Drag Illustrated Issue 180, January / February 2023 | Page 26


sprawl or is being preyed upon by a developer , it would be helpful to join your racetrack owner and support them in any way possible .
How can you show your support ? There are many ways !
For one , you can write an email to the local elected officials ( usually called commissioners or councilmembers ) who are reviewing the project . In your email , you can simply oppose the application of concern , if that ’ s how you feel , and include how racetracks help prevent illegal street racing from taking place on public roads .
Another way is to find out when the application will be on your town , city , or county ’ s public hearing agenda and attend the meeting . Although it may be different for every governing body ’ s process , most public hearings include a public comment period where constituents can speak on the record about the application .
As residents and as racers , it is vital that you attend these meetings to voice your thoughts , concerns , and support for your local racetrack , as elected officials are directed to take into consideration testimony from all parties before making their final decision . If the local hearing has a public comment period , take whatever allotted time you are given and use it .
However , sometimes it is better to be proactive rather than reactive . Even if there is no looming threat to your racetrack , forming a relationship with your local governing body and elected officials might be beneficial . Attending a council or commission meeting before a large event is a significant way to show elected officials that the local racetrack is actively bringing tourism dollars into the area .
Inviting elected officials to events and allowing
them to speak or be included in photo opportunities are great ways to get them involved and understand more about the unique and prosperous sport of drag racing . I can tell you from experience that opportunities to have their photo taken are something politicians seldom decline – they love it .
As most of us know , one of the main goals for municipalities is to increase tax revenue whenever possible . If you are not already aware , sports commissions are local non-profit organizations designed to market a city as an attractive destination for amateur and professional sports events . Sports commissions can also record annual data and log the number of tourism dollars from sporting events .
A relationship with your local sports commission or a similar government body can also help prove the racetrack ’ s value and worth with data and statistics . By showing elected officials your local racetrack can drive money directly into local hotels , gas stations , grocery stores , and small businesses , they will have a more profound value for that racetrack to remain in operation in the community .
Most racetracks are family owned and operated , and for the racetrack owners who wish for their children to carry forward the legacy of their facility , we need to support them in any way we can . If baseball fields , golf courses , and tennis courts belong in communities for the recreational use of residents , then these racetracks deserve to be in the community and remain unbothered by targeted greed and urban sprawl from outside developers .
Whether you ’ re a racetrack owner , drag racer , or someone like me who just loves the sport , it is important to get involved and protect the sport we all cherish . During my time working in local government , I have experienced what goes on behind the scenes , both leading up to and during public meetings . Elected officials will consider their constituents ’ input — we just have to put forth the effort .
Now more than ever , it seems there is an even larger disconnect and distrust between citizens and the government . Instead of standing on the sidelines and allowing these developers to tear our racetracks and racing communities apart , we all need to step up and defend motorsports . I have always viewed drag racers as some of the most competitive folks in motorsports .
So , if the time ever comes to fight for your racetrack , I truly hope to see drag racers show up to support and fight for your local racetrack . As news continues to break about another racetrack closing , it serves as a reminder that we can never take for granted that these racetracks will remain open and operating forever . Whether or not you choose to fight for your racetrack will set precedence for the next generation and give them the opportunity to see history continue at these cherished motorsports facilities . DI
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