A racetrack in the Northeast is receiving help from Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy and the Barstool Fund.
Seekonk Speedway Operations Director Dave Alburn received a FaceTime call from Portnoy on Tuesday afternoon with the good news – the Massachusetts facility would become the latest small business to receive financial support from the Barstool Fund.
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) February 9, 2021
After reading about what the Fund has done for small businesses around the country, Alburn decided to try his luck with getting help for Seekonk. The staff at the race track assembled a video, filled out the application and hoped for the best. Shortly after applying, he received the call from Portnoy.
“This was a great surprise. I was hoping we could get the opportunity and I can’t thank you guys enough with the Barstool Fund and all the donators who contributed to this,” Alburn said in Portnoy’s tweet. “I saw it come up on the internet so often and I thought it was a great opportunity for businesses. I’m running a business and I need some help. I was looking and I thought well we may not be in that category but we’ll give it a try.”
Ed St. Germain, the Director of Business Development at the race track, also had his doubts at first given that some people may not consider a stadium like Seekonk Speedway to be a small business.
“When the Barstool Fund really started taking off, a lot of it has been like restaurants and small businesses,” St. Germain stated. “Us being a stadium is a little different; people don’t look at it like a small business even though it is a small business because you’re only operating 20 days a year.”
Portnoy was recently introduced to auto racing by virtue of Barstool Sports’ involvement in NASCAR, which led to him starting the Barstool Racing podcast with former NASCAR driver and current NASCAR on Fox commentator Clint Bowyer.
After seeing Seekonk’s application, the fellow Massachusetts native was happy to help.
“You’re definitely in that category. There’s so many that come across that people would never think of and you’re one of them,” Portnoy said. “I’m kind of new to auto racing and NASCAR so I’m glad you reached out and we can help.”
St. Germain told Speed51 that the race track operated at a 100 percent loss in 2020.
“This helps us out a lot. It’s a little bit and every little bit is what we’re looking for,” St. Germain said. “We’re trying as many different grants and funds and different things. We took a total 100% loss last year. We operated our Fast Friday nights at a loss just to keep the continuity of racing going.”
As of 7:00 p.m. ET Tuesday night, Seekonk had received $11,781 of the $15,000 goal for the Barstool Fund. Fans can go online at https://www.barstoolsports.com/the-barstool-fund to make a donation towards the racetrack.
The 1/3-mile was able to open up for racing in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit with a reduced schedule and with no fans in attendance. Ten Fast Friday events were held during the year, while all originally-planned special weekday events were canceled.
With fans not allowed due to local and state COVID-19 regulations, it left Seekonk scrambling for ways to host weekly racing.
“I couldn’t figure that one out,” Alburn said. “They said you need to try to find a way to find a way to do it but you can’t do it.”
The assistance from the Barstool Fund has inspired the race track to find a way to pay it forward once they are able to begin hosting fans again.
“This inspired me. This is something that I think communities should be all about and what people should be doing in times like this, having small businesses help small businesses.,” St. Germain said. “We’re weighing different options to see how we can pay it back or pay it forward once we get back rolling.”
Click here to donate to Seekonk Speedway through the Barstool Fund.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo