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Race Track "Slam Dunks"
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DRR Elite
posted
Going to need some explanation of the title.
It seems that every race track is, to some extent, struggling to keep their business models working today. Between increasing costs at every turn, lower car counts, lots of competition in the way of other opportunities for racers to race somewhere else, and an aging base of customers, things are tough.
I know a lot of us here have "the fix" for everything that ails our sport and will bring in spectators by the groves. But ultimately, these changes either cost the track significant money or has the potential to chase some racers away.

So by "slam dunk", I mean, what are the low cost things that tracks can do that can ultimately gain customer base and doesn't have real potential to turn customers off. A no lose, or slam dunk.

One thing I have seen is the race director or owner shaking hands and kissing babies. But seriously, just going out and thanking racers for coming and shaking their hands. Let them know you appreciate their business and you being there is important to them. No cost. All upside.

Another thing is training race directors on empathetic listening and conflict resolution. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than dismissing their complaint right off. It's important to listen quietly and make sure you understand the problem. Then, repeat back to them what you understand the problem is, and ask for feedback about what resolution the customer would like to see. The training isn't terribly expensive for the track. And this can help avoid permanent loss of individuals who vow to never come back.

What do you have? Low or no cost, and now potential downside.


Foxtrot Juliet Bravo
 
Posts: 6251 | Location: Illinois | Registered: July 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
DRR Sportsman
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$20 a car load for spectators.
add more salt to the popcorn and sell more drinks

ep
 
Posts: 746 | Location: dodging double wides... | Registered: November 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Offer a trophy eliminator. First place gets a trophy and nothing else. Once you have decided you have no place to put anymore trophies, you can elect to take a pit pass instead of the trophy. Low entry fee and no *&^)%$ b*ybacks. No, it doesn't make the track much profit, but it would make more than it would on a test and tune car, and test and tune cars are all gravy (no purse). Take care. Tom Worthington


If it seems that bracket racing has gotten too expensive for you, maybe you are just doing it wrong.
 
Posts: 1206 | Location: Rocky Mount, NC | Registered: December 01, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Like stated before in our parts of the world there are 10+ tracks within 5hrs of each and they all race on Saturday....I can only be at ONE....
 
Posts: 1228 | Location: USA | Registered: December 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I always thought if somehow you could get legalized betting at race tracks that would attract some interest and draw in spectators. Kind of base the betting like they do in horse racing. Have a handicapper place the odds on drivers and then have Win,place,Show bets along with Exacta,Pick 3 or Pick 4 betting. Exacta bet would be Winner / Runner up either straight bet or boxed. Pick 3 or Pick 4 would be picking each days winner based on the number of days the event takes place. Lots of ways you could bet ,but if you kept it simple I think this could be a profitable thing for tracks and extra revenue if some how you could keep the state gaming commissions out of it. Heck I think if you had the bankroll you could do this type of wagering now at some of the big money bracket races as long as you don't set the odds of a long shot really high. How many racers or spectators you think would bet on Kenny Underwood or any other hitter at lets say 3-1 odds to win a high dollar bracket race? Might already being doneSmile
 
Posts: 34 | Location: Louisville,KY,US | Registered: October 11, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Stop changing the rules and ways of operating constantly.
I drive 100 miles further to race because of being told one thing then it’s done another way. Was told this past summer I could use rain check to enter three day race only to be told the next day I can’t after ending their email saying I could with a whole bunch of these!!!!!!
I haven’t been back.
 
Posts: 2591 | Location: at the track | Registered: May 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Mad Dog
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-Free or very reduced spectator entry. Hot dogs and beer are not sold if there are zero spectators, racers generally bring their own. When granting free / reduced entry the spectators will have a couple more bucks to spend at the concession stand. Most tracks have a fairly strong margin on their $5 hot dogs and their $4 soft drinks...

-Family entry packages. Cheaper entry for Mom and Dad and little Johnny and Suzie are free. Add to that a coupon for concession stand purchase or discount for the track apparel store...

-Date Night / Ladies Night. Free entry for ladies and maybe a low cost entry "Ladies Only" street car race...

