Fireball Speedway, Inc.
502 Bay Circle
Indian Harbor Beach, Florida 32937
Phone: (407) 777-9284
Fax: (407) 779-3729
FIREBALL SPEEDWAY AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL IN FEBRUARY, 2000
|FIREBALL SPEEDWAY IS PORTABLE AND THE DRESSER’S SIGNED A CONTRACT WITH NASCAR – VISITING WINSTON CUP AND BUSCH SERIES RACES ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING TALLADEGA, MICHIGAN, BRISTOL, INDY, GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL, DAYTONA, PHOENIX, HOMESTEAD AND ROCKINGHAM. IN 2001 THEY WILL VISIT THE ABOVE PLUS RACES IN LAS VEGAS, DOVER AND N.H.|
|FIREBALL SPEEDWAY SET UP AT TALLADEGA ON THE SUPERSTRETCH||
"AND THEY’RE OFF!" CARS HEAD INTO THE FIRST CORNER WITH THE KYLE PETTY CAR IN THE LEAD ON BLUE
|ONE OF OUR BIGGEST FANS! GUESS WHICH CAR HE DROVE?||
ERIN & MATT DRESSER SMILING AS KYLE PETTY AUTOGRAPHS HIS #44 CAR, RIGHT OFF THE PORTABLE FIREBALL SPEEDWAY RACE TRACK.
Traveler’s Insurance Company uses a red umbrella as their advertising
and promotion gimmick because they want the public to know if the
consumer buy’s Traveler’s Insurance that they are covered – ‘under
Sky divers execute complex aerial maneuvers called ‘relative work’ during 120 mph free fall, but must depend on an inflated canopy above them as they descend that last 1000 feet or so to earth.
We’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the owners of commercial slot car tracks depend on having brick, mortar, tile and roofing over their heads to protect their investment from the elements. Ah…but such is not always the case!
Take the team of Erin and Matt Dresser…proud owners of Fireball Speedway, Inc.
The Dresser’s, you may recall from the TOA convention in 1999, own a very successful body painting business in Florida. That year husband Matt located and purchased an old King track and was seriously contemplating opening one of those "brick ‘n mortar" store front locations. We are not privy to all the details as to why that did not happen, but can now happily report that business just couldn’t be any better. They’re having a lot of fun and making a lot of money…what every track owner strives to accomplish.
Being successful doesn’t always mean a person can escape long hours, occasional difficulties, not to mention obstacles placed in the way as the road is traveled. And travel the road they have! We’re printing the story from Erin Dresser…who in my humble opinion has to be one of the loveliest slot car track owners in the world!
We took the liberty of editing her copy just a tad because both Slotcar Bulletin and Scale Auto Racing News have also been sent this story. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth reading. This is how one couple went portable and profitable in the span of one year.
Anyone getting into business these days needs to find a good "gimmick" to help "sell" products and services to as many consumers as possible. Picking the right "coattails" to ride can often mean the difference between success and Chapter 11.
If you were going to ride a winner, the best set of coattails to hitch onto would be a proven winner – one who was already making zillions of dollars every year. How about riding one that’s also very fast? How about NASCAR?
That’s what Matt and Erin Dresser have latched onto…and achieved a written contract in the process. Yes…they travel with their own very attractive tent, portable slot car track, large sound system and dozens of Parma cars and controllers.
As Erin put on her letterhead, they feature what they call "Corporate Interactive Entertainment".
Erin writes: "Fireball Speedway is the name we chose for our business. Once we signed the contract with NASCAR to set up our portable track for race fans we’ve been to Daytona (three times), Talladega (twice), Bristol (twice), California, Indy Raceway Park, and Gateway International – and it’s only October! Still to come during the remainder of this racing season is another trip to Talladega, Phoenix, Homestead and Rockingham. In 2001 we will be repeating the same schedule of races with the anticipated addition of races in Las Vegas, Dover and New Hampshire.
Our first ‘Big Day’ arrived, and as we drove through the tunnel at Daytona International Speedway we both had to pinch ourselves to realize exactly where we were. This was the same NASCAR race track where legends had been created – drivers we’ve read about and seen on television hundreds of times. This was the place Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Fireball Roberts and Dale Jarrett have raced…and here we were…our first NASCAR Winston Cup Race…arriving with our beautiful, brand-new 66’ Tri-Oval Slot Car Track. The moment had arrived for our new mobile business.
There is so much more to this ‘mobile action-packed entertainment package’ than just a slot car track! To go from race to race, the slot track rides in it’s own 14’ enclosed trailed, pulled by a 27’ motor coach. (We knew going in that staying in hotels and motels would be too costly, not to mention nearly impossible to book! Rooms at NASCAR hotel/motel sites are booked years in advance!)
Our slot track is able to ‘beat the heat’ because it sits under a white 20’ x 30’ carnival tent. Part of the decoration are advertising banners and checkered flags – everywhere! We also use a state-of-the- art computer system which counts laps and allows us to set up races with duration of ten or up to 500 laps. Our sound system plays exciting car sounds and music. (The music is sometimes considered a bit ‘country’ because that’s often the musical preference of NASCAR fans. A visit to our exciting venue and you’ll hear "WipeOut" and selections by Charlie Daniels and the Allman Brothers.)
