From the Editor
Two things I think while looking ahead to one of my favorite stops on the ARCA West Series schedule—The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway—later this month:
1) I think the matter of legalized gambling in motorsports, despite the buy-in of major operators like NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will remain something of a seesaw issue, at least for the near future. There’s simply no clear-cut consensus at this point. Much of that is due to fragmentation: Racing is a multi-tiered enterprise—we often look at it as a pyramid, with the top levels occupied by the likes of F1, IndyCar, and NHRA pro teams, and the broader, more inclusive and attainable rungs represented by your Saturday night oval trackers, outlaw drag racers, amateur road coursers, and so forth. When it comes to support for sanctioned wagering, opinions are as varied as the sport’s tracks, cars and competitors themselves, which we discovered in this month’s Special Report “Let It Ride?” produced by contributor Steve Statham. The piece, which begins on page 40, explores attitudes on betting the races from multiple perspectives, including drivers and team owners, track and event operators, gaming interests, and more. Perhaps the best indicator of how divided opinions actually are came from the usually unwavering promoter Donald “Duck” Long, who told us: “I can’t really say that I’m for or against it. I hate to be neutral, usually I’m black and white on something. It could benefit the sport on the one side, but then on the other side there are a lot of people who don’t like gambling.” We invite you to review our story, consider all sides, and draw your own conclusion(s).
2) I think the comparison of electric-vehicle conversions to “the early LS swap market” is one of the best characterizations yet of this emerging segment. In the motorsports space, a handful of companies have taken up positions on the front lines of efforts to both optimize performance and demystify the science behind EV systems management. Mainstream acceptance will hinge, in large part, on these operators’ ability to win over hearts and minds. To that end, category leaders AEM EV, EV West, Legacy EV, and Zero Labs recently spoke with writer Bradley Iger for his feature article “Conversion Factor,” which examines the capabilities of gas-to-electric competition vehicles and how leading suppliers are refining their processes while tackling challenges like excess heat mitigation and voltage isolation (in the event of an on-track incident). EVs still represent just a small fraction of vehicles on American roads—somewhere in the low single digits as of this writing. But the tech is racing forward, miles ahead of where it stood only a few years earlier. And enthusiasts are taking note, as Legacy EV’s Mavrick Knoles described the draw for Iger, whose article, which begins on page 78, we highly recommend: “We’ve heard countless stories about people being hesitant about the technology and then going for their first spin in a Tesla in Ludicrous Mode. I think that EVs feel like the future for many folks, and they want to embrace the next wave of technology. We’ve spent so much time perfecting the gas engine, and now we’re kind of starting fresh with EVs. A lot of people are saying to themselves, ‘Okay, now how can I further optimize the performance of this?’ That’s where people start to get really excited.”