Not long ago I was accused of "throwing WCS under the bus" and of being "behind" some conspiracy to make WCS look bad, simply for putting out the truth about the childish actions of 2 tracks to make another track look bad. I explained to those involved that there was no need to throw anybody under the bus when they seem to jump under the bus themselves. That was to be the end of it, and I wished them all well for the 2007 season. Well folks, there's been another bus accident and once again the damage seems to be self inflicted. I've avoided the situation for several days in order to give WCS plenty of time to either fix the problem or at least explain their decisions. They haven't done either one.
For those of you that don't know what the latest mess is all about, WCS recently announced a tire rule that requires Hoosier tires. I've been told directly from Ernie that the rule will not require you to buy your tires at the track to be stamped for identification. The first problem with the new tire rule is that the drivers voted at their meetings to have no tire rule. Furthermore, Ernie himself has stated more than once that there would never be a tire rule as long as he owns the track. This latest stunt is a real kick in the nuts to nearly every race team that planned on running WCS this year. Some teams have already bought their tires for the season, and others don't have the funds to buy new tires at the track. Believe it or not Ernie, not every team buys all new tires, or even any new tires, as often as you think. Hell, ask Fred Snyder how many NEW tires he buys every year, including his championship winning season in 2006. To make things worse, many teams planned to run other tracks along with WCS, but this will require them to buy tires just for WCS if not already planning on running Lakeville. Believe it or not, there are other tracks besides those two.
Just one example of how a tire rule can kill a car count would be the Pure Stock class at Lakeville the past few years. It got so bad that the class was canceled before combining it with most of the Cruiser class last season in order to get almost a full field. I know many Pure Stock teams including our own that would have been happy to race at Lakeville, but simply couldn't afford to buy different tires just to race there. Of course I don't figure Ernie pays enough attention to such a "low" class as the Pure Stocks to even notice. Just as he clearly doesn't understand how many teams have to scrape and borrow just to make it to any track. Simply put, not everybody can afford to race at WCS any more. In order to race there now, you'll need 4 Hoosier tires which you may or may not use at another track, a transponder, and a radio/scanner. How in the hell can this be good for car counts? We're no longer talking about losing just a few Pure Stocks, this will affect all the classes except the mini-stocks.
When Ernie first bought the track, we were all told several times that we should just be happy that we had a place to race. Back then I couldn't help but think that was a statement that hadn't been given alot of thought before repeating it over and over. Many teams bust their asses and budgets in order to put a car on a race track, with absolutely no hopes of even breaking even. Hell we all understand that and we do it because we love the sport. Then we're told that we should just be happy that we're allowed to do what we love at their track. That slogan seems to have changed to "if you don't like how we run things, go some place else" the past few years. As a matter of fact that exact attitude has been spewed on their own forum and in the pits in the past 2 years. From the rumblings I've been hearing lately, that message has finally sunk in.
Rumors have been flying all winter about what will become of WCS this year, and none of us have seen a public statement to clear things up. With the media coverage they seem to have, many don't understand why they haven't done something to put the rumors to rest. I could care less about the rumors, but I would sure like to see them rethink some of their recent decisions, and most of all, the whole attitude towards ALL race teams. Talk is cheap, but now it's time to prove that they appreciate ALL racers, or admit that they don't really give a shit. Now Doc, Tina, and Ernie, before you go accusing me of conspiring to throw WCS under the bus, take a step back and see what the racing community is saying. I'm simply stating what most of them are saying, and trust me, what you've read on your own website is only a drop in the bucket. I've said many times that I'd love to see WCS become the kickass track that it was known to be years ago, and have always been willing to help in any way. However, if this is the new path of WCS, it would take a miracle to pull that off. All I can say is good luck.
**This story has been edited to include information I recieved directly from Ernie Coffman. While he may not be happy with the rest of the content here, I stand behind it 100%, as it is simply posting the truth and thoughts of many racers affected by the tire rule. He clearly has his reasons for doing these things, and by all means he has that right as the track owner. As one who would love to see WCS succeed, I only ask that they are up front with everybody that supports WCS by racing there or filling the stands. The truth, good or bad, goes a long way towards building trust. We're all adults and we can handle news that doesn't always paint a perfect picture. It would chase fewer people away than leaving them to come up with their own theories in my opinion. Speaking of my opinion, as stated on this site plenty of times, I don't sugar coat anything on this site for any reason. I also won't be intimidated into not posting facts and opinions (good or bad) of the racing community here on this site. This doesn't mean I strive to beat up on anybody (and really try not to), and most of those discussed here have also been promoted many times over the years on this site, and behind the scenes. I wish I could only post happy news, but that wouldn't be fair to those who come here to read the truth. In other words, if you're looking for sugar coated stories that make everything in the world seem perfect, you're on the wrong website. Try Disney.com for that. ;-)