Noise is one of the major issues the United States Motorsports Association (USMA) is challenged with consistently. It might be the biggest threat to the survival of racetracks across our country. How many of you know a local track affected by noise issues? You may even know one that has closed recently to noise complaints.
We need to stop racetracks from closing or being adversely affected due to noise concerns. Or as one track recently called it, "sound" not "noise". There is sound all around us in many forms. But racing comes with a certain perception and stigma. The process of implementing a winning sound strategy begins long before we are notified of any issues. And as track operators, racers, and industry business owners it's our job to be ahead of the game.
First and foremost, if you are a track owner or promoter do not wait for the Township or zoning official to approach you about a noise complaint. I can't stress this enough. All tracks and sanctioning organizations should be building relationships with local and state officials. It's not what we as racers or track owners typically think about or even want to get involved in. But it's crucial that our industry is reaching out and getting to know their local and state officials.
This can start with simply asking for a meeting. Most local officials will make the time to meet. It can be a brief meeting for a coffee, or at their office. Check your town's schedules for township meetings or other public events that you can attend to network and get to know the leaders in your community. Most importantly, invite officials to the track for events on a regular basis.
They all love to get in front of crowds. As much as you should get to know them they want to know your audience. An invite to participate in opening ceremonies, be the Grand Marshall, waive the green flag, be on a pit crew for the night are just a few examples that create a win-win for you and the track. Often media will cover these events giving you an even greater win!
At the USMA we are inviting local officials to the racetrack through our I-2 campaign, which stands for "invite" and "inform". If you need help in setting up an event we can help. Once you have a meeting or have guests coming to your track it's important to be prepared and ensure the benefits of your track are clearly discovered.
Prior to a meeting be prepared by gathering some facts about the many benefits of your track. Let your officials know about the benefits the facility brings to their community. It's doesn't have to be a detailed impact study. You can develop a snapshot of your track on one sheet of paper. You can download a free one-page template from the USMA that can be used to develop your Track Impact Overview.
When it comes to noise don't hide from it. Tell them what you do to address noise issues above and beyond existing zoning requirements. If there is a nearby resident who is upset about track noise invite them to the track and/or offer free tickets and hospitality. Invite them to coffee or lunch and get to know them. It's much hard to complain when someone is met face to face. Be a good neighbor.
For racers, pit crew members, and fans reading this article you too can advocate for your track. You also can contact your local officials as a racing advocate in the community. Let them know about products and services you use in the community that derive from your race team.
Do not underestimate the power of grassroots support for motorsports at the local level. Elected officials respond to grassroots support when it sends a positive message.
Lastly, take a few seconds and become a registered member of the USMA. It's free and by doing so we grow our numbers and can access you if there is specific issue affecting your area.
Everyone can advocate! Our industry needs your participation.
Please feel free to contact me anytime at the email address listed below. We want to hear from you and we are here to help.
To become a USMA member please register at our website: www.unitedstatesmotorsports.com
Director of Public Affairs
United States Motorsports Association
Robert can be reached at Robert@unitedstatesmotorsports.com