Racer Promotion Program begins at HRP
The force has mobilized. The inmates will be promoting the asylum. For at least one race, the racers have the opportunity to promote their own race. The proving ground will be next weekend’s Division 4 opener at Houston Raceway Park. HRP and the racers of Division 4 have put together a program for a free ticket give away on Saturday of that event.
In my last column, I mentioned coded tickets with incentives going to racers who brought a significant number of spectators out to the track. With time being short for the upcoming race, we opted to get something quick and easy out there. In lieu of a hard copy ‘official’ ticket, we came up with a simple word document that will serve as a spectator pass on Saturday. The beauty of it is the ease of distributing it. It can be emailed, printed, copies made, etc. If one person gets a ticket, either by email or a paper copy, and they want to bring their family of 5, well, all they need to do is run off 5 copies of this pass, and they’re good.
I saw a similar strategy used when the Super Bowl was in Houston. The Bud Bowl, an essentially ‘free’ concert featured a few big name country stars one night. Free passes were emailed out to virtually anyone that had bought any kind of season ticket to the Texans, Astros or Rockets. All you had to do was print the email and that was your pass. Well, being a broke college student, for just a split second of glee, we thought we had figured out how to ‘beat’ the system because there was no way to track how many times that email had been printed. Boy we were sticking it to the ‘man.’ Then the marketing bulb came on a few seconds later and realized this is exactly what they wanted. They wanted you to come there, buy $7 Bud Lights, and feel like they had entitled you to something someone else wasn’t getting.
There are some motivated individuals pushing this as well. I have posted on several local websites and emailed quite a few passes. The ticket email makes it clear you can pass this ticket on to anyone you like; forward it to your friends, print as many as you need, just be there! Competition Eliminator racer Shane Heckel along with Top Alcohol Dragster slash Funny Car driver Lee Callaway are helping to lead the charge as well. It spreads from there. We’ve even made the FM radio waves on Bob Mungle’s new Houston Hot Rodding show, which is covering drag racing. Passes are on hand at many racers’ businesses. The ball is rolling. We’re expecting it to be a hit. We aren’t the first to try this. The Texas Motorplex, Pacific Raceway and Bandimere Speedway, all national event tracks in major markets, have packed the house for divisionals with ticket giveaways.
Some will ask, who wins more – the track or the racers? In the short run, the track probably will gain the most. I’ll admit it. What do the racers win? Well, if you ever hope to have any kind of sponsor, you need a crowd to race in front of. Unless you’re going after a racer oriented company, these divisionals have very, very little marketing value to a potential or existing sponsor.
I could go on and on about what NHRA ought to do and how they ought to promote it, and while I feel I’m right, I don’t think NHRA is going to adopt my way of thinking in the immediate future. So I’m taking action. We as racers need to take charge of the situation, work out similar plans like what we’re doing at HRP and make every single divisional a packed house. There are a few events out there that draw good crowds. They’re the exception to the rule. The vast majority have little or no crowds. That has to be fixed in one way or another for the current divisional system to remain viable.
At some point in the near future, we need to come up with some incentives for racers that are driving these fans to the track. It could range from a free T-shirt for getting 5 people in to something a bit more in value for pushing a large volume of fans in. Incentives will only make the program grow, and give the racer some reward on top of having someone to race in front of.
Another good idea that has come about was if a track has a national before their divisional, hand out tickets/passes in the parking lot. I’m sure the announcers would get on board as well.
For every new fan that comes out that may not have before such a promotion, the whole sport wins.
I’ve got a few volunteers from each division to help push this, but we could always use more. Be sure to drop me an email if you’re interested in pushing this.
We will know how our efforts did by the time of our next column. Hopefully we’ll have some good weather; because I have a feeling we’re going to have a great crowd at HRP.
Now that you’re on the tire, go forth and spread the good word. Be sure to stop by one of my websites – InsideTopAlcohol.com, InsideCompRacing.com and my newest venture, InsideFastBrackets.com covering Top Dragster and Top Sportsman – and tell us what you think.