Wheeler Launches Speedway Benefits
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of the best known promoters in motorsports history, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler has introduced a new program that is aimed at helping race tracks throughout the United States.
Speedway Benefits is designed to be an alliance of short tracks that will benefit the tracks, vendors and corporate marketers.
There are approximately 1,200 grassroots race tracks in the United States that host 50 million fans annually. This represents over $1 trillion in consumer spending equal to 6.5 percent of U.S. GDP. This demographic consists primarily of working class people located in suburban and rural America. Grassroots race tracks employ nearly 2,000 full time and up to 30,000 part time.
Speedway Benefits is organized to pool these tracks together allowing an opportunity for vendors to provide high-volume discounts on a national level for products and services that race tracks commonly purchase. The cost savings go directly to the race tracks’ bottom line.
Corporate sponsors and marketers will be given an opportunity to directly market to 50 million primarily middle-class Americans through a brand new national sports property.
Tracks will still be able to maintain and secure local and regional sponsorships and vendor partnerships by category. Race track owners/promoters can opt in or out of any aspect of the program allowing them to customize a program that meets their specific needs. Speedway Benefits membership comes at no cost to founding member tracks.
“As the motorsports scene changes, grassroots racing is seeing significant success because of its tremendous appeal to the working people of this nation,” said Wheeler. “However, they are doing it alone and our new alliance will bring them more fans, higher revenues and less expense.
“We are going to stick strictly to these grassroots tracks and not the big tracks of
NASCAR, Indy car and NHRA. This collectivism of all the short tracks will change the face of racing,” Wheeler continued. “Short-track racing, including ovals, drag strips and road courses are the backbone of our sport and yet they have been shorted on television, advertising and media coverage. It is our intention to help fire the rockets to change this. There is more excitement in racing at such tracks as Carolina Speedway, Lebanon Valley, Skagit, Bowman Gray, Eldora and Thunder Road in Vermont than most superspeedways.
“We just need to help these operators let the world know this. These grassroots tracks just never got the investment that fueled NASCAR’s growth in the last 25 years,” Wheeler said. “Imagine what can be done to bring a newly united sport with 50 million avid race fans in the next decade.
“Big-time racing has never been healthier than its grassroots base so what we are doing is going to help the big tracks by growing new fans in places like Tulsa, Susquehanna, Traverse City, Ukiah and other heartland cities, and at the same time bring to these tracks what they have been missing for so long.”
Speedway Benefits is expected to grow to 50 employees and create 1,000 new jobs across the country.
“We have put together a very capable team of people and are investing significantly to make this happen,” said Wheeler. “And some of the premier grassroots race tracks around the country — from Steve Beitler’s Skagit Speedway in Washington to Howard Commander’s Lebanon Valley and Albany Saratoga Speedways in upstate N.Y. — have come on board to realize the benefits that this particular team of people will be able to provide. In fact, the response has been so overwhelming we’ve had to limit the initial membership.
“And for corporate America, there is no other opportunity out there that allows access to middleclass Americans — 50 million of them — in every corner of our country with this kind of spending power. The reach is almost unfathomable and the opportunities are endless.”
“This is a great idea to get us sponsorship and cost savings,” said Beitler, the first Speedway Benefits member. “You are the guys to pull this off. I’m all in.”
Commander was one of the first to sign on as a Speedway Benefits member.
“Anybody who understands business, understands that this is a no-brainer and something we should have done a long time ago,” said Commander. “50 million people not only represent more than $1 trillion in spending power, they have the power to elect the next president of the United States.
“The opportunity this presents to corporate America and to the grassroots race tracks across the country is tremendous.”