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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Do You Think Is Wrong With Today's Nascar?

For What It's Worth, My 2 Cents
by: Dale Hall

I read a Wall Street Journal article today titled "Nascar, Once A Cultural Icon, Hits the Skids". That article got me to thinking about how, even though I still enjoy Nascar and it's products, racing at the highest level isn't as important to me as it once was. I suspect that many of you are in the same boat. The question is why? After a little bit of introspection, I came up with a few reasons as to why I think Nascar is in the it's current predicament. Before I share my thoughts on this subject, I was wanting to get the thoughts of any of you who may be concerned about the direction Nascar is headed in. Please, in a constructive way, let me know what your concerns are and what you think could and should be done to correct the situation. Please refrain from making derogatory and off-base comments. I will post this on the Deep Dixie Racing Facebook page. Please leave your comments there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wanted And Needed: Public Relations People To Help Promote Racing

For What It's Worth, My 2 Cents
by: Dale Hall

This is just my opinion and mine only. I see a glaring absence of any organized effort to promote stock car racing and that needs to be rectified for the good of the sport. Too many tracks and racing series do not have dedicated public relations people and, if they do, they most often resort to a hodgepodge of efforts to get information about their track or series out to the public. The most prominent of those efforts rely on social media and even those efforts often have no rhyme or reason. Just think about how many different ways the tracks or series each of you know about disseminate information regarding their upcoming events.

I am not saying that social media doesn't have it's place in this day and age of electronic media. For sure it does. What I am saying is that the way we done things twenty or thirty years ago doesn't necessarily work anymore and we need to adapt with the changing and evolving technology if we want to see stock car racing survive and continue to grow, hopefully, in a coordinated effort.

One glaring omission is that most often a track or series does not have at least one person dedicated to providing reliable updated information to the public. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of this, let's focus on where some are getting things right. For example, East Alabama Motor Speedway has got themselves an excellent public relations person in Lamar McClellan. So does Senoia Raceway with their public relations specialist, Ted Austad. Both of these gentlemen go about their business in a professional way and they are constantly promoting their individual tracks by providing information to the public as often as possible in various ways. Some of you may have noticed their articles on Deep Dixie Racing where they are either promoting or recapping races at their facilities. They provide those stories for any media outlets which are willing to publicize them. People, that is a win-win situation because the media outlets get content and the tracks get free publicity. Lamar also provides updates as racing action is taking place at the track as well. Another person I am impressed with is Wesley Outland and the way he handles his duties as the National Series Announcer/Public Relations Director duties for the USCS. He is constantly doing live videos to help promote that series and that helps keep those guys in the public eye.

Traipse on over to the East Alabama Motor Speedway Facebook page and scroll down to see how a well-maintained track page looks. New Senoia Raceway's Facebook page is another one you will want to check out. They do it right.

What makes a good public relations person one might ask? Well, first of all, a love of the sport itself is a given. If a person doesn't have that going for them - well, just forget it. To generate interest, your topic has to be interesting. If you love stock car racing and you can communicate that to your audience, it should show in your work. That will help attract a following. As you attract a following, that following in turn will help share your work with others, most often through social media. Now, some people are apt to be good writers and others are likely to be real comfortable in front of a camera. Others may be comfortable with both writing and getting their point across by doing a video. A good PR person will be able to adapt to a style he or she is comfortable with and proficient at. They may even evolve their style as they become more comfortable with different media. Probably, more often than not, they also surround themselves with others of like mind and talents who help out in their efforts. For example, Lamar McClellan and Eric Gano work hand in hand in providing coverage for East Alabama and Ted Austad and Francis Hauke work together doing the same at Senoia Raceway. Eric and Francis just happen to be photographers at those tracks, and dang good ones at that.

Public relations is all about information, information, information, and getting that information out to the public in the most advantageous way.

As a race fan,  I always like to be informed about what is going on at favorite tracks and race series I like to follow. That includes information about upcoming racing events, information about events when I am at the tracks, and a recap of anything I might have missed after leaving or getting home from the tracks. It is probably in the best interest of the tracks and series to be the ones who provide that information so that is timely and accurate.

Information about upcoming events is pretty much all about event announcements, getting out flyers, notifications regarding participating drivers, rules, payouts, ticket costs, and other typical information regarding the event. Those are important to most of us. Once at the track, I would like to be informed about the schedule of events for the evening, which drivers actually showed up, qualifying information, and information about any changes which may be taking place. To be honest, most of that can and should be taken care of by the track announcer but, more times than not, that information is not always heard by everyone or it may go in one ear and right back out the other. For those reasons, the track announcer's information could and probably should be accompanied by releases of tidbits online that have actual lists, photos, and videos for fans to look at and share with others. Those things could be accomplished by a dedicated PR person. Once again, Lamar McClellan and Eric Gano are already doing a lot of that at East Alabama Motor Speedway. What will it take for other tracks to follow suit?

