Towards the end of the 2010-2011 season, longtime professional racer Carl Schubitzke took over as interim Director of Operations for ISOC and the change throughout the pit area was felt immediately. There was little fluctuation in the race day schedule and communication between race officials and participants had a new level of clarity. At the end of the season Schubitzke made the commitment to walk away from a successful construction business in Madison, Wisconsin, relocate to the Twin Cities and focus all of his energy on making the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series the best in the industry.
With the interim label removed, it has been a hectic summer locking in dates as well as fine-tuning the focus of the series to better serve the long-term interest of the participants and the venues. One of Carl’s first priorities was to create a stabile environment that made sense for everyone given the current economic climate. “Everyone who comes to race with us is a customer and we should shake their hand and thank them and their families because there are so many other things people could be doing with their time and money,” said Schubitzke. “We in the snowmobile industry have a tendency to think the world revolves around us and it doesn’t.” So for a kid to not pick up a basketball and come race with us should be truly appreciated.”
The most obvious change on the new schedule is the absence of a western national. The event in Utah was a huge risk for the series and a costly trip for the professional teams that were involved. Replacing the event with another round in the midwest is a win-win, for now. One less long haul tow for a single event and the opportunity for the series’ core group of amateurs to take part in another national event closer to home. “Right now we are in a building stage and more of the races are around the midwest, ” said Schubitzke. “I think we need to focus on that and work on building everything back up. Every event is high risk for us with the television, snow-making and the number of employees. But when you put it on paper, you need all of that and that’s what makes us a premier series. Honestly, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t constantly looking for a new big venue or a site out west because we have to try and expand the footprint of our sport. But for this year it’s a building season and we need to get into the venues where we can stay for a long time.”
The series will return to a traditional January weekend at Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, Minnesota. This event is a long-time favorite for race fans and teams and after a one year absence, is back on the schedule under terms that will make it a success for all involved. There is also great anticipation for new venues in Bessemer, Michigan and Glyndon, Minnesota. Both locations have been warmly received by the local promoters and communities who have gone above and beyond to insure that their events go over well the first time out.
Another priority for the upcoming season is to streamline race day so that race times and running orders are consistent from week to week. Three day events, by nature, will always have their own twist. But for the most part, the goal is to work towards every Friday night schedule being identical and every Saturday program being the same from week to week. This means the featured program will begin at 6pm each day with opening ceremonies and run straight through the Pro Lite and Pro main events. In between will be two 15 minute freestyle events to allow for track maintenance. “We’re working on opening ceremonies right now and I want it to be a 60 second video presentation of the top guys, like Supercross, so fans really get to know who they are without a helmet.
The only real exception will be round 2 in Michigan as the course features a larger “Lake Geneva” style ski hill course that cannot be illuminated for night racing. Schubitzke says “My belief is that the Friday and Saturday night pro racing is best. But every venue wants their own way so we just have to keep working toward that.”
In just a few weeks, the ISOC website is going to undergo a dramatic facelift that will incorporate more news and photos, along with a barrage of in-season video.”My goal”, says Schubitzke, “is come Monday morning during the season there are kids surfing the web, come to our site and be inspired to race. I want them to say I wanna be that when I grow up. At the end of the day it creates more fans for our guys now and helps build future racers. I think it’s gonna be really cool. We’re getting all the right people in place and it’s going to benefit everybody.”