Steve Dorer wears many hats in the short track racing world. While his efforts as both a race car driver and the promoter of the Wheel Man Racing Series have been put on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, his business has also taken a hit during the stoppage.
Dorer is the owner of Racecar Engineering, which provides an incredible selection and variety of products for racers and other automotive enthusiasts. However, with no racing on track, he has seen a sharp decline in business during the pandemic.
Dorer discussed that impact during an interview on Speed51’s “The Bullring” on Tuesday night.
“Two weeks ago, I advised everyone on how we could work from home if it came to that,” Dorer stated. “The following Monday, we almost had a record day. It blew my mind.
“Following that day, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we were off as much as 50 percent of sales. Starting out this week, we’re not off quite that much, but we’re 25 to 40 percent down.”
Dorer believes that while sales are down, many racers are treating the break as an offseason to catch up on maintenance. This is especially true in Dorer’s native Florida, where warmer weather keeps racers busy all 12 months of the year in normal circumstances.
“Our sales are off, but they’re not as off as bad as I thought they might be. I think that has to do with guys doing maintenance they normally wouldn’t have the chance to do.
“We don’t have an offseason like they do in the north, so I feel like a lot of these guys are taking this like an offseason as they do in Michigan, Indiana and whatnot. They’re fixing their trailers, doing some things on their cars, freshening their bodies.”
That same approach has kept Dorer and his employees busy, both at Racecar Engineering and his used car lots.
“We haven’t cut anybody’s hours in any of our businesses, but that could happen. Even at Racecar [Engineering] and my car lots, we’re doing the same thing. While it’s slow, we’re doing maintenance and painting and things we normally can’t do.”
Despite the struggles, Dorer believes at this time his businesses will survive the downtime, as he has made steps throughout his life to position himself for an unexpected hardship.
“In the end, I think we’ll get through it. I’ve positioned myself in life, I’ve always been conscious of making sure I had things paid off and make sure I’m ahead if something really tough came your way.
“I’m not telling you I can’t end up being gone at one point, but I’ve done a lot to prevent that.”
From a promoter’s standpoint, Dorer has not taken any steps to reschedule Wheel Man Racing Series events postponed by the pandemic. He believes when the time is appropriate to return to racing, there will be many hungry fans excited to see those events.
“Hopefully, depending on when this virus can go away, we can go back out and get back to it. When we can get back to it, there’s going to be a lot of people wanting to go to races. I think our sport can flourish for a while immediately following this.”
Fans who missed Dorer’s interview can watch a replay of “The Bullring” by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo