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Puff Daddy
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Let me start by saying I will NOT name the track that this happened at solely because I gave my word that I won't spread what happened around. If it happens again, I will not hesitate to call them out by name.

The purpose of this thread is to analyze what happened and to have a reasonable discussion on what is considered proper or reasonable. I may be looking at this from a one-sided view and I know a lot of people on here have vastly more track experience than I do.

Here is what happened:

0800 - I arrive at the track. Track personnel come up to me and ask for the track fee ($150) and ask me to sign the waiver. I do so.

0900 - The track holds a driver's meeting and splits us up into skill levels. I am placed in intermediate and will be in the second run group out.

0915 - First run group goes out. Everyone is having a good time.

0945 - Second group goes out, I get a few laps in before I come in to check tire pressure.

0950 - They won't let me back out on the track. Everyone is black flagged and told to come in.

1000 - I find out the track owner is demanding where the rest of the money is for the track day.

1005 - I talk to my friend who organized the event. He has written proof (email) that the track owner never gave a firm price, never had him sign a contract, or give a down deposit. The last email he received from the track said that they understood it was difficult to get people in the middle of summer and that they'll work with us on the price.

1015 - Track VP says the price is $4500 regardless. We only had 14 cars out on the track so they told us we'd have to pay an extra $2400.00.

1020 - We try to work out a deal where we each chip in an extra $100-150 bringing the price much closer to what they were asking for (within $300).

1030 - Track owner gets mad, tells his staff to close the track, and forces us all to leave with NO REFUNDS. Run group three never went out, and some people in group two only got 1-2 laps in.

1045 - Half of the group took that as "tough luck" and packed up and left. I did not think this was right and gathered a few people to go talk to the VP again.

1050 - VP is adamant about what happened. No refunds.

1055 - We ask for a receipt so we can at least have a record of being there and to tell the automotive world what happened. One person wanted to call the IRS and tell them to investigate the track for tax evasion due to them accepting cash only and refusing to hand out receipts.

1100 - VP starts to rethink his position. He finally throws his hands in the air (literally) and states rudely that he'll give a refund out of his own bank account. He said if we were willing to hurt him PERSONALLY then to step forward for a partial refund. I stepped forward and took back $100 cash.

1115 - We all leave the track. The VP asks/tells us again that since we took his personal money not to say anything bad about the track online.

This was a total lose/lose situation. I am still really pissed at how they treated us. We had a cadre of exotic cars out there and they should know that people that have the financial means to support a hobby like this are used to world class service. Forcing us to bully them into a partial refund for a service we never received seems wrong to me.

Comments? Am I looking at this logically? Or am I just mad that I drove 4 hours for a track event that fell apart :shrug: A lot of people I've talked to are taking the tracks side on this. Maybe I don't have the right to be mad... but I'm having trouble seeing the "other" side.
 

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First of all, if they got 150 from each person, the partial refund is not coming out of his personal account, he is simply pocketing 50 bucks from those who got a refund, and 150 from those who didn't. Forget his sunroof, pee on his radiator, so he can smell it every time the car starts to warm up (old military joke).
 

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Unfortunately, many club tracks that we run at are in a world of financial hurt right now. Lots of people built/bought/over-improved racetracks during the go-go days of the last business cycle, but the poor economy has depressed track day and fan attendance and left many race tracks in financial difficulty. I personally know of a few club and spactator tracks that are facing foreclosure actions.

Despite this, the tracks managers actions were totally unprofessional, and would make me avoid this track until ownership changes (which might not be that far off).
 

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Wow, it's a bit of a sticky situation, whoever set up the track day, especially dealing with that much money should have confirmed a price. How do you know the track VP was not promised word of mouth that they needed $4,500 and when your friend did not get enough cars he just started anyway? I am just playing devils advocate here because this is IMHO 50/50 track VP vs track day coordinator. Poor planning on both parts.

While I have not fully ran an event I partially know how our Lotus club runs it. We pay a deposit and day of money is due to the track, at that point it is not the tracks fault for us not bringing enough people and the track did not need to give a refund, not their fault your buddy didn't fill up the event. In the track VP's eyes he had to pay people to come down and work and send them home because he didn't get enough to break even when a coordinator promised attendance. Granted the track Vp should have given a break even price and if there were less cars it's called off.

Hopefully your buddy who set this up learned his lesson to get things in writing with contracts and that he needs to do a better job bringing more cars to the track. I'm sorry you and others lost money over two peoples faults.
 

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Puff Daddy
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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, it's a bit of a sticky situation, whoever set up the track day, especially dealing with that much money should have confirmed a price. How do you know the track VP was not promised word of mouth that they needed $4,500 and when your friend did not get enough cars he just started anyway? I am just playing devils advocate here because this is IMHO 50/50 track VP vs track day coordinator. Poor planning on both parts.

