Adam Torres and Michelle Lackey Maynor discuss racing and PRI.
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Alaska Raceway Park is Alaska’s premier Motorsports facility. ARP consists of an NHRA sanctioned 1/4 mile dragstrip as well as a 1/3 mile paved high bank NASCAR sanctioned oval. In this episode, Adam Torres and Michelle Lackey Maynor, Lady Track Boss & President at Alaska Raceway Park, explore racing and the new motorsports book Michelle will be launching with Mission Matters and Trackside Systems.
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About Alaska Raceway Park
Alaska Raceway Park is a Palmer, Alaska, motorsports complex, conducting races from Mother’s Day to Labor Day. Located near Butte, the Knik River, and Knik Glacier at Mile 10.4 of the Old Glenn Highway, it is about 41.5 miles northeast of Anchorage, Alaska. Nearby 6,398-foot Pioneer Peak looms over the finish line, providing a scenic racing venue recognized worldwide among race fans.
The complex, owned and operated by Earl and Karen Lackey and Michelle Lackey Maynor, sits at an elevation of 63 feet above sea level, offering excellent air pressure for racing. The 1/4-mile drag strip was opened in 1964 and operates in the NHRA Northwest Division 6. In 2016, ARP debuted a 1/3-mile asphalt oval track in the NASCAR All American Series. Emphasizing family and community spirit, ARP hosts multi-generation racing families and fans for food, fun, fast cars, and long weekends of quality time in a breathtaking Alaska setting in view of Matanuska Glacier.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres and we’re reporting live from PRI in Indianapolis, Indiana. We’re at the Trackside booth. You may have seen the interview earlier with Jason Kennedy, founder of Trackside.
We’re having a whole lot of fun. We’re also announcing a motor sports book that we have coming out in q1 of 2024. So a whole lot of fun there. And today my next guest is Michelle Lackey Maynor, also known as Lady Track Boss. Michelle, welcome to the show. Yeah, It’s nice to be here. It’s nice to kind of meet you in person.
I appreciate it. Oh my gosh, so a lot of fun here. I guess just to get us kicked off, how long have you been coming out to PRI? This is my fifth year coming to PRI and I’m a good visit. Alright, so tell me a little bit more about your background and really how you got started in the race world. Well, our family kind of grew up at the drag strip.
These two are my brother, Rayson, and of course, Rayson’s family. So for those out there that aren’t quite as familiar with racing or maybe let’s just say the race track business a lot of business owners entrepreneurs and executives that that watch this show may not consider or understand that racing is a family business tell us more about that well it’s you know racing is racing businesses, family business as well.
And so because even though you’re you know, you’re maybe the one that’s running, you can kind of attract people in to work for you. I, my, my daughter is taking photos and stuff right now for us because she does her career in marketing. But it’s just one of those things you kind of pull in your family members, you pull in your friends and everybody.
What’s it like what’s it like around the holiday times in a racetrack or a racing business family? We usually spend a lot of time talking about racing and about the track and what we can do. I’m trying to work around that, but I really don’t know what other people talk about over Christmas.
Yeah. I figured that if you’re an entrepreneur family of any type, I don’t care what it is. That’s The holidays. Yeah. So what are some of the fond memories that you have growing up, going out, whether it’s going out to the track, being part of the racing community, or otherwise? I think some of my favorite memories are just the fact that, you know, we’ve all grown up together.
I, I’ve been there since I was gosh, I don’t know, 12 or something like that. You know, so a lot of my racers have watched me grow up. We have a lot of junior programs at our track, and so I’ve seen a lot of, Junior kids grow up through the years and now they’re parents and we’ve got kids that are coming out to the track.
So it’s just a unique way that we have this track memory of a lot, a lot of memories that we built together. But to watch each other grow up and to be part of that family is probably the best thing. I like how you said a track family, and I feel like if I know any community, it’s like if they’re watching you grow up and they’re like, oh, okay, Michelle’s running it now, right?
Yeah, and that has definitely helped, you know, over the years because you know, they know me, they trust me, they know that what I’m doing for the track is what’s best for them. And we all kind of work together to make sure that our track is the best that we can make it be. And now your track’s located in Alaska.
So I was in Indianapolis. I’m over here complaining about the cold Alaska. But Jason tells me it’s one of the most beautiful tracks in the world. You say, tell us more. It is the most beautiful track in the world, I would argue that would, the drag strip goes down straight into the base of Pioneer Peak, which is a board does not want a great backdrop.
If you’re at the Oval Track, you come around and turn two, you’re, you’re going right into the mount. it, it just makes it a beautiful place. We’ve got a glacier at the end of the valley, where we’re at. A pejorative moose and lynx that appears too on the track. So we’ve got a lot of wildlife as well.
So, it’s, it is a gorgeous place and a very, very much needed area. For those that maybe haven’t participated or who’s been a part of the racing community, what would you tell them about why they should look into it? The racing community is unlike any other that I’ve been in. You know, we come here to PRI.
I don’t know a lot of people here, but everybody that you meet, we always have this common connection because we’re here because we love motorsports. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the marketing end, if you’re doing mechanics or engineering or sales or whatever it is, we all have a common thread.
And I can go to any track, anywhere, any type of racing, and we automatically are friends. And that’s what I love. Wow, that’s interesting. And then you, and so your family, you mentioned your daughter. She’s also involved in the marketing PR side. Tell us more about how all of that works. Well, my daughter’s actually, she’s a petroleum engineer working as a civil engineer right now.
