A Whole New World
By Jim Burton
Rocky Mountain Raceways Marketing Communications Director
Whoa, are you kidding me?
That … was … awesome!
In just two sentences, that pretty much sums up my experience in my new job as Rocky Mountain Raceways’ Marketing Communications Director. I started back in April and during the past five-plus months I feel like I’ve been baptized in nitro methane.
See, I’ve worked in the sports world for more than a quarter of a century, mostly as a journalist, covering what my new racing buddies call, “stick-and-ball” sports. From 1991 until the spring of this year I worked at the Standard-Examiner in Ogden. There I covered pretty much every “stick-and-ball” sport you can imagine, from University of Utah basketball under big Rick Majerus, to BYU football under LaVell Edwards, to nearly a decade on the Utah Jazz/NBA beat. I also spent a lot of time writing about minor league baseball, golf and even hockey, but precious little about drag racing, oval racing or motocross.
So, why am I here? Well, in late 2014 I saw that RMR was looking for someone to do public relations. Although I didn’t know a lot about racing, I knew a ton about covering sports and I had a good working relationship with most of the Salt Lake-area media market.
And I also knew RMR General Manager Mike Eames from my days working at the Standard-Examiner.
I liked the idea of a new challenge and I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the racing world, so I interviewed with the good folks here at RMR and eventually landed the job.
In case anyone is wondering, I love it out here.
From the very beginning I found all the new sights, sounds and even the smells (most of them anyway) completely exhillerating. I hadn’t been on the job more than a few weeks when we had our first dual Test & Tune of the season. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of work done that day. Instead I found myself walking around track taking in the speed and jaw-dropping excitement of the Young Kia Drag Strip and the thunderous horsepower of the America First Credit Union Super Oval.
And on the other side of the facility I discovered the high-flying excitement of motocross. It was cool watching the savvy veteran riders make all the jumps and take all the turns, and it was a hoot watching the little kids bravely test themselves on the same course.
In fact, the same thing applies to drag strip and the oval. Because I wasn’t really familiar with such things, I was amazed – delighted, even – to see kids participate in Jr. Dragster and Quarter Midget events.
Earlier, I mentioned that first duel Test & Tune of the season and how much fun I had taking it all in. One of my fondest memories will be standing on top of the berm looking, north to the oval and south to the strip. One minute I was watching Maverik Modifieds barreling around Turns 1 and 2, the next I was watching dragsters rumble to life before blasting off on the quarter-mile.
And the noise, oh baby! As I stood there I could feel the roar reverberating from the bottoms of my shoes to the top of my head.
I’m actually glad it was so loud, otherwise the people around me would have heard the new guy giggling like a little kid on his first trip to Disneyland. And they probably would have heard my shouting, “Whoa, are you kidding me? That … was … awesome!”