In The Making of the Dirt Classic Format, I mentioned the understanding that promoters must have in that no matter what you do, someone will love it and someone else will hate it.
When it comes to payouts, that fact could not be more true.
But it shouldn’t be brushed off as a truism that you can’t control. How much you pay and who you pay it to greatly affects what happens in your pits. And what happens in your pits greatly affects what happens in your stands.
When we laid out the vision for the Dirt Classic, we knew that blowing out the winner’s share of the purse was the best way we could put the event on the map from day one. Paying $20,000 to the race winner would make it the highest paying non-sanctioned race in Pennsylvania, and that certainly appealed to us as promoters.
And we knew that it would appeal to top-quality cars, both throughout the region and beyond.
But we knew that only one driver could receive a big check and custom trophy, so in order to attract the large car count that we wanted to make the event competitive and interesting for the fans, we would have to keep the pot sweet throughout the field with an overall purse of more than $50,000.
As with any inaugural event, we did the best projections we could and determined an overall purse budget. From there, we focused on a few positions that we knew from feedback and racing ourselves that racers look at to determine the value of a purse and, specifically, the 24th position.
Our long-term goal, which we achieved in 2016, was to pay $1,000 as start money. In 2014, we started at $600 for 24th and increased that to $700 in 2015 before jumping to $1,000.
Over the first three years, the Dirt Classic has paid out more than $399,000 to race teams through purse money in the Dirt Classic marquee events and qualifiers, along with incentives paid through dashes and traveler bonuses.
The payout has become one of the signature appeals for drivers, attracting travelers like Shane Stewart, Craig Dollansky, Dave Blaney, Bill Balog, Terry McCarl, Lynton Jeffrey, Jac Haudenschild and Justin Henderson.
It has ensured that our fans will see the best of the best hit the track, with a format that’s been honed over the years. You can read more about that here.
– Kristin Swartzlander, DirtyMouth Communications