Friday, April 5, 2013

Thoughts On Track Unity, Hyping Racing On The Internet And Other Things

Well, green flags have flown at several tracks this season, and several more are preparing for action.  Merced had their third ever visit from the World Outlaws with familiar results as Sammy Swindell won that race.  The IMCA Modifieds also ran with Austin Burke winning ahead of Dereck Colvin and Troy Foulger.  I have a good feeling about Merced this year.  Let's hope that if it does start off as well as it appears it will, it doesn't fade fast.  Come on Merced racers, support your track.

Antioch had a Civil War Series Sprint Car race that had 31 cars from what I've heard.  Reports are that Brett Rollag of the Rollag family that has competed at Petaluma Speedway for years, scored the win ahead of Justin Sanders and NASCAR up and coming star Kyle Larson.  From what I've heard, they just beat the rain.  We had thunder and lightning in the area that night.  Hobby Stocks were reportedly a part of the show, added at the last minute, but I've heard nothing about who won.  World Of Outlaws invade Antioch as I am writing this.

I just realized that the old NASCAR State tracks are linked together again under the IMCA banner, at least for Dirt Modifieds.  We called it the WAM Series at the end (Watsonville, Antioch and Merced).  Actually, are the Sport Mods sanctioned at all three places too?  I am well aware that promoter John Soares Jr. has sat down with promoters at Petaluma, Stockton and Chico to hold a four track, eight race IMCA Modified series that also includes Antioch.  I love hearing about things like that.

My thinking is that not everybody can afford to travel in this day and age, but some still can.  Having that bigger prize as an incentive for the racers can only add to that.  You get drivers visiting other tracks to boost car counts, and those drivers end up at all the tracks in the series at one time of another.  It's win-win for everybody.  I tried to encourage that with the DCRR State race, and indications were that it helped things a little bit.

The trick is getting promoters to realize that they aren't hurting themselves if they do this.  I've noticed travel happening not just in IMCA Modifieds, but Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers and Spec Sprints as well.  Hint hint.  Heck, if they find IMCA is helping the cause for Mods and Sports Mods, as it seems to be for a few tracks, why not bring the Four Bangers under the banner too?  I believe they were at Merced when Chuck started the class in the last decade.

I still say the internet needs to be used.  When I spoke with one of the people from Antioch Speedway earlier this year, I brought this up to him again.  Same things we talked about three years ago.  Things have changed.  The internet has gotten bigger.  What we were doing at CRO and later when I brought it to the DCRR page (with help from the Don O'Keefe Jr.) should be standard for these tracks.

There still is no true California racing news source since CRO, and that was ten years ago.  Joe Martinez and I really had something there.  Late Model Racer has an excellent forum, Racing West is mostly pavement racing since Gary Jacob passed away.  There isn't much in the way of audio and video, and there should be.

Go Live Stream is showing races from Bakersfield, Madera and wherever, and it's pretty darn awesome.  And, they are doing it for free.  If you go there and enjoy what they have, consider donating.  Support the cause.  I believe it was Loud Pedal Video who broadcasted from Ventura live every week.  Back in 2011, dad and I watched all the time, and it was amazing.  They've gone to a pay site, but it's totally worth it.

You see, with the HD TV's these days, just getting a cable or two and hooking it to your computer is a snap.  You can watch races on your TV from the comfort of home.  In 2010, Texas Dirt Network covered Battleground Speedway and Golden Triangle Raceway every week, and it was awesome.  Why should NASCAR dominate TV at the cost of local racing?

What I'm getting at is tracks need to explore live video or audio, video on demand, audio or video interview shows and that sort of thing as a means to not only hype the races, but make new fans.  Some will come out and watch live.  Some will pay to watch weekly if it's reasonably priced.  In the long run, it's more revenue for the track, and that means keeping the gates open longer.  Again, it's win-win.

These tracks need to start playing up their heritage.  I know, I'm a broken record.  In addition to using the web site and mobile apps to sell products and tickets for the races, these websites should have a detailed history of the tracks to promote the tradition.  Weekly updates in a timely manner is a must, but every champion should be listed on the page, plus point standings and win lists.  Don't have the info, research it.  It's time consuming, but it's not hard.

Over the years, I've accumulated lots of information about Antioch Speedway and other tracks as well.  I recently began going through my notes to figure out what would go into an Antioch Speedway racing history book.  I have a place to publish it on demand that does good work.  So, if I green light it, it will be a high quality book, reasonably priced.  You know me and stats and stories, it will be worth the look if I do it.

What I'm asking myself is if it's only Antioch or if I throw in Watsonville and Merced too, maybe Petaluma as well.  What goes into a first edition?  There's lots of information, but maybe a first edition to gain interest.  Even more information could go into a second edition.  The other thing is that it's a living history.  I have what I have to the best of my information, and that means I still discover new facts.

I don't know how much any of the powers that be even worried about it.  Some did.  Some didn't.  The main priority at these tracks is paying the bills, and heritage falls through the cracks.  I highly doubt stats and standings changed hands as promoters left the tracks, and we have what we have.  It makes having Hall Of Fame at a track a challenge, but all tracks that have been around for at least 20 years should have one in my opinion.

Anyway, it's all just in the exploratory phase.  Only reason this is happening is because I've been doing so much writing about racing lately.  So, that's what's happening now.  I need to end this here.  I'm trying to keep these postings short, and as you can see, I failed again.  Sorry about that.

Oh, before I go, I noticed Hanford was holding another Gary Jacob Memorial Race on Saturday night.  I can't help but think Gary is smiling down on this race.  No, it's not just because they are remembering him, though I'm sure he'd be honored.  It's because in 2013, there are still Late Models, and they are what is being featured in this race.  If you knew him, you know that this was his favorite division.  He'd be at a track three or more times a week if there was a race, but the races that featured Late Models tended to be his first choice.