Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

February 5, 2014

Botkin hits Gas City with fresh ideas

New I-69 Speedway promoter wants to take the track "a notch higher."

Trophy Dashes, midgets on a weekly basis and a different plan of attack are just a few things that new promoter Mel Botkin has in mind for his first season at the Gas City I-69 Speedway.

Botkin, the owner of John Wolfe’s No. 3M during a pair of championship seasons at the track, noted he still is talking to folks and trying to come up with ideas in hopes of bringing fans out in droves.

“I am a retired school teacher and a basketball referee,” said Botkin. “So, over the years I’ve learned to treat people a certain way and I feel like I know how to motivate people. I think those are qualities that are essential in running a race track. Not saying that anyone did anything wrong in the past, Jiggs [Thomason] did an outstanding job. I hope to come up with some different ideas though to make things different from any other track. To make the fans have a good time and look forward to coming back next week.”

The first change, Botkin noted, was the Trophy Dash.

“I want to pay each driver who races in it [Trophy Dash],” he said. “We will take the fastest six qualifiers and draw for position for the Dash. Maybe have the drivers who compete throw in one of their T-shirts. Then after the race is completed, maybe have the drivers available to the fans for a few minutes to sign autographs.”

Another change Botkin is leaning towards is single car qualifying rather than drawing pills or group qualifying.

“I’ve been to Kokomo and other tracks that use the group qualifying and I really think that we could go with single car qualifying and get completed in roughly the same amount of time,” he said. “If you look at tracks that group qualify, there is a lot of time wasted while all the cars in each group make their way to the track, then to get spread out before taking the green.”

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