Arena Racing USA Partners with Joe Gibbs Racing
Charlotte to Host First Licensed Arena Racing USA Operation
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (June 12, 2006) - Rain at a race track? Not when it
has a roof.
Arena Racing USA, which has been sanctioning indoor stock car races in
Virginia since 2003 at the Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope, has
partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing to expand arena racing to Charlotte, and
eventually, cities across America.
Arena Racing USA features half-scale stock cars capable of 100 mph, but
are confined to a 1/10th mile banked, indoor race track. The track is
portable and fits inside the confines of a hockey rink. Arena Racing USA's
Charlotte home will be the Cricket Arena on Independence Blvd.
Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and head coach of the NFL's
Washington Redskins, and Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, are
backing Arena Racing USA's Charlotte effort, along with Joe Gibbs Racing
drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley.
"Norm Miller saw this concept and loved it," said Gibbs. "He sold his
vision of arena racing to me, and I'm a firm believer in it. It provides
great competition at a time of year when motorsports is typically dormant.
Plus, it's a cost-effective way to get started in racing."
"Arena racing provides the most exciting, in-your-face motorsports action
available," said Ricky Dennis, founder and CEO of Arena Racing USA. "It's
affordable too. While the cost of other sporting and entertainment events
continues to increase, tickets for arena racing events are just $12 for
adults and $5 for kids.
"The sport is also affordable for competitors. All of the racing is
local, so the travel costs are minimal. We also use a spec race car that we
manufacture. The only thing a team can adjust is the setup of their race
car. This not only allows for cost containment, but guarantees competitive
racing that will produce different winners.
"And best of all, we race indoors, so weather is never a factor."
Arena Racing USA is managed by The Racing Group LP, a consortium
consisting of Joe Gibbs Racing; Tom and Norm Miller of Interstate Batteries;
Gary Becker, the former CEO of PACE Motor Sports and part of the Becker
family who owned and operated PACE Entertainment before selling it to SFX
Sports Group; and Dennis.
"We've all seen the growth of the Arena Football League during the past
20 years, and we feel strongly that Arena Racing USA is the next sporting
property to take hold in America," said Becker. "Half-scale race cars
competing in such an intimate environment give the fans a special
understanding of what race car drivers see and feel on the race track."
The Arena Racing USA regular schedule will take place primarily during
the racing off-season, from November to March. With the successful launch of
the Charlotte operation, Arena Racing USA will license a geographical
property to a third party, and that party will provide the infrastructure
necessary to create Arena Racing USA entities in other cities.
Relationships with owners of minor league hockey, baseball and basketball
teams, Arena Football League teams, and local short track operators are
being cultivated, as they already have the infrastructure in place to
operate this new business.
"I love any kind of racing, but arena racing struck me as something that
could really take off," said Stewart. "I've raced midgets and sprint cars
indoors and there's definitely an added level of excitement. When I found
out you could do the same thing with a half-scale stock car, but on a banked
track with 14 other cars around you while making laps in under 10 seconds, I
"I drove in the Arena Racing Series a few years ago in Norfolk," said
Hamlin, a Virginia native. "I won a few features and also met Dale (Earnhardt)
Jr., there. It was awesome.
"It's an ingenious idea and I like it a lot. It's not a matter of if
arena racing is going to be successful. It's a matter of when. Needless to
say, I'm pretty happy to be a part of bringing arena racing to Charlotte.
It'll give others the opportunity to either begin their racing careers or
just have the time of their lives."
Yeley echoed those sentiments. "Just like Tony, I raced midgets and
sprint cars in arenas during my USAC days. And he's right, it's a cool
experience. Plus, you really hone your skills because there's not much room
November 2006 is the target month for Arena Racing USA to be functional
with its Charlotte operation.
"The appeal of arena racing is that its races aren't decided on who has
or spends the most. It's about competition, and giving race fans the
opportunity to see stock car racing in a fan-friendly environment during a
time of year when conventional, outdoor racing isn't feasible," said Dennis.
"Creating local heroes in our sport is also important. Allowing local
drivers to race in their local arena in front of fans, friends, families and
co-workers is one of the many positive aspects of arena racing."