Record keeping is a must-do for new drivers and race teams to ensure accurate and complete race stats from the very start of your child’s racing career. I wanted to take this time to remind my kart families that I have a great Driver Workbook available on Executive Speed Marketing’s Facebook page. This workbook has columns and areas for imputing everything race related for your drivers permanent records file. Race dates, place, event name, heat draw, starting position, ending position, number of drivers in class/field, number of laps in feature, event sponsors, etc. There is even an area to keep track of Social Media stats for likes, shares, reach of post, re-tweets, etc. This information may not seem important to you now, but I assure you that when that potential sponsor asks for metrics on your marketing you will be so glad you took the time to record this information!!! Team owners and driver development program selection committee members will also be looking at this data when you apply for career advancing opportunities.
This data/information can make or break a future sponsorship or Driver Development deal!! There is no if’s, and’s or butt’s about it. I promise. I can’t tell you how many times I have referred back on Kaley’s (my daughter) driver workbook for different applications, contest entries, driver development programs, website updates, Hero Card info, and more. The Drive 4 Diversity was the biggest “oh, Hell – they want all that?” eye-opener for me many years ago and that panic attack and the resulting research (for hours/days/weeks) to get race results from different sources was the reason I came up with this Driver Workbook spreadsheet. These organizations don’t want just the good stuff so don’t fluff race resumes and applications. They tend to dismiss the “too good to be true” race resumes and put more weight in drivers who fought long and hard for every victory at tracks or events with the toughest competition and larger number of contenders rather than winning every event entered with less than a handful of drivers to compete with. Tough competition makes the best race car drivers, and those often are the ones with fewer National titles or track Championships and the goal of just making the A Main at a big event was achieved and celebrated as a huge victory because car owners know that those drivers have the most potential, progressive and consistent success due to the skills they’ve mastered fighting for wins as they battled it out with a full field of equally or better talented drivers racing at events or tracks that offered the highest levels of competition offered in their race divisions.
Pro-Tip: Drivers can not win every race event – it is just not possible. And it is extremely selfish and unfair for parents to expect it. I know from first hand experience because I was that parent when my oldest daughter, Amber raced many years ago. I was a new race mom running a business in a race industry that started out just to be more of a tax write-off while we enjoyed our hobby than a serious profit-making business that would support our family. We were extremely lucky to have amazing talent represent our brand and put KAM on the map, but in my misguided goal to appear at the top of our game I put so much pressure on Amber to win every race, and I often told her to do “whatever it takes” to make that happen. The motto was “2nd is the first loser” – and now I just cringe when I hear someone quote that stupid saying.
So Resist the urge to fluff the resume: If you misrepresent the numbers and the person reviewing your resume or application does some fact checking, how bad will that make you/your driver look if they found on Speednet.com (or similar website that posts race results) that there were only 3 drivers in the class and you put 20. Remember this for future reference because I’ve seen racers get burned on this very issue because the race event that they padded the results for had a video uploaded on YouTube, or a Press Release was posted on another driver’s website, or one up-and-comer had their marketing “people” professionally write a Press Release with full race recap and blasted to ALL the race sites known to motorsports in addition to Social Media. It is much easier than you think to verify race results and driver stats these days and those who are hiring or qualifying candidates for driver development teams and/or talent searches are looking for the cream of the crop, or the most promising potential, and they are serious about picking the right drivers from a mountain of applicants.
So don’t think that Jr’s race talent alone will get him to the big dream of NASCAR level racing. The “Marketability” factor plays a huge role too so don’t neglect this area and make sure you Blog, do press interviews, driver appearances, have a cause that you race for (ie: Charity), have an active Social Media Marketing and content Strategy, etc. [NOTE: I have several marketing related blog posts on the KAMkartway.com, so be sure to browse through them for more tips and suggestions to boost your driver marketability and PR factor.] Take away tip: Racing is one of the most popular sporting venues in America and Marketing plays a big role in keeping it that way. There are a tone of racing specific websites, email newsletters, forums, driver and networking focused websites that are dedicated to offering race content and publish blog posts, team articles, race reports and the like. Today’s drivers, team managers, savvy parents, race promoters, track officials, engine builders and various race specific vendors who happen to sponsor drivers are submitting their content for publication to promote their drivers, race team, track, special event, race product, etc. The information is out there so don’t over exaggerate your talents or race stats because you will get caught! That big fat lie can hurt your race program way more than admitting a DNF or blag flag penalty ever could.
- Pro-Tip: You also want to give off that your driver is “Coachable” so you don’t want to sound conceited or cocky (or boastful) – that will turn off a car owner or selection committee real fast. But you do want to put your best foot forward. Driver Marketing and PR work with good, entertaining and informative content that you post and report is they way to build up your driver resume, secure race fans and build your fan base, and gives you credibility as a true racer.
- Pro-Tip: Most drivers these days own their own Go Pro camera and uploads race videos to YouTube or posts them on Facebook. You should be doing the same. Recorded video is a great way to keep record of your events and display a history timeline of your career online.
- Pro-Tip: My fear is that if you don’t think that it’s important and you put it off and don’t do it – someone else is and has been doing it all along – and they are reaping the benefits from it by way of building a solid fan base and making themselves desirable to sponsors. And when the time comes and there are a handful of drivers in a head-to-head competition for one of the few spots that are made available in the sport – the opportunity that is going to advance a racing career – the driver who was Marketing themselves and self-promoting their Brand is going to be the one chosen from the group. Because for the most part, at those higher levels of competition all the drivers are pretty equal in competitive skill level especially since a lot of them had a good Driver Development Program when they were young and moved up the ranks over time during their early career stages while laying a solid foundation built on education, hard work and committed effort . **Just like your doing now.** But they went that one step further and established an effective Driver Marketing plan and PR program. Don’t be the driver who comes up short when they measure you side by side with other drivers. It’s also fair to say that the one who brings to the table the most money (by way of Fan Base, sponsorships and/or investors) is the driver who’s going to get chosen.
