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Why not Shawano?
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Steve Kaster



Joined: 05 Oct 2004
Posts: 11
Location: United States, Wisconsin,

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:20 am    Post subject: Why not Shawano? Reply with quote

US Air Motorsports in Shawano is struggling to get a local kart racing program to "take off". I'm a local, love racing there and just cannot understand why more people don't show up to race this track. Everyone that has driven it likes it. The previous owners (SIST) are long gone, a real karting couple (the Polks) run it, and 7 people show up for a local race.

Can anyone in this area of the country tell me why they don't come to races here? Pat has done everything he can to schedule around other tracks and is very willing to work with them to put together a state series or something like that - not that he gets much cooperation from what I see.

This is one of the best tracks in the country, and it might be close to losing karting on a local level. Eventually, the track owners have to go with what brings in money - like drifters, car clubs that rent it, etc.

What gives?
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Jim McMahon



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
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Location: United States, St. Paul,

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO It comes down to too few racers along with too many races, tracks and orgs under a compressed timeframe (short summer) up here in the midwest.
SKUSA central states had a race there a few weeks ago but it was pretty quiet. It had a round of the pro-tour a few years back too, but I think that was before Pat and Anne took over.
It's a great track and a great facility, but with the current karting climate, thats not enough I guess.
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Keith Bridgeman



Joined: 24 Aug 2001
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Location: United States, Minnesota, Farmington

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you find the answer let all the other tracks no to. I agree, it is strange. Dousman 2.5 hours south has a long standing strong club. Not sure what the difference is. We have a track here in MN that was once strong and has been in a big decline for a long period.

Maybe some tracks are just in bad locations. No larger cities to pull from. 0 Marketing, bad history of classes that didn't match what was going on around the country,

I think its like any store, location, location, location.

But really its the million dollor question.
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TJ Koyen



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the best track in the country in one of the most middle-of-nowhere locations in the country.
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Steve Kaster



Joined: 05 Oct 2004
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Location: United States, Wisconsin,

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree to an extent - but Green Bay is 25 minutes away. One of the biggest metro areas in the state. That's closer than Elkhart Lake to Milwaukee for example. Racers will drive to a track they like - I don't buy that as the issue.
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Tim Koyen
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome track that was very popular with the traveling series' when SIST had it. They bent over backwards for the series' and racers loved the hospitality. Understandably, they're gone now. There just isn't enough reasons to bring regional and national series travel to such a remote location (relative to the National sprint racing demographic).

Locally...it takes a large population to make a sprint track profitable, and Shawano area just doesn't have it. I've seen the numbers on that track and it's impossible to make enough money racing karts on that track in the short racing season to make it profitable.

Dousman has a million people within an hour of the track. The track property is available to the Club at a sweetheart deal because some karters cared enough 50 years ago to set it up that way. They are also a club, with primarily volunteer labor, so racing costs are very low. And finally; racers bring racers. No one wants to race where no one else is racing, regardless of how cool the track is. Dousman has racers, and newbies are drawn to the racing, not the track.
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TJ Koyen



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dousman draws from Chicago area, Milwaukee, and Central WI and what are they getting for club entries these days? 120-ish or is it more/less? They pull from 2-3 big metros and that's what they can muster.

Lack of entries breeds a lack of entries.
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Rob Howden
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim and TJ made some great points here, and the proximity to metro areas is important. The track is certainly close to Green Bay, but do they do any marketing there to draw people out?

In addition, the class structure might be a barrier of entry in bringing new people into the sport and the club. If it's all TaG and Yamaha, what many still think are more expensive classes, they should look at the Briggs LO206 program to get people involved. Four-cycle is still great racing and its really affordable. At my club in Ontario, Canada, we have people helping interested racers into used equipment that is on the market. For a small labor price, they help them find the right stuff, get it ready to race, and get them out. It's important to foster new people.

Here's a couple ideas for marketing:

- set up a Facebook page for the club to start attracting 'friends' or 'likes' and try to spread the word that way

- find some used equipment that is REALLY affordable and get some locals out to try it out.

- I know that Shawano has a stock car track there - maybe a display one night?

