2004 "99" Schedule 

Short Track Racing Summit Concludes with
NASCAR President Mike Helton's Message of Unity


LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Dec. 11, 2004)  – North American weekly short tracks host “the greatest reality show ever,” NASCAR President Mike Helton told an emerging coalition of speedway promoters Saturday.


Helton spoke to the promoters as they concluded their historic Short Track Racing Summit. The three-day Summit was held at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.


Helton spoke of the local heroes short track racing creates and the excitement that provide. Helton singled out Allentown, Pa. school bus driver Doug Hoffman, a veteran of decades of dirt track racing with more than 400 feature wins; and Prunedale, Calif., driver Doug McCoun, a longtime NASCAR competitor who is also a longtime Emergency Medical Technician and firefighter in his hometown.


“These types of drivers are the heroes of your race tracks who make your speedway part of your community,” Helton said.


Helton’s “State of the Industry” remarks were made to unified track operators who host events for many divisions and a variety of sanctioning bodies throughout the United States and Canada. The all-inclusive nature of the gathering was noted by Helton.


“The success of all weekly short tracks, no matter their affiliation or sanction, is vital for our sport to succeed and grow,” Helton said. “Do all you can to build a strong future for stock car racing.”


Helton said NASCAR is working in many ways to help home town speedways and racing teams prosper.


“It’s NASCAR’s responsibility to tell you we care about all short track racing. It’s our goal to provide a new level of service to your industry,” Helton said. “We support this Summit because we believe in your ability to communicate your success stories and your concerns, and learn. 


NASCAR is one of many sponsors of the Short Track Racing Summit.


Helton called drivers, families and teams at weekly short tracks “creative, passionate people who will not rest until they are the best they can be. That’s who is building our sport’s future at the hometown level.”


Other highlights of the final day of the inaugural Short Track Racing Summit include:


Lowe’s Motor Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler’s ideas for connecting drivers and fans, attracting younger fans, minority fans and their parents; He also asked track operators to be vigilant in monitoring the costs competitors face in fielding competitive race cars.


NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development Don Hawk continued Wheeler’s message on studying ways to cap some costs, as well as “keeping a level playing field” for drivers and teams through keen technical inspections. “These are key ingredients to keeping a healthy pit area,” Hawk said.


NASCAR Vice President and Summit Moderator Jim Hunter gave track operators a glimpse of the Summit’s continuation Feb. 14-16 in Daytona Beach, with an overview of fan demographics that can reveal opportunities for attendance increases.


“If you understand who your fans are, then you can find ways to enrich their experience at your tracks,” Hunter said. “You can also find some surprises in areas that need improvement. You can even discover information that can lead to local sponsorship opportunities.”


Track operators will reconvene in February during Daytona Speedweeks at The Ocean Center.


For more information on the Short Track Racing Summit, or to suggest a topic ideas, contact:

Susan Schwartz at the Summit producer ConvExx, 888/351-STRS (7877); Meghan Miley at Summit sponsor NASCAR, 386/253-0611 or visit www.shorttrackracingsummit.com.

Short Track Racing Summit Makes History: Weekly Racing's 1st National Diversity Discussion

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Dec. 10, 2004) -- Leading short track promoters from across North America created a Top-10 list of their most successful ideas Friday, Dec. 10. The list was formulated during day two of their inaugural Short Track Racing Summit in Las Vegas, Nev.
The emerging coalition of independent motorsports business operators shared candid tips that increased their speedway’s bottom line while enhancing fan experience at their race tracks.
Attendees of the inaugural Summit also held the short track racing industry’s historic first discussion of the groundswell Diversity Initiative in motorsports. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is America’s leader in motorsports diversity outreach initiatives. NASCAR is one of more than a dozen sponsors of the Summit.
NASCAR’s Director of Diversity Initiatives Tish Sheets told the new coalition of short track operators that they hold a key to creating an all-inclusive fan base and driver pool.
“America’s short tracks are where minority and female motorsports participants can begin their career development,” Sheets said. “You are the grass roots recruiters developing a feeder system, mentoring new talent being tapped for the first time.”
Sheets advocated some simple ideas such as advertising in urban and Hispanic media at the local level. This can attract new customers, and young new talent to broaden the sport’s appeal. She also said the local speedways can include minority owned and operated vendors in their daily business operations.
Topics included in the Top-10 Promotional Ideas were followed by question and answer sessions, and yielded some frank dialog on financial successes.
Advance ticket sales, cross promotions among track sponsors, fan and sponsor appreciation nights, building a successful corporate hospitality program, novelty events and basic ideas in attracting new customers were among some successful ideas that have contributed to the financial success of short tracks throughout North America.
Other speakers Friday included motorsports journalist Jack Arute of ABC Sports, and a print media roundtable of experts including Las Vegas sportswriter Jeff Wolf, NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter, and professional publicists Chip Williams and Ernie Saxton.
The Short Track Racing Summit concludes Saturday. The group will reconvene at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., February 14-16.

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