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Wishing All of Our Racers, Fans, and Sponsors a Very

As we work on plans for our 50th anniversary year of racing in 2015, we also look back on last year. 2014 was a unique year with my taking over sole ownership of ERP and the challenges that went with that, the excitement of doing some major improvements at the track, and the stress of having bad weather on all of our big events. The good news is we all survived these challenges and the racers and fans were very understanding of what we faced and supported us in many ways. We are so very thankful for our racers, fans, and sponsors, without any one of these we would not exist.

As we work on our plans for 2015 I want everyone to know we spend lot of time trying to find out what our racers want and will support, and does it make sense financially for the track. No matter what we decide to do there is no way everyone will be happy with all of our decisions. This fall we posted racer surveys on our website, Facebook, and passed them out at the track. This winter we have spent a lot of time studying them and learning from them. Thanks to those that took the time to fill them out.

Some issues are very hard to make decisions on as there is some strong disagreement from the racers on what we should do. For example the question about 2 day vs. 1 day events. About 60 % of the surveys returned liked the combination we did last year, about 10-15 % want 2 day only and about 25-30% want more 1 day events. For the track we need more racers to have the numbers we need to succeed financially, and we have attracted quite a few who travel a long way to race at ERP  and they almost all want 2 day events. It is also quite a bit more economical for us to do 2 day events than more one day. With the way we do points with 4 dropped races at the end of the season (almost all surveys approve this) racers can miss the 1 day events or miss 4 Sundays and still be competitive for the points race. At this time we do not have our dates set for points races but it will resemble what we did last year with four 1 day points races and 7 or 8 two day points races. Again not everyone will be happy but making this track financially successful is at the top of the list of why we make these decisions. If the track does not make money it will not stay open or make the improvements that are needed to make it even better.

The other thing that has a lot of different opinions is on entry fees vs. payouts. Based on what feedback we got from the surveys and comments I have heard from racers we will make some changes for 2015. For Street ET most people favor standard entry fees with standard payouts. Looking at the attendance at events where we offered more money there has been little if any increase in numbers. Based on these feedbacks we will probably go to regular payouts at most if not all points races for this class. In Modified it is much more divided on this with more favoring the smaller entry fees than the bigger ones. At this time we will do the bigger entries and payouts on our 3 holiday weekends, just like last year. For Top ET more favor the bigger payouts than the standard ones but still pretty close. For 2015 we will do our bigger payouts on the 3 holiday weekends, just like Modified plus we are working on one 2 day weekend with a bigger payout ($3000 or more depending on sponsorship) somewhere during the season. Scheduling this where it does not compete with other big buck races in the Midwest is very important as is getting the sponsorship needed to do this.

One of the things we are planning to change is the program for our non points dates as they need to be more financially sound. We have not finalized details but next year these will have open time trials (for those wanting more time trials) will feature gambler format bracket classes for street cars, street bikes, foot brake race car class, a trans brake class, and several no box index classes for cars and bikes. We are also working on a heads up open class for street legal vehicles which will run on limited days. We are looking for feedback from our box racers to see if they have interest in a gambler race for them on these days. These races will differ quite a bit from our normal races and hopefully will attract some new racers and be something that will appeal to some of our current racers.

One of the most common complaints in the survey was about points updates on our website being slow and sometimes wrong. We know this is a legitimate concern and are working on changes to how we do this to correct the problem. We can and will do a better job with our website.

Some racers feel we push racers too hard to return to the lanes quickly and rush to get the events done too quickly. The reason we do this is for two reasons. First if we have spectators the last thing they want is down time with no cars going down the track. The biggest reason we do this is to save money. The longer we run increases our payroll and at night our light bill. This is a business for us and is extremely difficult to make it work financially and we have to do everything to save expenses so we can continue to provide a place to enjoy the sport we all love.

Overall the surveys had way more positive comments than issues but we do appreciate all feedback. We will address some individual issues with those racers directly to at least explain why we do what we do. The thing that drives me crazy is when I hear rumors that someone is not happy with something we have done and they have never talked with us about it. My phone is on 24/7 and is published everywhere and will always talk to anyone about anything. Will my answer always be what you want to hear, probably not but we will always do our best to explain why we do what we do.

We are not done with our schedule yet as we work to avoid as many conflicts with other tracks and events as possible. One new event we have set is on June 13 and called Midwest Nostalgia Nationals. This event will be a throwback to the old days with racing for 1975 and older vehicles with several bracket classes for no box cars, several trophy classes, a car show, and swap meet, a race for the Nostalgia Super Stock Association, Nostalgia Gassers Association, and some exciting match races. This will also be a reunion event for many of ERP`s past racers as we celebrate 50 years of racing at ERP.

We will add some fun to our 2 day races (except NOF & WFAN) with pit vehicle races on the Saturday night at the end of racing. We also plan to have some Powder Puff races on regular events throughout the season again a throwback to the past.

In the next month we will continue to let everyone know of other events and classes planned as we confirm dates and details. We are working on other ways to celebrate our 50th anniversary throughout the year and working on how to do a better job attracting new racers at all levels, and building some great programs like our high school class, teen championship racing program, etc. One of the best things that the racers can do with this is to mentor anyone that you see or know is new and help them in any way you can.

See you at Wild Wades swap meet January 25.
Gerald Kramer

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