BUCKEYE LAKE – It’s clear that National Trail Raceway and a Buckeye Lake organization called Partners for Reengineering our Prosperity, or PROP, can work together to lure muscle car fans to Buckeye Lake Village from the raceway’s annual Mopar event, but not quite in the way PROP members originally envisioned.
“I guess muscle car people like to drive around in their muscle cars,” said PROP Organizational Steering Committee member J-me Braig. Originally, Braig discussed offering Mopar fans outdoor entertainment and possibly even a party on a Buckeye Lake island to encourage them to visit the village and patronize local businesses, but National Trail Raceway Sales and Marketing Manager Mike Fornataro and General Manager Jim Layton emphasizd to PROP members, when they met March 30, that Mopar visitors are here to drive their cars, and any activity Buckeye Lake sponsors for them should directly involve driving.
“(Layton) and I met with PROP. I think their hearts are in the right place and their expectations are realistic,” said Fornataro. Basically, he said, all the raceway can offer is support; nothing that happens outside of the raceway grounds is within the raceway’s control or an official raceway function.
“We told PROP that if they can put together a viable activity to make the weekend even better for the Mopar (Nationals) guests that we would support it by helping PROP reach the participants and spectators of the event,” said Fornataro. “We think they had some great ideas.”
“They’re kind of looking for something low keyed,” said Braig. She said PROP members are considering creating flyers to give to Mopar fans that list the local businesses and display any specials Buckeye Lake businesses may choose to offer the fans. “We’re trying to get the traffic through here,” said Braig.
Braig hopes to get permission from Buckeye Lake State Park to allow drivers to park at the North Shore Boat Ramp and possibly offer them refreshments. She considered live music or a disk jockey, but Layton and Fornataro doubted the Mopar fans would be that interested in special entertainment. However, Braig said the Queen of the Lake II would be there to offer short tours of Buckeye Lake.
“I thinks it’s going to be great,” said Braig, who would expect roughly 200 Mopar fans to visit Buckeye Lake Village the first year. “(Layton) said they would back it; they’re behind it 100 percent.” She said the challenge now is for PROP members to meet with Buckeye Lake businesses and convince them to offer specials to Mopar fans. Braig would like to arrange a meeting of as many Buckeye Lake business owners as possible, possibly in May, to discuss what they can offer individually. “We need a race deal,” she said.
The 31st Annual Mopar Nationals return to National Trail Raceway, August 12-14.