What NHRA President Glen Cromwell Learned from the PRO Superstar Shootout Drag Racing Show

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Audi Motorsport Communications

Unknown 0:08

Cromwell from the HRA,

Unknown 0:10

you're not from the nhrp. You're from Michigan. Who you kid. Not exactly, but we'll take you doing good, sir.

Unknown 0:20

Good. How are you?

Unknown 0:21

I'm doing great. Have a great

Unknown 0:24

life and you're still what outside of you, Jackson.

Unknown 0:29

I'm still in Jackson. I grew up in Kalamazoo, but I'm in Jackson now. So it's one of those great weeks where it's 70 degrees one day and 30 to the next. So it's it's been great. It's been a great time.

Unknown 0:41

All my buddies, high school buddies from hazard Michigan keep texting me bragging that it's 70 degrees and they're golfing while yeah, nice and cold and rainy out here. In Southern California.


Unknown 0:54

It's been saying for the last 10 days. I mean, we really we've had a couple of high 60s We had 70 I think on Sunday, but then you know, Monday it was 32 degrees and today it's like 40. And you know, drizzly so who knows, but I mean, I tell you what we found like hardly any snow here in the last month. It's been great.

Unknown 1:10

Great. Great I guess for the folks at Boeing Highland and Boyne mountain I'm not sure they're already happy,

Unknown 1:18

right? That's not That's not my neighborhood. I you know, I can't live with those people anyway, so maybe it's good to they come down to the down to me for a while. Hey, while I gotcha. I mean, you guys are coming off a great season. Archer. I mean

Unknown 1:31

Oh man. I mean a really strong season. You know from all levels from racing to you know, we had great crowds sellout crowds you know, all I mean, coming off a great season which leads into 2024 that I gotta I gotta be honest, my you probably my 26 years here. There's probably this is probably the most momentum and excitement around the start of a season that I've ever been part of. Truly 26 years they may just coming off in 2023 Going into 2020 for a new series sponsor, with Mission Foods. A whole bunch of I mean, we have more participation at all levels from the professional sportsman, Pro Mod factory stock mount motors, et racing, we got our new factory X category that's going to be doing exhibitions this year. But no, I the sport is is incredibly strong. And I think you know, we've got some great things happening in 2024 and beyond for sure. Well,

Unknown 2:46

you got some you had some distant

Unknown 2:47

incredible storylines that you put to bed last year with colletta winning finally, I mean, how much how much fun was that? You know, Tony Stewart's news and gels and pays news. I mean, there were a lot of just a lot of fun stories that you couldn't have predicted a year ago today, you know, and that's, that's probably part of the fun of your deal there. You just don't know what's gonna be you know what's gonna be next but it definitely worked out for you.

Unknown 3:12

Yeah, that's, that's any trade drag racing for sure. It's the right you know, the Dakota story. I mean, I think everybody in the in the nhp racing community was rootin for rootin for dog for sure. And you know, to see Tony and in the news come out at PRI with him, taking over the seat for his wife. So that they you know, they're gonna start a family, which I think is a great decision and I'm happy for Leah and Tony and, and then, and Jill. Watch. Oh, here she comes.

Unknown 3:48

Right. Yeah, you're talking about you're gonna bring a lot of eyeballs and a lot of popularity to that. I mean, it's gonna be a lot of fun there's no question about it glam. I'm excited for you because I know that you know, especially these first couple of events there's gonna be such a buzz and with with Tony out there. You know, Tony is interesting because we've talked about Tony for the last 18 months or so with the series, but this jump to tap fuel that he's making is huge. And I mean, it's amazing how somebody who's never won a raise at that level is now the face of the series probably. Well,

Unknown 4:19

I mean, I think we're excited and I mean, we're promoting Tony and and, you know, he brings a fan base with him, as you are well aware of from all levels of motorsports, and he's had a lot of success. And he's gonna He's going to give his best shot in in the, you know, Mission Foods in a tree drag racing series. And I think it's great to have him but listen, you can't forget about all of our other drivers or athletes and of course, you know, John force, you know, go John is coming out. You know, he's, he's gonna do some wonderful things in 2024. I know that for sure. No

