A couple years ago, while working at North Georgia Speedway, I was trying to get the word out that the track was open and racing. I contacted the local paper, the Dalton Ga. Daily Citizen and offered a free pit pass and a grand tour of the track on race night for a reporter.
A week later I received an email from local reported Devin Golden, who was a reporter for the paper, he asked about the track wanting history and basic information. I put him in touch with a person who would know all the history and made sure to remind him of the free passes I had offered the editor. He thanked me and assured me he would be attending a race soon.
2 weeks later Mr. Golden called me and asked what he had to do to attend a race I said for him to give me a date and I would make sure he had pit passes waiting on him at the gate. He said two weeks from the day we talked he would be free and the date was set, during the two weeks he never contacted me to ask anything about coming to the races, but true to his word he showed up, wearing flip flops and a nice pair of Khaki’s and polo shirt. He looked at me with a puzzled look when I offered him a pair of ear plugs, this man had no idea what so ever what he was about to witness.
Mr. Golden wondered around with me for a while I introduced him to a few drivers and crew members who I knew would give him great info for his story. But Mr. Golden was only concerned with the local driver who was going to be making a appearance that night, this driver seldom raced at NGS , who by the way was the son of the person I had given him as a source for track history, and whose name I will not use. Mr. Golden looked like the proverbial deer in the head lights the whole time, as the drivers meeting wrapped up he asked me about what time the “event” would end, I explained that it would end when the last class takes the checkered flag, and he told me he had a dinner date at 9:30 and he wasn’t sure he could stay. Well from my view point at least he was there and could experience it firsthand.
Throughout the night I went about taking care of my many duties and tried to keep check on him from time to time, he didn’t seem to be having a good time at all, with the pit mud oozing through his flip flops and his pretty pants getting dirty. But true to his word about 9pm he found me and said his goodbye’s and thanked me, for having him. I thought to myself “I wonder how this story is going to come out”.
Much to my dismay when the story came out, it had NOTHING to do with the speedway, it was nothing but a story about the local driver, he made one mention of the track, he said “ I attended NGS last Saturday night to watch ___________ ______ race.” The hours of work I had put into getting the paper out there was wasted, the hours of work and effort to promote the track through the paper was wasted.
I realized then that using a media such as the print media was a waste of time, unless you’re buying tons of ad space, they aren’t giving you the wrong time of day. Even though through out the past 30 years the paper gave drivers and fans a good read about the racing at local tracks, now a days they only are concerned about revenue, not news. And this is sad, local racing provides some of the best bang for the buck for families you can get. But the local media could care less revenue is the only goal these days, not news.