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2/18/2018 9:34 pm  #1

State of the Figure 8

=25.025pxThis is a story I wrote back in 2015:

"The State Of The Figure 8"=14.3px 

=16.445pxBy Harold Adams aka RacinHawk(Race8.com)

=14.3pxAs we enter the 2015 racing season, let’s look at the state of the figure 8. Let’s think about the past and the future for a moment. Figure 8 racing has had its ups and downs over the years. It gained in popularity around the country in the 70s with the help of “Wide World of Sports”. The ABC show would air figure 8s from the Islip, NY racetrack which I remember personally watching as a kid on TV. The show would be broadcasted on a Saturday afternoon. Then right after that, my dad would take me out to the Jeffersonville Sportsdrome in Indiana. It was great to go watch it live and in person. Seeing it on TV is one thing. But to watch it live was just so much more exciting. And so many more people thought the same thing too as the stands were always packed. Whether we went to the Sportsdrome or the old Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in Louisville, Kentucky, it was always a great show with a great crowd. 

=14.3pxAs time moved on, the cars and divisions changed. In the 80s, the number of tracks running figure 8 were diminishing. The Fairgrounds track closed up. But here in Indiana, the Sportsdrome and the Indianapolis Speedrome were still highlighting the figure 8s as the main attraction with Modified/Late Model type cars. The Speedrome was now hosting the “Super Bowl” of figure 8 racing with the World Figure 8 Championship 3 Hour Enduro. A few other places around the country were still running these kind of figure 8s too. Then the pure stock/bomber type cars began to explode around the country. This made it easier for drivers to get started in figure 8 and in turn created more and more figure 8 drivers. The Charlestown Speedway, in southern Indiana, switched to asphalt in 1983 and was running figure 8 racing more and more. The Louisville Motor Speedway, which began operation in 1988, took off with this trend. They decided to pay top money for the figure 8 division which had Street Stock cars. Throughout most of the 90s, they had so many cars and drivers wanting to do figure 8, they had to add features and even added a rookie division. The figure 8 was as strong as ever and you could find a figure 8 race at many tracks across the country.

=14.3pxBut as we moved through the years, things changed again. The track in Islip closed in 1984. The track in Louisville closed in 2001. Most recently, tracks all over have been closing due to the economy, high cost of building a car, the high cost of maintaining a car, the lack of sponsorship help in general, and the declining average attendance in the stands and the pits. Raceway Park in Minnesota has run figure 8 street stock style for many years, but has now closed up after the 2013 season. Tracks across the state of Florida use to run figure 8 on a regular basis. Now, most of them only run them on a part time basis. Short tracks in general are really having trouble surviving. Car counts are down. Attendance is down. And with that, figure 8 racing is fading. The emergence of front wheel drive cars has some tracks running them on the 8. But it’s more of a side show for most of these tracks. We need to appreciate the tracks around that are still treating them as the most exciting and premiere divisions that they run. The Outlaw/Late Model style cars are still running at places like the Evergreen Speedway in Washington state, the Orange Show Speedway in California, Riverhead in New York, and at the Toledo Speedway(Ohio) and Flat Rock Speedway in Michigan. Those latter two tracks are close enough where drivers run at both. Other than that, we have the big three here in Indiana. The Sportsdrome, Speedrome, and Anderson. Although Anderson hasn’t run the Outlaws regularly in quite a while, they have been host to several events put together by a couple traveling series. Those series, the IOFS, AMCS, and WOFS, have struggled to consistently keep car counts up as they travel around the Midwest trying to showcase the great sport of figure 8 racing.

=14.3pxSo as we move forward now, it is obvious that the figure 8 heartbeat is right here in Indiana. But the Speedrome’s Late Model Figure 8 car count has diminished over the past few years. Same with the Xtreme Winged Figure 8 division at the Sportsdrome. For 2015, the Speedrome will have fewer events for the Late Models, which will be called the World Figure 8 cars now. The Sportsdrome has cutdown on the big races for the Xtreme 8 and has dropped the Dromer(stocker) Figure 8 completely. The FWD8 was also dropped regularly, but will run on four select nights thanks to Race8.com=14.3px. But with that said, this is all being done to keep the sport alive. The Outlaws are now being featured more at the Sportsdrome and will once again be running for the Midwestern Championship instead of the Xtremes. At the Speedrome, when the World Figure 8 cars are off, they are going to have the Stock 8 headline the show. And at Anderson, they have announced that they will start running a Stock 8 division that is on the schedule around 12 times in 2015. 

=14.3pxIf you live in Indiana and love figure 8 racing, then consider yourself lucky. There is no other state in the country that can present the figure 8 the way it is here. The World Figure 8 Champion is still crowned here in the big one at the Speedrome. But we must do our part to keep the figure 8 strong and to not let it slip away as it has in many parts of the country. Support and enjoy what we have. Figure 8 fans and drivers are very passionate about their sport. The figure 8 is still here and is still just as exciting as ever. The drivers are talented and put on a show every time they hit the track. The state of the figure 8 overall is not very strong to be honest with you. But in Indiana, it is still going strong but maybe not as strong as before. But it is up to us to keep this thing from fading out as it has elsewhere. We are the ones that must support it and keep it alive. Because when it comes down to it, Indiana, IS the State Of The Figure 8.


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