Finally, one of the more unique things at this track, at least from my perspective, was its starting time. Every Saturday, the Pit Gates open at 2 p.m. Grandstand gates open at 4 p.m. and the first heat takes the green flag at 5:30. This is the one that scored the most points with the family. I have no problem being at a racetrack past midnight-in fact those are the nights that can often times be the most fun. But the wife and kids? Not so much.
Citrus County's starting time had us back home by 10, meaning we'd be plenty rested for the following day's activities. To be honest, I liked the earlier format and the family did too, which means it's easy to get them to want to go back to that track. Many times they don't want to go to the track with me because it means getting home in the wee hours of the morning.
Here's the point: In addition to embracing new technologies, if motorsports is going to grow, then we as an industry must encourage families to come to the track. While every track may not be able to push start times back like Citrus, it brings up an interesting option. Having your races start during or near the dinner hour could very positively impact your concession sales. For example, when we go back to Citrus County the track will make money on not one, but four tickets; plus not one, but four meals. You gotta eat right? Might as well eat there and watch some great racing too.
In the end, the basics of putting on a show begin with providing an environment suitable to the whole family (wife and kids especially). Clean well-stocked restrooms, decent food for a fair price and, of course, a good competitive show.
Until next time, go fast and turn left.