Thunder On The Hill #6
Motorsports has the longest season of any professional sport! At Thunderhill it starts in January and ends in December. We booked Christmas and New Year’s Day last year. At the peak of this season is the month of May. Make no mistake the Indianapolis 500 is still the pinnacle of the sport celebrating 98 years this May as the biggest single day sporting event in the world. In two years the American motorsports culture will celebrate the 100th running of this great 500-mile, 200 lap race. It will be both deserving of international recognition and spectacular. I hope to be there!
The month of May will also feature the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR All-Star event and their World 600, the too-longest race on the NASCAR schedule each year. Eyes will be on Kurt Busch as he attempts to win both events in a single day – the 500 and the 600. Others have tried including Tony Stewart and Robbie Gordon with unspectacular results. I would love to see the Indy 500 go back to Memorial Day and enable the NASCAR media stars to compete in the race under more plausible conditions.
NHRA conducts their biggie, the Summer Nationals from English Town New Jersey, on May 25-26, Sunday and Monday. Ground pounding dragsters is a correct term for the sensory experience this form of racing offers. John Force and company will be nearby at Sonoma Raceway on July 25-27.
Formula One will have their colorful Monaco Grand Prix on “our memorial weekend” as well. This event is a cultural as well as historical experience given that the incredibly fast formula one cars race through the streets of the little principality under the watchful eyes of Royalty.
Between now and the memorial weekend, there will be plenty of good racing in the local area. Silver Dollar Speedway will have Friday night races and one special Saturday night May 3rd sprint car race honoring the memory of young Sacramento driver – Dave Bradway Jr. Orland Speedway is still on the fence as Oregon promoter Mike McCann is not so sure about the economic viability of doing what it takes to make dirt-oval racing work at the rustic Glenn County fairgrounds facility. Marysville Speedway is worth the Saturday night drive to the dirt-oval venue as is Cycle-Land in Oroville where the Red Bluff contingent of little dirt-track racers continues their summer of fun.
At Thunderhill Park, just a few miles west of Willows, the schedule is full. Events worth watching include this weekend’s NASA automobile races. A mixture of real auto racing and street car track laps makes the Saturday and Sunday outing fun and worth the $10.00 admission price charged by NASA. The Shelby Club event on May 3-4 is a must for anyone who has ever owned a Ford or a Mustang. There is a Swap Meet at the track on May 3rd for locals. We want to see if the track can make a monthly swap meet program mutually beneficial for all involved. Call the track to get a space.
Audi’s will fill the Thunderhill paddock on the weekend of May 10th and 11th. Again this is a must for any German car enthusiast and especially Audi fans. Think of the dedicated Audi contacts you can make. An Audi won the 2013 edition of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and was on display at the PRI Show in Indianapolis three days later.
The Sports Car Club of America will return to Thunderhill on May 16-18. This is a real racy race event with formula cars, stock cars, sports sedans and much more. The on-track activity is non-stop with speed, passing, and neat people to meet and greet. Come see this one!
NASA will return on May 24 – 25 as part of the Memorial Weekend extravaganza of motorsports.
The last day of May and the first day of June will see dangerous, high-speed motorcycle racing with the American Federation of Motorcyclists [AFM]. These guys risk life and limb to put on one of the best pure racing programs held at the track. There is a $10 admission collected by the AFM
The new track at Thunderhill is coming together. As the grand opening of the new track looms on the horizon, more and more detail processes are coming to light. We will make a go/no-go decision for the June 21-22 Club use of the extended track on May 30. We may know sooner but this is our decision point.
Finish grading and the curbs are in progress. The paving date is “targeted” for May 12th. Paving is a ten-day window. Flag stations are in their general position. Com-line installation is on our PERT chart and will be ready. More crash wall needs are cropping up. Perimeter fence is also on the agenda.
The Club house started today and will not likely be done by June 21st. Something will be there but not occupant approved.
The bottom line remains that this project was a very big undertaking. That said, Thunderhill Park will be far better off for having done this project. It will cost more than the track-only budget we started with but it will cost far less than “others” have invested in tracks with less value and revenue generating capability. The track will be a great differentiator for Thunderhill and assure its long term viability as a recreational track venue for years to come.
The Verizon tower is UP on the hill overlooking turn one at Thunderhill. It is not turned on just yet. It is expected to be working by June at the latest!
As of April 25th we have 295 dates penciled in on the 3-mile track. We have 44 dates planned for the 2-mile track starting in mid-June and we have 70 dates scheduled on the skid pad. The skid pad has taken off as a result of word-of-mouth sharing of positive experiences.
Other tracks are struggling with weak mid-week rentals. Some others are making special offers to increase their track business.
We seem to be on top of the curve in all categories except for professional race revenue.
Our social networking is off the charts. A posting made yesterday obtained 35,000 reaches. We have 10% of the “likes” that Laguna Seca has [7.5k to 75k] but we have a far more interactions which is a more meaningful statistic.
The team here continues to work to get the new track up and running and to make sure that we provide a good experience for those wonderful people that rent our track[s], skid pad and other services. Our commitment is to our customers and the proof of that pledge is in the pudding. That is to say, we would not be ahead of the curve when it comes to overall rental days, weekday rental days and service income if the people we served were not happy. Proof. Period. Even with our current and past success we never stop making Thunderhill Park better for you. A series of You Tube Videos are in the design stage that will reach out to a great many new people that we think will come populate our customer’s rental days be they two wheels or four. We have some creative plans on paper to help our existing customers grow and experience better bottom lines by having more events with us. The ideas flow with the one objective being to make sure that you, all of you who are interested in what we do, have a first class place to play, race, meet and enjoy motorsports for decades to come. I call the new-track adventure, “ Thunderhill Park – the next 20 Years”.
I hope you are pleased with what you see moving forward! If you are not, or have some wild and crazy ideas about any of this call me on 530-934-5588 ext. 101. I look forward to your contribution in making Thunderhill Park better every day and every year for as long as people want there to be a Thunderhill Park.