While I have not fully ran an event I partially know how our Lotus club runs it. We pay a deposit and day of money is due to the track, at that point it is not the tracks fault for us not bringing enough people and the track did not need to give a refund, not their fault your buddy didn't fill up the event. In the track VP's eyes he had to pay people to come down and work and send them home because he didn't get enough to break even when a coordinator promised attendance. Granted the track Vp should have given a break even price and if there were less cars it's called off.

Hopefully your buddy who set this up learned his lesson to get things in writing with contracts and that he needs to do a better job bringing more cars to the track. I'm sorry you and others lost money over two peoples faults.
The track VP admitted to not knowing what was going on at all. The owner and my buddy were the ones that communicated... mostly through email. My buddy read the email chain to everyone in attendance and it was so vague that there was no clear person at fault. So you are right... it was both my buddies fault and the tracks owners fault for the miscommunication. In my personal opinion, I think the track should be held a little more accountable since they are offering a service and we are just paying to use it. They kept saying that EVERYTHING should fall on my buddy and if we wanted a refund to get it from him. Unprofessionally passing the blame and leaving the whole group holding the bag is mostly what is pissing me off here.

I have two friends that organize track days like this. It's always just "show up and pay $150 if you want to run". This time we didn't get 30 cars like normal so it caused this whole issue. I hope the track learned a valuable lesson... I know my friend did.
 

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This can't be any of the tracks I've gone to in CA as they are positively booming with business.

I've done the track rental thing a few times also, I've never had an "open" price, it's always been a very specific "pre-paid" number and you sign a contract. Heck, even some tracks will issue partial to full refunds if it turns out to be a heavy rain day.

Since you mention "difficult to get people in summer", I assume you must be in a VERY hot location like Arizona or Texas or Nevada (assuming this was in the US).

Seems to me both sides are at fault and hopefully there is/was a lesson learned.
 

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Bummer.

If you had your location specific - say like mine 'Chicago-ish', we could deduce the track.

Since yours says 'Earth', I think it may take some CSI work to narrow it down.

Right or wrong, the name of the track WILL get out there. If this happened to a bunch of exotics, surely others that got hosed will go on their respective forums and vent about it.

Sucks.
 

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Something else I was thinking is that's got to be a really nice and big track for $150! To compete in the events here it's usually around $35-50.
 

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Bummer.

If you had your location specific - say like mine 'Chicago-ish', we could deduce the track.

Since yours says 'Earth', I think it may take some CSI work to narrow it down.

Right or wrong, the name of the track WILL get out there. If this happened to a bunch of exotics, surely others that got hosed will go on their respective forums and vent about it.

Sucks.
From Bane's previous posts he looks to be located in AZ, maybe Phoenix... he said he drove 3 hours to the event so that might put him at say Sin City??? There's a private track there no??
Are we getting warm Bane?
 

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Absolute power does what?
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I know we only got your view but it would be hard to see any other perspective. Hard to understand th VPs motivation here.

You are very justified in being upset.
 

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Did the track require a insurance policy? Friend making any money on the track day?

Seem's to be both their fault. Like stated it looks like they went about it the wrong way causing a big musunderstanding. The two schools I hosted the profits went to a local car club & we had to have a insurance policy which we paid to the track (seperate policy was more expensive) & cost us about $2000 for a 2 day event.

One would hope the VP would want the drivers to come back some time thus he should of worked with everyone better vs pocketing the $50 to $150 per person......

$4500 seems pretty reasonable for track rental...... & with the economy.... yea a new local track is still stuck in it's tracks due to lack of money. Hopefully someday the track will be built, it's only 90 minutes away from me vs 2-3 hours for Putnam Park & Mid Ohio.... both of which cost a bit more then $4500 :(
 

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There is also Inde motorsports in Wilcox Az. It is about 3 hours from Phoenix as well.
 

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Any real track costs on the order of $5K to rent for the day and there is plenty of blame to go around on this. The organizer should have had exact numbers in advance. The track should not have let anyone out without payment in advance. The participants just got screwed by both organizer and track.

All I can say is run with someone reputable in the future. I run a driving school and there is always someone who thinks it is too expensive until they have to organize things then you get what you pay for.
 

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I am putting this one on the track, I have organized events and there is always a formal contract. What kind of track would not have a contract stating all of the terms and conditions and liabilities???
Everyone, if you rent a track or a parking lot for autocross you need a contract that has price, terms and conditions in detail, or you could be hanging out there a mile, both financially and in terms of liability.
In writing and signed by the track owner or his authorized representative.
 

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I'm with the split-the-blame crowd on this one.

Seems like some pretty unprofessional behaviour on the part of the track, but also smacks of negligence and lack of preparedness on the part of the event organizer.
 

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Always, always get a contract. Anything halfway well-written protects both parties against exactly this sort of crap.
 
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