Topic: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Between no more crushing, stuntin'n'splodin' rule, reduced number and extravagance of penalties (and ability to buy your way out of it), I feel like the race became less... spectacular over the years. This should be an event where people would want to go just to watch, but it clearly ain't it - almost all "spectators" are there to hang out with the racers.

Kind of an open-ended post. Ideas?...

K Car Stalker

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Reduced fee. $30 is kinda steep. Maybe offer one day only pass for reduction?

How about a spectators choice award?  Only those with spectator bands can vote.

Setup viewing area at the penalty box.

3 (edited by Spank 2016-06-03 08:41 AM)

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Advertising it to car clubs and other target audiences to come spectate would be the best way to start. Hosting a advertised "pit party" on Saturday night might be another way. But, yea, the $30 gate fees and the long distance from civilization kill it for any of my non-racing friends from coming. "You mean I have to drive 5 hours to get there? And THEN it's $30 per person, including my kids? For a weekend pass? But I only would want to be there for a couple hours on one day. No thanks."

Edit: While tryign to find the commercial that LeMons ran for Sonoma/Sears/Infineon several years ago, I came across this. It's pretty well edited, but the emphasis of dubbed-in crashes from the multiple years of the series kinda give a wrong (but exciting!) impression:

https://vimeo.com/84491337

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Mandatory trailer towing for all Class A cars. Seriously.

Anyway, there is the inherent problem of all road races - spectators just cannot see all of the action.
Look at the attendance of NASCAR races. Amongst all of the reasons that NASCAR is popular with spectators
is simply the ability to see most or all of the track, and the subsequent mayhem within the competition.

There are some other factors like the low exhaust sound limit. Race viewing is a visceral experience for many,
and when the cars are no louder than those driving past your house a certain jen ne sais quoi is missing from the experience.
Look at the complaints about current F1 engines as an example.

Even Altamont, where spectators could sit in grandstands and see all of the track, had low spectator attendance.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

I'm not sure you are going to have much success attracting spectators to what we are doing.  For someone just watching, after the first 30 minutes, it's 8 hrs of watching paint dry.  That's a long time to ask people to sit through.  And then do it again for a second day.  For me personally, it's the involvement.  If I'm not involved, I don't want to be there.  I'm fortunate to have contacts to where I've either spectated or participated at bigger events like Indy, Daytona, Bristol, Nazareth and if I was spectating, stretches of all those got boring at times as they go on for hours.  Indy is it's own event, you put 300k people in one place to watch tiddlywinks and the sheer number of people make it an event.  The only event that I habitually return to every year is the Tulsa Chili Bowl.  Indoor dirt midget racing with big name drivers.  Big name retired drivers go there to watch.  Why? 30+ individual races each day for 5 days, you can see the whole track, the format forces you to make passes and each race is relatively short with just enough time to get beer in between.  Never in a million years did I think I'd ever have a chance to chat with Bobby Unser or AJ Foyt or ask Roger Penske about Mark Donahue.  Or see Danica Patrick drag Ricky Stenhouse out of the bar by his ear at 2am but I digress.  This is a race that those guys pay to go to and not get paid to be at the track.  I'm sure for all the same reasons as I enjoy it.  Short, fast, gotta pass and repeat for 5hrs.  Entertainment.  What we are doing really isn't entertaining enough for outsiders to stay connected for 14hrs a weekend.  It would be much better to video, edit liberally, include the Nick n Jay show and sell that.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

DelinquentRacer wrote:

Mandatory trailer towing for all Class A cars.

I now have a new strategy for getting the 96 into Class A.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Keep the new/innovative black flag penalties coming!

Promise spectators a raffle chance at "A FREE RACECAR!!$!@#!" (but that only works once - at least to the same set of suckers - when they get left behind in the lot at quitting time with a broken-*ss Chrysler product on three wheels and a cinderblock)

Frankly, we _have_ a lot of spectators - somewhere about 150 of them on the track at any given time!  There must be close to 1000 people at the West coast races, eh?

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

I get what cheseroo is saying, but there is another way of looking at this, one where I think LeMons has things to offer that other series don't.

First, the costumed cars. How can a spectator not love that? Much better than sponsor decals.

