‘Track rescue’ and ‘bar rescue’… similar? I think so!
We all have a local track that we call our "home track", right? If not, that is unfortunate as having a home track is pretty damn nice. It is like having that friendly neighborhood bar where you see friends and have a good time. I was watching TV the other night and one of my favorite shows is "Bar Rescue". John Tapper is invited to a failing bar and uses his experience and knowledge in the bar business to help a struggling bar owner get things "back in order" so it can get profitable and remain a viable business for its loyal patrons and the community as both an employer and a part of the community.
I live just four miles from Iowa’s Cedar Falls Motorsports Park and have raced there since 1970. I was also the owner/manager from 1983-1996. It has evolved, like so many tracks, over the years. It started out as a Sunday only venue and then was eighth mile for a while under the lights then back to more quarter mile recently. The track has hosted NHRA Winston Divisional races, several ET Finals, and many of the first big bucks events in the region.
The track has struggled the last several years with new owners trying to figure out the area. Different managers and the unstable economy didn't help either. I have always tried to support the track by racing there as often as possible, and then a "light went off" in my old brain a few weeks ago. I thought why bitch and moan about the way things are going at the track when if I get off the couch and physically help the track it might get better and return to 200-car turnouts instead of 40-50 cars. I do not want to lose the local track and I do not want to see it forsake the idea of increasing payouts and lowering entry fees. Both of those ideas are possible if the racers support returns.
To me, this was a "track rescue" on a personal level. I contacted the track manager and discussed some ideas that I knew would work to make this upcoming event, held in memory of a great friend of mine, Terry Stumpf, a better experience for the racers (customers). I think this is what gets overlooked by so many track operators: customer service.
Like the TV show Bar Rescue, this Track Rescue is just a format and a beginning to use as a launching pad towards growing the track participation. Maybe you can do the same thing at a local track near you? Do you want the track to get batter or do you want to bitch about it all the time?
Here was what I did to achieve my own personal goal of a track rescue. I helped get an event flyer designed that told every racer what was going on that weekend and what they could expect. It also made a "special announcement" about the 2016 season (more $2,000-to-win races planned), run orders, etc. Now every racer knows what to expect, not just the local racers who are used to the procedures. Again, part of improving customer service.