H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler is at the wheel of an initiative to breathe new life—and money—into myriad auto racing tracks across the country.
Eight tracks in Indiana are set to be beneficiary of Wheeler’s new endeavor.
Wheeler made a name for himself as the president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the premier auto racing venues owned by Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports Inc. Charlotte has been the site of many memorable NASCAR races.
Wheeler has since departed that post, but remains close to auto racing and last month launched Speedway Benefits LLC.
Speedway Benefits, Wheeler explained, is an alliance of tracks to leverage more and bigger advertising and sponsorship deals across those tracks. Speedway Benefits has already signed 300 tracks to be members, and Wheeler thinks he will have close to 1,000 as the initiative matures in 2015.
Wheeler’s son, Trip, a 20-year motorsports sales veteran, is helping lead the initiative. Already, the Wheelers said they have brought on some of the top grass roots tracks in the U.S., including Marshalltown Speedway (Iowa), Maryland International Raceway (Maryland), Lernerville Speedway (Pennsylvania) and Caraway Speedway (North Carolina).
Indiana tracks involved include; Terre Haute Action Track, Thunder Valley Raceway, Daugherty Motor Speedway, Baer Field Speedway, Plymouth Speedway, Tri-State Speedway and Miami County Speedway.
“[The number of tracks that have already joined] proves the idea was sound and greatly needed,” Trip Wheeler said. “We are signing up tracks as fast as our seven-person staff can handle. While we will eventually get to 500 or even 1,000 tracks next year, the attendance our member tracks represent now makes us very appealing to global companies.”
The Wheelers said they’re already gotten positive feedback from a number of potential major sponsors.
“The proposition is simple,” Humpy Wheeler said. “We harness the buying power of member tracks to generate instant positive return for sponsors. Converting at even 1 percent rate can generate millions of dollars in new revenue for partner [tracks].”