Allmedinger Fan Club Meet Sees Michigan International Speedway Speedway Take Lead with New Fan Area Brooklyn, MI 26 August, 2010- While the current economic climate has created challenges for many, it has also helped to create ...
Allmedinger Fan Club Meet Sees Michigan International Speedway Speedway Take Lead with New Fan Area
Brooklyn, MI 26 August, 2010- While the current economic climate has created challenges for many, it has also helped to create new opportunities.
A recent example was the partnership between Michigan International Speedway and Walldinger Racing, NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger's management company, as the two joined together to convert an unused space at the track into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for race fans during the recent NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series event weekend.
When Michigan International Speedway track staff found out that NASCAR officials would not be using the area traditionally reserved for timing and scoring, the question of what to do with the now-vacant space was one that didn't take long to answer. The space, which sits directly above the start/finish line, has long been used for NASCAR officials to keep track of every lap of every session from high above the 2.0 mile circuit just outside of Brooklyn, Michigan.
But with NASCAR timing and scoring moving into a different section of the track, the space was slated not to be used during the recent Carfax 250 and 400 race weekend. Which got Michigan Speedway's Vice President, Consumer Sales & Marketing Dennis Bickmeier thinking. Instead of letting that space go unused, Bickmeier had an idea--why not make this area, which gives visitors a near blimp eye view of the race track, a special destination for select race fans?
Teaming with Walldinger Racing, MIS established a creative way to give fans a truly unique race experience, utilize a space in a new way, and create an affiliation with the track and the driver that will not be soon forgotten.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series Carfax 250 event saw the "Timing Tower Suite" host its inaugural event with AJ Allmendinger Fan Club members as well as members of the MIS "Champions Club." Additionally, MIS made the opportunity available to members of the MIS ticket buying family-those who had declared AJ as their driver.
The event was no fly-by meet and greet, as the affable racer was on hand and hamming it up, for the entire Carfax 250 Nationwide Series race. Not shy by any measure, AJ bounced between taking questions from the fans and offering play by play as the group enjoyed the impressive view from high atop the stands.
"This view is one that you previously wouldn't have been able to get unless you literally worked for NASCAR," said Bickmeier, who also oversaw the recent debut of the track's state-of-the art media center. "We had been talking with (Allmendinger's management company) Walldinger Racing about different options for a fan club event, and when this space became available, it was a perfect fit for the kind of outing that we were planning with them. So we're very excited about this launch and we were really pleased with how much the fans enjoyed the afternoon."
With the area providing a breathtaking view and room for at least 60 guests, the fit was an ideal one for Walldinger Racing.
"We were working with a number of tracks on creating a special experience for AJ's Fan Club members," said Walldinger Racing VP Tara Ragan. "Dennis, Roger (Curtis, MIS President), and the entire staff at MIS have been so great to work with. They really understand how the motorsports marketplace has changed and are open to finding innovative and effective ways to utilize the resources at hand, but also really focus on delivering the most we can for our race fans."
The Allmendinger Fan Club gathering is one of several initiatives that Walldinger Racing has undertaken to develop the young Richard Petty Motorsports driver's relationship with fans as the easygoing Californian loves doing things in new and different ways.`
"Anyone who has met him can tell you that AJ isn't like all the other drivers, and we wanted to have an experience for our supporters that reflected that. When Dennis came up with this idea, we jumped on it immediately because there is just nothing else like it, anywhere. You can see everything. It was something very special for our fan club members, who have been with us from the start."
With some fans driving over 1000 miles to be a part of the event, the initial launch for the Timing Tower Suite was very well received by the fans.
"An amazing memory...there are truly not words to describe this experience!" said Kristy South of Lyon, Michigan. "Just to view the race from a place that most race fans will never get to see, and having AJ spending over 2 hours of non-stop Q & A was incredible! No other Cup driver would ever do that! I'm a Ford fan, and now a forever-fan of AJ's!"
"For our first NASCAR event, this was INCREDIBLE!" Carol & Gary, Bonfield, Ontario, Canada. "AJ was informative, funny, and awesome! We love the Insignia car and AJ is our new favorite driver!"
"It was a great experience!" Amanda John, Houston, Texas. "It was such an awesome view and we got to spend the ENTIRE race with our favorite driver! We would do this again in a heartbeat! We drove over 1000 miles to take advantage of this deal!!"
The strong launch has MIS and Walldinger Racing already planning on what might be possible in 2011...
-source: walldinger racing