Second, access to the paddock, pits, and teams. You don't get that at big races, although at ALMS races you can. Anyway, when a spectator has had enough of watching cars wheeze by they can peruse the paddock to see what carnage has been brought in and how teams are scrambling, or not, get get their hoopies rolling again. I've done this when my car didn't make it to the races. It's fun. I've done this at ALMS races and it was great fun.

The awards ceremony is priceless.

The BS inspections are priceless.

So, with these few things in mind, find ways to enhance them.

For the paddock scenario, make sure you are welcoming to spectators. Maybe go as far as putting out a table with team crap on it, such as trophies, t-shirts, photos/posters, favorite broken car parts, the HOFAW book, a tip jar...

For the awards, most tracks have one of those podium things. Make more use of them. Stand the top three finishers on them and give them each a 2L Dr Pepper bottle to shake and spray each other with. (Dr Pepper, the champagne of LeMons) Or some such thing.

Make a name tag saying you are with "LeMons TV" and wander the place interviewing guests, asking appropriately Lemony questions, and add bits of that to the recap video.

Promote your team, and if the opportunity arises don't shy away from creating a cult of personality. You don't have to go all Speedycop on us, wait, maybe you do, but you can do your own version. Anyway, people like to come see people they know or would like to know race.

The Tinyvette gets out to a few car shows. The Sac International Show last year in particular generated a lot of interest and at least two groups of people from that show came by our pits at Sonoma the following February. One group was asking how difficult it would be to prep an Opel for LeMons (they were about to purchase two) and the other just hung out and later on Saturday went out to dinner with us.

Don't hesitate to invite your local sports reporter. Entice them with offers of Dr Pepper (the champagne of LeMons) served in the cool of your pop-up, let them drive the car around the paddock a bit, introduce them to Jay and Nick and Phil and Jonny and Steve and John and Spank and Speedycop and Pete and Adrian and Montoya... Basically, send them back home with their head spinning, not knowing where to start when they sit down to write the article.

Saturday night events would be nice. We've had bands, and strippers, and while people don't seem to party as hard as they used to (Saturday's hangovers don't lend much to Sunday's racing), some event that gets people out of their RVs would be nice for teams and spectators alike.

Mostly though, invite your friends and family and friends of family, and so on.

Mike

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

A spectator pack may be useful, publish series points, finishing positions from previous races in the regions, some team profiles etc.
In this modern age a mobile friendly website or an app could cover this.

I have talked to a few spectators/casual observers and none knew there was an app they could use to track the lap times and positions of teams. For me as a spectator at other race events knowing who is winning, who is fast but maybe some laps down etc is a big part of the event.

Pit Parties with bands etc could help, they have these at local drift/drag events. Has not made me go but I guess the kids like that sort of thing smile Perhaps a more lemony alternative, set up some junkyard engines on stands and run at full throttle until they explode. Ford vs Chev, Honda vs Toyota etc

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Who says the audience HAS to be at the track?

Improve the use and distribution of live in-car video.  Have dedicated cams at the penalty box with microphones. Have paddocks cams.  Cameras are cheap (or phones) and streaming is becoming more mainstream. 

The first amateur series that can invest in streaming will ultimately grow (if they want).

iRacing streams live virtual races with commentary and has more viewership than Lemons or Chump.  It works for iRacing because it makes other iRacers want to get better and join "televised" series.

I think most of us race due to the fun of competition, overcoming obstacles, doing the impossible and having fun with friends.  I didn't start racing LeMons due to cool penalties or parties after hours.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Brett85p wrote:

A spectator pack may be useful, publish series points, finishing positions from previous races in the regions, some team profiles etc.
In this modern age a mobile friendly website or an app could cover this.

I have talked to a few spectators/casual observers and none knew there was an app they could use to track the lap times and positions of teams. For me as a spectator at other race events knowing who is winning, who is fast but maybe some laps down etc is a big part of the event.

Pit Parties with bands etc could help, they have these at local drift/drag events. Has not made me go but I guess the kids like that sort of thing smile Perhaps a more lemony alternative, set up some junkyard engines on stands and run at full throttle until they explode. Ford vs Chev, Honda vs Toyota etc

So, to actually see what's going on, you've got to spring money for a phone app on top of the entrance fee.  Probably won't fly for most spectators.

