Last year, Clinton Geoffrey found himself in charge of promoting one of the most popular dirt tracks in Ontario – Ohsweken Speedway. Fortunately, the first year worked out well as the 2016 season turned out great for everybody involved.
“Fortunately, Ohsweken has been running really well. It’s just about riding the wave right now as car counts are up, crowds are great.” he said. “We’re fortunate to be on a high right now. We tackled a few new things – new concession, new bathrooms. We went on to have Kasey Kahne there in July, and naturally having the big names there makes for a big show. The World of Outlaws were also the biggest event that we’ve had in the history. I think it was a great year.”
After admittedly taking a “cautious approach” to the schedule last year, Geoffrey is branching out slightly by bringing back the Triple Crown Showdown – Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds, Go Nuclear! Late Models, 360 Sprints – all in one night.
“We talked about it that there needs to be a big event that challenges drivers and it’s one of those events I missed,” he said. “So we’re putting the three top divisions on dirt one night – no fillers, nothing else – and have partnered with Stoneridge Specialty Insurance and created a $25,000 bonus if one driver can win all three. So it’ll be interesting to see drivers try and borrow rides in the other two to see if they can do it. We’re excited about that.”
The rest of the schedule also includes a lot of exciting events, including the World of Outlaw Sprint Cars once again.
“There’s also going to be some NASCAR stars; we’ve talked to four guys – Rico Abreu, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Stewart Friesen – all of those guys are in talks about coming over,” he said. “We’re about 80% on those guys; we have to wait and see till they get their testing schedules.”
There’s also a possibility of having Tony Stewart in the field as while they haven’t received any official word, Geoffrey said that Stewart “has indicated that he will be returning to Canada to run outlaw sprints, and we’re the only track that has them.”
Beyond putting an exciting schedule together, Geoffrey is also set on working to improve the track’s usage of social media, as promised at their series banquet. He said he noticed the benefits when they did a an apparel sale on Facebook Love for 40 minutes, and in turn made about $45 for each minute they were on.
“It’s the new TV,” he said. “Everybody has it in their hand, the kids aren’t going to put it down, we need to find ways to reach our people there. There was a post on facebook and one of our street stock guys said the kids don’t want to come out to the track because they have the world in their hands. So we have to find a way to get a discussion going and in 20 minutes, we had 50 messages about how we can make social media for us. I think all of us need to find ways to make it work for us instead of against us. I think we’re going to encourage people to do the live stream that we all hated three years ago. We’re also going to find ways to create contests – best picture that night gets pictures for the next week. You need to embrace that because if you shutter it, the fans are going to go away. Social media is the future.”
He’s also going to continue working at getting new fans out to the track, virtue of the program that they have with the schools in the area.
“We went out to schools in the area in about a 45 mile radius of us. We give them tickets that they sell for $10, but we only take $5 so they make $5 every ticket,” he said. “We have schools that sold over a 1000 tickets. That school now has $5000 directly back that they’re giving them while we’re building new clientele, new kids, and I know if my nine and 10 year old say they’re going to the races, I got no say as we’re going to the races. So I think that’s a big thing that we’re doing in giving back to the community and finding new fans every week, and the schools are getting a good payback.
“We’re also taking the top seller from every school, bringing their family to the track and giving them a full tour. So we’re trying to attract them to the school. We sold around 7000 tickets last year through the schools. That’s a big thing that helped us. I think you’ll see more tracks developing school programs because if we go in to the schools, we’re building fans.”