The ARDC club is still one of the best ways to race within your means from what I have observed. I'm not talking about running up front. I'm talking about racing in general.
after jeff schell got hurt and retired, fred put ryan watt in the car (forgive me if i got the name wrong). freds car is an older hawk with a pontiac motor....not top shelf stuff by any means, but it makes all the races.
at new egypt, watt ran a killer race...stayed outta trouble and drove up to the front. andy martin was throwing 200 foot roostertails over the fences all the way around the track and had come up from the back using the outside. with about 3 or 4 to go, the yellow comes out....when the race restarted, watt was all over martin until they hit about the 3/4 mark down the back where martins superior motor drove away.
had that been at diamond, or grandview...it could have been a totally different outcome.
point being that if you got a decent car, a nice setup and a good driver, you can be competitive without taking a second mortgage.
compare the purse with anything else while comparing the cost to buy and maintain a car and the dollars spent vs. return is probably better than, lets say a 358 mod or sprint car and running without wings lets you move around a lot more on the track while, at the same time, doesnt burn off tires as quickly or put undue strain on the motors.
i also agree with gregg that a 358 wingless track around here would work....i think its just a matter of getting a promoter with a big enough sack to take the risk.