Adam Torres and Jason Kennedy discuss PRI and Trackside Systems.
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Performance Racing Industry (PRI) is the world’s largest gathering of motorsports professionals. In this episode, Adam Torres and Jason Kennedy, President & CTO at Trackside Systems, explore PRI and the Trackside Systems story.
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About Jason Kennedy
Jason is a compassionate leader who has decades of experience building and leading teams. After 20 years in corporate IT, achieving global, executive leadership roles he found himself in a toxic corporate environment. Jason decided working independently in an entrepreneurial manner would be key to future success.
Today Jason leads two businesses – AutoInterests, LLC and AI Services, LLC. These combine his passion for both motorsports and technology.
AutoInterests is a leading high performance driving school business operating approx. 35 events seasonally in the Midwest US, and is the 3rd largest company in the industry. (https://autointerests.com)
AI Services provides a variety of technology services. The Trackside Motorsports Operating System provides everything a race track needs to efficiently operate its ticketing and back-office operations. (https://tracksideapp.com)
AI Services also provides fractional CIO, IT consultancy, private cloud hosting and network infrastructure services both in motorsports and a variety of other industries. (https://aiservices.llc)
Jason’s leadership style builds trust among teams to enable high performance, transparency and camaraderie. His approach builds an unparalled level of collboration where a fail-fast, fail-forward approach allows mistakes to be made with minimal risk and fast rebound, always delivering progress. He believes in a no-nonsense approach where politics and toxic behaviors are quickly squashed and not tolerated.
About Trackside Systems
Trackside was born out of necessity. Jason Kennedy, President/CTO of Trackside founded AutoInterests in 2009 (its roots start with a car club he lead circa 2004). AutoInterests is a unique, high end road course high performance driving school that Jason knew would be different than any other in the industry by being completely digital. Its digital strategy, founded on Trackside, led AutoInterests to become the largest program of its kind in the Midwest, and 3rd largest in the USA; going from 2 to more than 35 events (public & private) across ~8 venues each season.
Trackside was initially created just for AutoInterests to eliminate paper waivers, manual spreadsheets, long lines and clunky front-gate processes. Lost paperwork and impossible-to-hear to PA announcements also added to the frustration at events.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. Today, we are reporting live at PRI in Indianapolis, Indiana. We came out here to meet Jason Kennedy over at Trackside Systems. For those of you that have been watching the show for a long time, Jason is one of our authors in our previously published book.
And, spoiler alert, Jason, we’re gonna be doing a book together, another book. This is gonna be for a Motorsports edition of Mission Matters. I’m really excited and thrilled about that. Jason, first off, hey, I just want to say, I’m welcome to your show because this is your booth. How you feeling? Yeah, good.
Welcome to PRL, thanks for making the trip. All right, Jason. So lots of cover here today. I just left one of your one of your informational sessions where you had other track owners that were there that use the trackside system. Tell us a little bit more about that and what that how that went. Yeah, we had our first ever trackside user beer beating.
So there was a group of customers that have been on me. So saying some of them were pretty new and haven’t even started using it yet. Others have been on it for a couple years or so. And so it was a good chance for them. Share experiences of what they’re doing and kind of learn from each other in addition to talking about new futures We have coming out all the icons So one of my goals here and I’ve been talking about this with our audience for a long time One of my goals here is that I want to open up Motorsports to the rest of the world that aren’t necessarily Used to coming to events like this like PRI and maybe just haven’t gotten involved with motorsports Jason How long have you been coming out to PRI?
This is my, I think, sixth year coming to the show. Second year actually having a movie with a full exhibitor. So I’ve been around this show. I’ve heard about it forever. Everybody in the industry knows about it. Everybody not in the industry doesn’t, though. So probably most people would never guess that there’s a, almost 1, 400 exhibitors being shown.
Shuts down the city of Nellis every December. And there’s a huge event. Everybody who’s anybody in motorsports where. So, some of the things that we’ve talked about really is how you got started with TraxSide and really the TransSide story. You were originally a racing enthusiast yourself before launching TraxSide, right?
Yeah, so I did a lot of road course driving and still have to this day a high performance driving school business. But the TraxSide software was actually built to run that business. And now it’s, it’s own product. People asked us. They could buy our software and we said no until we said yes.
And now we’re here and that’s, that’s the bigger part of what we do now. And it’s really exciting. We’ll see it. And so this year, what are you looking forward to at PRI? jUst continuing to build new connections. There’s a lot of people that we’ve known for a long time. When they introduce us to to maybe go on and to now go on these trips.
I think we’re going to cleanse the LCRS It’s always great to meet face to face. They’re especially different by the way, like Alaska Raceway Fire, we don’t get to Alaska very often to see all the over there, but it’s always nice to get to see our customers have rice, have a bowl of blood butter, decide to pop a stop.
