Local race car drivers spend thousands to stay on the track - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local race car drivers spend thousands to stay on the track


In NASCAR, drivers get big time sponsorships, so if they ever get in a wreck they will have a car ready for them the next weekend.

In local racing circuits, things are much different. Get in an accident and you might not race for a few months.  

The $7500 check going to the winner at the South Bend Speedway Wednesday night was the biggest in track history.

Obviously it was nothing compared to the almost $400,000 up for grabs down at the Brickyard 400 this weekend. However, the big difference is the NASCAR guys actually get to treat their winnings like a prize and the local drivers need every penny they can get.

"Nobody's got millions sitting out here to just buy, and buy, and buy," said Steven Dolphin.

When it comes to the local race track, money doesn't always come around as fast as the cars can drive.

Unlike NASCAR, sponsors aren't looking to slap their logos on the local cars left and right. Every dollar the drivers can get their hands on goes right into the car. If they get into a wreck, they might not make it back onto the track for a few weeks.

"I mean you break a rear end or anything like that and we're looking at a few thousand bucks to get going again and that's just not easy to come by in today's economy," said Dolphin.

The cost of parts, gas, and tires adds up quick for the local guys. In order to help with those costs, a lot of drivers help each other out by sharing parts.

"You see that every race you go to," said Brian Ross. "Last week we had a situation in Fort Wayne where we had to borrow a part from needles and there's people here that will come borrow stuff from us. We try and keep everybody going."

Not only do these guys have to deal with the financial hardships to get on the track, but they are also sacrificing time at home with their friends and family.

"Late nights in the shop," said Adam Terry. "Giving up going out with your friends, going to baseball games, going out on the boat and having a relaxing evening. You're in the shop and you're working."

The big checks and trophies at each track can help these guys continue their careers. Getting a few thousand dollars here and there for passing by a checkered flag can make the difference in getting to the next race. However, most of the drivers say, they'd be out here, even if they were down to their last dime.

For them, it's about being on the track, and nothing else.

"Next week we might race for a thousand to win, last week it was 10 thousand, and this week is $7500 to win," said Ross. "But if you want to go race, you'll go race "

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