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.
Feeling left out?
In this modern day of including everyone and being politically correct, it seems race tracks have went the other way.
Today more than ever we are seeing race tracks lock in one tire brand, or one crate brand, what’s next? Only drivers who’s name starts with a G?
I mean really, Neismith Crate Series, yes its sponsored by a Chevy Dealership, but to only allow GM crate motors seems like 2 things, 1) they are scared of the Ford Crate motor, or 2) they don’t want the BEST crate racers in the country.
What difference does it make if both motors are sealed and built to make the same horsepower? If anything it generates more fans! It generates the Ford VS. Chevy crowd and puts more fans in the seats.
You watch and mark my words, the series that will allow both motors and even the Dodge if and when they ever get it done, will be the series who attract the large fields and huge car counts. Not everyone is a Chevy Fan…….
Or tires…. I just seen where Smokey Mountain has jumped on the Hoosier only bandwagon, really? Why? Because Hoosier is paying part of the purse? Or is it just a kickback to the promoter/track owners, does the money Hoosier pays the track make its way into the purse?
Race car drivers are out to get the best deal they can, and sometimes they have to lock into a tire deal to be able to afford to race, so if a driver locks into a deal with American Racer and a track won’t let him run those tires he goes elsewhere, does that help the race track? Lower car count eq uals less money for the track… someone please explain to me how this benefits anyone other than the person who is getting the kickback?
Last time I checked the name of the game for race tracks was to make money, and if the gate money falls then the prices go up, prices go up, prices go up then fans stop coming, where is the money in that?
In my mind, the way to make money at a race track is to get as many cars and fans there as possible, by doing this you can turn a profit and everyone is happy. BUT if a track insist on only allowing one tire brand or one crate engine type, how can they be looking at the big picture? They aren’t, they are looking at lining the pockets of the person who pulls the trigger on making rules. They are not looking out for the fans or the racers, they are looking out for themselves, and that is called greed, and greed is what has killed race tracks all over the place.
It is how a promoter can tailor his field to suit his sponsors, not the tracks sponsors but the ones who pays him.. show me a track who is boosting the pay out with rules that pick a select brand of tire or motor make. Can you name one? I can’t. and that is why it seems race tracks are falling all over the place. Something has to be done and soon.
I guess the time for racer unions is at hand, racers banding together to work toward an equal playing field at every race track. No matter where they go. It is a topic I have avoided for a long time, I am not pro union in the work place never have been but it seems that in the world of racing unions may be the only answer to bring promoters in line with the real world.
Now what do you think?
I have enjoyed my many years in racing, even knowing the dangers of the sport. With the recent events that have taken place, and the tragic loss of the young lady in Fla. I can still say that I love racing, dangers and all.
I have been touched by the comments and support that I have seen in the past week, in support of more safety concerns at tracks. It does seem to me that some tracks just plain don’t care about the drivers simply because it is an added expense they must bear. Yes it can be an added cost, BUT how much is a drivers life worth? How would you, as a promoter like to have to deal with the death of driver at your track? Or even a serious injury? Can you live with that? If you can fine, but if you can’t, then please consider a trained safety team, one that is schooled in the act of removing people from race cars, not just from a car in a ditch, but a real honest to God race car. These teams are out there and they are struggling to stay afloat, because it takes money to provide the equipment and the man power to make race tracks safe each and every week.
Not all race tracks are as diligent as some are, and one that comes to mind that is really on the ball is Arkadelphia Speedway in Alabama, on a recent visit to the track I watched as the Track Pro Safety Team removed a young lady the PROPER WAY, by cutting the roof off of the car so they could use the Kendrick Extraction Device to safely get the young lady out of the car without sustaining further injuries. While the Team was getting the young lady secured and ready to remove from the car I was standing there talking with Promoter Gene Norman, who was watching but staying out of the way allowing the Track Pro Team to do it’s job, Mr. Norman looked at me and said “ you know watching these guys really makes me glad that I spent the money to bring them in here, because who knows what would of happened if they had not been here. “ an no truer words could be spoken.
Couple years ago at North Ga Speedway, Jason Jones brought in the Track Pro Safety Team to over see a big race he had, and I watched as drivers walked up to each of the Team and thanked them for being there, “just in case” one of them needed help. Its a good feeling to know that your out there risking your life to put on a show and the promoter cares enough about you to have the best of the best on hand, “just in case” .
So to all the tracks out there who really do care, and who enforce the safety rules on all classes of drivers a tip of the hat to you, keep up the great job it is tracks like that , that will keep this sport alive, but to the tracks who don’t have a trained safety crew, or who refuse to get one, shame on you for your greed, and being more concerned about drive safety that the almighty dollar.
Deaths in racing….
With the recent death of a young driver in Fla. I have been thinking about things that could be done to improve the safety in racing, and the one thing that has been glaring me in the face all day is this….
Tracks and promoters HAVE GOT TO TAKE ACTION! Now days promoters are opening the tracks simply cause they see it as a way to make a few quick bucks, and they have a real “to hell with safety” attitude and it has to stop.
Race tracks have been slowing backing out of the technical inspections of race cars over the last couple years, as more tracks shirk the responsibility of checking cars. Not only for illegal parts but for safety.
I have heard over and over track promoters say that Gloves and HANS devices are not mandatory, they say they are recommended but not mandatory. THAT IS BULL CRAP! Wear the gear or don’t race! Pure and simple. If you care about your drivers, and your fans PROTECT them! Stop letting them get away with things like safety, I can see it sort of if you as a promoter are to damn lazy to tech cars for illegal parts, and you want to pass that job off to a crappy ass protest rule, and say that your letting the racers police themselves, really? I mean honestly have you EVER seen racers be able to police themselves? It turns into a “those that have the money make the rules” type thing. Protest NEVER work! It drives up the cost of racing and cuts out the little guy who struggles to just make it to the track!
