Verona, NY — November 14, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
Member track officials from the DIRTcar Racing Northeast Region assembled on November 14, to set in motion their annual Promoters’ Meetings as part of the year-end awards ceremonies with Friday festivities at the Shenendoah Golf Club at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino.
An upbeat atmosphere was evident between the walls of the hotel’s Adirondack Room as talks focused on continued cooperation among the solid base of tracks on both sides of the border with many of the participants already eager to outline tentative plans and unveil fresh promotions for the 2009 season. Several key officers from parent World Racing Group headquarters in Concord, N.C., joined the promoters to celebrate the conclusion of the organization’s 33rd consecutive season of sanctioning auto racing events.
“Feed me, clothe me and entertain me, these are three of the constants that prevail despite the country facing some troubled economic times,” remarked World Racing Group President & Chief Operating Officer Tom Deery, as he addressed officials during the afternoon session. “And today the Northeast Region of DIRTcar Racing continues to embellish the highest value of what it means to stay together for so long and thrive as a leader in the entertainment industry.”
Deery was joined by fellow directors Chief Executive Officer Brian Carter, Director of Operations Josh Wells, VP Public Relations Chris Dolack and Broadcast Services Manager Brian Dunlap. The DIRTcar Northeast core group was headed by Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed, 358-Modified Series Director Gaston Salvas, Sportsman Series Director Michael Sanchelli, Pro Stock Series Director Brian Mulligan, Director of Computer Scoring Operations and Points Coordinator Gary Spaid, and Public Relations Director Tom Skibinski.
“History has shown us that tough times don’t last while tough people always do. 2008 has certainly tested us and we’ve grown stronger together as a group. Everyone in this room has weathered the storm, held our ground and now we’re ready to move forward with all our goals firmly in place on the same page,” added Deery, encouraging each official to join the growing crusade of presenting a cool, clean image that DIRTcar Racing now projects nationwide.
Participation from the DIRTcar Northeast membership was nearly perfect on Friday with track promoters representing nearly all of the 24 affiliates in attendance. Airborne Speedway owners Steve and Denise Fuller and promoter Mike Perrotte stayed closer to home near the popular Plattsburgh, New York track as they prepared for their own season-ending awards banquet that same evening.
Reed opened the morning agenda by making the customary roll call that served as an official welcome. After Reed instructed track representatives to refrain from using the ‘R’ word, each speaker reviewed the past season with most of the feedback generating a positive feeling while laying further ground work for what areas can be improved upon in 2009. The habitual reference to ‘RAIN’ still slipped through the cracks on many occasions as it was nearly impossible to avoid talk regarding the record amount of precipitation as nearly 70 events fell to the wet stuff and no track was spared during the recently completed season.
Carter offered an informal welcome following a break for lunch in the adjacent Appalachian Room, with Jeff Ladd from Rand Sports & Insurance, Inc. taking the floor to provide pertinent information about his group’s motorsports policy currently in effect.
Reed next introduced Spaid, who orchestrated an all-encompassing slide show presentation that included numerous statistical charts and graphs that revealed trends experienced by DIRTcar Racing during the past season. His ‘Year In Review’ statistical display broke down the ‘08 campaign into categories of feature winners, feature events run, car counts, DIRTcar Regions, Series events, tracks, memberships and purse allocation, making comparisons to where DIRTcar has been and the pattern of growth that it is currently experiencing.
Overseeing construction of the 2009 tour schedules with all dates still pending at this time, Reed was the first of the four major series directors to make remarks. He highlighted the past season, stressing to all promoters in the room that the weekly race programs still remain the foundation of what DIRTcar Northeast is all about and that every tour event is designed to further complement the unique program in place at each track. He also indicated the ongoing effort to schedule more back-to-back Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series events in hopes of establishing ‘Destination Weekends’ for both fans and racers to circle on their calendars every coming year.
Returning to the helm of the successful Small-Block Series, Salvas applauded the increased attention provided by the proven DIRTcar tech team throughout tour competition. He noted the proposed reinstatement of time trials for all Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series events in ’09 with the possibility of group clockings based on heat line-ups accompanying the change in format.
Sanchelli and Mulligan spoke briefly about the Sportsman and Pro Stock trails, indicating the success enjoyed by each in 2008 and the continued levels of growth expected during the upcoming race season. While use of crate motors was mandated at all Sportsman tour events in ’08, this cost-cutting factory engine program will be encouraged next season through weight breaks in the full-fender ranks before being fully enforced at all series sites in 2010.
Tenured technical inspector Bob Dini returned to his familiar post in 2008 and was in attendance at the head table on Friday once again to outline only minor amendments to the rule book and discuss potential problems and possible solutions expected to be encountered by officials and racers during the upcoming season.
The Internet continues to be one of the most valuable commodities available in motorsports today and PR specialist Dolack provided insight into DIRTcar’s growth on the World Wide Web. He offered a glimpse of the client-based online membership program currently under development that is expected to be unveiled early in the new year; just in time for the season-opening Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, February 3-14, 2009.
“A lot of information has been added to DIRTcar.com in the year since we launched it, and we’ve made it a priority to improve the overall speed of the site to enhance the user experience,” commented Dolack, who continues to spearhead DIRTcar’s unparalleled presence on the Web as new technology continues to evolve. “Providing regular e-blasts to members and taking advantage of sites like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube —websites offering interactive, user-submitted network of friends where users can send messages and upload, view and share video clips— have helped us promote our bigger events and reach specific on-line groups, especially those made up of a whole new and younger generation that is significant toward our future success.”
Dolack offered an on-screen illustration of DIRTcar’s newest on-line membership tool that will allow promoters, officials and competitors to sign up for and view member benefits, a member directory, rules, entries and answers to frequently asked questions.
Deery was back on center stage to conclude the afternoon affair with a vote of confidence given to every promoter present. “The DIRTcar Northeast sector represents a great combination of tracks and race teams with undivided fan support, remaining far ahead of the rest of the nation as we are able to work so closely together for the betterment of the group as a whole. So many officials from around the country are envious of those around here as the loyalty and dedication of our track promoters and operators have remained the most vital elements over the past 30 years. We have consistent, enforced rules and established programs, something everyone here should be proud of and not too humble to tell the world,” Deery said.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.