Friday, February 27, 2009

SMI tracks to hold driver forums on Speed stage

LAS VEGAS – Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced a new program Friday for its race weekends that will bring more drivers out to meet more fans more often at the 13 SMI race weekends this year.

“This might be the biggest ‘no-brainer’ that we’ve ever put into motion,” said Marcus Smith, the president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports, who announced the plan in the middle of Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage along with track president Chris Powell and four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

Drivers and other racing personalities will appear on the Speed network’s stage each week during SMI events. Speed’s stage is located at each SMI track in an area where fans don’t have to pay more than their ticket price to get into. Speed and Performance Racing Network personnel will conduct the fan forums.

Gordon, Kyle Busch and team owner Richard Childress will be part of the first “PRN Up to Speed” program at 9:30 a.m. local time here Sunday.

“Fans love to see and hear from their favorite drivers,” Smith said. “So we’re inviting the drivers, owners and other racing personalities to come out during our race weekends. …Giving our fans even more for their dollar is something we strive for every year.”

Gordon said he’s glad to see tracks working to find the most efficient ways to help get the drivers and fans together. The struggling racing economy is spurring this kind of effort, but Gordon said he hopes that’s not the only reason it’s being done.

“If the economy turns around six months from now I hope we keep doing these things because the fans deserve it,” he said.

It’s easy for fans to say that drivers doing something like this is the least they can do for the fans, but that’s not true. The least the drivers can do is nothing, and it takes an effort for drivers like Busch and Gordon to go out four hours before running a 285-lap race to talk to fans. No, they’re not moving mountains. But they are trying to do what they can to help out and that’s a good thing.

The Neon Garage concept in use at this track is pretty darn cool, to be honest. It’d cost a bunch of money to redo current tracks like this one or the FanZone at Daytona, but if there’s ever another track built for use by NASCAR’s top series that new track’s infield has to look something like the one here.


Anonymous said...

Golly Gee Who Could Have Ever Thought Of This Brilliant Idea. Old Saying Comes To Mind Here
Think About It Again For The First Time!!!
Wonder How Much This Cost Bruton?

Anonymous said...

They did it without telling him. Suprised he hasn't thought of pay toilets.

Monkeesfan said...

The sport doesn't need drviers and fans to get together because they already do to a great extent. What the sports need is far better racing.

Anonymous said...

Did ya'll toss out figure 8 idea?? Put fans in the Infield?? I'll watch it on a new Fox reality show.

Anonymous said...

Add Free Beer for everybody!

Anonymous said...

monkeesbutt - "The sport doesn't need drviers and fans to get together because they already do to a great extent. What the sports need is far better racing."

Regardless of what you may believe would help, how would more driver/fan interactivity hurt the sport?

Anonymous said...

I think the sport is gonna be more of a TV sport than an at the track thing in the future. With High Def And Surround Sound what am I missing??
The drivers & crews spend all weekend traveling to and working at the race track. The crews have responsibilities at the shop. The drivers have their responsibilities with the sponsors & TV interviews.That leaves little time for family. Everybody needs some ME time to perform at their best in any of these areas.
Can we ask them to give more??

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