The pit crew is dressed in matching uniforms and wear microphone headsets to announce the races and for giving instructions.
For night racing we’ve installed 1000 watts of electric lighting so we can keep going after the day’s racing on the big track has finished.
The B-I-G QUESTION??? Having invested our entire life’s savings into this new mobile business…WOULD THEY PLAY??? Daytona was the perfect test and proving grounds. I had spent three solid months, making hundreds of phone calls and mailings, just to secure the opportunity to participate as a small business owner at the Daytona 500.
Once we were able to secure the Daytona 500 it also meant that – if we did well – we would have the opportunity to work with the International Speedway Corporation Group and go to more of their race events around the country.
What we happily discovered…NASCAR fans LOVE the mini racing leading up to the ‘real thing.’ We became the ‘appetizer’ to the main course – Winston Cup Racing, naturally!
What makes it all so much fun has been the development of quite a following from race to race. Now when we return to a venue, many of the same enthusiasts are there – waiting for us to finish the set up and open so they can play! Regularly we hear a guy say to his son or buddy…"I used to race these. They’re slot cars! You’ve got to try it!" And once people race with us for the first time the next comment is almost always something like "Wow! What a blast! They go so FAST!"
Our set up is such that any person of any size or age can play, compete and have fun. Kids as young as two-and-a-half have raced – and WON! We have had winners on all eight lanes – black up to red.
Some of the things that make it more realistic and fun to race at Fireball Speedway:
This is "Happy Racing!" We are working hard. The hours are long and hard. The travel can get tiresome. However there are benefits: Matt and I get to spend a lot of time together. We are meeting a lot of new friends, and we are making money!
Overall this is a lot of fun! Hopefully we are spreading the word about slot car racing and what a blast it is – not to mention that – "Hey folks!…slot racing is still around!"
ED. NOTE: Erin wanted us to be sure to let readers know just how important their sponsors have been to the success of their new business. She says, "We have received extremely valuable sponsorship and support from Mike MacDowell of Parma International, Inc. as well as Ron Hershman of Fast Ones. I can highly recommend the Parma FCR® cars to all track owners. They have been fantastic and held up very well to the ‘challenges’ given them by the various drivers – most of whom have absolutely zero experience until they have driven the FCR® car for the first time here." Erin adds, "The fans really love the competition involved in qualifying because we stage three championship races each day. A championship board displays the winning racers’ names and fastest lap times. Racers and fans alike stop by regularly to see if their time or their buddy’s time is still ‘on the qualifying board!’ And in addition to Parma and Fast Ones, some of our really great championship prizes have been provided by sponsors such as Oakley Sunglasses, Vans Tennis Shoes and USA/Florida. Thanks to all our sponsors!"
In the padded envelope with her story and a few photographs which we’ve used on the cover and inside, Erin also sent us a neat video copy of their advertising. What a great way to promote their business and slot car racing! I loved it! Also recommend that the Dresser’s find a hole in their schedule next summer so they can attend the TOA convention for 2001 and bring their video with them so you can see.
What I liked was the shots taken from the tiny on-board camera on the Orange Lane. This has been done before, but it’s always neat to see what it would look like from the cockpit of a slot car traveling at a scale speed of 1200 miles per hour! (I’ll never forget Tim Ferguson’s adventure at Georgia Hobby back in 1990. He duct-taped a mouse inside a winged 27 and took several laps full punched on a Purple Mile! Would you believe? The mouse survived. Ah the tale it had to tell to its offspring…if it had any after that wild ride!
KEY WORD - "ENTERTAINMENT!"
Watching the video advertisement for Fireball Speedway was a wake-up call! Hey…this is what slot racing should have always centered around…fun for the masses…period! They are doing what we did when we first started playing with these cars forty years ago…just a bunch of kids having a good time, chasing each other with little toy cars.
Think about what good sense this concept offers:
We know not every track owner can pull up stakes, mount their tracks on trailers and hit the road like Matt and Erin, but you'll notice that several times now we've showcased various portable set ups and the value they bring. TOA Newsletter cover stories featuring Lou del Rosario of Elmsford Raceway, Jerry Kulich of JK Raceworld, and even Andy Browne-Searle of Riverside Raceway over in merry old England all demonstrate that mobile slot car pay-to-play is a proven business formula.
TOA President Joyce Buttner is mobile at T*R*A*C*K*S Hobbies. A portable track is Item #1 in Neil Planick's future plans for Neil's Wheels. Bob Scott of Cruisin' will be the featured cover story next month. There's a definite lesson to be learned from the way these folks are operating their businesses. Makes a body want to scratch their head and go "Hmmmm." Think about it, right Lou?
Anyway…our sincere thanks to Erin and Matt Dresser of Pro Design Race Bodies and FIREBALL Speedway Corporation.