Feature Article, Motorsports Industry — June 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

RPM Workshops (issue 101)

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101-rpm-workshops

By Steve Heeb

To some promoters, RPM’s annual gathering in Reno,Nev.,  is a good way to wrap up the season. To others, it is more about jump starting preparations for the coming season.

Either way, the workshops put on by Race Promotion Monthly are a great way to exchange ideas and learn from the experiences of other promoters from all over the country.

The many Northwest representatives at the 39th annual workshops Dec. 5-7 included: the Garber and Tarr families; Randy and Jeneane Koch; Nick Behn;Adam Nelson;Steve Beitler; Eddie McKean; Bert Johnson; Seth Sands; Drake Nelson; George Wade; John Skinner; and Joe Doellefeld.

Northwest racing group representatives included Bob Copley, Mike Gibbons, Mike Minegar and  Mike Van Dinter.

The workshops officially opened with a tough but honest report by keynote speaker Ray Evernham. The former NASCAR team owner shared his personal experiences and the challenges of owning a small race track, East Lincoln Speedway in North Carolina.

Having lived and learned from both big-time and small-time racing operations, his perspective was of great interest to the track owners in attendance.

Evernham cited the philosophy of Roger Penske: “It takes the same amount of effort to make a small deal as a big deal.”

Evernham said the classes coming to his track were too expensive and stressed the importance of establishing a set of rules that can be enforced,

He also reminded local promoters the importance of having ‘heroes and villians’ at their track.

The workshops also prompted discussion on the technology and communication options available to, but often not used by promoters to reach motorsports fans.

A common theme was how the pressure of a strained economy is affecting decision making at the race track. There was discussion of the importance of car counts and attendance numbers.

As informative as the actual sessions are, the real benefit of the workshops evolves between sessions and at mealtime when promoters have a chance to meet up and talk to each other in a way that simply cannot happen during the busy race season.

Promoters also have a chance to meet with members of the racing industry like Karen Benedetti with Auburn, Wash.-based Racecals.

As the workshops wrapped up, Darrell Midgely was recognized for the “outstanding continuing operations” at Western Speedway.

Skagit Speedway promoter Steve Beitler was named Promoter of the Year for RPM’s Region Six representing tracks in the Southwest and Western states. It was the second time Beitler had received that recognition.

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