Drag Illustrated Issue 169, June/July 2021 - Page 34

Dirt

BILL BADER JR .
mare of last year , and Bader was plenty ready to push forward this year .
The track sold around 1,000 camping spots for the weekend of the NHRA Nationals , a far greater number than has ever been sold at the facility for the race . Bader purchased an additional 130 acres for the track in the fall of 2019 , and while that turned into bad timing for the unpredictable ways of 2020 , it worked out perfectly this year .
It ’ s also an area Bader believes is prime for race facilities to provide for fans who want the convenience of a camping spot for a major weekend race .
“ Selling that many spots tell me people view this as an experience ,” Bader offers . “ I believe the key to growing these events is camping and motorhomes . The convenience of being able to stay on the property is critical . Not everybody can
afford to spend $ 1,000 in hotel rooms to attend a national event for a weekend .
“ With a motorhome onsite , you somehow feel connected to the entire weekend ,” Bader adds . “ That accessibility translates into selling more tickets . It presents some challenges , but we need to continue – as a sport – to invest in camping and motorhome areas . I think camping and motorhomes are incredibly important to the longterm sustainability of the sport .”
It ’ s undoubtedly a different time for the sport as drag racing continues to navigate through the pandemic area .
Bader has seen those challenges head on , but he continues to invest in the sport and his facility . Since 2006 , he has spent nearly $ 12 million on the facility , something he believes should be the theme for track owners everywhere .
With an abundance of entertainment options – and it ’ s a list that ’ s only growing – creating a memorable experience at a drag race is paramount for the sport to continue growing .
“ I think drag racing has barely scratched the surface of what it can be ,” Bader says . “ You look at the stadiums being built for the stick and ball sports , and you have to ask yourself , ‘ How can we be better ?’ We ’ ve got to be better with providing more creature comfort features – better Wi-Fi , better cellphone reception , better bathrooms , more shower options .
“ I think the sport has tremendous upside , but there ’ s not enough money in it right now ,” he continues . “ We ’ re all trying to deliver that five-star experience on a budget . There ’ s huge potential , but the key to all this is putting butts in seats and getting back to packed grandstands . More fans equals more sponsors , which equals more money . I hope there ’ s more collaboration in the months and years ahead . We have a killer product and we all need to be better .” DI
Carb Screens have
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