It’s not just the everyday car-commuters and airline travelers who are feeling the effects of soaring gas prices; car racing teams have found themselves cutting corners and skipping events to stay on budget.
The Indianapolis 500 and Nascar drivers aren’t feeling the squeeze – increased gas costs represent a minor component of their overall sponsor-supported budgets. But the smaller-scale racers, most of whom have full-time jobs elsewhere, are feeling the full brunt.
The high-octane race fuel costs $8.25 per gallon, but the true hit comes from transporting the racecars and gear around to events. It’s the $5 per gallon diesel for the big trucks with towing power and terrible fuel economy that’s making racers alter their plans. Drivers are competing at events closer to home, racing less often, and scaling back on their expenses across the board.
Prize money doesn’t typically pick up the slack. As racecar driver Bryan Kobylarz told the New York Times, “Basically, you have to finish in the top three [out of an average of 28 competitors] to come out with a positive cash flow.”
Even car racing programs are being forced into reduced car driving and a partial carectomy of sorts. Habits are changing across the board, the nation is driving significantly fewer miles, and the real winner here is the environment and, by extension, ourselves.
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