EXCLUSIVE 2014 SCHEDULE
Las Vegas, NV (Primm): April 5-6 Charlotte, NC: April 25-26 St Louis, MO (Gateway Motorsports Park): May 17-18 Crandon, WI: June 28-29 Bark River, MI: July 19-20 Sturgis, SD (Sturgis Buffalo Chip): Aug 5-6 Crandon, WI: Aug 30-31
Dirt Sports (DS)-Introduce yourself to our audience. Who are you? Where did you come from? BJ Birtwell (BJ) Well, first things first. I am a gearhead and car guy. I've had the good fortune of working in the auto industry for about twenty years. I ran a rogue youth marketing division at Chrysler and helped launch the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and other vehicles to appeal to a younger and multi-cultural audience. From there, I went on to become VP Marketing at DUB. After DUB, I started The Armory, an ad agency + production company. And it was our television production capability that bridged us to TORC and short course off road racing. Since 2010, The Armory has been producing the television programming for TORC on Discovery HD, SPEED and FUEL.
DS-Why did you take over the TORC Series?
BJ- Quite frankly, short-course off road racing became a passion point of mine. I had grown up around cars and racing, but after going to Crandon for the first time and being exposed to these 900HP trucks carving up waves of roost and jumping one hundred fifty feet through the air, it was just infectious. And then you meet the racers and teams. You learn about their commitment and dedication to this sport and the untold number of hours that go into the preparation of these trucks. And that, for many, this sport is their livelihood. They count on having a series to sell to sponsors and a championship to contend for. After experiencing all of that, short course gets in your blood, and all you want to do is be a part of it. But you can't be guided by passion alone; it needs to be balanced with rationality. And when I looked at The Armory's capabilities and what TORC needed more of, it became clear that there was an opportunity for us to build on the solid foundation of what TORC had already been creating.
DS-What venues are being added to the series? (give us some detail on what to expect)
BJ- We are building 2 new, purpose-built short-course off road tracks. The first will be at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. If you haven't heard of Sturgis, it's the largest motorcycle rally in the world. Published numbers are somewhere around 600,000+ people over the course of the ten day rally. Our event takes place during the two peak days of the rally, so we can expect a lot of energy and excitement around this event - which will be great for the racers and sponsors involved. The second track we're building will be in St. Louis at Gateway Motorsports Park. After being blocked from racing in Chicago, we wanted to keep short course racing alive in the area, so we're going about four hours south to St. Louis. You can see the Gateway Arch and St. Louis Skyline from the track. It's a great location and the proximity to downtown will make the race weekend a lot of fun for race teams and fans. Both of these tracks will be Crandon-esque purposed to showcase the full capabilities of these trucks.
DS- The season will end in Crandon this year? Anything special planned for the final race of the year there? It’s also the 45th anniversary of racing there. What can we expect?
BJ- What better place to finish the TORC Season than in Crandon. It's the largest event in all of short course off road racing and certainly deserving of the National Championship race. We have some big plans on how we'll end the season in Crandon. It's an event you won't want to miss. If you haven't made it to Crandon yet for a race, make 2014 your year to check it off your bucket list. You won't be disappointed.
DS- Why should racers run the TORC Series?
BJ- Let's be honest. There's a lot that goes into a racer's decision on where he/she races and how often. Most of this however boils down to the financial resources that exist within each team. Tough decisions have to be made. Truth be told, racers need to evaluate their own programs and come to a decision that's in the best interest of their teams and sponsors. This involves managing costs, of course. But, just as important, it also involves a hard look at the return on investment they're providing to their sponsors. At the end of the season, if that racer or race team doesn't have the analytics and reporting that reinforces their sponsor's investment in the program, it makes it a lot harder for them to re-sign that sponsor for the following year. Our goal with the racers and teams is to make sure that sponsor meetings are supported with cold hard facts that show impressive ROI. And that's what I am most excited about for those participating in TORC this season. There's no argument that the TORC Series has the largest race events in short-course racing. But then you start looking at all the other facets of TORC including our TV package, digital & social media activation, PR and content marketing plan…it's a pretty compelling offering.
DS- What is the projected television package?
BJ- NBC Sports is our TV partner. We'll have thirty episodes of TORC airing between the beginning and end of our season. All race weekends will be covered of course, but we'll also be airing a number of Docu-reality and Behind-the-Scenes episodes to give viewers a deeper look into our teams and racers.
We're excited about our schedule for 2014, which will include a minimum of 7 race weekends and 14 rounds of racing. Of course, we'll also host our annual Cup races, including the Amsoil Cup at the Fall Crandon Race. All around, it's going to be an incredible race season for TORC. We have plenty more we'd like to share, but are unable to do so at this time. I'd encourage all our fans to go to our Facebook (www.facebook.com/torc) and Twitter (@TORCOffRoad) for the latest news and updates.