On Saturday October 1st NEMS held a Mini Sprint Racing round table discussion with members of Granite State Mini Sprint Racing Club (GSMSRC) to discuss the future of Mini Sprint Racing in the Northeast. This was an open invite and anyone involved in mini sprint racing was welcome to attend, including fans.
Purpose of the Meeting
The purpose of the meeting was to address the concerns of competitors and fans in regards to car counts, the presence of two 600cc mini sprint groups in New England, and what we could all do to advance the sport in the Northeast.
Many topics were discussed during the meeting including:
- Current Car Counts
- Are two Mini Sprint Groups too many
- Next Seasons Plan
- Part Time Racers
- Race Tracks
- 750 /1000cc cars
Current Car Counts
A total of 29 competitors (600cc) competed in at least one race during the 2011 season. 8 ran only with NEMS, another 8 ran only with GSMSRC, and the remaining 13 ran races with both groups. Out of those 29 competitors, 5 competed in all NEMS points races and 2 competed in all the GSMSRC points races. That left 22 part time racers who, for one reason or another, were unable to make all points races in either group. These racers have diverse reasons why they were not be able to make all the races. The downturn in the economy, fuel prices, kids sporting events, family obligations, lack of personal incentive were a few of the reasons discussed.
Adding more driver incentive including track championships, purses, points chase (similar to NASCAR), adding other tracks that are not currently utilized, and the possible merger of efforts to bring multiple groups together were also discussed.
Are two Mini Sprint Groups too many
There has been a bit of feedback concerning the addition of a second mini sprint group in New England. Up until 2010, there were two groups consisting of GSMSRC and Whip City. Whip City was a single track in Westfield, MA. The track was not scheduled on the GSMSRC tour but had it’s regulars that would only run at Whip City. In 2011, Whip City closed it’s doors and drivers were forced to find an alternative. Some just parked their cars, others joined NEMS.
What’s the Difference between NEMS and GSMSRC Mini Sprints
There has been allot of chatter concerning the real differences between the two groups.
Technical differences between the two groups, include only 3 points.
- NEMS allows cockpit adjustable, GSMSRC does not
- NEMS does not restrict rear track width, GSMSRC does
- NEMS utilizes the United 600cc Mini Sprint Rules (U6SA) which includes a min car weight of 775lb min with driver. (25lb heavier than GSMS)
- NEMS awards purses for the feature. In 2011 this was $150 to win, and tiers back to $20 for tenth place. GSMSRC gives the driver back his pit fee or allows the driver to enter the pits free.
- NEMS awards a purse to the points championship winner. In 2011 this was $1000. GSMSRC does not award cash.
- NEMS is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to advance the sport of mini sprint racing in the Northeast. GSMSRC is satisfied being a club and serving only its members.
During the meeting NEMS offered up a solution to combine both groups. The discussion also included the possible joining of East Coast Mini Sprints who run 750cc cars. VP of GSMSRC Troy Boissoneau completely rejected the idea. Further stating that GSMSRC is only interested in continuing to do things the way they have for the last 30 years. It was stated by another GSMSRC member that “It’s good to have options, we should just keep things the way they are with two groups”. The final decision between the two groups without any effort from GSMSRC was just that.
Next Seasons Plan
Another discussion initiated by NEMS would be an effort to help build both groups. One idea was an additional combined points race between the groups. With both groups essentially scheduling the same number of races, the availability for part time racers to find races they would be capable of attending would be increased. The way it would work would be out of approximately 12 races in each groups schedule, part time racers would be able to pick 4 races from each schedule to compete in a separate points race. Separate meaning NEMS has thier normal 12 race points schedule, GSMS has their 12 race points schedule, and the combine 4 and 4 race schedule would be another points race. There was not much excitement from GSMSRC and President Dean Hanson said he would discuss it with their board.
NEMS also offered the combined effort to work together on next seasons schedule to help alleviate the burden of double headers, and reduce the need to choose between which group to run with in a weekend. This would allow more drivers that want to run both groups the chance to do so. The GSMSRC membership expressed that their feeling was racers liked double headers and also like having a choice.
Part Time Racers/Affordability
NEMS is most interested in helping the 22 part time racers have more incentive to come to more events. It’s understood that other life obligations can get in the way of running a full season for points. That’s why NEMS is working hard to find ways to allow those part time racers to compete in some type of championship aside from the main points race. Incentives such as those stated above under Car Counts are only a few. When discussed, Dean Hanson expressed his lack of interest to add incentive to those part timers.
Troy Boissoneau also expressed the lack of interest to include anyone who wants to build a better faster car. Though not in those words. His words were more along the lines of ”I’d be happy if the built motors would just go away, those guys are cheaters”.
Offering up more ideas to advance the sport included new race tracks. Tracks like Jolly Rodgers Moto-Sports Park in Lempster, NH (JRMS). JRMS is willing to offer up their 8th mile dirt track for us to run. But they do not want to run the event. For any one group this would be a difficult and expensive task. But if groups pool resources together, it’s not so far fetched. Once again, GSMSRC turned a cheek at the idea.
This will not stop NEMS from finding a way to add tracks like these. NEMS has already ventured out to Maine to run at Boondocks Raceway. Though a bit of a drive for most drivers, 1 or possibly 2 events a year would not hurt. The point is that it expands the reach of mini sprints to find new fans and potential competitors.
750 /1000cc cars
The East Coast Mini Sprints have found themselves looking for new places to run. Once competing at the now closed Whip City, they did not have an alternative waiting for them. In the interest of car counts, the idea of running 750cc cars with the 600cc cars was discussed. In NEMS excursion to Maine, both a 750 and 1000cc were run with the NEMS 600′s with much success. Boissoneau expressed his fear that the cars were too big, size wise, up against the 600′s.
Despite the failed attempt by NEMS to bring the two groups together, this will not result in chaos. In fact, NEMS has been given a clear path to what needs to be accomplished. NEMS will focus all their efforts to allowing the 22 part timers a chance to get in the action. They will also be pushing to expand mini sprint awareness all over the Northeast. There are way to many untapped resources that mini sprints have not taken advantage of over the years. Using cutting edge technology, social awareness, and just plain excitement, NEMS is on it’s way to becoming the respected leader of mini sprint development in the Northeast.