For nearly three years, Tim Packman has enjoyed a chance to come home to his racing youth as the president of Lancaster Speedway. Under his leadership, the 60-year-old speedway/dragway has rebounded from less glorious times just a few short years ago.
The future fortunes of the Gunnville Road racing facility will fall onto someone else's shoulders as Packman announced that he is stepping down when his contract expires at season's conclusion in late September. Packman will move back to North Carolina to pursue other motorsports career opportunities.
"This wasn't an easy decision and a lot of thought and talks with Gordon Reger (Lancaster track owner) were held leading up to this point," Packman said. "Lancaster is where I started my motorsports career and the past three years have been great to watch how the track has grown."
Reger stressed that racing at Lancaster will continue and that a successor to fill Packman's position will be sought.
"I appreciate all that Tim has been able to accomplish in the past three years," Reger said. "I know there are a lot of factors that go into keeping the track running and he did it well. We will now begin solidifying the future of Lancaster and Tim will be very involved managing all inquiries to find his successor."
Packman worked at Lancaster several years ago and then moved to North Carolina to pursue a career that saw him very much involved in the NASCAR world. In October 2015, Packman left his post as the director of corporate communications for Richard Childress Racing to accept the Lancaster president position from Reger.
Due to mismanagement by a former promoter of Lancaster before 2015 and other factors, Lancaster was suffering badly by 2014 with dwindling car counts and dropping fan attendance.
Once Packman arrived, he was able to create a new enthusiasm and implement a more successful business model that saw many former fans and race teams return to Lancaster in the stock car and drag racing programs and brought on new teams and fans. The track also added special events. Reger and Packman combined to make several capital repairs and improvements to the physical facility.
Packman received the Speed 51 Promoter of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2017.
Packman has always had a soft spot in his heart for the Lancaster racing community. He expressed this in a 2016 Buffalo News interview when he arrived to begin his role as track president.
"I started at Lancaster in the early 1980s as a cook in the concession stand," Packman said. "My first paycheck was $62. In the mid-1990s, I was a race announcer at Lancaster, Ransomville and Wyoming County. Then it was on to the NASCAR world later on. So coming to my new job at Lancaster now is also coming home to my racing youth."
All a racing community can ask of any departing race promoter is whether the race track program grew and became far more prosperous as compared to when he first arrived.
In Packman's case, the answer is a resounding yes. The recent resurgence of Lancaster in the last three years will ultimately be Packman's lasting Lancaster legacy.