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Fast Take   Compiled by Dwight Drum
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NASCAR listens

In 2009 NASCAR began holding town hall meetings with their drivers. That same year they jumped into popular social media Web sites, Facebook.com and Twitter.com. They launched scientific surveys to determine what their fans wanted the most. They listened.

In 2010 they ratcheted up the knowledge quest and began implementing what fans and drivers wanted most. They listened and then they acted.

Changes like allowing bump drafting on longer tracks, larger restrictor plates so engines get more fuel, double-file restart rule are all a result of the sanction using ears. Recently they relaxed the green/white checker rule which makes the final laps more hectic.

Racing rules aren’t the only track changes as NASCAR also cares about fan amenities and support.

Reporter Dwight Drum asked about the choice and conclusion process.

You make a lot of decisions that directly affect the fans. Does that decision making process ever get easier over time?

Matt Becherer, President, Homestead Miami Speedway

“What you can’t do is allow yourself to make decisions in a vacuum that doesn’t take their opinion into account. We think we know what the fans want and what the right thing to do is, but we really need to take opportunities for them to tell us what they are.

“It’s not in my opinion whether it gets easier or harder. It’s more about maintaining mediums and communication channels for them to let us know what it is that we need to do.

Robin Braig, President, Daytona International Speedway

“We took a page out of NASCAR’s book and we’ve got better research. Decisions are being made because fans are telling us what they want. They want lower prices, more things to do when they get here, wider seats, better parking. It’s actually getting easier.”

Matt Becherer, President, HMS

“One of the fantastic things about our jobs is that we have 70 plus million people to tell us about their thoughts. Traditional marketers will send something out, a survey or something and hope for one percent response rate. It’s not uncommon for guys like Robin and I do that and have a 20 percent response rate. You know that the data, the information you’re getting is really reliable.

Becherer added, “We’re in the memory-making business.”

That type of business requires big ears and busy hands. NASCAR has both.

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