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Here To Help
By Dan Schechner on June 15, 2020

Here To Help

By all indications, 2020 was going to be a banner year for NCM Motorsports Park. By the end of ’19, the Bowling Green, Kentucky, facility that specializes in track rentals and caters to driving clubs, racing schools, professional teams and more had a full calendar, and had even booked up its trademark Corvette Experience through August, according to General Manager Mitch Wright, who added that projections were “a good 25% better than last year in both gross and net revenues. We were going to look like rock stars.”

Then came COVID-19…and we all know what happened next. A complete shutdown of race tracks nationwide, followed by a patchwork of federal, state, and local requirements for reopening—with and without spectators—that continues to this day. It’s been challenging, to say the least.

Some tracks are managing better than others. Despite almost three months on the shelf, Wright noted a slight silver lining: He applied for, and received, federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, which allowed NCM to keep staff on payroll and, instead of racing, focus on various improvement and upkeep projects (painting, moving a few guardrails, creating a larger runoff area, reconfiguring the office, lobby, and retail space, etc.). Fortunately, they were also able to re-schedule most of their 2020 Corvette Experience reservations for later in the year.

When we spoke in early June, Wright and his team were cautiously optimistic over an upcoming track event. “This weekend will be telling,” he said, “because it’ll be the first [one] we’ve had where we’ll be asking people to practice social distancing and things like that.”

As industry advocates, we stand firmly behind Wright and the 1,200 other track operators across the US in their long overdue return to racing. Let’s wave the green flag already!

We’re not done, though—far from it. Over the last several weeks PRI has launched an aggressive outreach campaign to connect with race track owners and promoters from coast to coast in order to better understand their challenges and determine how we, and our partners, can best serve their needs. The project, which is being spearheaded by our new President Dr. Jamie Meyer, includes legislative efforts from our team in Washington, D.C., resources and updates on our dedicated website (performanceracing.com/corona-updates/), and online panel discussions with information and assistance for the racing community. (For more on Dr. Meyer, see the official announcement of his hire here.)

The first half of 2020 has tested our collective resolve. But better days are not far behind. Race tracks are coming back online, and restrictions (hopefully) will continue to ease.

Late last year, at the PRI Trade Show, we unveiled a new mission statement whose guiding principles are to “build, promote and protect the racing community.” We didn’t know it at the time, but in just a few months’ time we’d be called upon to put those words into action. The first major step in that direction was bringing an experienced, knowledgeable leader into the building. We’ve done that with the addition of Dr. Meyer, who will continue rolling out new initiatives in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Our pledge to you now is that PRI is embracing this opportunity to be a resource to help all members of the industry work through these challenges. Our commitment on this is unwavering. Reach out, tell us what you need. We’re here to help.
      

About the Author
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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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