By The Numbers
In North American auto racing, a short track is a racetrack of less than one mile (1.6km) in length. Short track racing is where stock car racing first got off the back roads and into organized and regulated competition.
Unlike the larger tracks, short track offers fans and competitors close racing, where the bodies of the cars can rub against one another, but without a remarkably high likelihood of serious accidents. Today, short tracks have become the un-official “Minor Leagues” of racing. Most short tracks are in smaller rural communities, though often within a short distance from larger metropolitan areas.
Short tracks provide family-oriented, low-cost entertainment. Most tracks have a “family” section in the grandstands, which forbids smoking and alcohol. Much like a minor league baseball game, short track events often include promotional night giveaways, fireworks shows, live music, and other added-value entertainment.
Unique to the short track events is access to the competitors. Nearly all tracks open the pit area gates after the racing ends, where fans can interact with competitors and their race cars. Short Track Teams typically consist of a driver and an average of 5 or 6 supporting team crew members. Teams can consist of mechanics, public relations personnel, and/or team manager – coordinators. Most are volunteers; however, higher-budget teams have paid crew members.
Race teams will spend $20,000-$80,000 on the low level and $500,000 or more on the high end annually to operate their team. A very small percentage of their budgets are spent directly with the racetracks. A significant percentage of the budget is spent in the local community on products, services, real estate, etc. 85% of short tracks are already holding or supporting local charities by providing their facilities for events, fund raising activities, and awareness through fans and competitors. Ninety-nine percent of short tracks reported an interest in providing their facilities for non-racing charitable events and other non-racing events such as concerts, fairs, car shows, trade shows, etc. Short track grounds are natural event facilities with concessions, security, and the operational resources to hold various events. Ninety-nine percent of track owners – promoters reported an interest to work closer with community programs, charities, and local officials to become a useful facility for non-racing events.