Speaking with I-80 Speedway owner Joe Kosiski ahead of the $275,000 show – Meet the “Master of Chaos”
This weekend, The Silver Dollar Nationals payout at I-80 Speedway is massive. In the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series portion of the program alone, the payout will reach near $185,000.
The winner will receive a bulk of that, with a $53,000 written in his name. But it doesn’t stop at the winner. The LOLMDS feature will pay out $165,350 through the field, with last place taking home $1,700.
But the payments don’t stop at the feature. The B-Main winner will receive a $3,000 check. The full B-Main payout totals an impressive $16,460. That’s would be strong feature payout at ANY local show. Except, in this case, it’s just the B feature.
Uniquely, the heat races will also net some returns to the top 3. The winners of each heat will net $250.
At the same time, this is more than a Lucas show. Track promoter Joe Kosiski and his two brothers will be paying more than just Lucas drivers. The Malvern Bank Super Late Models, NE360 Sprints, Sports Mods and USMTS are also involved in the race weekend at I-80 Speedway.
In total, the cost of putting on this single show alone is between $260,000-275,000. That’s in sanction agreements as well as driver payout’s.
I had questions. That payout is impressive on so many levels. But, I wondered if the promoter intended to make money at all. In my mind, I see this as a $275,000 marketing expense. While they might not make money this weekend, it draws a lot of attention to the Greenwood, NE dirt track.
Some of you are at home wondering about the 1/2 mile track in Nebraska. What’s going on there? How are they doing that? The track is being discussed. At the same time, it brings people like me in, asking questions. This whole event is marketing, working in full effect.
The Eldora Million certainly didn’t make money the first night. In fact, they are still making payments to Donnie Moran for his win. However, if you pose the question ‘Where did the Million Dollar dirt race take place?’ to any dirt racing fan in the world they will all say ‘Eldora’. That whole race in 2001 was one genius marketing strategy, a bold risk.
And in that situation, it worked. Over the course of the next several years, it paid for itself. Everybody knew about Eldora. People set their travel plans and if they were in the area, they made a stop at Eldora, even if it was just for a weekly show.
On a slightly smaller scale, is that a little bit of what’s going on at I-80 Speedway this weekend?
Yesterday, ahead of practice, promotor Joe Kosiski put on his straw hat and conducted the drivers meeting. Shortly after he climbed from the stand and turned off the microphone, I turned one one of my own. I had some questions…
What does it take to put on a $53,000 to win show?
Joe Kosiski, “Be the master of chaos.”
Well do you expect to make money this weekend or is it a marketing deal overall?
Promoter Joe details the game plan, “A lot of it’s marketing. We expect to make money when we’re all done. I’m not here to lose money. I expect to make money or at least get to the break even point.”
“But it’s a marketing deal that makes so many people wanna be at this racetrack.”
How many spectators do you need to break even?
Kosiski explains how the track might get there, “In the whole grounds, we gotta have about 7,500 people for Saturday. Between what’s in the back, in the the pits and what’s in the grandstands I gotta have about 7,500. That’s if I have a bad day on Friday.”
“If I have a good day on Friday I can get by with 4,500 people [on Saturday].
Does Lucas help out or is it all on you?
Joe Kosiski and his brothers are taking the risk. The I-80 Speedway owner responds, “It all belongs to me and my brothers. We own the racetrack. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Author: Shane Walters