I think I have my show later on in the schedule, right? Yep, yep, she’ll be an author and upcoming book, and we’ll do an interview and we’ll Yeah, I didn’t know, I didn’t know Michelle was from Alaska. Come on now, we’re, we’re, we’re moving here now. Yeah. I don’t know, we’re gonna have to figure out how to get out there, right?
Yeah. That’s it. Oh yeah, it’s, well, she claims, and I agree with her, it’s the most beautiful racetrack in the world. Wow. Can you go down to the drag strip? By the way, she has a NASCAR track and a drag strip. But when you go down the drag strip, it looks like you’re going right into the ice. Wow, that’s incredible.
Wow. Well, I’m looking forward to that as well. So, as you, what’s, what does the rest of your schedule look like over at the event? iT’s, it’s a full, full day for me and a whole couple of days. A lot of meetings. We’re here stationed outside what’s called the TOPS headquarters, and it stands for Track Owners, Promoters, and Sanctioning Bodies.
So, it’s a lot of our customers and a lot of potential customers for us. And different aspects of the industry have different sessions. So, there’s a road course roundtable, or a road course track talk, or a hybrid, some of the session where I’ll be like, share, share tips on tracks, plan their CD times, and all that kind of stuff.
So we’re a part of a lot of that action. I’ll also have meetings with in island tracks, track and personal episodes. It’s on daily, a few days. And you also have, so you can talk about track site system. Maybe tell us a little bit more about the dra the driving school you have also. So we operate our driving school.
It’s called No Entry. Now I’m going to talk about that. We teach people how to drive their cars on a road course racetrack. So, well, you could be grabbed to the outer score and send back. And listen, you got a four minutes car and you know, maybe you’re tired of getting tickets or, you know, maybe you shouldn’t be driving it the way you are on the street.
Bring it to the track. We can teach you all the driving skills. If you think you can drive fast on the street, you’ll be very humble on the track. There’s a lot to learn. You could have a ton of fun with it, but it’s something anybody could do with any car. But for when you buy those, you’re far as far as the skills now come with Albert.
You did. So, for the audience out there that maybe haven’t attended an event like this or been to a PRI, what would you tell them about why they should come and why they should be involved? It’s just, you can learn everything motorsports. It isn’t an industry show, so you have to be affiliated at some point with the industry that if you reach out to, for your local racetrack or anybody, you know, in the industry, they, they can get you access.
Let’s take a look here. There’s everything for our the tracks themselves. Do a little bit of promotion here, but it’s really about the suppliers of the industry. A lot of what they don’t know is that our software providers like us, Growth, their timing system, their engine holders, and there’s just everything you can think of.
Chassis wheels, all the products that suit both tire companies, performance brake companies. Shocks, suspension, you know, all the actual parts, even the, everything you need to actually have done. I mean, it’s. Let’s talk a little bit about this book we’re launching together. So I’m excited for it. I don’t know.
I don’t know if his book has ever been done before. So talking about racetrack owners and also racetrack enthusiasts and their stories, how they got involved with racing and like what, what, what brought them into the sport? What are your ideas for the books? Tell me a little bit more about your vision for that.
So there’s a ton of books and other publications about actual racing stories, so they had like, we have a series, but nobody there talks about what goes on, and nobody works backward owners, and the organizers, and all the behind the scenes stuff are large. So that’s what I liked, and liked about the concept for doing this, it’s kind of pulling back the curtain, and we get to see what’s going on in the life of a sag.
How do they put out events? How do they decide what events to have? All those different things, so there’s tons of little tips and tips. , all the authors that are, but consum. And it would be really, and so as we’ve been, as I’ve been researching this and you’ve been educating me on this industry, a lot of these are family businesses, right?
Like these are family. So we think about, we have a big business owner, entrepreneur, and executive audience, and a lot of different businesses you go into, these are family businesses, many of them, right? Almost every single racetrack is a smaller brand of Elizabeth. Without talking about Ian NaCl tracks and things like that, we’re talking about.
And you’re leading a 1 2 3 1 0 0 0. A circle track or a dirt track or anything like that. We have all of these types of family and everything. They’ve been around forever. There’s probably one in your own backyard and you don’t even know it. I mean, we’ve been out of that science track ever since, say, we’ve been here 60 years, and there’s still people that are like, We had no idea you’re here, but that’s, you know, in my eyes, a wet, dirt track, so.
If you’re interested in all the motorsports, just head on Google Maps, type in racetrack, and you’ll find it there. That’s amazing. And one of the things that you’re doing at Trackside is you’re really helping these, you know, business owners drink and digitize their businesses as well, to bring them into the, into the modern age so that they have a better user experience for their clientele as well.
