Champion attendance is up |

Champion attendance is up

Staff Reports

Champion Motor Speedway recently released first-quarter reports and the results are promising, according to General Manager Jeb Onweiler.

All facets of facility operations have seen increases in revenue. The biggest increase was in grandstand attendance. After one month of operation, the overall attendance increased by 78 percent. What makes this increase most encouraging is that in 2002 the comp pass versus paid ticket ratio was 31 percent comp, 69 percent paid. In 2003, comp pass versus paid ticket ratio was just 8 percent comp, 92 percent paid.

However, as of June 24, the attendance increase has swelled 92 percent.

“Every weekend the crowds get stronger and stronger,” said Onweiler.

Onweiler took over in October of 2002 and has made several wholesale operational changes. Prior to the season opener, the 40-year-old facility received a facelift. Capital improvements were made throughout, including new landscaping and walkways at the main entrance, family and handicap seating in the main grandstands, VIP hospitality village and sponsor deck, five large screen TVs featuring live racing from around the world, an improved PA system, along with MUSCO track lighting and a new coat of paint.

Kids now enjoy the all-new Earnhardt Memorial Park presented by Fun Jumpers. The park features a Kids Klub, bounce houses, Ponderosa Stamp & Engraving bicycle races, EconoBox races and face painting.

The racing surface, a 1/3-mile, high-banked, asphalt oval was repaired, filling all cracks and complete surface regrinding and resealing. The end result is quicker lap times and improved side-by-side racing action.

“This year we made numerous improvements for the racers and fans alike. The track is faster and more competitive. The stands and facilities are much more comfortable and fan-friendly. We get compliments every Saturday night about the changes to the facility and the racing program,” Onweiler said.

“The multi-dimensional media blitz has successfully reached out and touched brand-new fans and reestablished relationships with past fans. Coors and Coors Light are also part of the new official CMS family and have made strong promotional and financial commitments in 2003. The end result has dramatically improved the speedway’s branding awareness and front gate attendance.

“It appears that the new advertising campaign is paying strong dividends. Not just because the attendance is much stronger and gaining every week, but also because we have many new faces and families in the audience. That indicates the diverse promotional direction we took this year is paying off. I’ve concentrated considerable effort and resources at the family oriented demographics in northern Nevada and most importantly Mom. As most folks realize, Mom decides where the family goes Saturday night and most importantly if they ever come back again. We’re working very hard to make sure the entire family unit has a positive experience and that concept seems to be working. Special thanks go to Chris Slabaugh (new Kids Klub director) for making sure our junior race fans have lots of fun activities to enjoy every Saturday night.”

For information, including the complete 2003 events schedule, log onto or call 267-0505.