This post is part two of three based on a letter that was sent via email on December 18, 2001 to a second generation ISMA competitor with deep ties to the division and intimately knowledgeable about the inner workings of ISMA This driver, though no longer racing, is still involved today.
The names have been changed to protect identity, and you will notice that some of it was written in haste as the thoughts poured out, but I don’t think it will detract from the overall idea that the same things we are talking about today were being discussed over a decade ago.
If you missed part one you can read it HERE.
Part two deals more specifically with my thoughts on how to move the show along while also making the drivers more accessible to the fans. It also talks about creating heroes for the younger fan so that those kids will become lifelong followers of the division. I also throw some ideas out there on working to engage and nurture those fans for the sake of demographic study.
Again, I want to make it clear, like I did in part one that the original letter as well as this post, may talk specifically about ISMA as it was written to an ISMA racer, but that shouldn’t be misconstrued to be anything more than constructive criticism You should also understand that some of these ideas have been implemented since 2001 and that all sanctions and supermodified tracks, then and now, could, and can still, be found guilty of not doing enough to promote the division by focusing on customer service.
Let’s talk about driver introductions. First of all it is confusing to the fan when the announcer is announcing the driver and he is already in his car and the fans can’t see him. Sure it speeds up the show. BUT…why not bring the cars out already in their correct starting position?
There have been many times that I have seen the cars haphazardly lined up on the front chute. Wouldn’t it save time to have the cars in the proper starting spot, ready to rock when the driver climbs in? Think of the time it would save lining the cars up once they are pushed off. Then you could take the time to have each driver announced from the front stretch.
The drivers could be by their car and the announcer could roam from front to rear, building excitement. Or they could be lined up in front, (not behind where they are hidden by the cars), of the lineup. Have the flagman with the announcer on the track or if there is no remote mic, let the flagman wave the checkered flag over the drivers head as he is announced. If the announcer is on the track with the drivers, let the drivers say thanks to the fans for coming out. This could be all scripted to some degree but it should be mandatory. There is no reason in these days for a driver not to thank the fans. Let the fans be appreciated.
The announcer could ask something about what the driver is thinking going into the feature, etc…blah blah…ya know? I am sure some comments would be quite exciting! Of course you would have to remind some drivers to be good!
I remember how excited my ex’s daughter was when her name was drawn out of a box at the IRP East vs. West show and she and one other kid got to present Bentley with the winner’s trophy. Bentley Warren instantly became her favorite driver that night and she had never seen a super show before. Why couldn’t ISMA work with the tracks to do this very thing.? Again we could go back to the frisbee thing. one frisbee would have a certificate on it stating that the holder got to be present in victory lane. Then of course you would put an ISMA shirt on the kid and his or her pix would be in all the trades
with the ISMA logo plastered right there!
What about a birthday club or something along those lines? On the person’s birthday they would get a t-shirt from ISMA or their favorite driver. This would encourage fans to fill out questionnaires at the trailer and you could build up your database to get demographics for potential sponsors.
To Be Continued…
End Part 2 of 3
Did this On the Soapbox post make you think about what needs to be done in supermodified racing? Come back next week for part three of this letter and the continuing series of “On the Soapbox: Lost Letters, Languishing Opportunities.” In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please join in the conversation below.