-Test & Tune entry includes a free spectator ("Buddy"). Sooner or later that "Buddy" will want to drive his car down the track. Then you've cultivated a new racer/customer...

-Street Driven ONLY Entries (car,truck,SUV) *KING of STREET NIGHT*. Low cost entry, $100 to win and a Trophy.

-Street Driven ONLY Entries *KING of STREET BIKE NIGHT*.

Here's something the racers can do to help! Ask those spectators looking at your ride in the pits if their kids would like a photo sitting in the race car. Most parents have a camera capable cell phone with them and would be eager to have that opportunity for their children. The smile on those kids faces are priceless (and it makes my day to see it!) and they will root "That Car" on the rest of the race day. With the affordable "Family Entry Package" (mentioned above) allowing a family to attend a race at a reasonable cost, you may see them back more than once...

Most tracks need to seriously step up their game on the marketing front. Let people know what you have going on for the upcoming weekends, as well as week days the gates are open for business. Here's a clue too; NOT EVERYONE IS A SOCIAL MEDIA MEMBER! Some still listen to the local radio stations and read local news print where available...


Dan


Dan

DOES YOUR IDEOLOGY ALLOW YOU TO EQUITABLY APPLY STANDARDS OF ACCOUNTABILITY OR DOES IT PROMOTE THE PRACTICE OF HYPOCRISY?
 
Posts: 226 | Location: ... --- ... | Registered: November 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Well laid out parking is key for me, and as silly as it sounds, good food at the snack bar helps too. After a long day, something other than junk food or lunch meat is nice, and the extra money to the track never hurts anything. Fayetteville hits a home run on both of these for me and Mason Dixon at least used to ( it's been a while since I've been there).
 
Posts: 62 | Location: Glen Burnie | Registered: May 30, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of chasracer
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My home track instituted some Friday night deals that just being a casual observer would seemed to have helped "balance" the books a bit for the owner.

The first part of it is based off street outlaws with a Top 10 List. There are actually two lists with slightly different rules. One set of rules is geared more to straight off the street, while the second allows a bit more hotrodding. Both lists are operated by people independent of the track ownership. The second thing is a TnT that is open to virtually everything. As a bracket racer, you can take some shots although it's best to get there when the gates open as when about 5:30-6:00 arrives, the street crowd starts pouring in and I mean the place can get packed. The third part is sprinkling some different things into the Friday night packages. Sometimes he'll book in a gasser type shootout, stage a Junior dragster shootout or have a nostalgia racecar event. These happen 3-5 times a year just to change it up a bit.

Crowds on Friday night are paying customers at the gate and the concession stand plus except for a trophy here and there or whatever a booked group gets - there's not much overhead save for track officials and the lighting. I'm sure this has helped us bracket racers on Saturdays as far as money concerns go, plus here and there we start seeing some new blood showing up that want to up their game a bit.
 
Posts: 1135 | Location: The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?” ~~ Captain Jack Sparrow ~~ | Registered: August 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Mike Allred
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Keep patrons informed on the next event at the track. Several tracks near us send out numerous updates during the week on upcoming race plans, results, trends, and even floats ideas for changes - all on the track Facebook group.
Good tracks also keep us informed during the race when or why there is a delay, they provide a time when staging lanes will be open or closed for time runs and actually open and close the lanes on time. They’re constantly updating “what next” and when.
Silence is the kiss of death at the drag strip. Car noise or announcer noise please.


Mike Allred
 
Posts: 270 | Location: Fayetteville, NC | Registered: March 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When I started bracket racing, (before reaction times, delay boxes and buy backs) Pacemakers dragway ran every Saturday, except during the US Nationals, they didn't wanna hurt the car count there I guess, and National trails ran every Sunday, they also ran radio advertisements every week, they both charged racers about 20 bucks. They both had decent car counts.
 
