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The internet is a real asset to operators of auto racing venues.  Racetrack websites serve as not only an advertising tool but as a tool for communication with fans and competitors and a repository for racing results and track history.  ARA has noted a wide variation in presentation quality, utility, and historical value among racetrack websites and our reviews will focus on these subjects.

The subject of ARA’s first racetrack website review is, the website for the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.  The website review was conducted Tuesday evening, January 26, 2010.

New Smyrna Speedway is a longtime racing fixture and the home of the annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.  The website homepage highlights this fact.  The track logo is surrounded by a small photo of late model competition and another of the grandstands.  The FASCAR logo is also present.  The highlight box and the main text feature the track’s upcoming January 30, 2010 PASS Series Winterfest 150 and the results of the January 2, 2010 Red-Eye 100 FASCAR race.  Other links promote the 44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing upcoming February 5-13, 2010.

The navigation bar at the top of the homepage contains tabs for Results, News, Tickets, Special Offers/Coupons, and Driver Bio Information (a link for drivers to submit their bios).  The Special Offers/Coupons tab is empty at this time; providing tabs for empty content sections detracts from a website presentation but is understandable if the website design is of recent origin and a “work in progress” as this site appears to be.

The navigation toolbar in the left sidebar contains tabs for Tickets, News, Competition, World Series, Governor’s Cup, Rules, Marketing, Hospitality, Visitor Information, Quarter Midget Track, Schedule/Events, Photo Gallery, Employment, and Contact Us.

The News section includes the latest weekly race report and latest News plus links to results from the 2009 racing schedule and the 2008 racing schedule but no results reports before 2008.  The results reports list results by class with finishing position, car number, and driver name.  Presenting complete, attractively presented race results in a readily accessible format is essential for any racing website and very important to fans and historians.  The New Smyrna site’s presentation of its current, 2009, and 2008 results addresses these needs but the lack of results prior to 2008 points up the lack of historical continuity many racing websites present.  ARA understands the reasons for these deficiencies: the relatively primitive nature of recordkeeping and its cost in time and money in the pre-PC, pre-internet era and the lack of continuity and limitation of personnel in management and staff of racetracks.  Consequently, historical material is not necessarily easy to obtain, format, and present and efforts such as New Smyrna’s “work in progress” project to document its major racewinners and champions of the World Series are laudable although it is sad that such reconstruction efforts are necessary.  The lesson for today’s racetrack operators is that it is imperative to maintain results records in a secure and transferable database and ideally to present as much of the information as possible on the track website.

The New Smyrna website contains a good presentation of the track rules.  For the fans, multiple photo galleries containing about 2000 images are presented.

All in all, a good effort by New Smyrna for the fans and the competitors with a promising “work in progress” effort on behalf of racing historians!

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