In an effort to revitalize the Motordrome Speedway, President Todd Melfi is working hard to return the raceway to something special. Once a proud Westmoreland County sports institution, the Speedway had fallen on hard times prior to Melfi purchasing it earlier this year.
The Smithton-based track had not seen improvements for the past six years or so. At times, there was even doubt if it would remain open.
Under Melfi’s guidance, capital improvements to the facility are now a priority, both immediate and over the long term — upgrades such as a new track surface, new grandstands and new suites, among other amenities.
Once the upgrades are in place, Melfi envisions Motordrome scheduling larger, regional and national touring series, and in the future adding a number of non-racing events such as concerts, craft shows and wine and music festivals.
“I want to rebrand the facility and run it on a professional level that rivals any other minor league sports team/venue in the country,” he says.
“Because that truly is what Motordrome is all about — local NASCAR stars trying to progress their career to the next level, as well as true hobbyists that see the track as a playground for them and their families to come to each and every Friday night in the summer.”
Creating a buzz
Melfi wants to stabilize and grow the grass-roots, weekly racing program while creating a buzz about racing in the Pittsburgh metro area.
In an effort to increase awareness, he has partnered with the top radio stations in the Steel City targeting the racetrack’s core demographic of adults ages 25 to 54.
“Men and women in this age group typically enjoy racing and the excitement of the sport,” Melfi says. “They also have kids and are looking for new and exciting things to do as a family.”
Already the increased exposure has led to success in securing corporate partnerships, and the benefits are twofold.
As Melfi puts it, “Our corporate sponsors understand the value of a partnership that we can leverage to not only yield a positive return for them, but to also lean on them to help promote the facility and drive attendance.”
Recently, Motordrome entered into a multiyear marketing partnership with UPMC Health Plan that will extend through the 2016 season. UPMC Health Plan will receive extensive branding at the track, along with on-site display opportunities, advertising and hospitality.
“This new ownership team brings real energy to our region and we are happy to be alongside them for what should be an exciting ride,” says Sheri Manning, vice president of marketing and communications for UPMC Health Plan.
UPMC Health Plan adds to the impressive roster of corporate partners that the track has signed on in the first year of new ownership, including brands such as Pepsi, Miller, Oakley and Subway.