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Irwindale Speedway VP Calls Out Carmakers For Their Glorification Of Road Racing

Fashionable automobiles are quick. Generally very, very quick. And sometimes even sooner than you could possibly presumably use on public roads. That makes quick automobiles difficult to promote—commercials displaying these quick automobiles racing on public roads may very well be seen as a tacit endorsement of unlawful road racing, and massive carmakers would by no means do this, proper? Proper?

Doug Stokes, VP of Communication at Irwindale Occasion Middle (you recognize, the Speedway) and has spent his life in motorsports. Just lately, Doug noticed the newest of many automotive commercials that confirmed a carmaker’s quick automotive being quick on regular, metropolis streets.


Doug’s no idiot; he is aware of that in commercials, roads are closed, and the whole lot is staged, however there’s no query concerning the implication of the advert: purchase this automotive so you may drive it quick. Anyplace.

Right here’s the advert Doug noticed:

That advert prompted him to write down this open letter to automakers:

An open letter to the business: 09/10/17

Who the hell do I’ve to complain to?

It (was) only a quiet Sunday afternoon, my spouse and I had been watching the U.S. Open finals on TV. There have been, after all, variety of adverts from top-tier corporations … after which there was one, close to the tip of the match, that made the 2 of us whoop louder than the sellout crowd at Flushing Meadows.

The advert that shocked us was a Mercedes-Benz business which exhibits numerous growling drag racing automobiles racing in opposition to a brand new mannequin Mercedes. The machines (together with a humorous automotive, a dragster, and a full-out drag bike and the Mercedes) line up curb to curb on what seems to be like a metropolis road, a visitors gentle goes inexperienced … and the machines leap ahead in a five-wide drag race … the Mercedes will get to the tip of the block first. Apparently it wins what seems to be the whole lot like a patently unlawful road race and the voice over signifies what Mercedes mannequin it was and signifies that it might be a good suggestion for the folks watching to purchase this automotive … I assume based mostly on its “monitor” … er, road racing file.*

I frankly don’t assume that it was the perfect instance of “The Finest or Nothing” slogan that tags the advert.

Likewise, a latest (no less than right here in Los Angeles) TV business exhibits two late mannequin BMW’s seemingly racing one another by means of a (it appears) abandoned industrial website with a fast close-up of one other (was it one of many two road racers?) BMW cornering very onerous, so onerous that the driving force must crank in an enormous quantity of reverse to maintain management because the automotive slides proper as much as a painted double line that’s NOT on a race course, however apparently on a traditional road someplace.

There you go, “The Final Driving Machine” going means, means too quick apparently on metropolis streets.

After which we’ve Fiat-Chrysler working an entire flight of TV adverts that present a variety of means too quick actions with two (or extra) automobiles fairly apparently racing one another. After all constructing a automotive (the Dodge Demon) that’s banned from competing in “as delivered” kind by the NHRA, after which bragging about it in print in fanatic magazines says: (no less than to my ear) “Race this one the road, as a result of it’s so highly effective that NHRA needs you to put in an enormous outdated honking roll cage when you ever need run it on the drag strip.”

A fast phrase about myself if I’ll, I’m the VP of communications at Irwindale Occasion Middle situated about 20 miles East of Los Angeles. We function a half-mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval and an eighth-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip. We opened the drag strip in 2000, and it’s the one one in southern California that operates on a weekly foundation all 12 months lengthy. Hundreds upon hundreds of drivers (younger, outdated and in between) have used our facility to have some protected, managed, high-speed enjoyable with their efficiency automobiles. It’s nearly not possible to show a destructive, nevertheless, I believe that our drag strip has helped to dampen unlawful road racing within the space.

And, from that perspective I really feel that I can say the next:

… Yeah, positive, yup, appropriate, you’re proper; I do know these business are a fantasy, harmless, innocuous metaphors, merely flights of promoting license.

Alternatively, all the above car commercials most blatantly painting and seem to glorify unlawful road racing. (And supering-in some type of tiny “closed course, don’t try” display screen when the most well liked mannequin Dodge automobiles are purposely seen racing with one another (or in earlier TV adverts, joyfully driving proper by means of the center of an idyllic outside wedding ceremony celebration knocking over tables and scattering folks like a terrorists.)

Lastly and on to all three of the above producers, in addition to any others that I’ve missed:


All of you recognize which you can present the enjoyable of cool, excessive efficiency driving with out utilizing (and thereby glamorizing) typically lethal and unlawful road racing (no how a lot you see it as innocent advertising hyperbole ).

You’re all higher than that, I’m positive.

Doug Stokes

PS: I’d like to ask anybody within the business (who needs to see what I’m speaking about) out for one in every of our “Thursday Evening Thunder” occasions at Irwindale Dragstrip. Heck … I’ll even purchase you a sizzling canine, soda, and a bag of chips.

It’s price emphasizing, as Doug talked about in his letter, that he’s not in opposition to quick driving. In any respect. In actual fact, Irwindale has been offering a protected place for folks to take their quick automobiles for years, and even has a weekly occasion to let anybody race their very own automotive for less than $20.

Doug has makes some actually good factors right here; road racing kills folks, these concerned within the race and in any other case, and automotive producers ought to come clean with their involvement and glorification of racing on public roads.


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