Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Cheap Seats: Bristol Motor Speedway Earns Some Redemption for 1 NASCAR Fan

This past week, I was contacted by a longtime, irate reader of this column. No, it wasn’t the reading, my column or even that she had been irate for a long time, but rather she was pissed at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is her story.

Earlier this year, this young lady and her significant other had purchased their first home together. Needless to say, money was tight. Being ardent race fans for a long time and now living within a couple hours drive of their favorite track, she did manage to scrape up enough to buy, for the first time, season tickets to BMS.

At the time of this purchase, she was also offered garage passes for a price (albeit a fair one). Unfortunately she had to decline at the time, but she asked and was assured that the passes would still be available at the same price until they were sold out.

She was further told (again, after she asked) the track would still have plenty for sale as the summer wore on and there would be plenty of time to get said garage passes for the August night race.

She scrimped, she saved, she fed her significant other lower-quality meals and even went so far as to only put one piece of bologna on the significant other’s sandwiches as she packed his lunch for work. OK, OK … I made some of that up, but she did scrimp and save. Just exactly how, I cannot say with any authority.

At any rate, the day finally came when she made the call to purchase the garage pass. Imagine her surprise (and her following mood) when she was told that they were no longer available because “that particular price and availability was a limited time thing.” In her rage, she decided to contact me.

Exactly what she thought I could do for her was somewhat of a mystery to me, I mean heck, I’m no Woodward or Bernstein by any means. In fact, I have always strived, or more accurately, wished, I could be more like a Hunter Thompson-type even though I doubt my liver could hold out if I was.

I did manage to get called a lot of bad names by the late, great David Poole once a few years ago and have assailed a managing editor or two with the occasional slurred, late-night email or phone call (usually after bowling league night) unhappy about a perceived butchering of a fantastic column, but that’s about it. But contact me she did, so I told her I would try to help and offered her some advice.

After providing her with some sympathy and consoling words, I suggested she email a few higher ups in the chain of command at the world’s fastest half mile, right up to the still-new General Manager, Jerry Caldwell. I suggested she be polite in her email and refrain from using some of the verbiage she used when contacting me.

I suggested she explain, as she had to me … with a little less detail perhaps…the situation, what she was told when she, as a season ticket holder, tried to purchase the garage passes and ask these higher ups why, for the love of God (or Bob, if the notion of a deity annoys you), would a fan, not to mention a season ticket holder, be treated like that ESPECIALLY after all their crying about low attendance numbers?

I even instructed her, if she tended to write like I just did, with such long sentences and all, to put plenty of commas in there so the reader can catch his/her breath.

To further bolster her possibly misinformed faith of my powers, I told her, depending on the results of her email, that I would either a) write a very nasty, not so nice, cut yer throat and hope you bleed out, let the world (or a few thousand peeps anyway) know how you treated this poor young couple, remember how I tore up NAMRF column, or b) write a happy, lilting, there is hope for NASCAR after all and BMS done good and all is well with the world, column.

I am happy to announce that this is, in fact, ‘b’!

After sending her email to the higher ups, she was emailed AND called by Gail Hulse, BMS’s Director of Fan Initiatives. Hulse informed my faithful reader that the person in the front office who told her the passes were no longer available and that it was a ‘promotional price’ was in fact WRONG! BMS’s GM, Jerry Caldwell was cc’d on all correspondence as well.

While the coveted garage passes were not discounted in any way, nor was any other incentive given for suffering through this stressful ordeal, they were offered at the original price quoted earlier this year along with many a tearful apology by Hulse. OK, OK … you’re right, I made up the ‘tearful’ part! It’s just that I so rarely get to write a happy, lilting, all is well, column and I wanted to practice the use of ‘literary license’ as I so seldom get to use it.

So there you have it. A fan was happy, a fan was pissed, fan politely reasoned with corporate, corporate actually did the right thing, the fan was happy again and now this writer has fulfilled his promise and provided his editors with some down right pleasant copy!

I love it when a plan comes together! My doo-rag is off to all those at BMS who made this a happy ending!

Stay off the wall (but don’t be afeared to stand atop it and holler if you have to every now and then!)

Jeff Meyer

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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