Greg, First let me say, Mark said in one paragraph, what I have been trying to say in many posts.
Now to try an clear up my ramblings. I was trying to reference things our family is involved with but lets look at drag racing since you brought it up, and I have done quite a bit of it.
Drag Racing was at least in the 70-80’s promoting itself as the the largest base of grassroots racers then any other form of motorsports. My guess is thats still true today. Drag racing exists and is supported by 4 Pro Classes, P/S bike, P/S car, Funny Car, and Top Fuel. Those 4 classes do fill the stands, and they do bring in the NASCAR sized sponsors.That funds the entire sport. That drives the sportsman class and series that thousands of drag racers race at.
Most of us will never be John Force but because of thos Pros, we have those races to race at.
Snowmobiles are the same thing 30,K plus spectators show up, CBS sports broadcast every race.. Pros all have NASCAR trailers, Merch trailers and groupies. Those fans come to see those stars, but all the rest of us race at the same facility right next to them. Our 8-12 Year old 120 customers race their Champ class at night under the lights as part of the Pro Program. Without the Pro show, the rest of us could never get those types of facilities to race at.
Look at Daytona, not quite what it used to be, but can’t think of anything else in our sport as big as it. WKA is the only thing on this side of the river that covers all types of karting, could any other series out there pull off a race at Daytona, I doubt it. I believe its the BIG spectacles in any sport that bring attention to it, feed it, and make it grow. We have lost Charlotte and Road America. My kids came out of the days were Daytona had 2300 entries in Dirt alone, another 1000 in Road Race, and Sprint was held up the road at 103rd st. We raced Charolette in Road Racing during the day and the Briggs and Stratton 300 at night. I can’t remember the number of racers that we brought from the local tracks here like Badger for Sprint, afew of the oval tracks and they went to Daytona. That led many down the Road Racing path because they got to try it while racing their sprint or oval karts.
We just don’t have the big EVENTS anymore, even things like Kartfest and KMI are long gone