Unknown 5:06

quiet ready to go. You know me Glen. I'm not overlooking the guys you've had but this these other guys I hate to say it these other guys have been their storyline for the last two decades. Just listen as close as you've got to a hot rookie, you know that you've had this is great. I mean,

Unknown 5:22

it is it is crazy. I'm Tony but here here so really amazing thing, Mike that gets me excited. Because I think it's a it's a gauge of the health of the sport, is we have more racers coming in. More athletes coming in this year than I've seen. In past years. You know, you've gotten Of course, Tony, you've got Shawn Reed you got EDA, you've got Billy torrents coming out with a full schedule. You got Travis Shoemake. You got Jasmine Salinas. Dave Richards is picking up a full ride, Daniel Wilkerson, you know taking over for his dad, body Hall. I mean, coffins coming out, Junior, the postdoc ranks. So in there, there are more that I'm not even bringing up here. But if that doesn't tell you that the excitement in the momentum around this series is at its height. It tells you the story right there. This is great. It's great to see these. These. These racers come in and go for a championship for sure. Well,

Unknown 6:32

I guess Can I cut right to like a controversial topic? Because I'm monitoring the progress that

Unknown 6:39

they had here a couple of weeks ago. I don't know how much you took notice of that cared about that or what? What was your stance on that? Because it did. I want it kicked off the season and really kind of started the ball rolling, which was nothing. Well, absolutely,

Unknown 6:55

no, it was a great event and PRL did a really good job and some of the other people that were involved did a great job and you know, we were working with pro and I don't really, I think people made some controversial statements around it or we we're not taking that position. And we were excited in pro wanted to try some new things and they, they did some new things and those those are things that they shared with us and we're going to take some of those key learnings and put those to use at at the Mission Foods in a true drag racing series. So no, I think they did a great job and it was a great way to kick off the season with with a show and some testing down there. bradington Yeah, I

Unknown 7:44

totally get it. I just didn't know what your take was on it. Because there were some rumblings of, hey, we're going to show the HRA how it can be done. We're going to we're going to pay some real money. We're going to we're going to change up the way we do our the eliminations just to kind of jazz that up for the fans and stuff. And I don't know how you took some of that stuff.

Unknown 8:04

Listen, I think I'm excited that our racers are athletes are professionals. You know, we all want the sport to grow and they want to do some new things and in I think it's great. They went out and they did some new things and they had some success and happy for them. And we have been talking with br RO, before, during and after the event. And we're going to take some of those great learnings and put them to use for sure.

Unknown 8:37

Can you maybe address one or two things you might try to carry over from that or put into your future playbook, I guess?

Unknown 8:45

Well, I can tell you, you know, some of the things that they did some great communication. They had a nice platform that they did to commute. Communicate with the teams better. They did great with some signage, I think, I think they dressed up the facility. Very professional looking. You know, and there's, you know, they did three qualifying runs on one day, which, you know, we've we've had some talk about whether or not we would do something like that in the near future. Great.

Unknown 9:19

Great. I

Unknown 9:20

just thought it was a cool way to get people talking about any charity as early in the season as they did. And it was kind of neat, and in fact that colletta wins again. I mean, that kind of shows. Hey, 2023 wasn't a fluke. This is this is kind of the new, a new sheriff in town. I guess you could say and that's kind of I thought that was kind of cool that you can build off of that, you know, in the least the first part of the season. A lot of good stuff. I agree came out of that. And I'm curious where it goes. I mean, if they're going to commit to doing this every year more than once during the year. I don't know what they're looking at right now. I'm kind of trying to I'm gonna go get somebody that Monday morning quarterback and from that and but you know, but I thought it was cool i their relationship with with flow racing was it is what it is when you start getting into the into the some of the streaming stuff as you know. You know on some on some level for as big as they made that out. I was disappointed maybe for them that that wasn't an over the air TV somewhere. Especially the week it was I mean, it was before the Superbowl there was nothing on TV that day. I mean, it seems like some some partner somebody would have grabbed that and hey, let's put that file on Saturday, or Sunday afternoon. You know, there's nothing going on. As opposed to flow raising, which makes fans kind of work for it. Maybe dig into the water a little bit. That's too scary proposition. They're asking somebody a look for and be you know, find out that they I gotta you know get my card out for that one. So, anyway, that's my two cents I guess.

