Social media can be a very positive aspect for local dirt tracks to promote, advertise, and stay connected with fans. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow for tracks and their promoters to get the word out about their events and reach a broader audience, which without the internet, might not be possible. However, it has its drawbacks. When tracks have their own Facebook pages where others can comment on and rate their performance, it opens up doors for negativity and heat-of-the-moment comments from angry drivers, crew, and fans alike.
I personally believe that social media and the use of it is a very important aspect of running a business, such as a local dirt track. It no doubt brings in more fans and creates more hype around a track’s upcoming show. It also is a resourceful tool on race night. For example, Linda’s Speedway in Jonestown, PA posts their running order and lineups on Facebook and Twitter as the night goes on. As a driver, I find this extremely helpful and convenient because it erases the need to make countless trips to where the lineup is posted. Instead you can just save the photo to your phone for easy access throughout the night. Plenty of other tracks use their social media in positive ways similar to this, however the cons of social media might just outweigh the pros in some cases.
Social media gives anyone and everyone a platform to speak freely about anything they would like. For dirt tracks, this means a place for unhappy drivers, crew, and spectators to speak out. I find this to be one of the biggest problems with social media usage in dirt track racing, and sports in general. The ease of access and simplicity of posting your thoughts to sites, such as Facebook, pose the perfect platform for a good rant. Drivers and race teams may use social media to keep their fans in the loop with how their season or night at the track is going, which also means those same drivers are more than likely to share their thoughts and anger on those sites when luck is not on their side. Admit it, we all do it or have done it in the past. I can honestly say there have been times where I have expressed my anger on social media after a wreck or an unfavorable accident that ended my night. This, however, is not the right thing to do in respect to other drivers or tracks and is something everyone should work to improve on.
Speaking badly about another driver or track on your social media page is not going to get you anything but trouble. This also goes for the angry spectators or fans that may express their opinions on a track’s page. Instead of tearing a track down for what flaws it may have, why not praise it for its accomplishments? If a spectator has a problem with how a show is ran or something that went on at the track, the right and more adult thing to do would be to speak directly to the track owner or promoter. All that will be done by bashing them online is harming their reputation and race turn-outs for the future. Our local dirt tracks in Pennsylvania, such as Linda’s Speedway, Action Track USA, Shellhammers, and Lanco, operate for not only the drivers, but for the fans as well. Without the fans and spectators that come to watch each and every week, the tracks have no reason to exist. This is why using social media to comment on their shows in a negative way is in no way helpful or respectful.
If you are truly a fan and lover of dirt track racing, like myself and many of you reading this, all you want to do is see a track prosper and grow to be better and more successful each race. That goes for drivers as well. All drivers have run-ins with their fellow competitors; that’s the natural nature of racing. However, no driver wants to see a fellow competitor fail or get hurt. As much as there might be rivals within racing, we are all a community, or family if you will. So instead of tearing down a track or driver on social media and creating chaos right after you jump out of the car or leave the grandstands for the night, take a second to breathe and cool down before you start typing.
By : Alyssa Riker | 600+270 Micro Sprint Driver
Photo : Action Track USA – Facebook Page
Edited By : BJ Antonio – CEO/Co-Founder of SmallCarWeekly.com
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