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NickHolt

Facebook and Lone Star Speedzone

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Back in 2002, or so, In response to excessive track-bashing, vulgarity, and downright ugliness on a  couple of online stock car racing  forums, Jason Mutchler, a computer-savvy Corpus Christi high school student with a passion for stock car racing, decided to start a highly-moderated, bash-free forum for stock car racers. Thus, Texas Speed Zone was launched in 2002 with the goal of stopping the BS that he felt was hurting the sport.  

He got in touch with me, an old fart with a reputation for calling out the boo-birds in those early bash-sites, and asked me to be a Texas Speedzone moderator.  We ran the site successfully for almost a year, but after a couple of issues popped up, Jason took the site down. 

A few months later, in January, 2003, he launched a new, improved Texas Speedzone, with me as the moderator once again.  The site has been up ever since, although the name was changed to Lone Star Speedzone when Newstreamz Media took over ownership of the site in 2009 from Terry Dickerson who had purchased the site from Jason a couple years earlier. 

During its heyday, the site would generate between 18,000 and 22,000 unique visitors a month - that's a bunch for a "niche" site. However, due to the ever-growing popularity of Facebook the numbers have gradually declined and we generate about half the numbers we achieved a few years back. Surprisingly, though, the LSSZ numbers remain around 10,000 unique visitors a month during a time when several similar sites have disappeared. 

As we all know, Facebook has become the place to bash others, make threats, launch track boycotts, spew vulgar language and act like spoiled brats.  After nearly every event, someone is on there bashing away at the track, its officials and fellow competitors. And there's no way promoters can counteract the harm the hate-mongers inflict. This free-for-all makes stock car racing increasingly unacceptable to many future fans, future competitors and future sponsors. Folks who bash on social media are hurting the sport in a major way.  

Of course, I'm preaching to the choir here because most of the notorious bashers won't set foot on Lone Star Speedzone.  They have learned that Nick will not allow them to use LSSZ as a platform for their venom or allow the site to become the complaint department for any track. And I could care less that some of them have negative things to say about me and the site - it's their problem, not mine.

What really does bother me, though, is that Texas short track owners and promoters do not use LSSZ to it's full potential.  In spite of the costs of running this site, there is no charge to any Texas short track to use the site to communicate with their customers whether they be racers, spectators or sponsors. I invest a lot of time and effort into keeping this place clean and orderly for our Texas racing community. I just hope Texas promoters will utilize the site more in the future.

I hope that's not asking too much... 

Nick

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Nick.... Thanks for all you do! We know ..... like some race tracks this to will end some day! Until then my friends and I will continue to enjoy the chatter we read daily! God bless you and your family through this Holiday Season! Rick Sinard

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WELL where else can you go to read up on my hog wash .I mean I would be missed in the most happiest thoughtful  ways ,besides your head will get stiff from not moving back and forth with dismay .man this dude is nuts dumb stupid a pain in the ace and wished he would just shut up ..

 

Nick some of us still believe lssz has a place right here where it belongs ..

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Nick thanks for keeping LSSZ going, it's part of my daily ritual and it is a great place to buy and sell racing stuff from fellow racers. I hope you keep it going and I agree with you about the race track promoters, what a great free place to market their tracks. Have a safe Holiday Season and hope to see you around the track next season. 

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Nick, 

i couldn’t agree more with you. And i am talking about how the tracks use of the site, or lack of use for that matter. Since i do not do the book face or tweeter deal, i personally rely on the forum for all my racing information. I try and travel to several big 2 day shows a year, and support as many tracks as i am able to. They would all be well served to keep those of us in the loop who rely on this forum.

 

Greg Railsback

Cypress, TX

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I joined TSZ in 2002 and immediately got hooked, then agonized when it went down for rebuilding. My profile shows I've been a member since Jan. 8, 2003 so I assume that's when the site came back up.

I depend on LSSZ. To me  it's too much trouble to go on the websites of each individual track and FB is just a pain in the a$$ to have to become a member or friend of each group. Plus, how do you keep up with new groups that are being formed. LSSZ is so easy to navigate through and I can keep up with multiple tracks, as well as news about racing in general. And Nick, you keep the BS in control so I don't get pissed off and feel like I have to respond to some bozo that doesn't have a clue what he's talking about (and I can depend on Nick to jerk my chain if I happen to be that bozo).:o:wacko:

The tracks in this area are all guilty of underutilizing LSSZ. I don't know how you change that, but from my stand point I would rather see them redirect their energy from FB, Twitter, etc. to keeping up their LSSZ space.

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The 3 South Texas dirt tracks have their schedules up on face book but not here this is where I for one come firsts the see what is happening.  I don't understand not using this site.

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It's a mystery to me, but perhaps LSSZ has outlived its usefulness to the racing community.

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The schedules should be pinned to the top of every track. For those of us that use this sight for all of our racing info.

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FaceBook is an easy plate form to share.  one push of a button and a post is shared to millions of people.  it is the ultimate forum.  Is there a way for this board to set up RSS feeds to watch and post any thing that gets created on a tracks facebook page? 

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4 minutes ago, Nathan said:

FaceBook is an easy plate form to share.  one push of a button and a post is shared to millions of people.  it is the ultimate forum.  Is there a way for this board to set up RSS feeds to watch and post any thing that gets created on a tracks facebook page? 

