By BILL FOLEY
Short Track Super Series creator Brett Deyo knows what innovative promotion is all about and this year the Eastern Motorsports Press Association will recognize him for his outstanding efforts in 2019.
Recently, Dirt Track Digest reached out to Deyo and inquired about not only the thought process and development of the upcoming Florida series, but his promotional efforts and relationship (or lack of relationship) with the powerhouse DIRTcar organization.
Deyo graciously answered a lengthy list of questions to provide further insight as to his promotional efforts.
Dirt Track Digest: What is All-Tech Speedway like and why did you select it?
Brett Deyo: “I took the opportunity to scope out a few facilities in Florida. All-Tech Raceway was brought to my attention by the Teo-Pro car group. They had tested at All-Tech last year on the way through and couldn’t say enough positive things about the place. After I went down to check it out in person, they were 100% right. It’s a neat, clean venue with plentiful pit and parking space. The track, from all the videos I have seen, is very racey and wide. The track manager, Wendell Durrance, was very welcoming to the idea and the rest is history.”
DTD: What track up North is All-Tech like?
BD: “I have kind of compared All-Tech to a slicker BAPS or Big Diamond type track. Not too big, not too small, is how I would describe it. One of the unique things that stuck out to me was the concrete grandstands overlooking the track, pretty similar to Thunder Mountain in New York.”
DTD: What type of logistics are needed to make this happen?
BD: “For us, the biggest hurdle is getting everyone there. We bring a full staff that includes tech inspectors, pit stewards, announcers, social media director, handicappers, scorers etc. So we need to make sure they have a place to stay for the duration. We need to get our trailer down there, banners, signage, trophies. We also need to get the word out down there in addition to our traveling Northeast fans.”
DTD: What type of support did you expect and has that been met?
“I definitely felt confident we would have a strong field and it appears we will deliver. We are not requiring drivers to pre-enter and we already have a full field of Modifieds and about 20 in the Crate 602 Sportsman. After we collect more in-person entries at Motorsports (show) in two weeks we are going to distribute an updated entry list.”
DTD: What is the current entry list looking like?
BD: “We’ve already gotten a good cross section of drivers from Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Hampshire. We have familiar names like Friesen, Williamson, Bachetti, Pauch, Wight and we have a bunch of Friday and Saturday night racers looking at this event like it is a working vacation. That’s going to be very cool to watch.”
DTD: Why include Sportsman and not rely on local Florida divisions?
BD: “The Crate 602 Sportsman division probably boasts the largest number of competitors from Delaware to New York. The Crate teams have proven they are willing to travel so we decided to give them a shot. We will also have one local Florida division on the card each night.”
DTD: What kind of sponsorship is needed to make something like this happen?
BD: “As soon as we started talking about this possibility, American Racer and Sunoco Race Fuels jumped on board to support this event. What has me excited is the number of our contingency sponsors who wanted to jump on board immediately to reward drivers towing to Florida. I think the teams will be very pleased with the bonuses they receive. Just today I had a local business in Lake City call and want to get involved. It has been very promising.
DTD: What kind of support do you anticipate?
BD: “Fortunately for us, All-Tech has enjoyed some very robust crowds in the past year. That is a positive. If I were to guess, I would say Thursday would be the toughest sell with fans and Friday and Saturday will be strong. There are a lot of Northeast transplants in Florida which will help our cause. There seems to be a nice buzz around the event in the Northeast.”
DTD: It appears you are paying significantly more than Volusia. Does that come into play at all?
BD: “Some people probably think I am paying too much. They might be right. I always do everything I can to reward our teams for their support with strong payouts. I think what we are paying matches the expense, time and effort it takes for a Northeast based division to race in Florida. One of the benefits we have in this situation versus the World Racing Group is that we don’t have contractual obligations to so many teams for complimentary pit passes so we can afford to put more money in the purse for everyone else.”
DTD: Is there a STSS versus World Racing Group mentality here?
BD: “I’d say there are ebbs and flows to it. There have been times we have gotten along great and times they have chosen not to over the past few years. If they want to be friendly, I am friendly. If they pick fights, I fight back. That’s how I’ve handled it. Obviously our success at Fonda Speedway last year didn’t please some of the neighboring tracks and they have pushed WRG to try and fight against us. I am fine with everyone doing their own thing. I am an only child so it is kind of the way I am. I will say that my personal relationship with DIRTcar was much, much better when Mike Perrotte was around because he was a straight-shooter and was always honest with me and I feel those traits are no longer found in the person holding that position.”
DTD: Why do you feel STSS has grown in the manner it has?
BD: “The vast majority of our events are self-funded in that I am partners with the participating track or I straight out lease the facilities. Many promoters are past the ‘big risk’ events with sanction fees. Promoters feel comfortable when a series has as much ‘skin in the game’ as the track financially because you know everyone is doing their best to make the event a success. We’ve been fortunate to build a fan base for our style of racing and our drivers. Fans know we are going to run an efficient program and the drivers know they will get paid well. That is a winning formula for us.”
DTD: When you started in this business did you ever envision how much you would end up doing?
BD: “No, never! And honestly, I work a lot harder and longer doing what I am now and make less money than if I used my degree and got a 9-to-5 job. I still enjoy it very much and that’s why I am willing to do it. We are racing at 15 tracks this year in five different states. That is an astounding number. Georgetown and Fonda have so much history it is an honor to be the promoter there. Before anything else, I am a fan of racing so I hope I can continue for a long time.”
DTD: What do you think will be the future for this type of program in Florida?
BD: “The success of Florida, in my opinion, rests on whether the fans and drivers are having fun. And honestly the level of fun is very dependent upon the weather. If the weather is warm and people are enjoying themselves, I see an annual tradition coming out of this event.”
DTD: Most of your shows are available on DTD TV. Why do you do this?
BD: “The pay-per-view on Dirt Track Digest TV is a huge asset to the event. Financially, it provides another source of revenue for us as a promotional team. Not everyone has time off or money it takes to attend in person. The pay-per-view is another avenue for people to actively partake in the event from home. I see only benefits to pay-per-view for something like this.”
Deyo and company will kick-off the Sunshine Swing with practice on Wednesday night, February 5 at All-Tech Raceway with racing on Thursday paying $5,000 to win for the Modifieds, Friday night offers $7,500 to the winner before the Saturday finale on February 8 pays $10,000 to win.