Members & Friends,
First off, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We hope that your 2018 holiday season is treating you well.
Did you enjoy being a short track race fan in 2018 and are you looking forward to 2019?
Those are the two questions that Tom Heacox #080 and myself took some time to answer about United Race Fans of Wisconsin this off-season.
Did we enjoy 'URFWI' in 2018 and do we want to make it even better in 2019?
After reaching out to different folks and building a few new partnerships this off-season the answer was YES!
Clean up our member list.
Going forward we ask that every member "check in" once per season if you would like to retain your member number.
You can check in here: https://www.unitedracefansofwisconsin.com/check-in.html
Having a free membership policy is a great blessing and in order to understand the full strength of United Race Fans of Wisconsin we need to understand who is genuinely still interested in our group. We have many opportunities in front of us to use our strength in numbers to help make a difference in short track racing in Wisconsin and if you can not fill out our simple form once per year we would love to keep you as a unnumbered member only. Deadline will be 12/31/XX each year. Don't worry! You are all good going into 2019!
Weekly you will see on all our social media platforms a post asking who will be "checking in" #atthetrack this weekend.
Post your #atthetrack photos on our Facebook community page or tweet them to @URFWI. Show the world how great it is to be a race fan!
If you are reading this letter but haven't made your first "Check In" what are you waiting for? It's 100% free and the stronger our numbers re the more likely we can make a difference in 2019 and beyond!
Obtain 1 additional major contributor.
Tom Heacox #080 and myself are fully dedicated to the success of 'URFWI' going into 2019. Having said that, our time and more so our talents are limited. If you would like to take a small or large role in supporting racing in Wisconsin please reach out.
No really!! Please do.
We are very open to any ideas you may have. If you are a writer, photographer, graphic or web designer, reporter, mechanic, driver, cook, teacher, carpenter, or whatever your talents may be I know together we can make short track racing in Wisconsin great again! Hahaha! Actually, it's already great we just need to remind/show people of that fact and we are looking for someone to help us with that!
Use what we already have in place that IS working and cut out the extras.
We have cleaned up the website. Items of note:
Super Late Model Driver Rankings turned out to be a HUGE hit. We are continuing those in 2019 thanks to support from our newest partner J&L Collectibles who will be using 5% of all sales through the end of race season 2019 to support our areas SLM drivers and these rankings. Go grab a new dicast and tell #042 that we sent ya. If you do not have facebook you can email Jamie here. Also be on the lookout as we present the top 5 from 2018 their trophies this winter/spring. 2019 will also feature version 3.0 of our rankings. We feel we are closer than ever in determining the best SLM driver in the state. https://www.unitedracefansofwisconsin.com/slm-driver-rankings.html
The success of our SLM driver rankings and a new partner in Gasroots Project as title sponsor have inspired our new driver rankings list for 2019.
4 cylinders. The dirt will meet the asphalt in 2019!
Focused on our mission statement we have added short track "yellow pages" to the website to help you support businesses and people that support short track racing.
Add your name/business by filling out the form here:
Premium "checkered flag" listings with logo is free for members.
We have eliminated the race fan calendar and connect pages.
Blogs will remain on the website but currently we do not have anyone that is blogging for us.
We have also decided to discontinue the well played Short Track Fantasy Contest. Lack of financial support, the clogging up of our social media platforms and taking away from the overall message of our group, and being a huge investment of time and energy all played a roll in this decision.
However, those interested in a pay to play format please reach out as that would be a possible for select events in 2019 if the interest is there.
Paid meetups will also take the 2019 season off. With our increasing numbers as a group we for see the meetup as a huge potential success for 'URFWI' as the members who participated in them in 2018 saw the benefits from them and had a great time. Please continue to reach out to your fellow 'URFWI' members when #atthetrack". Our informal meetups have been great and continue to grow!!!
In summery, our goals based on the above and the new partnerships we continue to build should allow us to focus in on the mission and make 2019 our greatest season yet!
We hope to see many of you #atthetrack this season and maybe a couple willing to take a larger role to support our mission as well.
A lot of us make claims we may not able to justify. Of the 250,000 that were at the Ice Bowl and the 25,000 that were at Capitol Speedway to see Mark Martin’s big wreck, my claim to fame is seeing the Slinger Nationals for the 30th year in a row. Like many in life who make these claims I do not have the proof outside of a few fuzzy memories from my youth and a few more in adulthood. I can tell you my first memory of Slinger Speedway that I can recall is arriving late into the day and being forced to sit very low in the turn 1 grandstand because our normal seats were taken. I assume that must have been the Nationals. The rest remain quite blurred until I am standing at an autograph line with Alan Kulwicki, Ernie Irvan, Ken Schader, and a few of other my local heros. During the years where the Nationals were a 2 or 3 race series I have no doubt that I may have missed 1 or 2. There may have been a oops during my hope to forget teenage years as well, but even during those forgettable times I always made it to at least a show or 2 each season and the Nationals were first in line.
Why the Nationals?
