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Friday, June 17, 2011

Where is Diesel Motorsports growing??????

I am asked this all of the time by industry manufacturers. Over 5 years of gathering data on attendance, from performance shops, manufacturer's sales figures, and event activity I would have to say the growth continues in the Eastern/Midwest states. From there it is in pockets of concentration around the country.

If there are a lot of diesel performance shops that have enough business to survive in the current economy then that area is into diesel performance. The Midwest is a natural since the three big automakers engine plants for diesel engines are in Ohio and Indiana. The two other areas are the Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, New England, New Jersey states . . . and the Midwest MS Valley states, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, all growing in the popularity of diesel motorsports.

The pocket areas are Texas, Salt Lake City and surrounding states, Florida, and Washington. The pocket areas are quite a bit behind compared to the Midwest states though in number of performance trucks, events, attendance, etc., are still strong in sales, trucks, parts. However, the pocket areas are growing every year.

Even though diesel drag racing gets a lot of the spotlight because of speed, sled pulling is the mainstay of diesel motorsports in the Midwest. From June 1 to August 30 there is a sled pull every night of the week for most pullers in the Midwest states from Missouri to Pennsylvania! Sled pulling in numbers make up at least 75% of the diesel motorsports marketplace.

Sled Pulling comes from the old days of horse weight pulling at county fairs, then to tractors, and now to high power diesel trucks. Still a big attraction at the county fairs, many locals fill the stands to watch 1000 to 2000 horse power trucks pull a weight driven sled down a dirt track of 300 feet.

Stand alone diesel events with combined sled pulling and drag racing are beginning to draw crowds that are respectable but still not as large as some county or state fairs!

The attraction for the standalone events for the manufacturers are the people attending and watching usually drive trucks and are potential buyers for their products! It's up to the Association or promoter to attract diesel truck owners to the events that makeup this diesel motorsports marketplace.

The only drawback in the progress of diesel motorsports is the jockeying of the diesel performance shops striving to make their shop the best in the region. It's quite popular when holding local events to sway the rules for competition towards one's shop or products, thus favoring the trucks worked on by that shop. The National Association of Diesel Motorsports is trying to supply a ruleset that is fair for all competitors and does not favor specific shops or manufacturer.

The bickering and fighting between the different shop groups are a natural sign of growth as larger players and companies see the potential of making money in a new marketplace. In a tight economy a lot of larger companies are now paying attention to the over $800 million a year business in diesel performance.

As in any business the players change constantly as the marketplace grows!

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