Big races this past weekend. Dallas, Rockingham, Darlington, Door Wars at Maple Grove Raceway, divisional bracket finals, and probably a couple more that I apologize for missing. With the exception of the “big show” races, unless you know where to look, you’ll never find out who the big winners are. That bothers me.
Obviously the social media pages are great for that, but once again, you have to know where to look. Of course, any more it seems like we get out news from Facebook or Twitter. And that’s why we have 24-hour news channels but all they do is repeat the same thing over and over again but that’s another story.
Let’s take the Door Wars race at the ‘Grove. Of course, I’m not pointing out any one event, but who won that? Dave Harvey Jr. Soggy Dunn and Brock Moshier.
What about the three $100,000-to-win races in Rockingham? I think you might get my point. Marshall Grooms, Jason Lynch and Shane Carr. Only one website I saw mention of the Rockingham winners (https://dragchamp.com/2018/bracket-racing/grooms-lynch-carr-each-win-100000-at-sfg-rockingham-event/) and they at least had it right. I thought they way whoever wrote the article the article just about says it all: “While Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence was picking up a check for a mere $50,000 as winner of the NHRA Fall Nationals Sunday at Dallas, Texas, three different drivers in far less powerful cars were departing Rockingham Dragway more than $100,000 richer after big victories in the SFG Super Bowl of Drag Racing.”
The concern is that I believe big time drag racing, and I include big money bracket racing in the mix, needs more main stream coverage. Now I don’t think we’re ever gonna see big money bracket racing make the pages of USA Today, but there ought to be more coverage splashed around the many websites directed towards our sport. Think about this: Steve Torrence will probably be the NHRA champion in a couple of races if he doesn’t step on his you-know-what. And at the races he’s won so far, the money won doesn’t even come close to what two-time Million Dollar Race winner Jeff Verdi came home with in 2016 when he won both Million Dollar Races. If Torrence holds on, come the Finals they’re going to parade him around holding up a champion’s check for something like $450,000. Next year there are two distinct races (SFG in June and Fall Fling in September) where the winner will get to hold a $500,000 check until he cashes it at his bank. One race, one day, one half-million dollars.
It’s a case I think some promoters are missing and sometimes it takes hiring a professional PR person to accomplish the task. Are you going to receive a quick return on the investment (ROI)? No, probably not. But it will keep racers coming back to your event.
It’s much the same thing as the many live streamed events. Certainly they don’t put butts in the seats or race cars entered immediately, but I believe there are people sitting home watching these races unfold on their computer screens saying, “That event looks like a lot of fun. I need to go there next year.” And so they do.
I’ve mentioned this before but let’s say the track promoter of ABC Dragway in Anywhere, USA decides to start sending the results of his events to local newspapers. Let’s say that Joe Racer wins three weeks in a row, yet Joe’s neighbors just see this big white rig leaving his house every Saturday morning. Chances are they really have no idea what Joe does, yet one day they see Joe’s name in the local paper for his successes. Suddenly they’re Joe’s fans and maybe some of them decide to attend ABC Dragway to see him race. So they pay the spectator fee, maybe buy some hot dogs and T-shirts and maybe, just maybe they decide to try their hand at the sport. Suddenly whatever cost the track promoter spent on the PR; something he may have thought was a waste of time and money; comes back to pay dividends.
People like to see their name in print, or in today’s case too, on the web. We run stories in the pages of Drag Racing Edge on certain big races which usually receive little coverage. In each case, we make sure the winner’s and runner-up’s names are mentioned, if even just in the Boxscore. I had a managing editor years ago who felt that the Boxscore was simply taking up valuable page space until I explained it to him, after which he agreed.
So much for my two-cents this week. Back to work.