It certainly is an easy platform and it is a very effective way to communicate with those who "Like" your page.  I use FB too for those very reasons.

But, there are two main problems when it comes to tracks and race series using FB exclusively.

1) You're only reaching those who already subscribed to the FB page or the track website.  LSSZ reaches far beyond that group. 

2) Disgruntled racers / fans have figured out that FB is an easy way to complain about just about everything that doesn't suit their fancy.  In many cases, promoters have had to spend a bunch of time and effort to deal with the negativity. That time would be better spent doing positive things that need doing at the track.

LSSZ has a much wider reach and we moderate the forums almost continuously to prevent the forums from becoming the complaint department for disgruntled folks. 

But Reb has it right. You can't force anyone to use LSSZ. If the tracks don't feel it's a valuable resource for them, they are making a big mistake in my opinion.

Nick

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I agree this site is the best place to get comprehensive information. Your point #2 is the big one anybody can jump on there and just let it fly. Nothing like a potential fan, driver or better yet sponsor or investor jumping on a track FB page and reading what a terrible and mis-run place it is. Used to get friends that would ask... why do you keep going to the race track;  from what I see on the FB page seems like a rough place to spend a Saturday.

 

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I look at it that this is the place to get the inside skinny from the racers/promoters point of view.  Face book is for the advertisement angle. 

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On Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 8:41 AM, RodneyRodriguez said:

"Nothing like a potential fan, driver or better yet sponsor or investor jumping on a track FB page and reading what a terrible and mis-run place it is"

 

I agree with this in part…..

 

I agree you don’t need some drunken fan or friend of a driver/team that feels his or her idol was cheated out of a win by another driver or track. Social media is full of Budweiser Bullies, and they will always have a negative opinion unless driver A wins.

 

I disagree with trying to candy coat, shelter from or censor constructive criticism. If you are a business owner, negative comments are just as important as positive ones. Most businesses don’t make changes based on a thumbs up from a client, they react and adjust to negative feedback, at least the successful businesses do. I assume a racetrack is operated as a business.

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Can appreciate that, there are ways to pass on feedback and opinion via social media and should be embraced and appreciated. Better yet pick up the phone and have a conversation.

in the case of these race track businesses it is not usually that, not even close to that its just straight up bashing these businesses constructive stuff absolutely pass that on. 

With that having an administrator or moderator like LSSZ has always a great hire as well.

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11 hours ago, direct-flo said:

I disagree with trying to candy coat, shelter from or censor constructive criticism. If you are a business owner, negative comments are just as important as positive ones. Most businesses don’t make changes based on a thumbs up from a client, they react and adjust to negative feedback, at least the successful businesses do. I assume a racetrack is operated as a business.

Drawing a line between "constructive criticism" and "constructive bashing" is a wiggly line indeed.  I have consistently at least attempted to direct folks with criticism - unless clearly "positive" and "constructive" - to take up the matter directly with the track or series officials. Having been there and having done the race official thing for many years, you may be assured that folks with criticism, be it positive or negative, will make their point of view known to track officials one way or the other. 

One of the scenarios I frequently encounter when attempting to allow criticism in the forums looks something like this:

First Post: "If the track would allow electric stock in the super modified class, we would all come out ahead."  = Sounds legit.  I let it stay up.

Next Post:  "Yeah, I have an electric stock and was told the track wouldn't allow them."  = Just reinforcing the original post's suggestion, but in a slightly negative way.

Next Post: "What's the matter with those idiots at the speedway. You'd think they would wake up and smell the coffee and allow someone other than the track's favorite class to run.  They just don't get it, right?"  = Same idea, only this opens the door for the boo-birds since I haven't stepped in yet.

Next Post:  "I can't stand that poor excuse for a race track. Last year they kicked me out for no reason. All I did was stand up to the moron tech official after I got DQ'd for no reason. I didn't mean to push him, I was losing my balance is all. That place sucks and I ain't never going back there". = Now we're in full bash mode.

So I step in and edit or delete some of the posts and get called names and bashed on Facebook for being a Nazi. 

Soooo...... most of the time I just direct those with criticism - especially if I sense that it will open the door to the boo-birds -  to the track or series officials.

Nick

 

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I would allow the first two posts and direct the people involved with the third and fourth posts to contact the track directly. "positive" and/or "constructive" criticism is healthy and can have a positive outcome.

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Tom.  I would like to invite you to become a Lone Star Speedzone Moderator.  All you have to do is stay on the site a lot and monitor how every thread is going and make sure you're right there when things turn ugly.  Oh, and stay consistent as you edit and delete posts. 

I'm not kidding here, Tom.  I think you have the right idea and would be an asset to the site. I need time away from the site if my golf game is ever going to improve.

By the way, if you don't know Tom Harwell, he runs one of the best AC/Heating businesses in Texas - Direct Flo.  I have first hand experience with his company and I can personally recommend him without reservation. 

Nick

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Thank you Nick

I would be happy to do it. I would be available for the evening shift only though (they do have a lighted par 3 out Hwy 16 past Helotes I think) so you can work on that short game... :-)

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