Editorial by: Rod Ort
With the start on the 2013 season just around the corner there is speculation that PASS will be the next racing division to spiral “out of control”. While it is yet to be seen if competition will somehow tip in favor of expensive engines we must first examine the facts.
PASS is a RaceSaver regional series. RaceSaver was indeed established as an affordable sprint car division with solid rules developed by French Grimes which have stood the test of time. Since its inception RaceSaver has understood that nobody can control spending within racing. Certainly there will always be a desire to but the latest product or pay for development to the point where engines will cost considerable amounts of money. While it is evident that this happens in all forms of racing we have not seen spending produce significant results.
Last year our series champion won 4 events out 26, the most wins ever in a single season for PASS was 6. In 2012 we had 26 races total in our area with 16 Different winners. Ryan Lynn has campaigned with the series since its inception, a review of his history will show consistent single digit finishes throughout his career including a win in 2012 and many more top 5 finishes. Ryan’s engine is not expensive. Reed Thompson picked up a win in 2012 and rarely finished out of the top 10 with a very affordable power plant. I personally have documented to our teams the engine (that I bought used in 2002) cost more than $10,000 to build (over 12 years ago) and it managed to win 2 races last year after competing in hundreds of events since it was built. It has the same rotating assembly (crank, rods, pistons) and the same injection the crank weighs 51 lbs. I also own an engine with a cast crank that I built for about $6500 (new) and it finished in the top 5 at Williams grove and Susquehanna last year with a second year driver who came from racing Quads. There are numerous stories like this along with stories of money being spent but the wins just aren’t there.
The key to the success of RaceSaver is the system French Grimes has put into place which not only includes technical rules but purse guidelines. PASS is the example of that. We maintain strict engine tech and insisting that all engines are consistently and accurately teched the details are carefully logged and forwarded to RaceSaver. Make no mistake, teams have thrown a lot of money at the engines but thanks to the strict tech procedures of our regional director their greatest gain is longevity. Another key element of managing the series is our purse and managing our teams.
Nobody is misled.
Pass has grown over the years by carefully interviewing teams and explaining everything up front. Invitations aren’t issued until we know the team and have answered their questions. We don’t require attendance and never handicap our exclusive competitors. We’ve tried hard to maintain a balance with all other divisions in the area by making sure all applicants understand the recreational aspect of RaceSaver. We also make clear that we will not compromise on the purse structure or technical rules no matter how much they want to spend. Tracks shouldn’t be required to raise their purses to keep pace with excessive spending.
As our 15th anniversary begins I’m excited for the future of our series and I’m hopeful for an exciting year. Certainly RaceSaver will face challenges throughout the country attempting to keep engine tech under control but we’re confident that by carefully managing the tech of our region we’ll continue to provide exciting affordable racing. We’re also confident that other regions will continue to be successful as they hold to the standards and oversight of French Grimes.