Slinger Speedway is my 2nd home. Growing up my pre-teen Sunday nights were spent in Section B. It is my local watering hole where I get to sit at the same bar stool every night, forget about life, and live in that moment for just a few hours. The Nationals are our New Years Eve or 4th of July party. We get to enjoy the company of friends new and old in the stands and on the track. Past stories are told and new ones created. The best part? When I return home to my chair in the darkened living room at 1am and reflect for a few minutes or hours on the memories just made and the memories from our past. As they are extracted one last time before the eyes get too heavy and it’s time to return to the rest of life I find peace in that I was exactly where I needed to be to take on the rest of life for the next 365 days.
The Slinger Nationals is the perfect storm of talent, history, luck, speed, and consistency all rolled into one amazing event. The best of the best have tried and failed. Speed is the key but you have to run consistent with a little luck. A quick look at the history shows us it is that the talented will always rise to the top. The best car doesn’t always win. You need all 5. And with that each year the stories play out. The drama is second to none. The Slinger Nationals like no other event is the race of all races run.
We’ll see you #atthetrack!
Just short of the halfway point in race season 2018 I wanted to discuss or maybe inform you on what the heck we are doing here. This offseason an owner of a well known track in in southern Wisconsin approached Tom Heacox #080 an myself to talk about our group and throw some support our way. His and our combined visions came up with the paid meetup as a way to bring more fans to specific events, show them a good time, and raise some funds for the group in the process to put back into short track racing in one form or another. The hope being that if we create a fun event, members will bring friends and family with them and start to turn the casual fan back into a die hard and the curious into casual fans again. Live our mission statement in real time vs online.
Let me backtrack a little bit….
United Race Fans of Wisconsin is and always will be a “non-profit”. Officially we have wavered on how to best accomplish this in the legal sense of the matter. For now, we are asking for a little bit of your trust until we find the financial means and volunteers to make this possible in the legal sense. I have spent the last 5 years on this idea called United Race Fans of Wisconsin with one thought in mind. I love short track racing and I want to do whatever I can to ensure until the day I move on into my next life that I did everything I possibly could as a FAN, no more no less, to keep it going. I have no financial stake in this. I have lost more money to this idea than I will ever recoup in financial terms. I invested what I could to get it off the ground and going forward it is the responsibility of the group as a whole to decide its worth their investment of not only time but money as well. I have done what I can to ensure the value of what our members are receiving with their purchases and donations are more than what they put into every step of the way. Through NASCAR Fantasy or t-shirts or meetups we have tried to find ways to have some funds to support other aspects of ‘URFWI’ like continuing our free Super Late Model Fantasy Contest which awards prizes which we purchase, trophies for the top 5 super late model drivers in Wisconsin each season, donating lap money at events like the Slinger Nationals and the Bev Aschenbrenner Memorial race along with others. We hope to do more of this and our meetups are a key function in raising the funds to do this.
Long term goals....
Our long term goals are to continue building a strong meetup program connecting the fan to other fans, drivers, and tracks, continue with our current asphalt based programs, and building a larger base of dirt track members and followers. If we have success in those we for see us having a ‘URFWI’ member track program where you could buy a membership that would include discounts to all ‘URFWI’ member tracks as well as other perks and benefits and possibly a season ending member banquet or social that we can utilize as a way to connect our fans and their favorite drivers and race teams. We are always looking for help and open to new ideas to grow the group so please reach out. As always, we will continue our free membership to 'URFWI'.
I realize now that some of you may be cautious in supporting the group financially in any way as you may not realize our “self declared” non-profit intentions. Where’s the money going? With transparency, I feel, comes a better likelihood of participation of our groups activities. As stated before I will never make a dime off of this and everything I have stuck into ‘URFWI’ to date I consider it a loss. A loss on my personal finances but huge gain for my hobby and that is being a race fan. With that I feel it necessary for transparency to let everyone know where the group stands financially. We had $40 rolled over into 2018 from donations and other sales of products in 2017. Through our SLM trophy sponsorship dollars (thank you Cowbell Street Stock Tour, Rudser Racing, and a “Wisconsin race fan” for donating), NASCAR expert fantasy league, and race fan meetup #1 at Madison International Speedway, we have raised $720.75 so far in 2018. Expenses are Facebook advertising and social media contest items purchased, SLM driver rankings trophies, NASCAR expert league payout, SLM fantasy prizes, shipping of various items, sponsoring a lap at the Bev Aschenbrenner Memorial race, and t-shirts. That leaves us with a $110.75 balance to the good going into Saturday’s meetup at Beaver Dam Raceway. Not a huge amount by any sense of the imagination but better than what has happened in the past where I would just eat the loss each year. But we want to do more. We want to sponsor more laps or maybe even our members/drivers each season, and reach those long term goals. I hope now that there is some more transparency that anything you may have been cautious of in the past has been somewhat removed.
Going forward I will provided line item details for any member that requests our financial sheets. Tom Heacox #080 is the acting Treasurer for the group and we still tag team a lot of it, but feel free to reach out to him with any questions as well.
Lastly I will just say this, we have a decent online presence but we need more support from everyone there if we are going to take this group to the next level. I dream of this group having an impact in real time vs online and it starts with the online connection. This group is not mine or Tom’s or #002 or #174’s this group belongs to the almost 200 members and the success of ‘URFWI’ will be reflective of what all of us put into it.
We’ll see you #atthetrack!
Rich Zimpel has been attending local race tracks for the past 30 years.