When Gord Bennett first took the reigns of Full Throttle Motor Speedway (formerly Varney) in April three years ago, there weren’t a ton of cars in each division, but he kicked things off in May, going with a Friday night schedule in hopes of attracting drivers who were looking to make a doubleheader of the weekend. After seeing car count slowly improve and develop their own following, they switched back to Saturday night’s last year, finding success throughout the year.
“We seen an improvement in the crowd, and in racers,” Bennett said. “Our improvements to the speedway keep coming. I don’t like to spend millions of dollars at once. I like to keep doing it and doing it so that way people come every week and see something new. We redid the bathrooms, food service, the entrance to the speedway – we had 100 acres to work with, and we’re just trying to utilize it all. We also have a big truck show that may introduce people to racing that are not sure of what goes on already.”
This year will see another jam-packed year of action that the track known as the bull-ring, featuring Daytona banking on a quarter-mile.
“The (OSCAAR) Hot Rod Series – their inaugural event will be at our track on the May 24 long weekend on the Sunday,” he said. “It starts in May, every Saturday night, and we went with long weekend Sundays that we have our show plus a special class. We’ve made all our events $13 admission, doesn’t matter what’s racing, so when you come to the gate – it’s the same price no matter what it is. We have nine classes that we will be racing. We’ve brought in some development classes for some younger kids to get new blood in our sport. It’s come a long way. We’ve set time aside for them and when it comes time, we bring our other classes in.
“I brought in the double feature format so all the classes are busy all night. If you come to the track at 7 o’ clock at night to the speedway, you’re getting features. If you’re kids are tired and you need to take a break at intermission, you still have seen a great show and still have a great show to go. We even got people coming in at intermission for the second half of the show. It’s been really good that way. Every class is defined in it’s own special way all through the ranks, and it’s worked for our area.”
One of the track’s most famous divisions is the Crazy train, which features three cars chained together, – “front car has the engine, the middle car has steering and the back car has the brake.” It makes for chaos racing as Bennett says, “They go out and run three-wide. We’re giving good racing and mayhem at the same time so it’s the best of both worlds.”
The track has been working hard at continuing to increase the fan base, including lots of activity by Bennett himself on social media.
“I try to be cutting edge at some of this stuff and try and find new ways to use it,” he said. “The thing is this thing here – we could be just talking to 50 people here. But if its live streamed, then you’re reaching 100s. You don’t want to give away your show like by live streaming everything, but it’s the world so use it properly and it’s a benefit. It’s just knowing what percentage to use it for on social media and also know what to pay attention to and what not to. Like if someone says a negative comment – it can actually be a positive because sometimes you can take something from it. There’s still a lot to do and a lot out there, and I’m all for it. I think it’s part of what we have to do. We’re trying to sell a show – all the tracks, and that’s part of the show.”
He also makes sure all of shows include driver introductions, as well as bringing the drivers up into the crowd to sign autographs some nights. He’s also going to use his own drivers as promoters for the speedway this year, too.
“We’re going to make media packages that we give out that we give out to our racers that are registered at the speedway – it’ll have schedules, and such,” he said. “They’ll go to their local car show, cruise night, any type of function that they’re out with their sponsors, and they give us social media stuff. What we’ll do is give admission to the driver to the speedway, because they’re working for us. So we’ll have media packages and send everybody out. We can’t hit 100 areas so what we’re going to do is utilize the racers that are selling for themselves, and selling for us, and we’ll compensate them with initiatives.”