Last night was the THE biggest night of my motorsports promoter life. A night that 5 years ago I never even imagined would be a part of something I’d be doing. You see, my background before all this, was corporate marketing and not fun corporate marketing…. finance and healthcare. At some point, I decided I hated corporate structure and well, now, here I am. 3+ years ago I couldn’t tell you the difference between a DOT truck, a mega truck, a bog truck, etc… I KNEW NOTHING. But I was given a task, and let me tell you… I like a challenge.
In the beginning, I was lost. It was a huge learning experience. I can’t tell you how many people I stalked on facebook, called and bugged for the first year. I didn’t understand anything and I needed too. You people know who you are and I will be forever thankful. I met drivers, I met families, I met fans… everyone accepted me as an “outsider” and that was pretty damn cool. It was a good feeling. So … I pushed myself a little harder.
There was the partnership with Average Joes Entertainment, meeting Jeremy, Tripp, Joey… everyone. It was all a lot. But I was learning more and more every single day. As an outsider looking in, I was truly amazed by the sport. I was becoming a super fan. I never understood why something this awesome, was not more widely known. I knew something was there, there was something to this sport and we just had to figure out how to take it to the next level.
Year 1, there was A LOT of hype surrounding the Mega Truck Series, I felt like we were on top of the world. It was a a hype that I had helped to create. We had some good races, some not great races and we learned a lot. We had the support of everyone. We spent A LOT of money. We were spending and paying out A LOT of money.
Year 2, year 2 is when some people started to give up. We had not achieved that instant star status we thought we might. But we were still working hard. We were still spending A LOT of money to keep this going. We as an organization did things wrong, said things we should not… but we still pushed on. We took the criticism to heart and not to heart, but we were still learning. Year two, we also got MAV TV to come out, that was an accomplishment in itself.
Year 3, we lost a lot of support. I mean A LOT. Which cut us all deep. Our don’t give a F attitude was showing and showing hard. Why would we want to continue to support a sport and spend A LOT of money to keep things going. I was also pregnant and my heart just wasn’t in it. We were all burnt out. We were all drained. There are only so many years of being ridiculed by drivers, fans, other promoters, etc that you take. You put yourself out there for all of this. But at some point, enough is enough.
In February, I had the opportunity to meet with Charlotte Motor Speedway. One of the biggest race venues out there. Home of Nascar.. I was pumped. I wasn’t sure where things would go, but I went in there with the biggest hard sell on the Mega Truck Series that I had ever done. And it worked. They wanted us to be a part of the “Back to School Monster Truck Bash.” You see there are only so many off road parks you can go to until you hit a wall. In order to grow the sport, and get new fans you have to go places where people have never seen you. You have to gain the respect of motorsport officials, you have to deliver on what you promised.
Let’s do it they said… bring 8 trucks. NOT a problem I said. This is a huge opportunity. Sure it’s unpaid, and the trucks will have to travel. But why for the first time ever in front of a sold out show of 15,000 people would they not want to come? Seems like a childhood dream. WRONG. I couldn’t get 8 trucks, I could barely get 6. At this point I had put MY name on the line for my first project ever with Charlotte Motor Speedway and here I was not even living up to my promises. They were fine with 6 trucks, but we didn’t have 6 trucks. Two of those 6 trucks blew motors/had motor issues 2 weeks prior to last nights show, unable to get them fixed. One truck, letting me know he could not make the show Thursday night. THURSDAY. The show was Saturday. Again, my name on the line, the MTS brand on the line and I was freaking out. Panic mode.
We also missed our opportunity for TV interviews Friday morning… I was FREAKING OUT. To stay I unleashed on the guys is an understatement. I went full blow cray cray. Why? Because I’m passionate about what I do and I want nothing more than to see it succeed.
Meanwhile, John Gordon was still on the fence about being a stand in truck. Blown Money was far from race ready, but thankfully, Dustin Rogers allowed him to run Armageddon, day after day, of all but begging John to come, he and his crew drove up Saturday morning.
Saturday… Race day. IT WAS A HOT ONE. Miserable hot. After hours on the track with track officials, Matt Bonnette and the rest of the guys finally settled on a plan, the “path” they would take. It was still a sketchy one, but their hearts were all in. I can’t tell you how many times, I heard.. We’ll do whatever we need to do.
The pit party rolled around and we were stationed by the Monster Truck ride line. I would say thousands of families and kids came by our trucks. hero card after hero card signed. They were signing hats, shirts…These kids loved it. The parents loved it. It was a cool feeling, a really cool feeling. But it was still hot as H*ll.
After the pit party was over we rolled the trucks around to a front stretch for opening ceremonies. The guys parked their trucks and got out.. THIS was the moment I wanted to cry. The kids were leaned over the rails, slapping those drivers hands like they were absolute rockstars. It really got to me, and I think it did some of the drivers too.
We came back, did the National Anthem and introductions. I watched the drivers stand in their trucks, hands over hearts and it was a moment I’ll never forgot. 15,000 people in the stands, watching our guys. This was a big moment for us. I was insanely proud of them and they hadn’t even driven on the track.
Enter the races…. this part, yea. It didn’t go so well. Those jumps sucked for our guys. Michael broke, Ricky nearly went to outer space on his first jump before a wheel fell off and Barry had a bad wreck that scared everyone. Not the way we wanted to steal the show…but… it happened. John and David made it through. After that, the plan was to run them against each other two at the same time. Race officials said NO WAY. They had no idea the power the Mega Trucks had and it was just too dangerous for their set up.
John and David made it safely around a second time with John being the fastest. As I rode with John over to the winners circle I was watching the crowd in the grandstands. Kids yelling for him, fist bumping him the whole way there. Officials telling him what an awesome job he did. It was another warm fuzzy moment. John got on the winners stand and gave a speech like he had rehearsed it 20 times in the mirror and was made for that moment. I was proud.
That’s it… were were done. I wanted to cry, I wanted to cry because trucks were broken, I wanted to cry because the track wasn’t the way we needed it to be, I wanted to cry because I didn’t have any money to give the drivers and I wanted to cry because I was happy. 3+ years, 3+ years and we were here. I saw the potential way back when… and I see the potential in a new light now. I will tell you again… I was ready to give up. Just this week, I had told people I was done.
There are people who have told the drivers that came this weekend they were stupid. They were stupid for spending their own money to come up to North Carolina to tear their sh*t up for nothing. In the beginning, this would have really gotten to me. But not now, the way I look at it is that you were tearing your sh*t up for little or nothing long before MTS came around, we came along and spoiled you with insanely high payouts. If were weren’t paying out… you weren’t coming. These guys didn’t race for “nothing” they raced for the sport, a sport they believe can still go somewhere.
A sport I believe can still go somewhere. So through all the hateful and condescending remarks made about the Mega Truck Series I will continue to push through. I’ll let doors continue to close on me, and I’ll continue to knock the others open. I’ll let the “haters” remarks go in one ear and out the other. Because if you really believe in this sport, you should be spending your time supporting decisions to be a part of something like this event not tearing us down.
The people, crews, families, and drivers that showed up last night reminded me what I have been working toward for 3+ years. Thank You, just doesn’t seem like near enough. They will truly never know what last night meant to me.
Here’s to a new fire that’s been lit. I may never achieve a damn thing with this but NO ONE will ever be able to say I didn’t try.