Posts: 62 | Location: south carolina | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Interesting topic that comes up every so often and some good ideas. I would have to say most of everything posted has been tried at one time or another by tracks. The unique part of this is that what works at one track will completely fail at another. Seems that tracks are locked into regional things meaning that doing a "street outlaw or Friday night drags could be a huge success but another track in even the same state tries it and it fails. Its like each track has its own special draw of spectators and racers. The track has to figure what that is and build on it. It a shame to see over the past 5 years how many tracks have closed up. Already in 2020 looks like one in MD is shutting down. My view is big $$$$ races will be the death of local bracket racing and more tracks. well in some cases it already has. There is the old saying adapt/change going forward or you will fail but in some cases how can tracks compete against big $$$$ races. Your average weekly bracket racer only has so much $$$ to spend so has to make a decision do i race local or go to a couple big $$$ races for the year and skip local points and bracket racing weekly. there is not enough new next generation coming into the sport to help local tracks stay alive. That's why a lot of the ideas tried have failed or don't have the needed result to keep the local tracks open. Free hotdogs and free spectator passes don't pay the rising costs of operating a racetrack.

For the flip side of getting the information out, Radio ads are insane it costs 3-5K for a handfull 30 second clips. Plus producing them. Newspapers are dead, so that leaves Facebook and websites and a few other paths like twitter ect. Now you get into a generational thing, i hear alot of racers say well i don't use facebook, twitter or have time to look at websites. Some will say i don't even look at my phone while at the racers. Plus the costs for the track to have some one constantly updating it daily. Its really a tough position for tracks to be in especially small ones that don't have full time staff. I know of some tracks that don't have a PA system and you have to signup for txt alerts for what class to come to the lanes. Technology is great on one side but can kill you on another. And thats where what one track has racers expect or demand others to have it too. Where is there a happy medium.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Turk,
 
Posts: 175 | Location: New Stanton | Registered: January 25, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice to know what is going on even if you are not on face book. Lots of tracks around here and only one sends out regular announcements via mail and that is Rockingham. Might even try a radio or TV announcement and a regular, every week or twice a month bracket race would be nice. My car sits most of the time because I don't know what is going on at these tracks. You want to sell something you need to let us know what you are selling. Years ago Sat meant Capitol and Sunday 75-80 AND OR Mason Dixon....we knew where the races were.
 
Posts: 6121 | Location: everywhere | Registered: March 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good ideas and insight!!
Turk I really like your statements. Sometimes it's important to look at what can help the track be successful. Not just will put another butt in the stands or give a racer just exactly that one kind of racing HE likes. I get it. Our track can make everyone happy, and go out of business. And then.....not happy.


Foxtrot Juliet Bravo
 
Posts: 6251 | Location: Illinois | Registered: July 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Picture of Eman
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Are there any track owners/operators on this board or reading this thread?
Amazes me how from the comfort of your easy chair a business owner can look into just about every aspect of their successful competition and they are still clueless. Those that figure out this interweb thing seem to be successful. Owning or running a track is a business. Not much different than other businesses. You have a product, you want customers, you want to make money.
 
Posts: 1423 | Location: E TN | Registered: February 13, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From a few things I have seen on this site.

More entertainment for spectators for the buck. Prime example Norwalk. Always has something extra to keep crowds entertained during down times. Maybe should say have any time I was there,but they where national events.

Better promotions. Hey internet can be free advertisement,just use more than one to get word out.

Track promoted rivalries . Ford vs Chevy,Domestic vs import. For street cars,Get young crowd in.

As stated its business and promoting it should be a top of list.

Also stated show the racers appreciation. Free racer meal at certain events goes really long ways. In the big picture of things cost can be very low if done correct.

Number one in my opinion. Guaranteed payouts and they don't have to be huge,but never hurts. LOL I would rather run somewhere knowing what I am running for than go hoping to run for advertised amount.

Tracks working together rather than competing for racers works. Use to be you could run 3 days a weekend around here at 3 different tracks and not travel 200 miles total. I know not same every where do to number of tracks. Point is they scheduled around each other and they all had good counts.




America home of free. Brought to you by 2nd amendment.
 
Posts: 4051 | Location: Greensboro NC | Registered: May 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by wideopen231:
From a few things I have seen on this site.