Overall, my best advice for you is to keep good records so that you are not forced to “guess” what your driver did five years ago because you failed to keep up with the results or, like me lost your data because of a computer crash. Yes, that happened and it was a nightmare. So keep hard copies in a file of your work or save your spreadsheets to the cloud. I’ve also kept Kaley’s website up-to-date with all her race stats, PR results and race results. The website does double duty as a Marketing medium and record keeper – it’s like keeping a time stamped history of her career in one spot that is easily accessible for the parent as well as potential sponsors and team owners. [On my Soapbox – create your driver website now and stop procrastinating.]
Keep track of everything! Every race or event matters. Non-race events like taking your kart to school for Show-and-Tell or entering a race themed Science Fair project and placing high IS newsworthy! Take good notes and use that Driver Workbook to get you started on the right foot. For those of you with a few, or several years under your belt and no race records….it’s not too late. Download the excel spreadsheet and start making copies (individual spreadsheets) for each year that you’ve been racing and start data collecting. Search the web, YouTube videos, racer forums, KAM’s race result blog page, the Points Spreadsheets, etc. and log everything that you find. I can share race season results for 2013, 2014 and 2015 with you if you need it. This data is important!! I promise. Kyle Larson and Danica Patrick’s parents kept detailed race related notes on all their activities before they were able to hire professionals to do it for them. Kyle’s parents went thru the exact same process I did when applying for the Drive 4 Diversity program that NASCAR offers. His “momanger” was much better at video recording all his races and editing them into videos and had a YouTube Channel where fans could enjoy them….me, well not so much. And it bit me in the butt because I didn’t have video recordings of Kaley’s races and that ended up being the single reason why her Driver 4 Diversity application didn’t get selected when we submitted it. [I use the Drive 4 Diversity example a lot in my stories because it was a major fail on my part as a race parent . Don’t make the same mistakes I made.]
Pro-Tip: Don’t rely on the Crew Chief to be keeping these records, by the way. They won’t. They can’t. It’s not in their DNA. Mom if you are race parent who is reading this – Just do it and consider it your major contribution to the overall success of your driver’s career and you will have plenty of opportunities to pat yourself on the back for having such vital data at the tips of your fingers when the need arises. Like I said earlier, post a copy of your data to the cloud – keeping a copy online at like Dropbox, OneDrive or some similar site that you can trust also serves a dual purpose in that most of those sites lets you “share” files and will provide you with a link to post or give to others so that they can access the file online. Any future potential sponsor or web designer will think you are the bees knees when they see how organized you are and how detailed your records are.
Oh, don’t forget to keep good records of your race pictures too. There is a spot on the Driver Workbook spreadsheet to add pictures from the race season as well!
- Keep good records of your driver’s racing activity. A little work now will save you a lot of headache in the future. This includes taking video recordings of races (and driver interviews, webcasts) and posting them on YouTube Channel.
- Write Race Reports by recapping the event and include interesting content that the reader will enjoy reading. Post as a blog on your website with a link to Facebook and don’t forget to Tweet about it. Also post reports to fan sites and motorsports specific internet sites like Kartpulse.com & Hookit.com. Be sure to send a copy of your Press Release to your local newspaper’s sports department.
- Thank your Sponsors and the race fans. Give links to Sponsor’s business website or Social Media channel every chance you get. *They are keeping track of how many leads you provide them and will weigh that against the ROI to evaluate if the sponsorship is a good business investment. Most all websites now have metric analytics built in or they use Google’s software to measure KPI’s & metrics and track where their traffic is coming from. Use the Social Media side of the Driver Workbook spreadsheet to keep track of these metrics and record all activity. As mentioned the potential sponsor and car owner will want to know this data but it’s also important to analyze and measure growth and what’s working and what may need to be tweeked to get better results.
- Use high quality, really good pictures on your websites and social media. Pro-Tip: Do not use images from photographers with watermark logos across the entire front of the photo – that means that they are copywrited and you didn’t pay for them nor do you have permission to use the image on your site. This looks very unprofessional, not to mention dishonest, when people do this. That’s not the image you want to give off.
- Back everything up including reports, press releases and pictures to a thumb drive and save files to the cloud for safe keeping as well as easy access and sharability. It’s not a bad idea to keep race notebooks (the paper kind you use at the track to log your data) and hard copy files indefinitely. You never know when a catastrophe might happen like it did with me when I lost years of data after my computer crashed. I was lucky that I’m a pack rat and never throw anything away and was able to re-create race history and driver stats from my files (the internet helped a lot too, but you can’t rely on posted race results always being there…companies change management or direction and no longer offer that type of content, software systems becomes outdated and old files are purged, websites just go off line without notice ~ you never know. Simply put – don’t rely on others to keep track of your valuable data… at least not until your driver reaches Pro Status and has a professional PR Team doing it for him.
- Create a driver (or team) website and blog if you don’t already have one. This is not only a valuable marketing tool, but a great way to keep a record of your drivers accomplishments, driving records and stats, photos and videos, links to press interviews – all in one neat and tidy place for all the world to visit and enjoy. BLOGGING is a must for fan base growth. Embrace it. Love it. JUST DO IT. There is tons of content to blog about in the racing world and you will find ideas and suggestions on Executive Speed Marketing’s Facebook group page to inspire you.
Now it’s your turn.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Use the Driver Workbook spreadsheet and the Race Data form – it’s easy and will become habit once you get rolling with it. If you have any questions or concerns leave me a comment and I will get back with you.