HOUSTON, Texas — While many people may identify the famed Houston Motorsports Park with drag racing, there’s a whole lot more going on within the friendly confines of Dean Baker’s wonderful facility.
Texas Short Track Racing Series General Manager Gina Schild-Knowles has been working hard to put the oval track on the map, keeping the last active asphalt short track in Texas thriving. Her alliance with Baker adds stability to what she’s doing, and Baker loves the outlook.
“I’m behind what Gina is doing at the oval track all the way,” Baker said. “She comes from a racing family, really knows the sport and has a strong background in marketing and promotions. It isn’t easy to do what she’s doing; to attract new sponsors, draw new race teams and grow the fan base.”
As interest in the oval program has grown, so has brand identity for HMP itself. When Schild-Knowles announced the weekly NASCAR sanction for this season, it added even more credibility to her oval program. As part of NASCAR’s Weekly Racing Series, the added value will be clearly visible.
“I’ve seen the hard work she’s putting in to prepare for this delayed season,” Baker added. “She is thinking about the future, and so am I. It’s a nice feeling to have somebody running the oval who has the passion, skills and dedication to make a go of it. I think the TSTRS is in good hands with Gina.”
For Schild-Knowles, the delayed start due to the global COVID-19 pandemic has meant more work restructuring the schedule, communicating with racers and studying local guidelines. Yet she’s full of optimism as we draw closer to the second practice session on May 16 and first race on June 20.
“I’m so glad to have Dean’s support as we work to prepare for our new season,” Schild-Knowles said. “He sees the value in building a solid fan base for the oval, which helps the overall facility. I want all of our race teams and marketing partners to know that we have an eye on the future here.”
There is still work to do before the first green flag of the season waves, yet with Baker’s support and her burning desire to succeed, Schild-Knowles isn’t letting off the gas any time soon.
“I just know after all of this frustration, the delays and setbacks, we’re still in for a very special season of racing with the Texas Short Track Racing Series,” she said. “I’ve had this feeling for a long while, and I truly believe our future is very bright here at Houston Motorsports Park. I’m very excited.”