Thoughts on Racetrack Promotion

I’ve been racing for 37 years now and still winning races with the Midwest Classic Racers Dwarf Car Series located in Michigan. I started out visiting tracks at age 7 with my uncle. I built my first Street Stock in high school auto shop and raced it as soon as I turned 16. Through the years I’ve raced Limited Late, Outlaw Super Late, Modified, Enduro cars, Mini Sprints, and now Dwarf cars.

The biggest change I’ve seen over the years is that racetracks seem to think they need to run just special events with traveling series and drop their local classes to do this. I think this is dead wrong! Let me explain.

When I grew up, what got me interested was the local track announcer and the way he portrayed each and every weekly driver as a hero and a super star! I grew up knowing every driver and where they lived and what they were building for the next season, and more, all because of that announcer and his super job of promoting the locals as heros and stars. They were legends to me as a young person. Today, I know I’m no different than they are or were, but with the traveling series, not many young people have a clue who these guys are because they only see them once in a while.

I run a traveling series and there’s nothing wrong with the travelers, but the local tracks need to focus on a weekly series with 3-4 classes and promote the hell out of the drivers that put on the show and turn them back into super stars! Get the audience excited again about what’s to come in the future! Not every track can be an Eldora.

You said yourself that Kalamazoo Speedway was one of the best run tracks in the nation. I’ve raced there many times and the success they have is at least partly due to the local super stars that race there every week.

When a special show is run, they will usually only drop one class for the night to bring in the special. And a lot of their specials include their own regular classes, just bigger events. The announcer there is great at promoting super stars. Even Dwarf cars have superstar drivers thanks to our announcers that travel with us.

You talked about getting back to basics of building your own cars and engines. Well, I’ve been doing that for years. I think it’s the tracks turn to get back to basics and run a real racetrack on a weekly basis instead of the special of the week type shows. Get the fans involved on a personal level with the drivers and they are hooked! NASCAR putting the leash on its drivers personalities is killing that sport. They should be promoting the “boys have at it” and fill the stands again like the old days.

This is just a little food for thought from a guy who just won another feature and is leading the points as I write this. And yes, I know where my moment center is, and my balanced roll angles...grin.

—Junior Gould

Junior,

Thanks for writing. You are so right. Back to basics is for racetracks too. Comments like yours go a long way toward getting track managers and promoters to re-think the way they run their racetracks. And don’t think for a second that they are not reading this.

On my Tour over the past four years, I can’t tell you how many track managers told me that they read the magazine and quote things they read that stuck in their minds. Words are powerful and once heard or read, can remain with us for a long time. It is the truth in the spoken or written word that resounds.

Along the lines of what you are saying, when we visited Boman Gray Stadium during our first year on the Tour where they regularly pull in 17,000 plus in attendance, they promote their drivers like you described. They make Superstars out of them and the fans line up behind their drivers and root them on.

Whole sections of the grandstands are filled with one driver’s supporters. NASCAR was born and grew out of the same mold. Each fan had his or her favorite driver and it drove the sport, just like favorite football or baseball teams. I feel like we’re getting away from that and we need to find a way back. Thanks again.


Still Thinking About Stock Appearing

Please take a look at Delaware Speedway in Ontario, Canada. They have had bodies like you are describing for two years now in their Super Stock division. They have all three major manufacturers are available.

A local race car owner and part time racer created the fiberglass body program and sell the bodies at low cost $1,000 to $2,000. I really hope you follow up on this as it is a great program saving that class, which up north here has run out of steel bodies.

Thank you,

—Gareth Gonder

Gareth,

At this point in time, all of the major race car body companies are making bodies that look like and are shaped like, the showroom cars. This has been a while coming, but it is well worth it. Even NASCAR realized the value in having the Sprint Cup cars look like the showroom models.

Now that this idea is starting to go, more and more classes will take heed and begin making the change-over. Now the race fan can relate to the cars and be excited about rooting for a particular brand of car, like it used to be. This is a win, win situation for the entire sport of circle track racing.