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‘If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it’

Rhonda costa-landers

There’s one sure thing Dan White has learned being around racetracks – if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

White, 56, comes to Carson City from Yucaipa, Calif., as the new general manager for Champion Motor Speedway. Former manager Jeb Onweiler returned to Hawaii in October to pursue business prospects in the racing community there.

Born and raised in Southern California, White most recently was general manager and promoter for Orange Show Speedway at the San Bernardino Fairgrounds in California from 1999-2002.

“I’ve been a driver, owner, manager – you name it I’ve done it,” White said. “I’ve been there, done that.” He also managed a NASCAR Southwest Tour team, Pink Panther Racing, from 1995-98, and worked for 18 years in marketing for Coors.

“I did a lot of administrative work for the team including sponsorship. It gave me an opportunity to be at a lot of tracks and see their operations. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work. But you need to be consistent.”

White is a hands-on man when it comes to organizing programs. And he’s learned a lot from NASCAR inspection technicians.

“I’ve seen things I liked and didn’t like.”

At Champion Motor Speedway, White says he has a good feel for what has worked, what will continue to work and what may not work.

“Everything here seemed to fit. This is no different than other short tracks,” he said. “It has mostly entry-level positions. Drivers who are new and want to go somewhere, others who are here to have fun. Then you have the older guys, the veterans. They’re having fun with an adrenaline rush.

“But we want all the guys to play nicely. If you go big-time (racing), you have to learn that.”

White said he likes the drivers to race hard, park next to each other, and to grow and share knowledge.

“I like the veterans to share their knowledge and leadership. That’s what these tracks are about.”

This year’s program calls for return of the Legends, super late models, limited late models, western modifieds, Bandoleros, hornets, and with a push to rebuild the street stock division.

“Hornets and street stocks are a priority,” White said. “We want to make and keep them affordable. We’re also going to change the name of the western modifieds to Grand American Modifieds, to keep them consistent with other tracks.”

He has been busy talking with sponsors of the racetrack, signing returning sponsor Les Schwab. He has also booked CarQuest for sponsorship including a contingency plan for all divisions.

White did mention he has hired no employees yet for the season, but is talking with former employees to fill positions.

“I have people in mind, but have no commitments at this time. All positions are open. I encourage anyone who might be interested or have the experience to apply and interview. Experienced or not, it’s a matter of being on the same page. I would like to see who’s out there and what they have to offer.”

White said there will be a director of competition and race event director in addition to technical inspector. One will be responsible for events and calls on the track, the other for activities and decisions in the pits.

The Kids Klub will continue along with the popular bicycle races. A new addition will be track mascot, “Speedy Bug.” The position of Speedy Bug is also open. White encourages area high school mascots to apply for the position.

“For the fans, there will be no major changes,” White said. “We’re in the entertainment business. We look for getting them the most value and making the track as fan-friendly as it should be. Mostly by providing good, consistent hometown racing on a Saturday night, with a few traveling series.”

Champion Motor Speedway’s season opens April 17 with the ARCA and ARTS truck series. A motocross show will be held April 23-24, and the regular racing season begins May 1 featuring the super late models.

“My experience at OSS is my strong point,” White said. “I’ve announced, sold novelties, concessions and sponsorships – I’ve done it all. But it’s really a teamwork thing.”

White’s wife of 11 years, Constance, and step daughter Brittney, 17, will move to Carson City after Brittney graduates high school.

For information, visit championmotorspeedway.com or call 267-0505.

Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.