More entertainment for spectators for the buck. Prime example Norwalk. Always has something extra to keep crowds entertained during down times. Maybe should say have any time I was there,but they where national events.

Better promotions. Hey internet can be free advertisement,just use more than one to get word out.

Track promoted rivalries . Ford vs Chevy,Domestic vs import. For street cars,Get young crowd in.

As stated its business and promoting it should be a top of list.

Also stated show the racers appreciation. Free racer meal at certain events goes really long ways. In the big picture of things cost can be very low if done correct.

Number one in my opinion. Guaranteed payouts and they don't have to be huge,but never hurts. LOL I would rather run somewhere knowing what I am running for than go hoping to run for advertised amount.

Tracks working together rather than competing for racers works. Use to be you could run 3 days a weekend around here at 3 different tracks and not travel 200 miles total. I know not same every where do to number of tracks. Point is they scheduled around each other and they all had good counts.


Carolina Coalition? Take care. Tom Worthington


If it seems that bracket racing has gotten too expensive for you, maybe you are just doing it wrong.
 
Posts: 1206 | Location: Rocky Mount, NC | Registered: December 01, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Mad Dog:
-Free or very reduced spectator entry.

Dan


I see this one all the time. What you are basically doing is granting free entry to every single friend/family member currently entering the track with racers and paying the $10 gate fee or whatever. Would cost the track half or more of their revenue and likely not entice a single new spectator nor sell any hot dogs.


Only way this possibly works is if the free/reduced entry people are barred from the pit area somehow.


Mike
 
Posts: 1558 | Location: Marietta, GA | Registered: December 09, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by SlyFox:
quote:
Originally posted by Mad Dog:
-Free or very reduced spectator entry.

Dan


I see this one all the time. What you are basically doing is granting free entry to every single friend/family member currently entering the track with racers and paying the $10 gate fee or whatever. Would cost the track half or more of their revenue and likely not entice a single new spectator nor sell any hot dogs.


Only way this possibly works is if the free/reduced entry people are barred from the pit area somehow.


Agreed. What is the upside? MAYBE sell a couple hot dogs? Perhaps movie theaters should let people in for free?


Foxtrot Juliet Bravo
 
Posts: 6251 | Location: Illinois | Registered: July 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Mad Dog
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quote:
Originally posted by SlyFox:
quote:
Originally posted by Mad Dog:
-Free or very reduced spectator entry.

Dan


I see this one all the time. What you are basically doing is granting free entry to every single friend/family member currently entering the track with racers and paying the $10 gate fee or whatever. Would cost the track half or more of their revenue and likely not entice a single new spectator nor sell any hot dogs.


Only way this possibly works is if the free/reduced entry people are barred from the pit area somehow.




These suggestions (all of the ones I've listed) are NOT meant to be used as an every day format, only periodically, to incentivize spectator attendance or to cultivate new participation from those whom may not have normally attended an event. The reduced or free entry is not meant for the "crew" that usually attend the events on a normal basis, DAH! If you have difficulty in believing reduced/free SPECTATOR entry could be profitable for the track, just look to the events such as ones where Norwalk (Summit Motorsports Park) has offered this for a number of their events. It packs the stands and the lines at the concession areas are nearly endless at times. You may not get a ten $pot from them when they come through the gate but they buy the beer and hot dogs that the track has a VERY handsome profit margin on...

It's simply a marketing tactic. Without an affordable opportunity for some, a new or perspective customer may never attend an event. These suggestions are just that, suggestions, take em or leave em. What works for some may not for others. With that said, there are plenty of examples of this tactic having a fair level of success.

While the rest of us have offered our suggestions, I notice you have not, only your negativity, to each his own I guess...


Dan

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mad Dog,


Dan

DOES YOUR IDEOLOGY ALLOW YOU TO EQUITABLY APPLY STANDARDS OF ACCOUNTABILITY OR DOES IT PROMOTE THE PRACTICE OF HYPOCRISY?
 
Posts: 226 | Location: ... --- ... | Registered: November 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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