Unknown 10:54

I thought it was good. You know what I thought Jack, Jack Beckman and Ross Shaheen did a really nice job. So

Unknown 11:01

good. Well, good. I'll offer water on any of the controversy that people want to build on this thing and this was a win win.

Unknown 11:09


Unknown 11:10

you know what? You know, that's that's always controversy is. There's nothing wrong with that, right? No, it was good. It was good. I think some people just made a bigger deal out of it than what it really was. people jumped on it. But I think from the NH ri side, I you know, I always look at things if we can do anything to grow the sport we're on board with and, you know, to get into all that, I think is just, you know, it's ridiculous. No,

Unknown 11:40

great. That's awesome. I appreciate your openness on that. Because that's, that's really that's really cool. You know, you've been talking for the last couple years now, the TV deal. You mentioned last year that you thought you might be able to pull this thing off as early as this summer. Is that still possible?

Unknown 11:57

Well, our TV deal with Fox goes to 2026 Yeah. And, you know, obviously we have agreements with them and we'll start having discussions with them. But you know, as of today, Fox is you know, it's been a great partner. You know, Fox Fs one and what they have done for the sport with network shows and you know, in of course the, the adjacent NFL event that we have in the fall has been has been spectacular. So, you know, we're extremely happy with Fox. But when that time comes, we'll be prepared to have those discussions with them. Or others. Yeah, that if that opportunity comes,

Unknown 12:51

Well, you are you are the politically correct master. I like that.

Unknown 12:59

You know, like, I love you, but you know, you gotta be careful. I mean, and I'll say this, and I think I know you well enough. i Yeah, off off the record. I mean, off the record. I mean, of course, we're going to be working towards a great opportunity, a great deal, but, you know, you got to be very careful. I mean, Fox has, you know, been with us for many years in in, they've done a great job, but, you know, obviously we'll, we'll take it the market and I just you can't write that. No, I mean, I again, I of course agreement with them and I have to give you that statement, but I can reassure you you know, we will be pushing hard to get a elevate our TV deal, you know, which, which will help the race teams in the racetracks.

Unknown 13:52

Yeah, well, I'm gonna keep calling you every time I see another sport cut a new TV deal because I gotta believe you get more excited. You get more excited every time you see another deal because, you know,

Unknown 14:02

humans to get in all the race teams right? up because they they are they're extremely interested in TV more than they ever have been. Down here. It's

Unknown 14:11

here. No doubt.

Unknown 14:13

I understand. I understand why Listen, look at any sport, Mike right meeting for and whether it's the NFL on down, I mean TV drives to share, right? I mean, that's that's what brings in the money and, you know, our sport in I wouldn't write this right this but our sport is doing it's checking all the boxes. We're checking all the boxes. I mean, I can take you through an hour of bullet points of what is happening this year in our sport, and you'd be like, Wow, Glen, you guys as a as a sport, have checked it all off, you know the only thing you need and deserve is a strong TV deal for many years to come.

