Several years ago, race announcer Ken Hangauer Jr. dubbed fun-loving driver Jim Reid "the clown prince of Lancaster Speedway Super Stock racing."
Now inactive as a driver, Reid has joined the management staff of Lancaster Motorsports Park as its competitor relations manager. In his newly created job, he serves as a liaison between LMP management and its drivers. Reid says he and track management are serious about addressing competitors' concerns and putting more fun back into Lancaster racing.
"A few months ago, I just went over and talked to Lancaster's new owner, Ralph Galluzzi, and started discussing issues with him," said the Marilla resident. "Ralph is a business man and I am a person who has both a business and a racing background. Therefore I felt that I had a pretty good overview of racing and business that not everybody has. I was impressed with what Ralph told me he had planned for the future of Lancaster racing."
Reid raced in LMP's Super Stock division from 1980 to 1994, winning the division in 1989. He is remembered for the colorful paint schemes that adorned his race cars, including those of a police car, pink flamingo and an army tank. The schemes proved very popular with fans, especially the younger ones.
In 1970, Reid started his own tire retail store and began what would become a successful chain. He sold the business two years ago. Reid says he knows that it can be tough for a promoter to please those who compete at their track and that sometimes tensions run high.
"This guy Ralph has invested a lot of money into the track and he's running it as a business," Reid said. "In the past when he's made some changes, no matter what he tried to do, about half the drivers were happy and the other half were complaining. The management was totally befuddled. Ralph is interested to know what the drivers want and how they feel.
"He is constantly bombarded by them for everything from rules suggestions to race procedures. That is where I come in. I can go and talk to the drivers and bring back feedback. I can also express our management philosophy to the drivers."
Reid has talked to about two-thirds of the stock car drivers and expects to converse with the drag competitors in the days ahead. He says that there are two major concerns common among the drivers.
"They are very concerned about the rising cost of racing and also that we must use enforceable rules in regard to race procedures and technical inspections," stressed Reid.
"We have to look at the future and be proactive. If car counts go down because of the economy we have to be ready with a solution. In order (for the track) to make money, the drivers have to be there. Lancaster racing has more sizzle and notoriety than any track around here. Winning just a heat race here means as much as winning a feature race somewhere else."
Reid is developing a mission statement for the track but he says it will contain his three F's - fun, fair and fast. He also believes that making the driver's names recognizable and familiar to the track's fans is important.
"Stock car racing is an awesome core product," says Reid, who still longs to paint a car in a Mr. Softee ice cream truck theme. "We need to work with the drivers to produce a professional and exciting and affordable brand of entertainment for the fans. It is a building process that begins with good driver-track management relations and blossoms from there."
Southern rock band Molly Hatchet will perform a concert at Lancaster Motorsports Park on Sept. 1. The concert is part of the Labor Day Extravaganza stock car show. The format is similar to the popular rock and race weekends held at Cayuga Speedway the last several years.
Larry Woodruff has been named Chief Starter for the stock car program at LMP, which will host Quick 8 drag series events once a month. Mike Gunther Performance has committed $2,000 to each Quick 8 show purse and Anderson Equipment will give $100 to the driver executing the best burnout at each Quick 8 race.
Cayuga Dragway Park in Cayuga Ont., has joined the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) sanctioning group for this season. With LMP and New York International Raceway Park in Leicester already in the IHRA fold, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has all but disappeared from this area's drag racing scene.
Wyoming County International Speedway will hold a drivers meeting Feb. 25 from 12-4 p.m. at the Silver Lake Sportsman Club off Route 20A in Perry. Local racers have been competing in Florida this month. Ransomville Speedway 358 Modified champion Danny Johnson has attempted to begin his dirt late model driving career. He has tried to make the feature fields at East Bay Raceway for three Renegade STARS races and two UDTRA Pro Dirt Car Series races, making only the STARS field Feb. 5, where he time-trialed 20th and finished 11th.
Also at East Bay, Hamburg's Mike Woodring had two feature finishes of ninth and a single placing of 11th in three races in the 360 Sprint Car Nationals.