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Packman aims to invigorate Dunn Tire stock program

Tim Packman has a theory behind the promotional direction that he is setting for the stock car program at Dunn Tire Raceway Park. He says that he would rather have his ideas be "utterly ridiculous rather than absolutely boring."

Packman, as the newly appointed president of stock car operations, will put his theory to practice this season as he attempts to pump new life into the ailing stock car program at the track.

For the last few seasons, the program has suffered from under promotion. Thi shas led to lower car counts, less than satisfactory attendance and uncertainty as to whether there would even be a stock car program at the Gunnville Road half-mile asphalt facility.

Over the last few seasons the track has gone from a full-time schedule to part-time and back to full-time. As a result, belief in the program on the part of many fans and drivers has dwindled.

On the plus side, Lori Overdorf, the park's stock car coordinator, and her staff have done a tremendous job of keeping the program alive and recruiting drivers. The racing has been entertaining and competitive among the track's core drivers.

At last September's season-ending US Open Weekend, track promoter Ralph Galluzzi announced that Packman was appointed as his new president of stock car operations. Overdorf also was retained.

A Western New York native, Packman grew up watching the racing at the Lancaster track and once served as the lead stock car announcer. He relocated to the Charlotte area 15 years ago to work in NASCAR race team marketing.

He still resides in Charlotte and is involved with many NASCAR public relations and marketing projects but says that the Dunn Tire Raceway Park program is now his top priority. And, despite his busy involvement in the national racing scene, he will be at every stock car show at the facility in 2012.

Packman says he has a plan for being more aggressive in promoting the track.

"Certainly the people will not come to events that they don't know about," Packman said. "This season I plan on doing a lot more advertising in the media, also to do more promoting of the program through social media and to participate in several public functions such as when we will be in the First Ward St. Patrick's Day Parade and other events.

"I also have to put the fun back into it. Someone has to believe in what's going on or they won't participate. I'm all about the power of positive thinking. My goal is that this summer, if we do a better job of promoting this place, then if people don't know what's going on it will be their own fault."

Race team and fan attendance are also on Packman's mind. Packman will look to make things more affordable for racers and seeks to win drivers and fans back through consistency with his rules, race divisions and scheduling.

"It was important to get our schedule out there early and to announce our race divisions would be the same as last year and we've done that. I also formed a very competent officiating crew and I let people know as soon as I could who they are. We've also had meetings with the drivers already.

"We have a great race staff assembled, headed by Lori and also race director Todd Hannon, head starter Larry Woodruff, head tech inspector Mike McDonald, and pit steward Jeff Whelen. To his credit, Ralph Galluzzi has been amenable to trying some of my new ideas."

"I will try new things for the fans and race teams like Spirit Night, Sign Night, Super Heroes Night and things like this. You can't just open up the gates, put the cars on the track and say we're racing. We need special promotions to put the excitement back into it. That's where my 'utterly ridiculous' theory comes in."

"The best thing I will tell you is that this season my campaign for the drivers and fans of DTRP is what I refer as my 'get back to your track and see what's happening campaign.' "

Elsewhere:

*Dunn Tire Raceway Park's Top 32 weekly IHRA drag racing division will be remolded this season into a Top 16 format. The facility will host its stock car/drag racing registration party March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Elk's Club in Lancaster.

*The $5,000-to-win, 75-lap Battle of The Border 358 Modified race at Ransomville Speedway on July 3 will be part of the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series.

*Plagued with low attendance and participation, South Arcade Speedway has dumped stock car racing in favor of flat track and motocross motorcycle racing. ATV events will also be part of the package.

*Raceway 5 in Batavia will run its wintertime enduro Shamrock 100 on March 17.

*Little Valley has released its limited event schedule. Super Late Models events will be May 27, June 8, July 3 and 13, and Sept. 2 and 15.

*Veteran Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex public relations director Rick Mooney has resigned. Steve Petty is his replacement. Mooney will continue to be the chief announcer at both Holland and Ransomville. Holland's preseason registration party will be 1 p.m. on March 4 at Holland Willows on Savage Road.

*The Show and Cruise News/Advanced Auto Parts Cavalcade of Cars Show will run March 2-4 at The Events Center at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg. Hours are Friday, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Contact: carshow@showandcruisenews.com.

email: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com