Cody Sommer: “If there’s 60,000 people in there one day. I think the purse would blow their mind, quite frankly.”
I spoke to a lot of racers at the 2016 Gateway Dirt Nationals. I’d say the most common complaint was the payout.
A lot of people were critical.
But, it was a brand new race. There was a lot of unknown properties when installing a full blown dirt late model race indoors, in St. Louis and in the middle of December.
As far as the low 2016 payout, that was you just protecting yourself. Right?
“I would be willing to guess that it’s one of the most expensive races in the entire industry,” the Gateway Dirt Nationals promoter Cody Sommer explains to RacingNews.co . “If not, the most expensive.”
“So, when you’re going out on a limb like that and you’re taking a huge chance. I have that confidence, trust me, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. But, when you do that you have to budget an event and you have to stick to your budget and say, ‘This is what we’re gunna do.’ ”
The payout wasn’t the greatest.
“The payout wasn’t the greatest. I know that. I remember addressing the drivers, on I think Saturday. Letting them know, if this event continues and we have the support that we’ve had, that will change.”
It certainly has changed. The upgraded 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals purse is now set at $260,000+.
“At the same time, on a first year event. You have to ask what you’re setting the budget to. That’s how business works. You set a budget, you set a plan and you do it.”
We added over $100,000 to the purse.
“This year, knowing that we had a great crowd. Knowing that we had great attendance. Knowing that there’s a little more comfort in the business aspect of it. We added over $100,000 to the purse.”
“It’s one of the better purses in the industry now. Pre-lim’s and the Race of Champions as well. It’s a lot different this year.”
The 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals main event is paying $30,000 to the winner alone. But, it continues through the field. Last place will send that said driver home with a check for $2,000.
“I think it’s a little unfortunate. Because, I don’t think we’re getting a lot of recognition for that. Most events, and we’re talkin’ major one’s, don’t even have $100,000 purses.”
“We added $100,000. There’s most events that don’t even pay that in the entirety.”
2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals Payout
$20,000 (Late Model)
$42,000 (Late Model) + 15,000 in tow money
$21,000 (Modified) + $10,000 tow money
$98,500 (Late Model) + 14,800 in tow money
$30,500 (Modified) + $9,800 tow money
$190,300 (Late Model)
Total Purse = $261,600
Contingency Awards = $25,000
Related: 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals Payout
Costs of the Gateway Dirt Nationals
It’s an expensive race, for everyone.
Any time you need a hotel in a big city, it’s going to be expensive. The alternatives are to locate a hotel on the outskirts of the city. Which would in turn add 30 min of drive time, each way, per night. While it would save a lot of money, for a 3 day show, that could also add 3 hours of drive time to your weekend.
It’s not only expensive for the promoter. It’s expensive race, for all involved.
It’s not cheap for fans. It’s not cheap for racers.
“The thing that I understand and recognize is it’s not a cheap event either. It’s not cheap for fans. It’s not cheap for racers. It’s just the facts of traveling into the city and there’s not really a campground or anything.”
“The teams can’t really camp out in their toter homes, so they get a hotel.”
“You can’t run a generator. So, you gotta buy power. There’s a lot of costs that are with this event that aren’t with other events. It’s part of why the purse has been increased as well.”
The potential for this dirt racing event is unprecedented. It’s hard to say for certain without official attendance numbers, but I would say it’s already the biggest dirt race in the country.
In 2016, the Gateway Dirt Nationals nearly sold out the bottom bowl of seating at The Dome. That’s the only seating that was available for purchase. It was right on the edge of a complete sellout.
This year, another level of seating could be open, further growing the attendance of the Gateway Dirt Nationals. That’s a decision that would have to be made a day or two ahead of time to bring in the staff to support the added level of seating, it’s likely.
With all level open, The Dome at America’s Center can house a crowd of 66,965.
If the event continues to grow, I would assume that the payout will as well?
If there’s 60,000 people in there one day. I think the purse would blow their mind, quite frankly.
“If this event continues to scale. I think anybody should expect that the purse is going to continue to scale with it. If there’s 60,000 people in there one day. I think the purse would blow their mind, quite frankly,” dirt racing promoter Cody Sommer concluded.
2017 GATEWAY DIRT NATIONALS
The 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals will be hosted at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The races will be run on December 14th-16th, 2017. Each night is a good one, take your pick.
THURSDAY – GENERAL ADMISSION
CLICK HERE – DEC 14th
FRIDAY – SINGLE DAY TICKETS
CLICK HERE – DEC 15th
SATURDAY – SINGLE DAY TICKETS
CLICK HERE – DEC 16th
2 DAY TICKET – FRIDAY & SATURDAY (SAVE $5)
CLICK HERE – DEC 15th-16th