By Dean Reller
It’s common for a race track to have a promotion to get fans to fill the stands. However, it’s not common for Drivers to become the promoters of such an event. That’s exactly what’s happening at Raceway Park in Shakopee. August 4th will be Pack the Stands Night and it’s rapidly becoming the talk of the town. It all started when track announcer Kevin Busse suggested if sometime this year the all-time attendance record of approximately 3200 could be broken. That number dates back to June of 1971. Driver Matt Stanley and members of his family made a few posts on facebook about it and then things began to take off from there.
“Once I saw the posting, I felt like I would get the thing rolling,” said Mark Bronstad, a driver, about how he got involved. Bronstad (#61) and Adam Radiske, another driver, talked about what they could do. Radiske created a flyer for the event, which Raceway Park helped out by printing 1,000 copies and he and Bronstad began distributing them. The use of social media helped make word of the event to grow even more. “I created a facebook event, so it pops up on everybody’s calendars,” said Radiske. “As a racing group a lot of our friends seem to be racing people. So it keeps branching out, getting bigger and better.” At last count there have been over 3000 people invited, nearly the amount needed to break the attendance record. “It’s shared by many people on a daily basis,” said Radiske. “It’s very cool to see the racers and fans just as much involved.”
Beside facebook, Bronstad has made postings on Craig’s List and City Pages hoping to get the word out about the Pack the Stands Night. Despite the noise of the cars and the action on the track, drivers do notice when the stands are packed and making noise of their own on a race night. “It’s huge,” said Bronstad with enthusiasm. “That’s awesome to hear the crowd when you are in the car.” Bronstad has arranged for the band Singers on Barstools to perform following the races. This was by no means an easy task as the band regularly performs at McKracken’s on Sunday nights. Not only did McKracken's allow the band to perform, they rented the Party Deck at the race track for the evening.
The buzz of getting fans to come out isn’t just limited to Pack the Stands on August 4th. “I’m seeing everyone posting on facebook to come to the races, not just for this event, but to any event. That’s nice to see,” said Bronstad. What started out as an idea to break a record, has quickly turned into something that isn’t normally seen in the racing business, racers reaching out to the fans directly. With so many entertainment options for people to choose from, the concept and support of events like Pack the Stands is a lesson for others to learn from.
A Dukes Jump has been added to the regular race program along with a on-track and through the pits bus ride for kids, racing begins at 6pm Sunday night. Get more information at www.goracewaypark.com and listen for complete coverage of this event on Speed Talk on 1360 radio, Saturday morning 10-11am on KRWC radio and www.krwc1360.com
*Top photo by Dean Reller
*Bottom photos from Scott Searcy (Cricket prints)