I don't want to come across as being critical of any track or series. I am hoping to point out that, because of evolving technology and fan habits concerning social media, there might just be a better way for those tracks and series to interact with fans and that they should explore ways to do so. Having at least one person dedicated as a PR person should be a good start in that direction.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping promote racing at a local track or racing series, I encourage you or them to develop relationships with your local track management or series management. To be honest, people should not expect to be making much, if any, money in such an endeavor. Do it because you love the sport. That is why a lot of us do it, even here at Deep Dixie Racing. As Eric Gano recently told me, you won't get rich doing this sort of stuff but you get to meet a lot of interesting folks and you pretty much always get one of the better seats in the house. I am going to share this on Facebook so hit me up on there if you have any questions or comments. Let's all try to make our sport more enjoyable for everyone and help make it grow at the same time.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Recap of the 3rd Annual Groundhog Classic at EAMS February 4, 2017

Submitted by Lamar McClellan
Photo Credits: Eric Gano, EPA-Photography

Cory Hedgecock

1 - #23 Corey Hedgcock - from 7th starting spot to the lead by lap 6 - worked the top right to the lead.
2 - #18E Chase Edge - started 4th, fell back to 8th, steadily worked his way back up to 2nd.
3 - #12 Ashton Winger - lead early, fell back to 4th, back up to 2nd, then 3rd.
4 - #55 Montana Dudley - started 6th, ran as high as 2nd, pushed high off 2 and dropped back to 4th.
5 - #101 Forrest Trent - started 3rd, dropped back to 9th early, then steadily moved back into the top 5.

Joseph Brown

1 - #92 Joseph Brown - this race was over when JB took the green flag, though #5T Thomas Lewis made a good run near the end to make it look good.
2 - #5T Thomas Lewis - started 8th and was up to P2 by lap 6.
3 - #55 Montana Dudley - started 6th, up to 3rd early, then back to 5th, then back to 3rd.
4 - #1D Dalton Cook - started 4th, ran as high as 3rd, as low as 5th, then back up to 4th.
5 - #47 Tyler Crowder - started an uncharacteristic 11th, was in the top 5 by lap 15.

Donovan Singer

602 LM Sportsman:
1 - #6 Donovan Singer - started 2nd and lead every lap
2 - #25 Wiley McDaniel, Jr. - started 5th, moved up steadily to P2
3 - #23 Ahnna Parkhurst - RCR development driver started 6th, settled into P3 by lap 5
4 - #22 Danny Stroud - started 3rd, fell back to 6th, then moved back up
5 - #17 Kevin Bennett - started 11th, up to P6 by lap 6, with 2 to go had moved into the top 5

Jason Price

1 - #17 Jason Price - dominated this class same as Joseph Brown did his class, though #21 Corey Dunn made it interesting at the end.
2 - #21 Corey Dunn - started 4th and was up to 2nd within 5 laps where he got stronger and stronger as the race went on, actually reaching Price's bumper late in the going
3 - #1 Ben Steele - started 2nd but gave way to Dunn early and ran P3 the rest of the way.
4 - #31 Richie Grantham - started 5th, fell back to 7th, then settled into P4 by lap 7.
5 - #0 Blake Harmon - started 9th, had altercation with #92 on lap 2 and again on lap 6, but settled down and moved into the top 5 with 2 to go.

Steve Pate

Street Stock:
1 - #07 Steve Pate - started 4th, up to P3 on lap 2, P2 on lap 3, and the lead on lap 7.
2 - #4 Tyler Brown - started 2nd, lead the 1st 6 laps, the P2 the remainder
3 - #3 Larry Faulk - started last after DQ in his heat, broke into the top 5 by lap 6, P4 on lap 10, and P3 on lap 12.
4 - #69 Jason Harrison - started 3rd, took 2nd on the start, back to P3 on lap 5, then P4 on lap 12
5 - #2 Brian Hansford - started 8th, moved up to P5 on lap 13

Chandler Diem

Road Warrior:
1 - #999 Chandler Diem - started on the pole, but was involved in a wreck on lap 1 and restarted last, was back up to P5 by lap 4, spun on lap 5 and back to the rear, back to P5 by lap 10, moved to 2nd on lap 12, took the lead on lap 14 and never looked back.
2 - #16 Robert Price - started 2nd, lead from lap 1 to lap 14
3 - #17 Bo Robinson - started 3rd, lead the 1st aborted start, ran 2nd early but fell little by little back to 5th before moving back up to 3rd.
4 - #41 Wesley Burke - started 5th, ran as high as 2nd, as low as 5th
5 - #113 Josh Childers - started 11th, persevered up to top 5 by lap 13

Jonathan Merritt

Hot Shots:
1 - #5J  Johnathan Merritt - started outside pole and lead every lap
2 - #5M Terry Merritt - started 6th, P5 on lap 1, P4 on lap 3, P3 on lap 6, and P2 just past half way
3 - #1 Lee Hutchinson - started on the pole, ran P2 until just past half way
4 - #8 Victoria Purcell - started 8th, moved up to P5 by lap 3 and P4 by lap 6.
5 - #2 - Patrick Harrelson - started 9th and moved into the top 5 by lap 6.

That's a wrap on the 3rd Annual Groundhog Classic.