Guest Columns: Short Track Racing – A Vision Of Our Sport’s Future Parts 6, 7 & 8

The following are guest columns from local racer Sean Foster, who also operates the website Short Track Racer with Max Collins 

The views and opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the RaceDayCT staff.


Part 6 – Business Partnerships

Sean Foster

A potentially large amount of income for a facility is through sponsorships. Many tracks aren’t using modern marketing tools that could increase investor interest and build comfort in their investments. Just like “fan interest, entertainment, and youth engagement,” this is a perfect opportunity for facilities to use creativity and integrate their marketing partners into the track image.

It’s important for a speedway to explore what a potential (or current) partner is seeking to match the business’s goals and motives. Luckily for race tracks, there are a vast amount of assets that speedways possesses. Assets include on-premise visual marketing availability, digital marketing, hospitality, business to business opportunities, product sampling, and giveaway options to the racers and fans.

A track should identify the goals of a potential (or current) sponsor and then collaborate with them to build a platform that complements their marketing objectives. In other words, custom-tailored marketing partnerships should involve more than “Give us X amount of dollars and we’ll put your name on a backstretch billboard”.

Visit Short Track Racer to read the remainder of the column

Part 7 – Facility Uses & Extra Activities

Most racing facilities are on twenty-plus acres of land with concessions, bathrooms, parking room, lighting, and grandstands. So with all of that freedom why would we hold only twenty nighttime events in a year?

Speedways could hold multiple events while retaining the theme of motorsports. Mud boggers, drifters, rally racers, RC car competitors, snowmobilers, street racers, and drag racers are all members of the motorsports community. As mentioned in the introduction, there is no greater activity than short track auto racing so there is no need to feel threatened by other avenues of the sport. These are folks with a similar interest and if they take notice to short track racing then there is a good chance they will venture to the race track on a Saturday night. It is not reasonable to shun certain motorsport communities as it would only make sense for us to work with others in the industry even if their style doesn’t quite match ours.

Beyond motorsports, community related events would be practical activities on speedway property. Special holiday events could be held while retaining a motorsports theme or to build up to a racing event. For example, a “Light Up the Speedway” Christmas event could be created with proceeds going to a charity of choice. Giving back to the community is a great way to build a positive image for our speedways.

Visit Short Track Racer to read the remainder of the column

Part 8 – Marketing

As mentioned in the introduction of this statement, in front of us is a beautiful, fascinating sport that has potential to grasp the hearts of many. However, short track racing has an image problem that needs overhauling before concentrating on massive outreach.

Short track racing is lacking fashionable image appeal, making it difficult to connect our sport with the younger crowd. If we want our future generations growing into the sport then we have to work on building the “cool factor” of the sport.

Creating a more modern and alluring image includes stylish apparel. We have to study trends in fashion and notice the attire that’s proven successful in other industries, including other types of motorsports. Attracting young fans means building a connection with them and apparel is an effective way to have them accept the image of short track racing.

We are in an era in which media is everywhere and this is not going to change. High quality photography and film are so prevalent in our world, yet short track racing is far behind the times in this aspect. We have to work hard to grasp the interest of talented film and media experts who can help effectively promote the gifted and marketable racers of a race track or series.

Visit Short Track Racer to read the remainder of the column


  1. Sean enjoy reading your article. You bring up many valid points in them. Unfortunately I don’t see things changing anytime soon. One thing that could and should happen is the creation of a drivers/ owners council either track by track or maybe regional. If we can get the drivers and owners to band together and force the tracks hand maybe things would change. I was involved in racing for more than 25 years as a crew member and we raced at monadnock Riverside Stafford and Thompson I’ve met some extremely nice people and some real a..holes. nonetheless those 25+ years we’re awesome and gave me memories I’ll have with me the rest of my life. But now I don’t go to the races much. The ticket prices are too expensive. As is the food and other acclements. The tracks need to fix this fast. Car counts are down for the most part fan attendance is down and if this trend continues there may be no more racing that would be a sad sad day. Thank you for this series of articles hopefully it opens some eyes

  2. I know I’ve enjoyed this series. My view, it’s ground breaking. Something that has never been done before and should endure as a reference for ideas in the future. Or a snapshot of where we stand now to be compared to at some point in the future.
    One thing I find curious is that in all the subjects covered the role of women in the racing community as team owners, drivers and fans wasn’t dealt with seriously. Especially women drivers. A missed opportunity? Or did I miss it.
    How has their role changed over the years. Are there things that can be done to encourage women to get involved more in driving especially. Does their presence on the track encourage more women to come out to see the races? Are there things the staff can do to foster womens participation and make sure they are treated fairly and with respect in what has been traditionally a male dominated sport?
    The goal here is to cast off old ways of thinking and doing things. Thinking outside the box to come up with new ideas to foster the sport in the longer term. Yet the role of women, one of the biggest changes from years past and one that seems to change yearly is ignored. Ironic.

