We all hear the stories from racers talking about past years from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s The competitive races, the exciting times and all the fun they had over the years… But the stories from the past 10 years are filled with how racing cost too much, how exhausting it is, crew members dropping out, who is the next team to quit and most of all racers saying how they’re not having fun anymore…  So what has changed from then to now? Why are the stories so different?                               
                                         
The cars are basically the same, they take the same amount of work to maintain now as they did then. Yea set ups are different, shock packages are different but we still had a-arms, spindles, coil over’s, quick changes, dry sumps & rack & pinion steering it’s basically the same car we had in the 80’s & 90’s with a different body. So what makes racing so different now? Why are the stories so opposite from the past?

Car counts have been declining more n more over the years and race teams are deciding to stay home instead of racing, making us all ask where did all the cars go? This has left race tracks/series scrambling asking what do we do? So they came up with new engines rules, new car rules, adding a “New cheaper class” to their lineup, thinking that these things will make it more affordable for racers to race.  But we all know that making teams buy spec engines with the conception that they’re cheaper was a farce, Oh wait it’s cheaper for the new guy coming in, but what about the existing teams that are here? They don’t count…  Bottom line is, it’s still made teams spend money and the new rules are not more affordable, they’ve actually cost the racer more money and the car counts haven’t improved they just keep declining…  First of all cutting cost isn’t making someone spend money on something else…
The phrase “Cutting cost” should actually mean cutting cost! Take away an expense without adding additional cost or expenditures! Correct…

During a conversation with my good Friend Rip Michels, we were talking about just this, what has happened to racing, what has changed over the years? Where are the cars? We were talking about the original NASCAR SWT days and how we used to race 22 weekends a year all over CA, NV & AZ with full fields of 24+ cars. We did all this on a limited budget, working full time jobs and we were able to race competitively against BIG Money teams like Spears, Frey Miller, Beebe, Carelli & many others.  Those where some great and exciting times, you can show up on Sat. with everyone else, put your best out on race day and go home. Rip said what happened to those days when we could show up at Saugus, Mesa or any track at 2pm on Saturday race and go home?

That was it, that’s the key, that’s what has changed in racing! It’s “FRIDAY TESTING”                                       
This is where the cars have gone; Friday testing is the hidden black cloud that is killing racing as we know it!!! Adding Friday testing to local Saturday night racing is the “One major component” that has changed in racing since the early 2000’s this is the hidden link to the decline in race teams. Friday testing has added so much cost and disruption to racing in so many ways on so many levels it isn’t even funny! We all ask where are the cars? Why are the car counts still dwindling?  This is why, Friday testing is much much more than a $300 track fee, or an evening at the track.


More than the money; The time away from work or your business, the pressure of a 4 day work week, you’re loss of time with your family, your crew members are using vacation or sick time to be there on Friday that don’t make their family very happy…. Resulting in your job or business being affected by it, your crew members lives are affected by it, everyone becomes exhausted and eventually gets burned out… 

The cost; It roughly cost between $500 - $2500 for a Friday test not including your wear n tear on your engine & parts, so now your maintenance cost go’s up and you’re spending money on the things you want to test like shocks, gear, springs or whatever. Now include your loss of time from your business or job you’re losing $$$ for the day, Crew pay for them being there Fri. costing you or them $$$ for the day. All this resulting in costing teams a lot of money per race and eventually getting burned out, from spending that kind of money.  

The can not’s; This is where it separates our racing field and burn out the other half of the race teams to the point they just don’t want to come out anymore. The teams that cannot afford to test or cannot test on Fri. because of work or family, feel that they are beat before they even get there Saturday. They know other teams have tested on Friday so they feel beat before they get there putting them behind the 8 ball before they show up on Saturday, now they don’t feel that they can compete equally against the teams that do test. The result for these teams is, they don’t feel they can compete against the can do’s, they’re not having fun anymore and get burned out…

The maybe’s; The maybe’s are the teams that will do what they can to make a Friday test. Maybe every other race or show up and run a few laps so they feel like they’re on the same playing field, but they struggle to do this, and after time trying to keep up with the Jones’s they get burned out from it also and eventually quit…

I remember a conversation I had with David Beat a Superlate Model competitor back in 2007, He said “I come here to race for 5th place anymore” I said “come on your always fast, you can win” he said “I can’t afford to come here on Fri. like you guys, I can’t take the time off of work and I can’t afford the extra cost, so I’m behind the 8 ball before I even show up” this will be my last year I’m not having fun anymore” Just after that David quit and sold everything.
This is just one of many stories from race teams large or small on how Friday testing has affected the sport in a negative way! Like I said there will be some of you that don’t agree with this and will say that it’s the economy. Yea of course I’ll agree with you, yes we do have a weak and bad economy, but that’s even more reason why the cost and time of Friday testing is bad for race teams. Friday testing the knife in racings back that has been cutting it apart piece by piece, team by team.
         
 
Over the 45 years of racing behind us from building chassis, maintaining cars, running our own race team and now we are fortunate enough to run the TOYOTA SWS Racing Series. This brings us new challenges and a new prospective of things, but what hasn’t changed is that racing has to be affordable, fun and fair to all teams, not just the can do’s or the few that want changes or something for themselves…                                                                                                                                                              
Our race teams and there support is the most important thing to us, they are the heart beat behind the SWS Series and it’s our job to look out for them the best that we can.  When we started the SWS Series, our first priority and goal was to have a racing program that race teams and fans can come out to a Saturday race, with a laid back easy going but exciting atmosphere. Where race teams know that when they pull in the gate they can compete equally, fairly and with some of the most competitive racing possible.

After talking to our race teams, many other teams, crew members throughout the racing community and with the full support from Chris Huth and Willow Springs Raceway supporting this decision. We have decided to “Eliminate Friday testing and any testing 7 days prior” for all of our races, excluding the open Winter Classic in Dec.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
This decision is made in the effort to try to help save our race teams as much money as possible! Cutting there weekend expenses down, cutting there maintenance cost down considerably and hopefully freeing up valuable time to spend with family and friends.                                                                                                  
We have had nothing but 100% positive response to this decision from everyone that we have talked to. We are confident that this will be a huge step forward in making racing much more affordable and fun for all our race teams in the future…

We are allowing teams to come out on Friday’s if you like. To get your spot, unload, set up pit area, get your tires mounted and have yourself a barbeque. There is no cost for showing up on Fri. for this and the gate is open all night for your convenience.