There’s an old joke about economists that goes, “If you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they still wouldn't reach a conclusion.” That’s why you find very little in the way of economic forecasting in PRI magazine. We tend to believe that you wake up in the morning and do everything you can to push your business forward. Buy right, market aggressively, sell relentlessly. A business drives its economics. It’s refreshing and encouraging to visit North Carolina, and spend time with racing entrepreneurs. We had a great gathering of almost 200 racing business owners, executives and other motorsports professionals at the PRI Reception at the Red Rocks Cafe in Huntersville the week before the Coca Cola 600. These were a bunch of smart, hardworking folks who looked fairly shell-shocked back in 2009 from the dramatic downturn in the economy, and its affect on racing. This year, it seemed there was a real sense that they’re scrapping and fighting the way entrepreneurs do. No one’s beating their chest, but there was no moaning and groaning. There are challenges, but these challenges are being met with such formidable resources as time, savvy, experience, ambition, skills, honesty, effort, creativity and a good deal of care about how to spend a buck. There was a steadiness in the room. There are racing entrepreneurs punching away, and getting some wins. They’re making their economics happen through force of will. It’s as impressive as any race season that ends in a championship.
Our Favorite Forecast: In discussing the resilient spirit of racing entrepreneurs, I am reminded of the results of the PRI Racing Business Survey that we publish each year in the January issue. It’s pretty amazing to see that every year respondents are optimistic in forecasting the coming year. No matter what they experienced the previous year, the percentage who predict growth in the next year is always far greater than those who predict a decrease in sales...even in some of the toughest years recently. For this year, 55% predicted growth, while only 8% anticipated a decrease in sales. It’s this optimistic spirit that makes economics happen.
Spirit Of Detroit: We enjoyed our recent trip to the Detroit area to visit with the racing and performance executive teams at the three major American automakers—Ford, General Motors and Chrysler—on behalf of PRI. I can report that they remain vigorously interested in being in the business of racing, and in being part of the PRI Trade Show. When I returned to my office, there was a headline on NBCNews.com: “Detroit’s Big Three Rebound, But Big Risks Remain.” I enjoyed the first part of the headline, and all that healthy OEM automakers mean for the sport of auto racing. As for the second part, risk happens. The story described a strong new sprit in the companies, developed in response to the economic downturn. There’s scrapping and fighting going on to meet challenges. And that’s how companies make their own economics happen. Good news.