Q&A: Scott Paddock on AMSOIL Championship Snocross at Route 66

All photos: Route 66 Raceway
0 Comments

Chicagoland Speedway and its sister track, Route 66 Raceway, in Joliet, Ill. are better known for hosting NASCAR, IndyCar and the NHRA.

So as the calendar turns to March, you might be wondering why or how Chicagoland or Route 66 could be used during what’s usually the dead of winter.

IMGP0888

Route 66 comes alive this weekend though with the AMSOIL Championship Snocross series on Friday and Saturday, for the Hollywood Casino Joliet Snocross National presented by Hayes Brake.

It’s the second annual running of the family-friendly event, and provides speed, action and snow racing during the winter months (more information available here and via Route66Raceway.com).

We caught up with track president Scott Paddock for a quick Q&A leading into the event:

IMG_0338

MST: So for a bit of background, explain what this event is and what fans/viewers could expect?

SP: “It’s an amazing event. I think when ISOC, when they looked to expand their footprint to the Chicagoland market, the Speedway was always on their list. As they were looking and surveying the area for a relevant venue, they approached us. We’ve performed some due diligence, and attended a few of their events. We thought, ‘This could be a hit.’

“We introduced it to the market last year. We’re bringing it back for year two because the atmosphere was electric and exciting. The word-of-mouth coming out of the weekend and the feedback was incredible, so we had to bring the event back.

“For the industry, they love the venue. In a lot of their careers, it’s the first time with backdrop of a drag strip there. They’ve contoured a really cool course. There’s some incredible berms, so with action and excitement, it’s a win for our fans and for our drivers.”

MST: How do you put this course together?

SP: “We’ve put a 10-foot base of snow in that we’ve been making since mid-January. It’s about to be there. Last year’s configuration started at south end of the grandstands. We had 15-20 snowmobiles. Hitting it out of the shoot there. They’d go … and intersect. It wasn’t just straightaways. There were plenty of roundabouts and cut-throughs that literally propelled these guys 60 feet in the air.

“We’re literally trajecting the length of an NBA court, 60 feet in the air. It reminded me in some respects of stock car racing, where the field was bunched up or spun out. The analogy was like stock car racing on snowmobiles, however this aerial acrobatics was by design.”

IMG_0185

MST: How do you sell a winter event, since you generally assume there’s no winter track activity?

SP: “You hit on it – it’s a winter event. People have been locked up indoors, for months. Everyone has cabin fever. Local drag racers can’t wait until April. This is a great opportunity to come out with the family, come out to an event that’s indoor/outdoor, where you can have a great time.

“It’s kind of a shiny new toy. The word of mouth is incredible. We’re certainly marketing the event through relevant publications, snowmobile dealers, but we had fans from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan. They came from far distances to come. It’s not unlike a NASCAR audience that will travel 300 miles.

“We were told by ISOC officials that by year three, these events tend to build hold and equity. It’s tough weather in Februrary, so we moved it back to early March. The forecast looks incredible, with high 30s, low 40s… so perfect conditions.

We thought that the early March timeframe was good. You can still make the snow, but it’s comfortable. There’s still plenty of indoor seating. Club seating, Route 66 suites, and a huge warming tent, with other content, merchandise, food and beverage. ISOC does a great job. It’s a great family environment.”

MST: How are ticket sales going compared to last year? 

SP: “It’s ahead of last year’s race thus far, but it’s definitely a walk-up crowd. If you get the awareness out there, it’s similar to NHRA drag racing. If you’ve got good weather and good marketing, you’ll generally get a good walk-up gate.”

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
0 Comments

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.