By Jordan Dodson
Texas Motor Speedway put on an event that was bigger than NASCAR this past weekend, including a “wild asphalt circus,” an election and a full-blown carnival. It was one of the best marketing strategies I have ever seen.
Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, and his team have been known for coming up with crazy ideas to get fans to the race track and last weekend included the best one yet.
The speedway called the race weekend a “wild asphalt circus,” promoting three NASCAR races throughout the weekend putting on a show – or in this case a circus. Free stickers were given away promoting “wild asphalt circus” before hand and the speedway heavily promoted the hash tag #WildAsphaltCircus via Twitter. Fans could submit photos of the sticker to be shared on the website and through social media.
Another great marketing strategy included a NASCAR themed carnival. During the race weekend, there were games and attractions created for guests to participate during pre-race activities. Games and activities included, a helmet toss – referencing Tony Stewart’s helmet toss at Bristol, a dog-faced Jimmie Johnson and more.
Texas Motor Speedway also had everyday carnival attractions including, rides and side shows on the backstretch of the speedway. The carnival was even open during races throughout the weekend and could be seen alive and well during TV broadcasts. Fans could take part in many activities from riding a ferris wheel to watching fire-breathing men. The track thought of everything fans would do at an actual carnival.
In honor of the election this week, the track also promoted voting between the top two Chase drivers, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. People could vote for who they thought would be the Sprint Cup champion in two weeks. Eddie Gossage acted as Uncle Sam, asking fans to vote through social media and other promotions as well. The track added ballot boxes throughout the track and voting took place through the weekend. It was a great way to take advantage of a close championship battle and make the most of the National election taking place the following Tuesday.
Overall, Texas Motor Speedway came up with one of the best overall fan experiences I have seen in my life time. They found a way to involve those watching the races from home to people at the track.
Eddie Gossage and his team created an event that was more than just a race. People could take part in the race weekend in more than one way without necessarily being a race fan.
Everyone across the nation could participate in the #WildAsphaltCircus conversation and take pictures, as the track gave away stickers. It was a great way of getting everybody excited about the race weekend, and include people not physically at the track, in the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
The carnival was a great way to entice families and non-race fans to come out to the track and be part of the atmosphere. The track could also use the carnival to entice people attending for the attractions, to buy race tickets since they were already at the track. The carnival was a great idea to give NASCAR fans another reason to go to the race, but also gave non-race fans an entertaining reason to visit the track.
The vote between Keselowski and Johnson was a great marketing tool to make the most of current world events and make fans feel like they had a voice. The feeling of having a voice in NASCAR is quite meaningful to many fans.
Eddie Gossage and his team had a great marketing plan from beginning to end. It was a great example of how to make a race weekend bigger than the main event of racing, and give non-race fans a fun experience at the track.
Other track promoters should take note of the ideas from Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend and think more outside of the traditional race weekend to attract new fans to their facilities. Making the actual race sound like a bonus, entices non-race fans to make a trip to the track and can lead to selling more tickets.
I am not sure how Texas Motor Speedway will out-do their events this past weekend, but Eddie Gossage and his team have always been the best at what they do. If its possible, there is little doubt, the folks at Texas Motor Speedway not only know how to do it, but how to do it better than ever before.