Heard the grumblings lately and couldn't believe the mindset still exists. Yes, there are folks out there that actually believe that internet and digital tools like Race Monitor and social media keep people away from the dirt track. At first, we kind of snickered on the inside. And then, it stopped.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Some of these folks are serious about it. They weren't kidding. They had no clue about what things like that can actually do for dirt racing interest. And interest creates butts in the bleachers. That's the dirty truth behind the scenes.
Look, we're not naming any person, track, or entity, we're not here to take anybody to task. But the one question we want to ask, is does that anybody consider the customer service aspect that these things bring?
Next, we'd like to ask you all a question. Does anybody reading this not want to go to a dirt track when they have the opportunity? We're betting no, or else you've got no reason for reading anything on this site at all! Okay, next question. Does anybody frequently use social media updates or race monitor to see what's going on where, whether you're at a dirt track or not? We're betting yes, since you're reading a page on the internet and probably have a mobile device that you've learned to master. (The author here has just recently learned how to use his). Have you ever looked at the fans sitting around you and noticed they've got Race Monitor up and are watching lap times at the race they're actually at, trust me, they're out there as it's possible to look down at your cell phone when there's a caution on the track. Know what else, they also check out who's winning where at tracks they're not at, because they're at your track. When they're at another track, they're probably checking out your results during cautions. Funny how it works..
Here's the rub. the people that believe that these things harm attendance at the track (fans, promoters and owners too) fail to realize a couple of things. First, that tracks that engage and update on social media do so many times as a customer service courtesy with a marketing purpose. We won't list the tracks, but have you ever noticed how many of the most popular tracks in the country are on Race Monitor and do live or nearly live time social media updates? They've already learned that their fan base can't always be there in person but still want to be in the know. Secondly, those tracks have plenty of fans in the stands more often than not. And thirdly, they fail to realize that keeping their facility off of these things on a race night encouraged not one person to come out to the track that wouldn't have been there to begin with. We're dirt fans, we live to be at the track, to take the sport in through the senses is what we live for! It's not as if any fan actively believes "we'd better get our butts to the track because we won't know who won until tomorrow!!" Folks, if you run a good show, you're fans won't miss when they have time to be there, it is a known fact, there's almost no way to be a "ho hum" or "could take it or leave" it dirt racing fanatic.
Guess what? Most of us use these things and have this stuff, and we're at the track religiously. Want to know something else? Most of us have seen video, or updates from races on social media and follow along Race Monitor...and planned ROAD TRIPS to come to that track! These things help more than they hurt. They're marketing tools, they help spread the word, they help keep the dirt racing information flowing. And if people are interested in the information, they're actively interested in being at the track and they're enjoying the experience of being a total dirt head, and to be quite honest, we need to be making more of these fans, the future of the sport's health will be in part bettered by embracing how others make for a great racing experience and culture.
The mindset's gotta change for some of these people, and trust me when I say, the people saying these things hurt attendance or are purposely avoiding social media on race night or Race Monitor are probably at a track that looks closer to slowing down or closing, than they are to thriving.