TORONTO MOTORSPORTS PARK = TOO MANY BROKEN PROMISES TO IGNORE

9-11-07toronto.jpgNHRA Funny Car racer Jim Head summed it up best when referring to particular tracks in drag racing, “There are givers and takers and this one is a taker.”
 
Head’s comments were in reference to Maple Grove Raceway.
 
Head no longer runs on the IHRA tour but if he did, he might call the Toronto Motorsports Park venue a taker. In the opinion of many, this facility is a motorsports park in name only.
 
According to the vast majority of racers contacted by Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com, the place is a dump with no improvements apparently planned or announced the foreseeable future. That is unless the IHRA does it for them in the days prior to the event.

The race packs the grandstands routinely, and they did this year, but is this clearly a get all we can get deal until next time? The IHRA packs the house for them. The IHRA stages a great race for the fans. But where does TMP's investment come into existence?
 
Five years of work in three days just don’t cut it any more. This has been the same song and dance since 2002.
 
Let’s take inventory.

It’s time the IHRA stood up and said “clean up or else”
 

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TMP managment obviously doesn't care about the reputation they are building in the sport. The majority of IHRA professionals wouldn't mind if the venue is stricken from the 2008 schedule.
NHRA Funny Car racer Jim Head summed it up best when referring to particular tracks in drag racing, “There are givers and takers and this one is a taker.”
 
Head’s comments were in reference to Maple Grove Raceway.
 
Head no longer runs on the IHRA tour but if he did, he might call the Toronto Motorsports Park venue a taker. In the opinion of many, this facility is a motorsports park in name only.
 
According to the vast majority of racers contacted by Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com, the place is a dump with no improvements apparently planned or announced the foreseeable future. That is unless the IHRA does it for them in the days prior to the event.

The race packs the grandstands routinely, and they did this year, but is this clearly a "get all we can get deal until next time" deal for the track? The IHRA packs the house for them. The IHRA stages a great race for the fans. But where does TMP's investment come into existence?
 
Five years of work in three days just don’t cut it any more. This has been the same song and dance since 2002.
 
Let’s take inventory.


Five years ago, then-sanctioning body president Bill Bader and the IHRA rolled out an elaborate design plan for a world-class facility and said they’d make improvements as they went along. Bader promised it would be a five-year plan.

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The professional teams were promised paved pits four years ago. Obviously, the interpretation of paved differs considerably.
Four years ago -- still working, be patient we are told.
 
Three years ago, the tower was closer to being finished. It remains unfinished today. New bathrooms were put in place. Still the same crumbling pit asphalt, but the toilets were fine. You know you have a problem when a guy like low-buck racer Bobby Lagana complains about the conditions.
 

2004 EVENT
 

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The IHRA reportedly issued an ultimatum in 2006 to clean up their act or else.
Two years ago, Top Fuel racer Doug Foley watched as his rig sank into the makeshift asphalt. He ended up parking in the sportsman pits along the road course.
 

2005 EVENT
 
“We tried to maneuver the rig into the spot, but it was impossible," Foley told Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com in 2005. “I was watching the trailer sink before my eyes. There was no way we could even lower the back door. I wasn’t about to put my guys through trying to work in those conditions.”
Foley said his location was over 100 yards from the pre-assigned Top Fuel pits.
 
As for 2006, it was more of the same; lots of promises but no noticeable change.
 
 IHRA history buffs will recall that a national event was held at this track back in 1992. The previous management of the IHRA was not known to have particularly high standards back then, but even they elected not to return to what was then called Cayuga Motorsports Park.
 
Guess what? Nothing has changed in five years except the name of the facility. Name change is akin to putting lipstick on a sow.
 

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Some things never change. This picture circa 2004 shows a Bobby Lagana crewman pounding the pavement so he can flatten it enough to open the trailer door.
Let’s take inventory of this year’s running before we go further.
 
Once again the tradition was kept alive as preparation for the event began just days prior to the race.
 
Reportedly IHRA track prep specialist Jim Weinert had a crew come in and seal the entire shutdown area from the finish line to the sand trap. This was something that was supposed to have been completed weeks ago. Keep in mind that Weinert reportedly had to spend several days cleaning the track before that could begin.
The asphalt in the pits is still crumbling under the weight of the big rigs, and lights needing repair in 2006 had to be replaced.
 
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While the teams were fighting to unload their cars, at least they had nice wash rooms to clean up in.
Why does the IHRA tolerate this? From what we are hearing they won’t much longer.
 
As of Friday, there was only enough seating on the right side grandstands for about 200 spectators. We were told by a source inside of the IHRA that temporary grandstands were being erected on Thursday and Friday.
 
We have a few questions regarding this scenario and we’re sure many of the hundreds of racers who made the trek to this reported “Motorsports Park” have as well.
 
Why doesn’t the IHRA hold this facility to the same standards they enforced on other tracks in the past? Reportedly the IHRA issued a letter of ultimatum following the 2006 race.
 
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Doug Foley's 2005 pit space after he pulled out due to the rig sinking under the crumbling asphalt.
We’ll have to see if large crowds in 2007 (which are likely to arrive) cloud the enforcement process for 2008.
 
Others who brought in large crowds were told to clean up their act (New York International Raceway Park) or else. Those facilities are no longer on the tour.
 
If TMP is a member of the IHRA team, why aren’t they motivated to clean up their house before company arrives? Is it because they don’t have to because they know the IHRA will come in and clean it for them?

The IHRA is not the bad guy here. They are trying to grow a product with an entity that appears not to care.
 

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Foley found himself pitting in the middle of the sportsman racers who must park on the asphalt of the road course to keep out of the regular quagmire their transporters are parked in.
To see this thing go on and on, year after year, gives the impression that this is a surprise event thrust on the folks in Cayuga every season, and the IHRA is like a parent trying to motivate an underachieving teenager.
 
The IHRA needs to issue an ultimatum Monday morning -- the same ultimatum that should have been issued after every event in years prior, with a drop-dead completion date or else the event is cancelled.
 
Clean up your act 100% or else should be the tone of this letter. The racers would understand if they had one less race on the tour.  What they won’t understand is being subjected to this same goat rodeo year after year.

 

 

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