“Phase 2 of a two-phase program has been completed,” track President Michael Printup said last week. “Every grandstand has been replaced. I was just talking with fans and they just love it.” Printup also disclosed that unlike most large race tracks Watkins Glen added some seats, about 2,000. “I want to see how it goes,” he said. “We need to take baby-steps with this. We’re well above prior year’s sales. It tells me we’re in good shape and on track.”
In recent years road course races have been very exciting for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. “Us and Sears Point is another race where almost anyone can win it,” Printup said. “The racing is very exciting.”
There’s been a substantial amount of change that’s been undertaken over the last few years at the Glen with additional camping amenities and spots being added. “Family camping has been expanded 50% from last year,” Printup noted. “It’s been long sold out. Reserved camping sold out during the first week in February. Camping is quiet popular here for a lot of reasons including how easy it is to travel here.”
One reason for the success at Watkins Glen could be how hands on Printup is. He listens to the fans saying, “I’m not cocky. I’m not going to add 20-30% more seats. I just keep making improvements.” He also does a meet and greet with the fans at the track every race weekend, not just NASCAR. “I listen to what the fans tell me. Every Saturday of race weekends I meet with the fans. Me and my team speak with and listen to what they want to say or do.” He tries to bring them in different ways. “Not everyone likes to get up early on a race weekend but if they do they can get free coffee and donuts from 7-9 AM in the track’s infield.” He also made note that, “We also give out free Budweiser from 6-8 PM on the Saturday evening of the NASCAR weekends. We will have local and international celebrities occasionally show up to help pour your beer so fans should just show up.” Printup indicated that the hand outs were done in an unsold camping area and that the coffee and donuts were given away behind stand #5.
Another thing that Printup is becoming known for is his use of the internet and social media. Printup is on Twitter regularly and discussed on its changed the way that people gather news. “75% of Twitter users use it for news. Even now I’ll sit down and watch a race and have Twitter available right in front of me on my table.” An interesting twist is how Printup uses his own family to give him ideas. “I’ve got the best consultants on this stuff that money can buy. My own 14 year old and his friends advise me. I don’t think that Twitter and Facebook are going anywhere.”
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For tickets and unreserved camping go to www.theglen.com