The most traditional method, of course, is ticket sales. But that’s just scratching the surface.
To examine how a racetrack operates let’s look at one of the more popular race tracks in the country; Daytona International Speedway. You can get a decent idea on how such a track makes its money by studying who it caters for. Although it is usually publicized as a NASCAR race track, especially the worldwide renowned Daytona 500 there are many different races that it hosts, including ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) and SCCA (The Sports Car Club of America) as well as Moto America Superbike and bike events with Motocross.
It cannot rely on simply one track but the largest one is a tri-oval shape, similar to an egg with a pointed base. The reasons for the shape was to create the best sight lines for spectators and in so doing create the best event.
For fans, there are “access all areas” style events where the garages and all the background activity is on show to the general public. They generally include live entertainment and various displays. It’s all just another way to make the facilities work.
Another income stream comes from giving bachelor/bachelorette party’s couple of circuits around a racetrack. These usually come in two levels amateur or advanced.
If golf courses can offer pro-shops where you can buy equipment or talk to a pro about your game, then race tracks can and have upped their simple gift shop to offer in-house performance tuning and fabrication services to private consumers.
It is not just racing that creates capital from the site; there have been a number of football games for the local team which has also occurred here. Flexibility is everything in running a business.
NASCARs, and similar racing cars outperform normal cars because of their engines, right? Well, yes, in part. Is it design? Mid-race maintenance by a pro pit crew? Neither of those, well, not entirely, anyway. Even if you add it all up you’d still be missing performance contributions by the race track itself.
Perhaps the most noticeable assets of the racetrack which improve the action is the banked curves. Having a bank allows cars to attack the turn with greater efficiency. In the IMS tracks are banked between 23 and 36 degrees. More recently, some oval tracks are progressively banked, which allows outer cars to maintain higher speeds through the turn, making the race more competitive.
Some banks have nicknames like “wall of death” and it is easy to see why.
By far the least well-known track performance feature is the “racing groove.” This is the name given the ideal route around the track and it removes or shaves off several precious secrets. But even that isn’t as simple as it sounds. The grove shifts about depending on weather and track conditions.
If you want to see the grove, look for a thick black line coming out of the turn, which is rubber left from the high-performance racing tires. This rubber is actually the biggest reason why the groove shifts. The extra rubber on the track can increase tire grip or make it slicker depending on temperature and other factors.
So on some days, a racer has won by staying in the groove the entire race, but more often racers have one from reading the track conditions and knowing when to alter their line into and out of the turn to by on groove or not. It’s a balancing act because the new optimum line might take you across the older grove which can cause a slide out. Add in the fact that all the other race crews and drivers are attempting to improve their groove and you’ve got a recipe for some big wrecks.
There is much debate about when the first car was introduced to the world. From the early 1800s all the way up until the 1900s, numerous designs were patented and produced throughout the world. However, it was not until the early 1900s when the first full-scale automobile assembly lines were introduced that production of the car really ramped up. The introduction of the car helped shape and growing world economies and also shifted cultural mindsets. With the increased production, there was an increase in the need for skilled labourers and with that came the reinvestment of wages into the economy. Never before did people of all walks of life have access to a means of transportation that could take them to even the most remote places of the world in a much more compressed length of time. The wealthy were no longer the only ones who could afford to shape the cultural patterns of their countries since these workers also became a substantial wedge of the market share.
Car culture continued to grow over the years especially with the use of motorcycles and vehicles during World War I and II, but nothing screams quintessential car culture more than muscle cars. Interestingly enough, the need for speed developed early in the 1900s during prohibition times, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the first official muscle car, the Rocket 88, was debuted by Oldsmobile. It had a lightweight frame with a powerful V8 engine. After its introduction, the Rocket 88 became popular within the NASCAR world, which helped to elevate the muscle car amongst American car culture. By the mid-1950s, muscle cars had begun to dominate the market with American automakers Chrysler and Chevrolet contributing heavily. It was during this time that Chrysler first introduced the Hemi engine, which was a series of V8 engines that used a hemispherically shaped combustion chamber. It had advantages over the tradition reverse-flow cylinder combustion chambers and allowed muscle cars to reach much sought after speeds.
With the increased desire in speed, there came a larger concern for safety and regulation. Car manufacturers became increasingly aware of the need for such things as safety harnesses, reinforced framework, door locks, and even airbags. Throughout the late 1950s and into the 60s, these safety features became more standardized on vehicles, but it was until the late 60s when the first seat belt law was introduced in America.
Technological advancements have continued to dominate the car industry as the years have gone by. Every year cars get more and more upgraded features that not only incorporate safety but are user-friendly and meant to make the drive a pleasant experience for all. Some interesting new developments include the introduction of ADAS windshield technology and the self-driving car. ADAs technology assists drivers through a network of sensors and direct connections to the vehicle while promoting safe driving. The self-driving car has always been somewhat of a fantasy, but car companies such as Tesla have pushed to make it a mainstay in the car industry. They already produce cars capable of full autonomy but have yet to implement all the capabilities at this time.
However, car culture may be slowly coming to end outside of people’s personal hobbies. Studies have begun to show that the younger generations are moving away from buying and owning vehicles. With the introduction of companies like Uber and Lyft and the growing push for greener solutions, we may be seeing fewer vehicles on the road in the very near future.