PAINTED POST, N.Y. — Story and Audio by Race Chaser Online New York Dirt Correspondent Steven Ovens — Dave Dalesandro photo —
Ted White has emerged in the Southern Tier as a dirt track promoter that is labeled as a “Racer’s Promoter”. He’s also a “Fan’s Promoter” and an “Employee’s Promoter”. Over the course of his tenure as the owner/promoter of the Steuben County clay bullring, White has built Woodhull up to be a facility that others can look upon as the blueprint for how a dirt track can sustain itself in the toughest financial climate that auto racing has ever encountered.
“I didn’t ever think I’d own a race track and at one point, we have even considered owning a second but I don’t think that can really happen,” White told Race Chaser Online over the weekend.
The options for our entertainment dollar are as large as they have ever been. Between other area auto racing facilities, recreational and professional sports, fine dining and the wine capital of the Eastern United States- White has a lot to compete with. How has Woodhull competed with this and found a way to thrive?
“Our prices are close to what they were when we took over as the owners,” said White Saturday during the season-ending awards banquet.
“We’ve tried to stay in line (on prices) and we can do that because we have great sponsors, fans, VIP Booth rentals and great food options.”
Woodhull Raceway has become the local dirt track that fans flock to on Saturday night, because their local dirt track has become the place to be. The ticket prices are affordable, the food is also affordable for one-stop entertainment and dining. Another reason White points to is their continued efforts to not cancel due to rain whenever they feel they have a window to get their shows in.
“People bring their umbrellas to the track because they know that we are going to do everything we can to get the show in, we’ve set that precedence for ourselves.”
The passion that drives White and his team to get those ‘iffy’ weather shows in is what drives the passion of the Woodhull Raceway fan base. White recalled a loyal, blue-collar fan who walks up to him every year to contribute $500 toward the raceway’s efforts in whatever the donation can be used toward. The fan loves Woodhull Raceway and wants it to continue to succeed with his anonymous donation. How many race tracks can retell a story like that?
In case you were pondering that, the answer is not many.
Now that the season is over, White’s job has only just begun. The dirt track offseason for a promoter is just as busy, if not busier, than he is with the weekly upkeep and track preparation during the season.
“I can sell my track because I believe in it. But staying on top of the marketing side of the racing industry is by far the hardest part of running a race track. The good thing at Woodhull- we have loyal sponsors that have been supporting and continue to support the track since day one.”
Ted White sat down with us to talk racing, track ownership, promotion, Short Track Super Series and why Woodhull Raceway is the best kept secret in the Southern Tier.