It’s not the racing that’s broken. It’s the marketing.

Me? I have never been more excited about the future of racing. And a lot of that has to do with people like you, who are working to improve the sport we love.

This is me trying to make a smackdown face. *Cue laughter.*

This is me trying to make a smackdown face. *Cue laughter.*

But in many areas, the sport is suffering. Car counts are down. The purses are the lowest in the country. And ticket prices keep going up.

And how many discussions have you overheard, or been a part of, in which someone suggests changes to the actual racing program in order to fix the problem?

The stands would be more full each week if we:

  • Add another division.
  • Get rid of heat races.
  • Change the number of laps.
  • Do qualifying instead of pill draws.
  • Make the racing more exciting in fill-in-the-blank way.

People today – (P.S. I love that phrase. What else could we be? Time travel!)  – want shiny and new. They can’t pay attention as long as they used to. We have to give them a reason to put their phones down. Etcetera.

That’s the consensus, if you ask many.

But here’s my opinion: the racing itself does not need to be fixed. It’s the marketing that hasn’t evolved as fast as the fans have.

Every day, I talk to people who are involved in racing. Whether they are a group of fans at a mall show or clients on our regular conference calls, I’m exposed to a wide variety of people in racing.

People are no less passionate about racing today than they were back in the good ol’ days of big purses and packed stands. There are just less of us than before.

And that’s where marketing comes in.

If you wanted to combine my favorite sport – racing – with my spirit vegetable – pumpkin – this would be the analogy:

Let’s say that you sell pumpkins. And you want to make more money. Or just make as much money as you used to, when the market was booming.

Your first thought might be, how can I grow bigger pumpkins? Let’s fatten the ones up that we already have. Fatter pumpkins bring in more money.

But there’s a limit to how big pumpkins can get before they burst.

If you want your pumpkin patch to be more successful, you don’t try to grow fatter, tastier pumpkins. You grow more pumpkins.

We, race fans, are pumpkins. And we’re already pretty round and tasty. We will continue to spend our money at the race track, just like we have for years.

We have fully bought in to the weekly program and the special events. And many of us are can’t afford to be fatter pumpkins. Some fans are financially tapped out. 

To be successful? The sport needs more new fans. And we need drivers, tracks, promoters, retailers, media and current fans to make that happen.

And marketing is how we’ll do that. Look out for next week’s post for some ideas on how you can help grow the sport.



P.S. Disagree? Love pumpkins, too? Tell me what you think.

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.