There is no shortage of good news of packed dragstrips based on recent events varying from NHRA national events, to this past weekend’s March Meet, to any number of heads-up outlaw events.
But one recent example of success gone awry is the recent Discovery Channel No Prep event held at the brand new South Carolina Motorplex (SCM), formerly Orangeburg Dragstrip. Kudos are due to SCM for the hard work invested into the track including new guardrails, timing system, refurbished race tower, PA/sound system, and approximately 15 acres of expanded parking.
But even the shiniest of towers does not keep the current state of rampant social media buffs from placing any track on the highest pedestal or blasting the harshest criticisms. Agent 1320 received numerous calls from racers who reported the debacle of hosting the reported 10,000+ spectators who came for this grand opening event.
The first ingredient for failure reported to the Agent was the unprepared entry gate causing long backups on the county roads leading to the track. One specific report spoke about the single entry gate utilizing ONE cell phone to attempt to process charge cards and handle event phone calls at the same time.
South Carolina Motorplex had sold a considerable amount of VIP passes that included reserved parking and seating. That should have been the first indicator to track operators of the need to prepare for success. Many of those holding VIP passes arrived to find no remaining VIP parking, no provided grandstand seating, or were even refused entry to the strip by law enforcement that shut down the gate.
An example of the plethora of negative day-after Facebook reviews to SCM came from Tim Rahl who stated, “We bought five tickets over a month in advance. Drove almost 4 hours and waited in line for an hour to get up and have the police tell us we can't go in because it's full. Now we try and battle to get a refund. Glad you guys let us disappoint our kids.”
The moral of the story is that with the success of these drag racing events comes the two-edged sword of today’s social media. If you read the number of scathing reviews following the Orangeburg event, you can't help but consider who will risk attending the next large-scale race the track will host. That is a black eye for drag racing overall. [03/05/18]
That's how Tucson dragway was for the outlaws event minus the vip parking issues.
Tucson even ran out of food and water.