Unknown 15:06

You know, I think we talked about this briefly last summer, but I mean, obviously when you see the Amazons and the apples and all these others that are getting involved in pro sports now. I mean, there's just so many more options than there were five years ago for marketing partners and TV partners. So I

Unknown 15:21

I mean, your sports is in a good place, but you know, we've got, we got we got 2020 for 2025 and 2026. So, probably

Unknown 15:32

another year before you really gotta get serious about taking bids and stuff like that, but it's going to be your right now you're in a good spot. I mean, it's a I would have I guess I'd say it's a buyers market and you're sitting there with with a good product, so go for it. Good luck on that. I think that's going to be I agree. No, seriously, that's, that's gonna make a lot of people happy and maybe change your whole your structure that's gonna just take this thing totally to the next level. Anyway, good stuff on the TV stuff. Um, a couple other things with the the NHL ATV product you guys got how's that? How's that going over? Is it? Are you seeing some growth on that? That NHL radar TV

Unknown 16:11

TV on the streaming?

Unknown 16:13

How's that working out? We

Unknown 16:14

we've seen moderate growth, Mike. I mean, it's a great product. I think anyone that that watches it, the feedback we're getting from our customers is that it's a it's a great product are you know, it's tied into our in house production team who does a wonderful job of producing that show on any But yeah, we've we've seen moderate growth and but you know, we're getting great feedback from our customers and our fans on the product. Now I

Unknown 16:53

just I just kind of I've seen the product

Unknown 16:55

I got introduced to it. They finally sent me a free login so I don't have to dig deep anymore. I want to I want to do something on it. This is early in the season. They kind of reduce that a little bit more but that basically there's almost like I guess I'm reading it right it's it's the full day live product. I can watch my I can watch the stuff live as opposed to waiting for that nine o'clock. Replay on Fox F or FS one or whatever. Is that right?

Unknown 17:21

Yeah, it's live. It's live streaming from the first car that we send down the racetrack to the end of the day. You know, includes, you know, all of our oil, racing our other categories, whether it's Pro Mod and factory stock and mountain motors, you know, go down the list, of course, all of our professional categories. So, no, it's a really, it's a great product. It's a great platform, and we definitely have invested some dollars in it. And I think when you see it you'll agree that it's it is a very professional looking streaming platform. I've

Unknown 18:05

got my weekly racing on TV and life live streaming, just basically a TV guy thing I did with the major stuff. And this week as a tribal and I started throwing up all the NA Turri that TV, at least the pro all the clarifying sessions in the, in the live elimination sessions for that, you know, in addition to the Fs, one, nine o'clock, you know, Sunday night thing or whatever they're going to have, so we'll see but I want to check it out myself a little bit more and definitely promote that because I think that's cool. And your event schedules are pretty tight. I mean that you're scheduled follow up pretty closely, I've noticed. So you know, we can put TV times on a lot of that stuff and it's going to be pretty close. You know, because I know that's one of the thing too with live streaming stuff, some of the like some of the short track stuff that we get that they send us like for flow racing or something hey, we're gonna have you know, this week's major races from Berlin raceway up in Michigan. Well What time are the finals gonna be well between nine and 11? You know, I mean, it's, it's, you know, it's it's hard to put a it's hard to put it into a TV guy type of setting. That's one of the problems with some of the streaming stuff is it's hard to put a time out effort to tell a reader or a fan. Hey, here's what time you can catch this. Because things do change quite a bit, but I tell you what, the events I've been to for NHL right I think it's pretty good. I mean, you guys, you know, even you can even survive a couple of downs in your gut you know? It seems like it's pretty good for that event schedule is as good as any.

Unknown 19:35

You know, and I think our schedule is, you know, it's a lot of work from our employees in collaboration with the race teams and our racetracks. I mean, we you will see a even more tightened up schedule in 2024 with turnaround times, time between processions, you know, this is something we work with the teams you know, they we heard that their sponsors, you know, wanted to see more you know, we had too big of a gap there so, we're tightening that up. So, I think from all of our NHL fans are going to benefit you know, both eyesight, and people that are watching on TV are going to see even a better show in 2024 than they have in the past or if exciting.

Unknown 20:28

But people that go to nhrp events who don't go to some other events, they're spoiled rotten, because there's so much downtime at some of these others. You know, series's I mean, you go to an f1 race for instance, you may sit there staring at a blank track for four hours

Unknown 20:44

in the middle of the afternoon, and you're quite deaf one guy Mike I didn't realize I had become an adult You're right. You're right you're right in the thick of all that stuff.

