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Cedar Lake Speedway Addresses Purse Change Moving Forward

By CLS, 05/08/14, 2:30PM CDT


Effective immediately the ownership and management of Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin has decided to revert back to the 2013 payoff structure in all divisions beginning on Saturday, May 10th, 2014. Please click here for payoff information.


After an off-season decision to try to combat rising costs in many areas of the auto racing industry, Cedar Lake’s ownership group put together a tiered payoff structure based on car count for the 2014 season. The main reason this was done was to try to avoid raising the pit gate fee from the $25 per person that it has been for many years. Cedar Lake co-owner Brad Both said, “we knew a purse structure change would probably not be popular with some racers, but with the costs of everything from insurance, state and local licenses, employee costs, etc, we needed to find a way to try to stay above water on our weekly shows and after doing some research as to what other tracks were doing, we felt that this was the most viable option. We understand now that we may have jumped the gun and made the change a bit too hastily and want to make it right with our racers who support us weekly.”


Cedar Lake’s ownership group called upon longtime CLS announcer and FYE Motorsports Promotions business owner Chris Stepan to discuss options of what the track could and should do to make this right with the racers but to try to not lose money on regular race nights in the process. The Kaufman’s, Brad and Stepan met on Monday of this week and came up with some ideas of what other area tracks are doing and what successful promoters in the industry are doing in 2014 as well.  Stepan said, “the guys and I had some great discussion and they understand that they made a mistake by changing the purse structure over the winter and are willing to admit that.  Racing is very expensive for race teams, but tracks are feeling the pinch of increasing costs as well and for tracks to survive, especially with a Late Model and Modified purse weekly, things needed to be looked at in areas to save some money and make it work for both sides.  I speak with many racers on a regular basis and after seeing how upset some of them were with the change, my suggestion to the guys was to put the payout back to where it was in 2013 and to look at moving the pit gate fee to $30 per pit pass each night.  Many other area tracks moved to $30 in 2012 or 2013 and as CLS sees rising costs, this is just part of doing business. The way I look at it is, if a driver or crew member attends every regular NASCAR event that CLS has left on its schedule, it will cost each person an additional $50-75 total during the course of the season.  Many drivers I spoke with would much rather go that route than have a pay structure change.”  Chris went on to say, “there aren’t a lot of tracks anywhere in the country that race both Late Models and Modifieds weekly together any more simply because of the costs associated with doing so and there definitely aren’t any tracks that I know of that run both classes and only charge $25 to get in the pits.  Raising prices is never a popular thing, but in my opinion this change was necessary.  Cedar Lake is home to me.  I grew up watching racing there and have worked there for going on 17 years and I hate the fact that people were upset these first two weeks of the season.  After meeting with the owners, I know that they realize that the payout change wasn’t the right thing to do and I truly hope that the racers realize that no one wants to keep raising prices, but in order for the track to survive on a weekly racing program, this small pit pass change from $25 to $30 was a necessary one.”


Cedar Lake’s Bob Kaufman said, “Look, we have always been aware that the other area tracks have raised their pit gate fees to $30 in recent years but we have tried to come up with other ways to fight the costs without having to do so, which is where the tiered payoff structure came from.  We looked at several other tracks in our region and tried to come up with what we thought was the best payoff based on car count that we felt was fair.  Obviously, after much discussion and feedback from drivers, fans, and employees, we see that we may have made a mistake and are happy to listen to and work with the drivers and take Chris’s suggestion to put our payoff back to what it was in 2013.  By going back to last year's purse, CLS will again have the largest total weekly purse and largest track point fund of any track in the area." 


In fact, this coming Saturday night, Cedar Lake will be hosting their 10th annual School Bus Races along with NASCAR Midwest Modifieds, NASCAR Hornets and Vintage Cars.  A great CLS partner, Pepsi, has stepped up and the Midwest Modifieds will be paying $400 to win on Saturday night with pit passes remaining at $25 per person for one more week.


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