As it is, LeMons isn't really geared towards spectators.  This is a good conversation to have.  In my opinion, you need a couple of things to start:

1) Some running commentary during the race, geared at spectators.  Let people know what's going on, add some excitement.

2) An online presence.  Not just the existing stuff, that's all geared towards us.  'Televised' races, geared towards everybody else.  Get some cameras out and around the track, and use the commentary from #1.  Put the races on YouTube.  Somebody would probably do this for free, just for the exposure.

bs

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

how about a ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a big beer tent

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

firegremlin wrote:

almost all "spectators" are there to hang out with the racers.


I am perfectly fine with this.  I've never worried about leaving tools or beer unattended.  I don't really want to start.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

m610 wrote:

I get what cheseroo is saying, but there is another way of looking at this, one where I think LeMons has things to offer that other series don't.

Yeah, fun.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

To play devils advocate...why?  More spectators mean more feral children.  It means higher loads on often strained bathroom facilities.  More folks not paying attention to fueling safety (for those tracks that fuel in the paddock).  More concern over items going missing that we all take for granted no LeMons team would touch.  More chances for unaware pedestrians to step in front of moving race cars.

I am sure we can think of more but I like the fact that majority of the spectators are LeMonites, wannabe LeMonites or their associated hangers-on.  I would not be opposed to additional "non-productive" folks stumbling around but I do not see a compelling reason to go out of the way to attract them.

All that said, I am the male version of a "Cat Lady" as a single adult male living in a big house with a bunch of rescue dogs and 6' privacy fence around my back yard.  I have not yet been know to yell at kids to "get off my damn lawn" but I am sure it is coming.

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

I would like some more ridiculousness involved, however that looks, as long as it doesn't run afoul of personal safety...stunting and splodin rule might need to be more relaxed??

I never understood why only CMP has a parade and block party. It's a truly fantastic event and the number one reason why it's my team's go-to race on the calendar. I know some tracks are BFE but there must be some that are close enough to town where the case could be made for replicating the success of Camden in other locales.

Also: what Mike said.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

OnkelUdo wrote:

To play devils advocate...why?  More spectators mean more feral children.  It means higher loads on often strained bathroom facilities.  More folks not paying attention to fueling safety (for those tracks that fuel in the paddock).  More concern over items going missing that we all take for granted no LeMons team would touch.  More chances for unaware pedestrians to step in front of moving race cars.

I am sure we can think of more but I like the fact that majority of the spectators are LeMonites, wannabe LeMonites or their associated hangers-on.  I would not be opposed to additional "non-productive" folks stumbling around but I do not see a compelling reason to go out of the way to attract them.
.

This is where I'm at too. I like watching spectators (I always invite my friends, but I tell them to come around 4PM on a Saturday) have fun at the race, but get the hell out of the way. Few things are more frustrating than trying to get back on track at Sonoma Raceway and waiting for two knuckle-heads parked while BSing in the middle of the lane. I try to be the nice guy, but lately that's increasingly hard to do.

Last race at Thill, we had a whole family come to check out the car in the middle of a fuel stop. Kids were all over the car, and the husband was asking me questions while I'm trying to get a driver in the car. I couldn't believe it. I didn't raise my voice, but I did ask them to step back for safety.

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

shouldnthave wrote:
OnkelUdo wrote:

To play devils advocate...why?  More spectators mean more feral children.  It means higher loads on often strained bathroom facilities.  More folks not paying attention to fueling safety (for those tracks that fuel in the paddock).  More concern over items going missing that we all take for granted no LeMons team would touch.  More chances for unaware pedestrians to step in front of moving race cars.

I am sure we can think of more but I like the fact that majority of the spectators are LeMonites, wannabe LeMonites or their associated hangers-on.  I would not be opposed to additional "non-productive" folks stumbling around but I do not see a compelling reason to go out of the way to attract them.
.