Unknown 20:53

I've kind of I've kind of I don't know it's kind of cool but it's

Unknown 20:57

it's it's not sport when you know who's gonna win. You know, you guys,

Unknown 21:02

you know that all may change here shortly. I guess Max and his dad are great and some

Unknown 21:08

good soap opera stuff. There's nobody touching him. You know, he won the opening race by 22 and a half seconds. You know? We have all these guys are still whining about oh NASCAR sucks blah blah. I don't know who's gonna win the NASCAR race with two laps to go you know I don't know what what what what series is doing it better right now than then NASCAR IndyCar Are you anytime, right? We don't know who's gonna win these events. To me. That's what racing is right. Why Why don't we kind of go out just to find out how much he's gonna win by you know.

Unknown 21:41

Have you have you been to quite a quite a few f1 races? No,

Unknown 21:44

no, no, I didn't get to Vegas. I go to I've been to Kota.

Unknown 21:47

I think they've had 10 coders. I've been to probably seven of those. I love going there. That's that's a fun event. I stayed away from Vegas almost by design this year, because I didn't know what that was going to be. And it was just, you know, all I heard about was the prices the the access and everything was was was was pretty dismal. And and the people that went there kind of came back saying yeah, it was it was a tough race to watch if you were there. And some of those three races go and you can't see more than you know, 20 feet in front of you and you know, it's

Unknown 22:21

plus plus and I get it you know, they're there. They're big audiences. Internet started to start erasing over here in America what of midnight or 11 or

Unknown 22:33

the other Vegas race started at 1am New York time. They could care less about the US market glad they wanted this thing to be at least. You know what it was like six or seven in the morning in London. That's what it was more important. Which is you know, that's weird. It's like, we're gonna go to your neighborhood and tell you that you really don't matter.

Unknown 22:58

And I thought they may change it but they came out afterwards and said they're not going to change it. No,

Unknown 23:03

I was I was shocked at that especially after because they took a lot of grief this year over that. And you know, this year and I don't know if you saw but there was another story coming out of that Vegas thing that just recently we posted I think last week that the county over there. I'm not sure what county Las Vegas is in.

Unknown 23:19

I saw it Did you write that? Yeah,

Unknown 23:22

we wrote that. And we've been kind of following that, that the Vegas county didn't never signed off on this thing. And they're looking at the contract. So yeah, we never did sign that and that was a couple of County Commissioners saying, Hey, I don't know if we need this thing to come back all these years that they want to have it come back, you know, and it's gonna be interesting. But anyway, it's

Unknown 23:44

so you guys, are you guys got fears back, didn't you? Yeah,

Unknown 23:49

I thought Phoenix is back in super exciting news there. And you probably saw this NPRA they came back with a rebrand and have called the track Firebird, which is what it was for 30 years. And if you remember Charlie Allen who facility underneath that brand, actually was it in Indianapolis at PRI on our stage with the rebrand with Casey Buckman making the announcement in that that is that is awesome. You know, and to have Phoenix back is great. You know, we'll be returning to Joliet in Chicago in May and then we're heading over to Richmond in June in Tommy Tommy frequence track they're in Richmond, Virginia is a great racetrack you know from a facility for thought

Unknown 24:46

I was thought that Denver whatever was going to come back you know, it's like come on guys. You can't do this to us.

Unknown 24:54

We go I know it was. We're not we're not doing it on purpose. I promise you.

Unknown 25:00

I was almost like one day I get a thing. This is our last raise at Phoenix two days later than here's the schedule for next year. There's Phoenix. What was funny. All right, I'll let you go here. Good. I do have one more question for you, sir. Is there anything that keeps you up at night these days as far as an HRA or is it all like I'm going to bed it's been a great day.