And she likes taking photographs, and so she’s been coming out and doing photos for a while. And she’s grown up in the track. She’s racing the track, and everybody knows her. So she’s kind of morphed into this PR and marketing person. area because I am one person and I’m overwhelmed with all the other stuff that I have to do.
So she has been a huge help and it has been really great to have this next generation in our business. Now, I know you’ve been working with Jason in Trackside and one of his missions is to digitize tracks in terms of like bringing them online and helping them. and making the track owners life easier in terms of running day to day operations.
Tell us a little bit more about that and maybe just how you use TrackSite a bit. TrackSite has been invaluable to what we’re doing. I met Jason and Sarah a couple years ago here at PRI, and they got us into their system. We dropped to Alaska and it was not very pleasant otherwise because it was still early spring.
But they got our entire track online, into a screen, and maximized our, and I’m probably not saying that well, I’m not the technical person, so, but they maximized all of our Wi Fi, so now we have a digital canvas, like, the entire place is like that, and they don’t have problems with, you know, Wi Fi dropping off at the gates, we’re trying to sell tickets and things like that.
The system, as well as those screens, because I’m, I’m better able to speak to it online it’s easier at the gates when you’ve got digital neighbors. So we’re kind of just into the area of reporting and so it has been really invaluable to me. So talk to me a bit about your racing season and also what you run.
So our racing competition is Mother’s Day to Labor Day. It’s about five, five months. I Started as a dragstrip in 1964, so next year’s our 16th anniversary. I was a Yoke Tower entry point of model dragstrip. In 2016, we opened the NASCAR Heavy Clay oval. And so, we run every single pit bikes, all the way up to top eliminated cars, we’ve got nitro cars and alcohol cars.
So, anything in between, if it’s got wheels, we can run it on the track. I’ve even raced snow machines out there previously, so. And then at the oval track, we run late models, basic runs, bomber slacks, thunderstocks legends, and we added bandoleros a couple years ago, so now we have another generation of racers.
So, every business owner, whether you’re in the racing business, whether you’re a CPA, a lawyer, whatever your dream or your vision is, there’s always dreams and there’s always plans for the future. Tell us a little bit more about your vision for your empire as Lady Track Boss and what you see happening going forward.
Well, the park is a motorsports park and that’s kind of what we had always planned for it. And so, in the future, I would like to add some sort of road course options so You can use the facility a little bit more. We would like to have some sort of event center so that you know, you can just get more people utilizing the space.
And then of course some car condos. So when you come visit, you know, any place to stay, you can wake up to the gorgeous view. Oh, I love it. And that’s, that’s one of, so one of the reasons why I’m out here just Selfish reason is that, yeah, I want Mission Matters to be more involved with motorsports so I can go visit these beautiful tracks.
I mean, it’s nice to get out of the studio and get out and have some fun out here. That’s awesome. Well, I just have to say, Michelle, you gotta bring up the book. We gotta book what we’re doing together. Yes, we need to have a book. We do. So for everybody that’s watching this again, we’re going to be doing our very first volume one motorsports edition of Mission Matters where we’re going to be talking about, we’re going to be featuring track owners, racing enthusiasts, people that are involved in the industry and really tell their stories and the stories behind the amazing events they put together.
So maybe tell us just high level, not holding you to this, but a little bit about what you hope to present in the upcoming event. I’m thinking, I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’m trying to figure out what to put in one chapter. And so, the biggest part for me, of course, I’ve talked about a lot today, is our track teams.
And I’d really like to focus on the community that we have been building, and how other people can use that community aspect to grow their businesses. You know, we have what I call our refs, our racers, employees, our I have to consider when I am making decisions on everything that we do with the track.
And so I, I want my folks to know about that a little bit and how that they can incorporate something similar maybe into their business. And, and that applies to not just motorsports, but you know, thinking about those user groups as a, you know, a servant leader and how you, you know use that community to grow your business.
The show and also admission matters is just community and the idea that these communities, these small business owners are really pillars within the community that bring people together, whether it’s a physical location, like what you have as a track, whether it’s a virtual location, all Community is just that, that support system It’s making those connections, and by working together, we’re able to succeed and to build stuff.
I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t have everybody else, so it kind of gets a little emotional about stuff, but you know, the community that we’re building is everything to me, and that’s the reason I keep doing it. Yeah, it’s not easy. Nothing’s that, all the small, we have, this is a real, no, for the, for the small business owners, this is a real thing.
It’s not easy, right? Right, yeah, I mean, it, it’s hard work and, you know, we’re, we’re seasonal, we’re weather dependent. We’re a small track in the middle of nowhere. I have, like, I have logistic issues. You know, it’s just talking with the racing fuel people. And they’re like, well, do you want to take all of your fuel There’s a lot of things that go into everyday stuff, and it’s not an easy job, but I love it because of everybody else.
That’s what we do. That’s what we do here, right? Yeah, right. No, seriously. Michelle, really, it has been a pleasure having you on the show, and I’m so grateful that you’re participating in our very first book. Can’t wait to go out to see the track. Yes. So that being said, if somebody, I want you to look into the camera, if somebody is, if somebody wants to learn more, check out the track or just follow you, whether it’s on social or anywhere else how do they do that?
Well, we, we have a website of course, it’s raceak. com we’re on all of the social medias of Alaska Raceway Park, and then you can follow me personally at Lady Time Bus. Alright. To everybody that’s watching, thank you so much for tuning in. Again, day one of the PRI, excuse me, the PRI show in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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