How was your experience at the tracks you raced at in 2009?

The other day I was talking to friend and fellow Stock Eliminator racer Dic Geary, and we started talking about the experiences we had at the tracks we raced at this season. He raced at thirteen NHRA National and Divisional races in 2009 (I hope I remembered that number correctly), which included eleven different tracks.

I have raced at a total of twelve different racetrack facilities this year and I have raced several times at a few of them. Before I get too far into how the experience at the track went, let me set some guidelines that will let me clarify my opinions a bit.

  • I am NOT going to take into account the actual racing at the event. We all know we can’t win them all and that is not part of the “experience” I am telling you about this month.
  • I am NOT going to take into account the entry fees and payouts at these events. If you don’t know what the payout is before you leave for the event and what the entry fees are, you probably shouldn’t have gone, and I would imagine your experience started off badly and ended badly as well.

Southern Hospitality – Northern Hostility: fact or fiction?

I found this to be more true than false. I am not sure if it is because the tracks in the southern part of the country have more tracks to compete with, so customer experience is important to their success or if it is the more “take it easy” attitudes the people in the southern states seem to have.

The one BIG EXCEPTION to this South versus North theory is Bill Bader’s Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH. If there has ever been a complete track operation to use as a model to improve other tracks, Bader’s facility has set the benchmark and it is set high! You have probably all heard this before but it is worth repeating, just in case some track operator out there wants to improve his customer’s experience. I will keep this as short as possible but each item is important onto the other.

  1. When racers arrive and line up in a field or in a line by the pit gate, they get a numbered ticket and a matching number on their bumper or windshield. That WILL BE the order they get into the gate. They do not allow racers to sneak around others, cut in line, etc. Get there in order, go into the pits in order. Simple, effective and fair, so that creates a good experience from the start.
  2. Not a single person affiliated with that track tried to tell me what to do or where to go, they simply asked me to pull in a certain lane or asked me if I had been to tech. Again, a simple way to enhance the “experience” for a customer.
  3. I noticed a sign on the wall of the concession stand called the “B-Guarantee”. Simply says if you have a problem the track personnel will solve that problem to your satisfaction, GUARANTEED! If you are not satisfied, the sign has Deb Bader’s personal cell phone number listed and you are asked to call her and she will take care of it personally. That, my friends, is how you improve any experience for a customer.
  4. That same attitude goes throughout the facility and the employees. No bad attitudes, no rudeness and no employees who look like they hate what they are doing. You know what happens? Your customers enjoy the event as well. Enthusiasm is contagious and it is something we all can use a little bit of from time to time.

Now, back to the North vs South and the “experience” you and I may have had.