---- — As he was walking down the steps from the scoring tower/press box following Saturday night's action at Selinsgrove Speedway, promoter Charlie Paige -- who returned to his former job as head flagman for a night -- looked at me and asked, "Would you like to be a promoter?"
And then he smiled and walked away.
It was the first time in my motorsports career that someone posed the question to me.
I realize Charlie was asking it tongue-in-cheek as being a promoter is not the easiest job to do. But it got me thinking: What would I do if I was a track promoter?
Here's are some of the ideas I would implement to build a solid foundation while striving to become a successful promoter:
n Meet and greet the fans as they entered the facility on race night to take the pulse of the overall racing atmosphere.
n Through the Chamber of Commerce, work with local business so that a mutually beneficial marketing campaign could be launched.
n Have an autograph session every week with drivers prior to the races and pay the drivers' pit pass for the night.
n With the unique situation of having an amusement park such as Knoebels nearby, it would be a great photo opportunity to have some of the drivers learn to be an engineer and take race fans for a ride on the train? I can envision a Phil Walter-type personality having the time of his life while helping to generate publicity for the track.
n A night at a minor league baseball park is another thing I would look into for cross-promotion of the track, including having a driver throw out the first pitch.
n Join the local civic groups and work with them on special nights at the track while passing out a few free tickets at their functions every now and then.
n My pastor, Fr. Dan Powell of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Selinsgrove, is a big NASCAR fan. Why not have a "faith night" and invite all denominations down for an evening.
n I would get in touch with the public TV stations in the area and arrange to have drivers volunteer to man the phones during a pledge drive. That's free publicity, something you can't pass up.
In this day and age, with so many entertainment options available, it is a struggle to get folks out to the track to see a great cost-effective brand of family entertainment.
So to answer your question, Charlie: Yes, I would welcome the challenge of being a promoter one day. You are more than welcome to use any of my ideas if you would like.
In the meantime, I'll keep on promoting your track through my travels and newspaper stories. After all, free publicity is the best kind, especially when it's for something you love.
n Shawn Wood covers motorsports for The Daily Item. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.