Unknown 25:21

You know? I think the one thing that keeps me up at night you know is a really focusing on our you know, our grassroots side of our sport Mike and we don't talk about it a lot but you know, our race tracks or member tracks you know, want to make sure that the NH Re is providing them the the service needed and making sure that you know, we're keeping people off the street and putting them into a safe haven and in ironically it goes back to to 1951 What Wally parks started this company as foundation on and that is getting, getting people off the street and getting them in a safe haven and getting them to member tracks. And that's something that we want to make sure that we continue and obviously we've we've seen the elimination of some tracks and and I think that is slowed down tremendously but it's something that we're we're extremely focused on, on making sure that we're building that that position of our our sport strong. So just to find the final thing and I have to say this because in I do mean this this, I know you're gonna say oh Glenn, this is just your your political your little comment but it is true in it and I you know the momentum and the excitement around this year. Like is it really a lot of that credit does go to, you know, our fans and a three fans in the race teams the racetracks and our sponsors, and all the employees because they pulled together coming out at COVID and you look at our sport coming out at 2020 Going into 21 and here we sit in 2024 with all these great things. And it was truly a team effort. It really it really was I mean the sanctioning body does a lot. But without all those stakeholders. We're not We're not in a position we are today.

Unknown 27:26

Well at least you stopped short of saying and if we could get more and more about a COVID We'd be golden.

Unknown 27:34

You can't right.

Unknown 27:38

It wasn't for COVID we wouldn't be where we are today. That's that's how I'm going to take that quote. No, I'm just

Unknown 27:47

saying because we all kind of have moved past COVID Right. About you know whether it was in HRA or Nazca, we all talked about it coming out of COVID and Simon I I'm trying to really get away from that. But I truly I you look at it, and it doesn't happen unless everybody's working together in in. You know, people are I mean, we sometimes have our differences but I will tell you you know, a lot of credit goes to to all those stakeholders. I

Unknown 28:18

want to begin every time I talk to you right I get 15 story ideas. I want to do something this summer on those number track things a little bit more about that what what that entails, how do I get in that club? You know how do you vet those tracks to see if they're, you know, I guess worthy of the nhrp label. And then what they get out of it. I think that could be

Unknown 28:36

we would love to do that because it's something we're extremely focused on and just say you know, around the corner, Mike, I know you talked about TV in 2026. But the other big thing coming in 2026 is an H res 75th anniversary and we're putting big plans together for that. And we you know, from from the grassroots level to the professional level. So 75 years, Wally parks 1959 We are going to come out strong and we are working around the clock and putting that put you know, putting that together even though it's a couple years away,

Unknown 29:18

so is this is this an announcement? You're going to be with the MHRA, at least another three years

Unknown 29:28

stuck with me for another three.

Unknown 29:30

Your Money How old are you now good and you're what?

Unknown 29:33

I'm 58

Unknown 29:34

See, I'm 62 I can't promise anybody three more years. I have a lot of levels. I mean I'm Hope I'm guess hopefully just professional but

Unknown 29:44

if my health if my health can stay on yeah I'm I'm here to be part of it because it really is. I mean, like I don't know I think you know quite a bit about the NHS right but what a great history right? Think about that, you know, and Wally parks and just the history behind it. It's interesting just getting off sidetrack a little. You know, we had some training for our employees during the offseason in January. And within with our relationship, within and out they have a in house training school. And they were kind enough to bring over some of their instructors and they just talked about, you know, customer service and you know, it's all good for us, right because we are in the customer service business. But they really talked about the history of the in and out in that, you know, Harry Schneider 1948 The things that he started in 1948 still exists today in I sat and it really resonated with me and the rest of our team here that were very similar to that you know, what Wally started 1951 You know, with one small group of safety Safari and, you know, seven division directors and going out to not even racetracks, just abandon airstrips and setting up setting up drag strips and bringing in, you know, ambulances and safety teams and in putting a great place to end and it's like, what a great history and we're going to be celebrating that. You know, 2026 will be our second event. You'll start to see some of it next year. In 2025. So,