- get all the racers to bring a friend and put them out during the race day for an 'amateur tryout session' to let them try it, and then sell them on the previously-mentioned used equipment

- strong clubs aways have a couple of kart shops that spending time at the track supporting customers, even during the week (Badger and Franklin/ACR etc). Does the club have any shop support other than the Polks?

The club needs to start with the foundation and grow one racer at a time. As was already mentioned, racers bring racers. Send us an overview of the current club and we'll post it here on EKN to try to get some exposure for you guys.
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Chad Landers



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
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Location: United States, Wisconsin, Plover

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The track is just in a bad area. It is the middle of no where and too north in the state. The only big city close is Green Bay. Now if the track was in the Appleton area there would be more people/cities to draw from. I think you could draw more people from farther away like I am. I'm about an hour away. But you would really have to advertise and get the word out.

It is ashame it is such a nice track and facility. We used to have a pretty decent turn out a few years ago, but with the track being closed to karts for a few years I think most of the people sold off their karts if they were not long time die hard karters.

There is a facebook page just so people know.

The class with the most karts is LO206 right now. So I think that is a good start to get new people to the track. There are a few Tag around also.
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Rob Howden
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chad Landers wrote:
The track is just in a bad area. It is the middle of no where and too north in the state. The only big city close is Green Bay. Now if the track was in the Appleton area there would be more people/cities to draw from. I think you could draw more people from farther away like I am. I'm about an hour away. But you would really have to advertise and get the word out.

It is ashame it is such a nice track and facility. We used to have a pretty decent turn out a few years ago, but with the track being closed to karts for a few years I think most of the people sold off their karts if they were not long time die hard karters.

There is a facebook page just so people know.

The class with the most karts is LO206 right now. So I think that is a good start to get new people to the track. There are a few Tag around also.


I like hearing that the LO206 class is the largest, because that offers a chance to build from an affordable foundation.

That said, I often find it funny that people think you need a metro center of a million-plus people to somehow attract 100 racers to a track. Because really, 100 racers is a successful club right now, if they have a limited number of classes. So....this means you only need 20+ families with Dad and the kids racing, and you're good to go. It's about getting the locals involved and re-introducing karting at USAIR to Shawano. Like I said, there's a big stock car deal there at the fairgrounds. I'm thinking that a display one night should attract at least a little interest.
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Stan Bryniarski



Joined: 13 May 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MWPKC held rounds 3&4 at Us Air
Pat and company did everything they could to make us feel at home and add to the professionalism of the event.
The facility is the cleanest I have ever encountered.
Pat and company did everything to make the event run as smooth and logistically perfect!
You can mention local track classes, but the bottom line is we ALL need to support a track that is there for the kraters. Break out of your norm club and visit a first class facility.
US Air is there, and they are not going to bulldoze it and put up a mini mall.
Pat has Drifters and Motor cycles come from across the states to race there and leave thanking him for such an awesome facility and the opportunity to use it.
Karters don't know what they are missing!
This IS a first class facility and kraters need to get behind it and treated as such!
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Steve Kaster



Joined: 05 Oct 2004
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Location: United States, Wisconsin,

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case anyone wants to see what the track looks like currently, or needs a reminder of just how cool this track is. This is from this past sunday, June 30. My helmet cam from the LO206 class, which is definitely slow on the long back straight, but you get the idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1rSIvc4eo8&feature=youtu.be
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Bob Vehring



Joined: 23 Jul 2001
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Location: United States, Wisconsin,

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a big part of the problem is there are only "X" number of racers in a given area. Back in the 90's what is now USAIR had a race track call Water and Wheels, we raced there quite a few times and a 80 entry local race was common.
When that group closed up, HiGo, GSR, Ringle and Meadowview all opened dirt oval kart tracks in that area. We still have alot of engine customers racing those tracks today, some go back to the Water and Wheels days.
Simply put, when the sprint track closed the karters of that area when oval racing, now there invested in that.
Seams to me a good plan might be to focus on getting them to try your oval, then try to work them over to sprint.
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Doug Welch



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raced there at the Rotax Grand Nationals some time back. Best drivers track in the country. Absolutely fantastic in the wet.
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mark coats



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:40 am    Post subject: Would you travel to Shawanao for a Race? Reply with quote

When I do surveys, Shawano is always at the top of the list as favorite tracks. If races we're scheduled there, would you travel to race there?
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