brings us back to our report, which begins on page 52 and offers some very candid feedback and commentary on how funds are distributed through the field, the critical role sportsman classes and bracket programs play, how rulebooks factor in, and a whole lot more from some of the best and brightest in the industry. Speaking of which, big-time thanks go to Brian Carter of World Racing Group, Bill Bader Jr. of Summit Motorsports Park, Wayne Delmonte of Lebanon Valley Dragway, Brett Deyo, with the Short Track Super Series, Shawn Miller of Inside Line Promotions, James Sawyer from Volusia Speedway Park, and Darin Short with the Bandits Outlaw Sprint Series for sharing your stories with us.