Commentary

Marquis: My response to, and defense of, American Racer

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American Racer is back in the Late Model Stock news headlines …

In recent seasons, AR has attempted to make inroads within the Hoosier-dominated LMSC community. However, its gains are often followed by immediate backlash from the competitors themselves. That’s despite competition to Hoosier intending to provide a benefit to the racers over the long run.

In its response to an article that appeared on Short Track Scene on Sunday morning, American Racer essentially shot the messenger by stating the following:

Although the author of the article was not in attendance and has drawn a conclusion regarding the tires…

This is a statement I somewhat take exception to. I was not at Dominion. My job doesn’t require it considering that I have first-hand accounts and access to those involved. Beyond that, there’s no evidence to suggest that I personally reached any conclusion whatsoever regarding the tires by publishing the report of what a driver said about his experience.

In fact, those who know me best will actually vouch that I’ve been an unyielding defender of American Racer over the past two seasons. When CARS Tour raced on American Racer, it was my personal conviction that it was one of the most captivating aspects of the division.

I still feel that way.

The problem may not even lie with American Racer but with the mentality of teams who are partial to the familiarity of Hoosier Tires. When a Hoosier product fails, drivers often justify a variety of factors — including the possibility that the tire was simply faulty.

But when an American Racer fails, Late Model Stock teams are fast to assess blame directly to the company itself. For this reason alone, AR’s frustration should be directed towards the drivers that threw them under the bus in the first place.

After all, Hoosier hasn’t been free of conflict over the years.

But American Racer didn’t do itself any favors on the public relations front. Instead of issuing a statement that simply stated an intent to investigate any potential tire problems — or what might have caused a tire to disintegrate — AR chose to chastise the media for reporting what a driver said.

American Racer’s statement read, “I want to assure everyone that we have had very few issues at Dominion this season that we have not already addressed”.  The term “very few” doesn’t comfort racers who have had cars destroyed due to tire failures.

It would be of little comfort to those who had blown tires at Orange County last year if I told them that there haven’t been any blown tires at Carteret County where I serve as director of media relations.

After all, as Ronald Reagan said, “a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose your job”.  Reagan’s point is that the economy to the general public, is all about perception. Everything is about perception.

The perception in the Southeast, whether fair or not, is that American Racer tires are inferior to its Hoosier counterparts. It’s up to American Racer to change that perception. Shooting the messenger isn’t going to change that perception.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect Short Track Scene as a whole.

About Andy Marquis

Marquis comes from St. Charles, Maryland and has a widespread background in journalism, having covered politics in Washington and Maryland as well as nearly every form of auto racing, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA Motocross and IHRA Drag Racing. Now living near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Marquis covers Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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