On March 29th, Rich Tisone, Tom Zickefoose, and Mark Tobey traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to USAC headquarters to meet with USAC officials. In attendance from USAC were Kevin Miller, CEO, James Spink, Director,Developmental Series, and Jason Smith, Senior Vice President, Race Operations.
The agenda for this meeting was to explore ways for QMA to co-exist with USAC, possibly even to launch some type of cooperative or joint effort to promote quarter midget racing in the United States and Canada. As you may know, USAC began sanctioning quarter midget clubs in 2008, offering our members as well as anyone interested, sanctioning choices and operational policies that did not exist prior to then. This has caused tension in Clubs, Regions and the leadership of QMA.
Mr Miller, Mr. Spink, and Mr. Smith were all gracious hosts, taking time to show us USAC's home office, past history, current efforts, and a preview into their future projects. We discussed at length the reasons they are involved with quarter midgets, and the similarities and differences between QMA and USAC. The difference in operating philosophies are great, and it must be stressed that each organization has it's merits. Following are some of the attributes of each program:
ñ Corporate run organization, with all competition and technical rules determined by three executives from USAC. Input is not accepted from members.
ñ Very little involvement in the operations of local clubs.
ñ Traveling Championship series operated, funded (awards) and officiated by USAC.
ñ Quarter Midgets are part of a large business plan, including higher race series, corporate sponsorship, advertising campaigns, etc.
ñ Large budget for commercial purposes, using print, TV and social networking media.
ñ USAC operates quarter midget division at a loss, funded by corporate sponsorship
ñ Member driven organization, each member has an input, if desired.
ñ All clubs subscribe to QMA's general operating principals, with a local, Regional, and National structure for consistency.
ñ Three Grands, sponsored by the host clubs, with National Board assistance.
ñ Quarter Midgets are all QMA does. Our focus is solely on our organization and drivers. Our core product is quality family racing.
ñ Member funded and operated, modest budget.
ñ QMA is self supporting, we operate within our budget.
As we discussed the possibility of a cooperative promotion of quarter midget racing it soon became clear that there was only one agreement that USAC is interested in participating in. In short, we were told that the QMA name and logo could become a USAC "brand", requiring that all current members and clubs become USAC members. Additionally, QMA's rules, governing management, and operational policies would be dissolved and USAC's system of operation would replace them.
While it is difficult to relay this message, we believe that you should know that we want what is best for our membership. That said, this is not our decision, and do we recommend this action. QMA has fifty years of successful club racing and promotion; there is no reason to "throw in the towel".
We are convinced that USAC has no interest in decimating our ranks, nor is it their intent to destroy QMA. The simple truth is USAC has a business plan that includes quarter midget racing in general, but not QMA as it currently exists.
The National Board has been considering the relationship between QMA and USAC for some time now, and is dedicated to leading QMA in a positive direction. We appreciate and respect and trust you have invested in us. We realize that QMA is member driven, and we have received much criticism for our ideas and actions. We believe that most of this is driven by lack of information and communication, and we are striving to improve in those areas. Our system of member driven management can be difficult and complicated, often resulting in disagreement, but it has served us well for the past fifty years.
In closing, QMA and USAC are very different organizations with differing priorities but this does not need to result in anger, distrust, or dissension. We can co-exist peacefully and we will continue to pursue every available avenue to improve QMA.
Rich Tisone, President
Tom Zickefoose, Vice President
Mark Tobey, National Safety Director