  3. rob p- Thanks for the support and insight. I know what you mean when you say you don’t see changes anytime soon. I had somebody (a respectable person in the STR world) mention the banding together of drivers and owners. It seems tough to figure out the approach of that without looking like a bunch of people showing up with pitchforks and torches LOL I’m not sure but it’s worth looking at as an option. I suppose these blog-statements are part of my first strategy… making sure track owners and promoters realize there are anchors in the sport and that there are ways to fix (or definitely improve) the product. It’s also hopeful that the current/future generation of promoters is aware or becomes aware of this dilemma.
    Doug- You’re touching on a subject that certainly deserves mentioning. I’m not really sure what topic that would fall under but maybe I’ll do some research and editing before closing this book. And nice work throwing in the term “foster” a couple times in your comment.. I see what you did there. haha

  4. Lots of great points!

    Stafford has a number of non-racing events already, including the Wicked Big Meet, swap meets, Monster Trucks, and mud bogs, but it seems like other dates are still open.

    Once upon a time, I used to provide sound and lighting for Friday night concerts at Riverside Speedway. The stage was placed on the grass, across the track from the flagstand, using the front straight as the “floor” area, and the center section of grandstand as seating. Minor mods might be required to make it easier to pass back and forth from the stands to the track, but nothing earth shattering. For other events, some simple gating to close off the grandstands could make the rest rooms, paddock, and concessions usable for other events outside of the track.

    For a lot of these uses, reaching out to folks running entertainment venues, outdoor markets, etc… for partnerships might be just the ticket.

    The only think that drives me nuts as a fan and is probably worse for competitors, is a long dry spell after Stafford’s Monster Jam that slows the return of the grass. The dust storm that comes up from cars that spin onto the front straight grass before the grass grows back is crazy! ;^)

  5. I’m touching on a subject that deserves mentioning Sean. I’m thinking if that’s the response you are clearly not the guy to delve into it further. Which is not to say it diminishes the other content. It just may be an indication you’re more status quo on women then the future with regard to racing.

  6. Fair enough Doug. I have put some thought into what you’re saying and in my head that is like a phase 2 of these vision statements. Some phase 1 objectives include building a solid foundation for the sport, increasing appeal to general public, and creating a buzz. Once the following increases and the sport appears stable for the following generation then it’s time to seek other demographics (sex, race) and find ways to grasp their interest. Although your thoughts are legitimate I guess it just doesn’t match this phase of my vision.

  7. Rob p. nothing can be done about ticket prices.We’ve done that subject to death here.But food is a non issue.We pack the cooler with beer and ice, stop by the Italian pork store and get some heros and some cheese and sausage and go out to the parking lot after qualifying and eat.We always meet people doing the same thing.Maybe not good for the tracks bottom line but the beer is ice cold, the food is delicious and the company is always fun.

  8. darealgoodfella says

    Rob p., look around at the track when you are there. These places ain’t Disneyland. Ticket prices can only go up. Thompson had to reinvent itself to survive. Waterford has physical plant issues that may prevent it from opening because of decades of failure to reinvest and reconstruct. Just about every short track looks decrepit and derelict, and as such, many are at risk of closing.

    After years of walking through the concessions looking for something other than grease, fries and sugar, I pack a cooler like art. Way better. Healthier, more enjoyable and far less cost.

  9. dareal,You are right on about just about every short tracks dilemma.I have been making a trip to Chemung for the last couple of years.The owner of that track seems to have handle on things.I want to go to his other track upstate to see if that is as good as Chemung.I think he is making money and putting on good show for his fans.The only formula in any business has to be win/win for management and fans alike.Shawn Or Sean should interview him to shed a different light on this subject.Would love to see racey Chemung on the tour.We would have ROC raiders in the mix and a packed house.Maybe spike some interest in the NWMT in the southern tier and northeast PA.

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