ASA’S FRIENDSHIP MOTOR SPEEDWAY IS ABOUT TO GET DIRTY
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 11, 2008) – Friendship Motor Speedway, a fixture in the ASA Member Track program since 2003, is making a major change for the upcoming season – they are turning the 0.4-mile facility into a dirt track.
“We are putting red clay on top of the pavement” said Phil Hall, Friendship Motor Speedway (FMS) promoter. Hall, along with his partner Dennis Woods, is now managing the Elkin, N.C., racetrack.
“The response has been pretty overwhelming since we made the announcement that we are going to be a dirt track this season,” Hall said about the interest in the small North Carolina community that surrounds FMS. “We have people stopping by (the racetrack) daily to check out the progress. We expect a great turnout of around 2,000 people on opening night and are hoping to have that level out to around 1,000 (fans) each week. The people in the area are very excited and extremely supportive of the change so far.”
Hall said that the clay would be approximately 48-inches deep at the top, 16-inches in the middle of the track, and 10-inches deep at the bottom. The transformation to a dirt track is nearly complete, just in time for the April 26 opening night.
The regular Saturday night program will feature Fastrak Crates, Super Streets, Four Cylinders and U-Cars. Hall mentioned that there could be some Super Late Model shows added to the schedule, and the track is also looking to add a Sprint Car event during the season.
“We are also looking to bring in the Legends cars. Some of them are talking about how much fun it would be to run on the dirt. And we are still taking a look at how we could fit something like the Ford Focus program into our schedule also,” Hall said about the race calendar which can be found online, along with other information about FMS, at www.FriendshipMotorSpeedway.net.
Though he has never before promoted a race, Hall claims to have no opening night jitters.
“I’ve been involved in racing for about 35 years, and for the last seven or eight I’ve just been thinking and looking at different ways of doing things,” he said. “I’ve never promoted a racetrack a day in my life, but I’ve seen about 10 million races. We are going to have a stiff set of rules for the competitors and be very stiff on our time limit. We have an 11:30 (p.m.) curfew so our program will have to run very quickly so we don’t run into any issues.”
Hall fully realizes that being a novice promoter, and adding the role of race director to his responsibilities, will not be easy. He concedes that some of the teams may try and take advantage of his newness, but he is prepared.
“I know it is not going to be easy,” Hall said about taking on the dual roles. “But I understand racing and have seen both the good and the bad that I can draw experience from. I have a feeling that some of the racers may try and pull the wool over my eyes and try and get something past me. But my plan is to stick with our rules and not back down. Hopefully, that will earn their respect and keep things fair for everyone.”
FMS has been a mainstay in the ASA Member Track program since inception and was among the first racetracks to sign on. Hall said that there was never a thought to discontinue this long-standing relationship and quickly renewed as a Level I partner.
“Once I started talking with Dennis (Huth, president Racing Speed Associated which owns the American Speed Association) I knew in about three minutes that he was our type of people,” Hall said in a typically Southern way. “Racing needs more people like him. He has a ton of experience and is so friendly and willing to share his knowledge. And the ASA insurance package fits like a glove. We are able to get much better coverage and overall the ASA will be better for our drivers. There was never really a moment that we thought about not keeping on with the ASA Member Track program, and that is the honest truth.”
ASA members in good standing are eligible for a $500,000 Excess Medical Benefit as well as a $20,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefit. Coverage for the member begins while traveling to a location promoting an ASA-sanctioned event and continues until arrival home again. The American Speed Association is the only sanctioning body to offer insurance coverage which extends beyond the boundary of the racetrack itself (complete details are available online at www.ASA-Racing.com).
“It’s a big change that Phil and Dennis are making over there at Friendship Motor Speedway,” Huth commented about the move to a dirt facility. “They have a lot of racing experience though, and a good feel for their community, so they have a clear understanding on what will be successful in their market. I am not the least bit concerned that they have no promoting experience. They have both been to countless events and will be able to take that real-life experience and put it to use. And one of the hallmarks of the ASA Member Track program is that our promoters tend to work together to answer questions and help each other out. There are a lot of resources available to Phil and Dennis and, of course, I am more than happy to give them advice and help when needed. I’m just very excited that we can keep Friendship Motor Speedway in the ASA Member Track program. As one of the first racetracks I signed up, it has a very special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to continue that relationship.”
To learn more of the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based ASA Racing Member Track program, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For news and information from all the racetracks and regional tours involved in the ASA, visit www.ASA-Racing.com.
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