This is where I'm at too. I like watching spectators (I always invite my friends, but I tell them to come around 4PM on a Saturday) have fun at the race, but get the hell out of the way. Few things are more frustrating than trying to get back on track at Sonoma Raceway and waiting for two knuckle-heads parked while BSing in the middle of the lane. I try to be the nice guy, but lately that's increasingly hard to do.

Last race at Thill, we had a whole family come to check out the car in the middle of a fuel stop. Kids were all over the car, and the husband was asking me questions while I'm trying to get a driver in the car. I couldn't believe it. I didn't raise my voice, but I did ask them to step back for safety.

I'm in the why place as well. I went to two races as a spectator in 2008 and that was it. Even got to see People's Curse happen, but one was enough. Lemons races are pretty boring to watch after about 20 minutes unless you have some context for what is going on.

I wonder about paddock safety. Things can get very crowded as it is and the drivers/crew know (or should) to keep their heads on a swivel. Spectators, likely no so much.

But it would be good to accommodate team's friends/family with a less than $30 ticket. One wife, two kids, one relative and that's $120.

So instead to spread the magic, work the Web. Live race cast with commentators. Of course initially it would be one stationary camera, but you have to start somewhere.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

Onkel hit several nails on the head. The "spectators" we have are family members and friends of team members and I feel relatively safe leaving some fairly expensive gear and equipment lying around the paddock and pit. Our team had a set of 4 wheels with new tires disappear at CMP a few years ago - never did find out where they went.

Now add 500-1000 more people who will likely be partaking in adult beverages and have no personal connection with Lemons racing or the people who choose this "lifestyle". Where will they sit? How will they know what's going on? PA system with constant droning updates?  No thanks.

We have to face reality - this is not a spectator sport.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

TeamLemon-aid wrote:

Who says the audience HAS to be at the track?

Improve the use and distribution of live in-car video.  Have dedicated cams at the penalty box with microphones. Have paddocks cams.  Cameras are cheap (or phones) and streaming is becoming more mainstream. 

The first amateur series that can invest in streaming will ultimately grow (if they want).

iRacing streams live virtual races with commentary and has more viewership than Lemons or Chump.  It works for iRacing because it makes other iRacers want to get better and join "televised" series.

I think most of us race due to the fun of competition, overcoming obstacles, doing the impossible and having fun with friends.  I didn't start racing LeMons due to cool penalties or parties after hours.

Problem is, somebody has to bring, set up, and babysit that stuff at every race. LeMons HQ is already at capacity for what they can do with FedEX, carryon bags, and paying people.

Someone would have to do this out of the love in their heart and magical refilling money in their own wallet. I've gone around and around on this but there just isn't a way to financially bring things together. LeMons doesn't NEED spectators, A spectator is just a poor sucker who hasn't bought a car yet. I like to think of the participants as the spectators. There's barely a market for NASCAR and INDY much less dummies in crapcans. It's a wonder RaceMonitor gets what they do out of the subscriptions. And that's mostly from teams.

It would be sweet if we could at least get a couple racecast.me broadcasters out there for each race, but even that's a lot of Data $$ to do IF there's even good cell service.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

bshorey wrote:
Brett85p wrote:

A spectator pack may be useful, publish series points, finishing positions from previous races in the regions, some team profiles etc.
In this modern age a mobile friendly website or an app could cover this.

I have talked to a few spectators/casual observers and none knew there was an app they could use to track the lap times and positions of teams. For me as a spectator at other race events knowing who is winning, who is fast but maybe some laps down etc is a big part of the event.

Pit Parties with bands etc could help, they have these at local drift/drag events. Has not made me go but I guess the kids like that sort of thing smile Perhaps a more lemony alternative, set up some junkyard engines on stands and run at full throttle until they explode. Ford vs Chev, Honda vs Toyota etc

So, to actually see what's going on, you've got to spring money for a phone app on top of the entrance fee.  Probably won't fly for most spectators.

As it is, LeMons isn't really geared towards spectators.  This is a good conversation to have.  In my opinion, you need a couple of things to start:

1) Some running commentary during the race, geared at spectators.  Let people know what's going on, add some excitement.