But back to the point I wanted to make, if you as a track owner or promoter are to lazy or cheap to tech cars for safety items and car construction then get out of racing! I fail to see how some of these promoters can lay down at night and sleep knowing that they are allowing cars poorly built to take the track, or allowing drivers to take the track in minimal safety gear. And blame it on some stupid logic like “well that’s what the insurance company requires” man up and do what is right! So what if you cut your car count down by 4 or 5 cars, if those cars are not safe your doing yourself a favor! And the driver as well.
We as racers need to take our sport back, from the greedy promoters who are only out to make a buck then take off running at the first sign of trouble.
Now I really want to hear comments on this, and ANY PROMOTER who is man enough to defend this logic of not teching cars, I challenge you to be a guest on my show.
Please check my other blog as well http://dirtstocks.com/270/
(This is part one of a series of articles I will be doing on racing and moving your program to the next level tune in each week for the new installment! )
Exposure, it’s one of those things EVERY racer wants, it’s what lands sponsor’s and helps a driver gain fame, not so much fortune but fame. But at what cost do you seek the exposure? Do you align yourself with a good person who can give you 30,000 people hearing your name, say on a radio show or do you hook your wagon to a person who has been accused of scamming folks, taking in money that is supposed to go to charities, or giving away prizes that never arrive? Who can put your name in front of 3500 people? Do you take that risk simply because it’s the easy way, or the way that has the easiest path?
NO!!!! you don’t that kind of exposure is tainted, it carries to much negative baggage, that once it is in your wagon so to speak, you can never get shed of. But people, day after day, go the easy route, never doing any checking on a person or their background, they just hook that wagon to the person who sounds like they are the magic man or who can promise the moon, but yet never delivers.
I see this day in day out where people never think before they act, they see buckets of gold and they get the fever blindly following the person with blind faith, then when they have been taken for all they have to give they are tossed along side the road.
But you still try to tell them what is going on because you don’t want to see anyone scammed or taken advantage of, but they refuse to listen until its too late.
So if you’re a racer or a person who is seeking the exposure to move your personal program to the next level whether its racing or music, or what ever, do your homework! Check out the person with whom your aligning your self and make sure that its YOUR interest that they are concerned about, an not their very own!
Seek out a person who is reputable, and knows what they are talking about, someone who has done this type of stuff before, yes it may cost you a little money up front BUT it is worth it and it’s the right way to do it. After all you don’t spend $1000 for a set of tires just because you heard they give you a 2 second drop in lap times do you? No you get out there and look it up, you find out if its true or if your buddy is just blowing smoke! So why would you want to take your reputation to a scam artist who is only wanting to use you to better themselves?
Always remember the words of advice from my Grandpa, “ if it sounds to good to be true, ….. it is” really its words to live by!
Good luck !
If you have not already heard the news I am now hosting a weekly radio show on Performance Motorsports Network it airs on Monday nights at 9pm EST
Tonights guest are Erica Perason Williams and the country music singer Cody McCarver PLUS BREAKING NEWS regarding Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige Texas so tune in !!
Well as the title says I am back! After taking a long time off due to excessive work load both at work and at home I have found that I miss sharing my views with the readers so I am starting up again. And here goes……
For the past couple years I have been working at North Georgia Speedway as a …. Well flunky would describe what I done best, it has honestly been a labor of love, the love I have for the sport. I have gotten to meet some of the most awesome drivers, I have also gotten to interview a few of my long time hero’s’ like Jody Ridley last 2 years at the Biddle Ridley Memorial Race, I grew up watching and following Jody thru the years mostly because he was from my home town area and because he was loyal to the Fords which everyone knows holds a special place in my heart.
I have always been a very emotional person and meeting Jody and getting to do a live interview with him was a moving moment for me. I tracked him down at the track and got to speak to him for a few minutes before we went live. I told him I had always liked him and let him know how special it was for me to get to talk to him. He smiled, a very quiet man who let his driving do his talking. During the interview I thought back to all the people who had interviewed him before me, an how special that in its self was. But then I realized this was the FIRST Biddle Ridley Memorial and no one had interviewed him in this setting, as him and I talked about his brother Biddle during the live interview I seen a tear in the corner of his eye, you could tell he loved his brother and how much it meant to him that the track was honoring his brother in that way. After the interview was over he shook my hand and thanked me for spending the few minutes with him. It was a time I will always remember.
Another interview I remember was Ray Cook in victory lane Another man who was a Ford driver who I had followed for a long time.
I had met Ray a while back after I had done an interview with another local legend, Paul Mullinax, Paul had been referring to Ray as “Little Ray” for a couple hours during our interview and I finally asked him “ Little Ray who”? he smiled and said “well Little Ray Cook of course” he smiled and told me “ Next time you see him you call him Little Ray and you tell him I said to do it” … so back to the story…..
I walked up to Ray Cook and called out to him “ Hey there, Little Ray” Ray Cook stopped mid stride, and turned around looking at me sort of smiling, “ That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time” Ray stood there as I told him about my interview with Mr. Mullinax he smiled and asked how Mr. Mullinax was doing, and then he asked me to join him, in his trailer to say a word of prayer for Paul. THAT is the kind of man Ray Cook is.
There are lots more memories I will be sharing over the next few weeks as we get ready for racing season.
I will not be working at NGS this year , and I am going to miss that, BUT I will be traveling around some and hitting a few tracks I have not been to before, so you just never know where you will see the dr pop up! Stay tuned and please pass this link around and let everyone know the dr is back!