Pulling Out All the Pit Stops: NASCAR Tracks Get Creative To Attract More Fans

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IAugust 11, 2009

With the economic downturn, NASCAR tracks around the circuit are faced with the challenge of selling tickets and filling seats in their particular venues.  Track owners and promoters are being forced to tap into their inner creativity in order to get folks to spend their precious dollars and scarce vacation time attending their particular race.

Several tracks on the NASCAR circuit have indeed found novel approaches to attracting fans to their particular venues.  One of the most creative is Pocono Raceway, which, this past race weekend, unveiled their newest venture, "The Village at Pocono."

The Village, pictured above, is a gorgeous resort right across from the race track.  Yet, in spite of its close proximity to the racing action, staying at The Village is like being on a most peaceful country estate, complete with wild turkeys roaming right outside each villa's door.

The Village has 56 units available for daily, weekly, and seasonal rentals.  The 6,000 square foot clubhouse has a fireside lounge, theatre room, game room, and exercise room.

There is also an indoor aquatic center, with a spa and heated pool.  For outdoor activities, basketball courts, bocce, and tennis courts are available for all guests.

The Village is available not only for race weekends, but for ski season and summer vacations as well.  For information or room reservations, contact Ashley Igdalsky, Executive Director of The Village at Pocono at (570) 643-8300 or ashley@villageatpocono.com.

Another NASCAR track, Atlanta Motor Speedway is pulling out all the stops for their upcoming Labor Day race weekend.  They are utilizing NASCAR's most popular driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to try to entice race fans to their venue.

Earnhardt Jr., winner of the AMS race in 2004, will attend a reception at Maggiano's Little ItalyBuckhead in Atlanta on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 2:45 to 3:45 pm to promote the fall race.  Fans can have appetizers and good conversation with Dale Jr. at the restaurant. 

The Pep Boys Auto 500 will be held at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sept. 5-6.  For more information about this opportunity to meet fan favorite NASCAR driver, contact matthews@atlantamotorspeedway.com.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway has developed one of the most innovative fan incentive programs to date.  As part of their "FanFirst" initiative, any fan purchasing a ticket for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 20 will be entered to win a trip to Las Vegas for NASCAR's first ever Awards Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4.

This special prize also includes airfare, lodging, $1,000 in spending money, and two tickets to the Sprint Cup Banquet.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to reward one of our loyal ticket buyers in a unique way," said Jerry Gappens, Executive Vice President and General Manager of NHMS.  "In addition to supporting our events here at NHMS, they have a chance to see our sport's champion and top drivers recognized for their achievements on the track."

To purchase tickets for this promotion, fans should contact the NHMS Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or online at www.nhms.com.

Finally, one of NASCAR's home tracks, Lime Rock Park in Connecticut is hosting the NASCAR Camping World Series East on Saturday, Aug. 15.  The stars of the East Series, like Ryan Truex, little brother of Martin Truex, Jr., past champion Matt Kobyluck, and wily veteran Steve Park, winner of the most recent East race, will all be competing in the NASCAR Mohegan Sun 200 at LRP this weekend.

Lime Rock Park is offering special ticket offers to meet all fans' needs.  One option includes a great viewing area, buffet lunch, unlimited beer, soda, and water, private paddock tours, goodie bags, and sign up for the Hot Lap raffle, all for $75.

The second option, for $125, gives fans all of the above, as well as the exclusive opportunity to race on the track with instructors from the Skip Barber Racing Series.  Fans will be right in the cars, ducking, dicing, and passing one another all over the track.

Another novel opportunity at Lime Rock Park is their NASCAR Heritage Car Corral.  Any fan can bring their piece of "Detroit Iron," a car from a manufacturer of a rear-wheel-drive V8 American brand, to the track to display, as well as to take onto the track for Parade Laps on race day.

Advance purchase for any of these unique ticket packages is available by calling 1-800-RACE LRP or online at limerock.com.

Whether large or small, whether hosting just the Cup series or other levels of racing down to the developmental series, NASCAR race tracks must exercise not only financial incentives, but their best creativity to get fans to their race weekend.

And as they compete with one another, it seems only the sky is the limit for these track owners and promoters to maximize attendance at their particular racing venue.

Photo Credit:  Gary Buchanan