CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — While the ever rising price of fuel and supply chain issues continue to effect everyday Americans across the United States, these economic issues are now starting to affect the world of motorsports.
The ripple effect was recently felt at UMI Motorsports Park in Clearfield when they canceled an upcoming race at their track citing high costs and ongoing tire supply chain issues as the cause. The Super Cup Stock Car Series was scheduled to race at the asphalt oval track on Saturday, June 18 in an event called the “Keystone Twins” that was going to feature two 50 lap races.
The decision to cancel the event was reportedly agreed to by the track and the series and anyone who bought tickets or parking for the event was offered refunds, according to UMI Motorsports Park. Both the track and series say they plan to revisit the race in 2023.
UMI Motorsports Park Spokesperson Ramey Womer said many racers in the series are not traveling due to the financial strains of fuel and other expenses. Womer added the current cost of race fuel sits at $12 a gallon without markup.
“We have a great relationship with the Super Cup Stock Car Series and hope to host them when the economy, supply chain and racing state of the union is better,” Womer said.
Super Cup Stock Car Series Public Relations Coordinator Aaron Creed expanded upon the issues that the series faced with the race weekend and said many factors lead to the mutual decision to cancel it. He said some teams have been forced to think twice about their decision to race while others are electing to stay home altogether. Creed explained that many teams in the series travel from out of state and use diesel powered vehicles to tow their trailers and racecars.
Teams have also been faced with various parts shortages and have struggled to make repairs to their racecars either from on-track damage and/or mechanical failures that were caused at the beginning of the 2022 season. Creed says the shortage has also caused a few teams to miss a couple of the series past events.
“When I spoke with our Series Director, Joe Schmaling, there was an interesting point he mentioned. We’ve promoted ourselves as “Racin’ The Way It Used To Be” since the series was formed in late 2007, partly because of its relative affordability as well as family-friendly atmosphere. There are some things that are sort of unprecedented that are currently not falling in that category,” Creed said. “It used to be that if there was a simple part failure, or occasionally a significant one, a team could call up a supplier and get a replacement part or what they needed fixed within days or sometimes even overnight. Currently, in a lot of cases, that is not what most are experiencing if they need to make repairs to get back on track.”
On top of parts shortages, tire supplies have also been a challenge for the series. The tire provider of the Super Cup Stock Car Series is American Racer, a company based out of Indiana, Pennsylvania. Creed said the series had been making adjustments throughout the season to accommodate the shortage and have even limited the use of new tires per event. However, Creed added the tire supplier has been accommodating and informative since supply chain issues first became a concern last year.
“We have needed to make some adjustments along the way, but we appreciate them greatly for their ongoing communications with us in which we’re fully aware of the challenges all tire suppliers are currently experiencing,” Creed said.
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Creed expects the rationing of tires to continue but says American Racer has informed them the next batch of new racing tires will be available before the series next race at the Jennerstown Speedway Complex in July. The series hopes the time before the July event will allow teams to regroup and prepare.
The Super Cup Stock Car Series last raced at UMI Motorsports Park in 2021 which was reportedly the first oval race at the facility since 2015 when it was then known as CNB Bank Raceway Park.