2) An online presence.  Not just the existing stuff, that's all geared towards us.  'Televised' races, geared towards everybody else.  Get some cameras out and around the track, and use the commentary from #1.  Put the races on YouTube.  Somebody would probably do this for free, just for the exposure.

bs

Setup costs I worked out for 3 cameras running wireless into a Tri-caster up to a satellite data connection was close to $20,000. That's just the equipment, not even counting the per race expense.

The phone app is no big deal, a now used Apple TV or iPad with video out can feed the Race Monitor to a big tv screen. But somebody has to bring that TV.

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Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

I like the idea of lowering the spectator fee, but count me in the "why?" camp, too. I appreciate that most of the people there are with someone who knows what's up.

I've also seen too many people at big pro events somehow end up with access to an area like pit lane or the access trail that requires more attention than they're willing to spend, and that's how we end up with a 30-minute photographers' briefing on How Not To Get Whacked In The Face With A Tire. The main focus of the event is the racing; if you're there to troll for stories or get up-close shots of the action, cool, but if you're getting in the way of the racing itself, GTFOOOOOOOO. Not paying enough attention makes you a danger to yourself and others.

LeMons has way too many cars pulling in for service in the paddock for me to really be gung-ho about the idea of more spectators wandering around. I like seeing friends come out to have a look at whatever it is I'm doing! I also know that they're going to stay where I tell them to stay and hopefully out of oncoming traffic.

What's smarter is the video idea. You reach more people who can't make it out to the track, and it's easier to grab the attention of exactly the kind of internet wackos who'd find this series amusing that way. It's infinitely shareable on the Intertubez. Shoot, I've shared quite a few LeMons vids and we're hoping to do a stream off the 944 soon, too.

doctordel wrote:

I would like some more ridiculousness involved, however that looks, as long as it doesn't run afoul of personal safety...stunting and splodin rule might need to be more relaxed??

I also like this idea.

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

ninjacoco wrote:

What's smarter is the video idea. You reach more people who can't make it out to the track, and it's easier to grab the attention of exactly the kind of internet wackos who'd find this series amusing that way. It's infinitely shareable on the Intertubez. Shoot, I've shared quite a few LeMons vids and we're hoping to do a stream off the 944 soon, too.

Going along with this and some other points in this thread, I feel like the best steps would be to have  a more complete summary of each race. The wrap up videos, while entertaining, only contain 5 minutes of content from 14 hours of racing. I would like to see more complete coverage of the race with some emphasis on the winners. I understand why the organizers have resisted lauding the winners, but it makes it harder to convey a narrative when the story they like to tell is we broke and then barely got back on track. Lets follow the stories of a few leading teams from each class and summarize how the race for each class went. Let's generate a half hour video with 10 minutes for each class. I think that we could create come good content if somebody grabbed the best of the pictures and videos that people post after the race and get stories from the guys on teams that were vying for the lead. Guys rebuilding motors with beer cans make great asides, but racing creates a dramatic tension that lends to a real narrative.

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

To be even more curmudgeonly, what does streaming a race or greater online presence gain the owners of the business of 24 of LeMons racing?  The faithful followers are not going to suddenly become more financial invested (aka give Jay more of their money).  Those who are not the faithful are not going to watch this stuff if it is not entertaining...is live streaming more entertaining than being there for those not involved in the insanity?

The few excellent videos that have been done (the CRX guy from Barber and a handful over the years from California) that cover what LeMons is and how awesome  and involving the experience is...how many views do they get from folks not already giving all their disposable income to Jay and Company?

LeMons gets enough press and plenty of people read it.  Those interested can normally be enticed to a race.  Those not interested, are not likely to "get it" by a larger online presence unless it is short, entertaining and informative.

I love the idea of some of the things mentioned but as a business owner, none of it would makes sense to me except maybe offering the one day pass again.

Now.."You damn kids get off my lawn!"

Re: What can be done to make Lemons more attractive to spectators?

I started racing Lemons due to a YouTube video ...

https://youtu.be/gmmRh-YH72I

Just saying traditional "advertising" isn't always effective to get new teams into the series.  Having said that, I'm not entirely sure Jay really wants to grow.  It seems they are content with the current number of races and the sizes of the fields.

LemonAid - Changing kids lives one lap at a time.