Eight Indiana race tracks join alliance led by former NASCAR promoter

January 8, 2014
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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].”

  • Blame
    I blame the Hulman family and the IRL braintrust for this...bawaahaawaahaawaaahaawaahaawaahaawaahaa
  • Awesome idea and obviously long needed. Small tracks have little or no ability to reach out to big sponsors. This should be good for all of racing.
  • Maybe IMS will join
    Seriously, it's gotta bring in more $$$ than Brazil sanction fees did last year. Mark Miles, get on this pronto!!!
  • Solid Business Practice
    This just smart management - no magic. It just seems amazing because we see so little of it. What the sport needs is someone who understands it and is grounded in solid business practice. Does this fix everything? Hell no. But it is a step in the right direction. What is needed is people like Humpy and his team THAT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING and with a plan that come into the office everyday with their sleeves rolled up and willing to work long hours in the spirit of teamwork to pull together and genuinely strive to help one another succeed. The Survivor Island culture of private conversations and plotting against your internal competitors while your loyal customers wait outside wringing their hands assuming you are striving to make things better is shameful. Those loyal customers - a dying breed - want to believe you are working to deliver the product they crave. They want a product that they can renew their emotional investment in. They assume this is what you are doing all the while not knowing that what is really going on is internal infighting by posers.
  • Chief no longer has to sign in
    to get his message out. Good work
  • It's boilerplate, I love it!
    It's the truth! Hay Anthony...can you do an expose' on how the Indy Lights champ who gets the Indycar ride with his million bucks is hoofing it because there aint no more money? What good is it all if it becomes a revolving door every year? All us Tristan Vaultier fans are walking away from the sport because that wanker has no ride this year. Mebbee Indycar and IMS needs to have a 5 or 3 year guaranteed ride for indy lite chumps. Even Tony Kanose got a ride...why? Because he's an ex-CART driver, that's why.
  • Big race fan
    I have been a big fan of open wheel racing for the last 5+ years. Go to several races a year and always have a good time. What is CART?
  • CART
    It was a racing series that existed from 1979 to about 2008. It's drivers all were merged into the IRL and later Indycar as we know it today. It was way more popular than NASCAR at the time. Many of it's owners and drivers dominate the Indy 500 and the series today. Some say several hundred million dollars were spent by the IMS to kill CART, because it was wildly popular and made huge bags of cash, even for the speedway. But, CART was so popular that IMS was jealous of it's success and decided to waste all of the IMS resources to kill it. I like the way it turned out because my series was the benefactor of CART's demise and it cost NASCAR NOTHING. IMS footed the bill for it's own destruction and the sport of open wheel. So, remnants you know today as Indycar are merely CART hanger-ons that dominate the dead-also IRL series which was a flop too.
  • Seeking Any Sign of Intelligence
    How is any of this revisionist history fantasy nonsense even remotely related to Humpy Wheeler's marketing effort. You desperate kids are grasping straws. Please do us all a favor and either grow up or refrain from posting nonsense. That makes it easier for adults to navigate.
  • Question for Mr France
    Thanks Mr France for the background. I am confused. If this CART series that you speak of was more popular than NASCAR and an apparently superior series, why in the world would it ever merge with anyone? Doesn't seem to make much business sense?
  • It's the darndest thing
    Ya see, when Indy created the IRL it split up the fanbase for AOW between the new IRL and CART. NASCAR benefited because there was no squabbling and fans had a place to go. Eventually the IRL and CART ran off so many sponsors and fans that the two entities had no choice but to merge to survive in the end. I tried my best to broker deals between the two series back in the 90's but Tony George was set on doing that oval thing and it just wouldn't work. Now they have nothing from it all. It's just all too bad. A shame.
  • Dose of Reality
    The thing that makes it all so unfortunate is that Tony George had a good idea in forming the IRL as intended; i.e., a complementary new series to cart not intended to directly compete. It would have also enhanced the Indianapolis 500. The problem is cart, their arrogance driven 'leadership' and many of their followers immediately misinterpreted, let their feelings by guided by their egos, and began a jihad to destroy the sport if it did not conform to their narrow philosophy. Their scorched earth continued for little more than a decade, and after they failed for a second time the IMS Corporation was put into a position of having to pick up their charred remains in a glorified asset sale. IMS generously positioned it as a merger for the sake of harmony. The real problem is that no one associated with IMS has ever possessed the requisite leadership skills to guide the sport to new heights. The lack of vision associated with everyone who has ever been in any leadership position in open wheel is stunning. As Robin Miller has often indicated most of those in the paddock are snakes who can't be trusted, and most of the 'leadership' seem mentally impaired to the point of abject stupidity. That is where what few fans remaining should focus their attention. It is not a hopeless case. The NHL tried for ten years to kill itself and it has come roaring back despite leadership that is often suspect. The sport needs out-of-the-box thinking, which is what Humpy Wheeler is attempting with operators who have long been the backbone of the sport.

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