Maybe tell us a little bit more about that. So, what’s kind of strange is motorsports has been around the world for a while, but it’s just fallen behind military technology. So my background, I spent 20 years in corporate technology and I’ve dedicated myself to motorsports now. And when I go and I see, even McDonald’s, there’s T.
O. S. over the food or an app and all that. Motorsports doesn’t have any of it. And also if you build tracks, I have to solve. So now I’m in order to attract younger people and more people into motorsports, they do it the best possible way that I can do it. That’s what we’re here to do. So you buy your tickets online to events.
You can do all the waivers at the table at a time, but online digitally through FragSight. And that’s what we bring to the industry. It is a journey solution for online. I buy a site, it’s all the technology that attract me, so that I’m operational. And when I think about like user experience and efficiency, so maybe to juxtapose that like, let’s just say prior to Trankzai, maybe a lot of these tracks were either, you know, accepting cash, maybe they still do, so that’s okay, but maybe there was a long line that they had to wait in.
Or there was the inefficient processing that made it to where it was like, ah, what didn’t make racing quite as appealing to the younger audience that are maybe, you know, using their phones to, you know, buy a movie ticket, right? Can you talk a little bit about that? Yeah, so probably the number one complaint going to a grassroots stack was, and the way they’ve always been hung, is people just show up with the aid, and have your cash, and then you want a ticket or a wristband for entry but that takes forever, so you have to handle caps, and you’ve got to ask every single person at the gate, oh, do you need tickets, do you need a registration to raise nutrients, whatnot, to where that’s all handled at a time, you go online, scan your QR code ticket, and you’re in, and so our, and so our, Biggest, most notable difference we’ve made in that is that World Series of Drag Racing at Pordova Dragway over here, which is a great event if you’re interested in drag racing at all, or Motorsports Valley, you should visit that event, it’s awesome but that week used to be two and a half to three hours to get into that facility they’re now in their second cool year on track site and that weight has gone down to 15 to 20.
Hold on, I gotta hear that again. You said two hours possibly in the past, now 15 to 20. Like, what does that do for revenue? What does that do for like, repeat clients? What does that do for I mean, I was out there working the gates with DeFord over to you, our amazing people. They’re under new ownership, so they’ve been willing to change a lot.
And we’ve just been really, really successful with that. You know, when I’m out there Interacted with their customers. They’re just, first, they can’t even believe they can pay with a credit card. So, they’ve all been trained for so many years, a lot of the funds have gone forever and they just have their cash and they’re going like, oh, I can pay with a card.
So, you know, we’ve got our handheld point of sale units, wireless, and they just streamline all of that. Making it so many cars through the gates so much faster. It’s art. Yeah, that’s interesting. And you’re like, I can pay by credit card? Like, really? Yeah. So, and, and notice one thing that Jason said, I know some of the business owners out there caught it.
He said, when he’s out there as a business owner, as a founder, how important that is to deliver and to keep in the big boots on the ground for your clients. Maybe talk about, about that dedication. Cause you’re out there too, right? I am. Yeah. And I try to, it gets harder every year, but I try to get to every customer site every year.
That’s my goal. It’s getting increasingly difficult, but. I still get to a lot of them, and you know what? I spend most of my time in the rink because that’s how we improve our product. I want to see how it’s being used, what the experience is, or the staff of the track, and then also the customer that’s coming.
And, you know, there’s not one silver bullet that actually has to make things better. It’s just a silence among the, and that, that could be said of probably most any business system, but if you don’t get out in the field and get, experience that each year. We can’t believe it back. Roger. That’s a concept in Alaska.
Be your own British customer. So as these operators themselves, we’re the boots on this. I mean, you know the bargain. We know the issues that we not solve with cleanup. Yeah. And in the session that I attended with you a little while ago where you are getting feedback real time from the track owners so that you could improve the product like and I could see real time.
This feedback that was leading to things that Jason’s saying, Oh yeah, you know what, we can do that. Like, yeah, that’s a simple fix. Or maybe that, that exists but you didn’t know it existed. Like, never ending improvement, right? Yeah, but it’s a never ending software business, that’s the whole thing.
Alright Jason, well I know you got a whole lot more to do while you’re here. I just want to say thank you for making time for us. To the audience as always. Thank you for tuning in. This is day one of dub three days over at PRI. Any final words on how people can connect and, and follow up and learn more about track side or just follow your journey.
So track sites, systems. com is our website to learn about our product and what we do, and I don’t want to connect. It’s me. I’m on LinkedIn. All right, fantastic. And to the audience, don’t forget, hit that subscribe button and check us out at missionmatters. com.