Panorama of East Carolina Motor Speedway (Justin Kern/The Weekly Racer)
East Carolina Motor Speedway promoter John Vick expects two major offseason moves to have a strong impact on car counts and fan counts during the 2015 racing season.
During the offseason, the track released a new schedule, moving races at the Robersonville, North Carolina short track from Friday nights to Saturday nights on weeks opposite of nearby Southern National Motorsports Park and Wake County Speedway. Vick expects the Saturday night races to draw more fans and more drivers to the facility each week.
“That’s a huge deal to us because of where we’re located,” Vick said. “I think it’s going to draw a lot more fans. It’s great for a family. Wake County is successful b/c of location in Raleigh. Our fans are located 30 minutes away from the track. It’s tough. We’re also running opposite of Southern National so that also helps. Now we have three different tracks running three different nights and we want to support all of them.”
Vick elaborated further on the move helping all three tracks, saying he would like to see East Carolina, Wake County and Southern National all work to support each other and their racers.
“Those are great tracks and we’re willing to work and participate in anything we need to. There’s no reason our drivers can’t go to each of those tracks.”
The other move East Carolina made in the offseason was a unification of its Late Model divisions. The track has been running Late Model Stock Cars and Limited Late Models. While the Limiteds had a respectable car count, the Late Model Stock Car division did not in spite of names like Dillon Bassett and Deac McCaskill racing there.
“I think our rules are pretty close to Southern National’s rules now,” Vick stated. “We put our rules out in December and, as far as I know, we’ll stay with it. Everybody seems pleased with it. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback. We’re going to have a great year. We also added Legends and Bandoleros this year.”
Vick was lured into the racing scene by Wayne Perry, the current owner of East Carolina Motor Speedway. Vick worked in radio and Perry asked him if he wanted to get involved with the track. In fact, Vick has even setup a weekly racing radio show on several FM radio stations in the Greenville, North Carolina market which is hosted by track announcer Alan Vick (no kin to John Vick).
Vick has new plans for promotions in 2015, including an agriculture festival at the track and an independence celebration.
“We’re doing some specialty nights we’re putting together. We’re working with North Carolina Department of Agriculture. We’re going to be doing some stuff with them this year. We’re going to do an agriculture festival in July. We’re working on a few things we’re trying to lock down. We’re thinking about a big freedom celebration for our July 3rd race. We’re working on something each night. We want to create a great experience for the drivers and the fans and look out for the people who are working with us as sponsors.”
Vick says the biggest challenge he faces at East Carolina is getting drivers and fans to come to the track a first time. He feels that, if fans and drivers come once, they’ll keep coming back.
“Our biggest challenge is having people give us the first opportunity to see what we’re about. I really believe that, when people find out what we’re about and see how we make it a family fun night. If we can find out how to reach them, they will continue to support the track. To us, short track racing is fun. The first impression is the single most important one.”
The first race of the season at East Carolina Motor Speedway will be on Saturday, April 18th.
EAST CAROLINA MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Website | Facebook | Twitter
2015 East Carolina Motor Speedway Schedule
April 18th: Late Model Stock Car
May 2nd: Late Model Stock Car
May 16th: Late Model Stock Car
May 30th: Late Model Stock Car (Twin Races)
June 6th: Late Model Stock Car
June 20th: Late Model Stock Car (Twin Races)
July 3rd: Late Model Stock Car (Twin Races)
July 18th: Late Model Stock Car
July 25th: Late Model Stock Car
August 8th: Late Model Stock Car (Twin Races)
August 22nd: Late Model Stock Car
September 5th: Late Model Stock Car
September 19th: Late Model Stock Car (Twin Races)
Article courtesy of Race22.com by Andy Marquis