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Speedway execs see troubled times ahead

Staff Report • Jan 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM

David Poole, the author of Life in the Fast Lane for Macon.com sat in on a meeting of NASCAR's movers and shakers this week and listened while they talked about the state of the racing economy. The men are all the presidents and general managers of the respective Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks around the country. Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway, Steve Page of Infineon Raceway, Ed Clark of Atlanta Motor Speedway, Marcus Smith of Lowe's Motor Speedway, Jerry Gappens of New Hampshire International Speedway, Chris Powell of Las Vegas Motor and Jeff Byrd of Bristol Motor Speedway joined their boss, SMI chairman Bruton Smith, on the dais.Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, of course, but that can make it harder to keep those renewal rates up in the 90 percent range that Byrd said he has with his non-corporate clients at Bristol.Poole quoted Burton Smith saying that it's really simple to know what to do when times are tough."I don't care what you're doing, if you're selling hot dogs on the corner. What you do is work harder," he said, "You sell, sell, sell."All tracks are doing that, of course. Byrd and members of his staff have literally been going to Food City grocery stores in Tennessee and Virginia and selling tickets to fans in those stores - "one-at-a-timing," as they called it in the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou."

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