WAVERLY, Ohio – Mother Nature has had her way with the 37th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek for the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions.
As a result, tracks have developed a unique and different way to promote and get races in that otherwise would be canceled.
By the time Tuesday rolled around for the fifth race day of Ohio Sprint Speedweek, there had only been two shows completed, at Attica Raceway Park and Muskingum County Speedway.
With a less than good looking forecast, the suggestion was made that if Tuesday’s event at Sharon Speedway rained out, the race would move west down the road to Wayne County Speedway, where the series was rained out on Monday.
“Just from a series standpoint, we know people take vacations for speedweek, and my boss came to me and asked my thoughts on asking other tracks to act on replacements outside of the normal speedweek if we lose a race,” said Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions Director Eric Walls. “So I got on the phone and started making phone calls. Jason and Kristen at Wayne County stepped up to the plate first. They want to race as bad as we do, it’s been a bad year, not just here, but all across the country. We know they want to race, and that’s what our racers do, they race.”
Series and track officials didn’t get the chance to test the idea Tuesday as both tracks canceled because of bad weather.
Sticking to their guns, the All Stars and Wayne County announced again that if Wednesday’s race at Atomic Speedway were rained out, the series would shift to Wayne County instead.
This time the rain stayed south of Wayne County while storms struck Atomic, forcing that track to cancel. With 12 hours of notice and promotion through social media, with support and help from surrounding dirt tracks, Wayne County and the All Star Circuit of Champions were able to pull the event off. Fans filled the grandstands while 37 cars showed up to race.
“I am an old school guy, I use some, active, social media, but after seeing what happened at Wayne County it really opened my eyes and I hope it opened other promoter’s eyes for that matter,” Walls said. “It just goes to show you the power of social media to promote an event within 12 hours and see the crowd Wayne County had. The promotions from the race teams and other tracks, it’s a new day in step up promotion. Hats off to social media and the people that use it.
“I think, without the cooperation of the race tracks, the cooperation of the race teams, I don’t think we could do this,” Walls continued. “A sanctioning body cannot just say we want a race, a lot of stuff has to happen. It takes a lot of people to make that happen. I think this is something like an event like speedweek it works. I certainly hope someone takes something out of this, it’s a lot of work, but it speaks volumes for tracks like Wayne County and Atomic. Attica, Mansfield, those places for instances, sometimes Mother Nature just whont let up. All these tracks have great staff and they want to race. Everybody in this industry is here for a reason, they want to race.
“We have a lot of full time racers, and also guys who work 40 hours a week and race as a hobby. I don’t like to call it a hobby, because racing is a full-time job in itself. Those guys have to maintain, do things themselves, they do not have paid crew members, those guys take vacations for this week to race as well. In the grand scheme of things we were looking at those guys as well. Rain outs does not pay the bills. To travel up and down the road in Ohio to watch it rain does not pay the bills, we want them to keep coming back. The idea was they only get paid if they race, and we are the same way, to get paid we have to race, so we had to figure out a way to get to race.”