Rusty Marcus story...

…In the Monroe, Louisiana newspaper: He’s working for seven board members. If anyobdy can handle them, Rusty can, but still…

Speedway aims to be ‘significant’ in community

By Stephen Largen

Officials at the Monroe Motor Speedway are hoping the growing pains of their nascent operation will lead to bigger and better things.

The speedway’s executive board made two hires last week. Rusty Marcus was hired as general manager, replacing Jeb Onweiler, who was hired on an interim basis in September but not retained.

“It wasn’t the right fit for both parties,” said Gus Campbell, who sits on the seven-member executive board.

Onweiler replaced Jerry Smith, who was fired by the board.

Marcus joins the speedway after serving in a promotional role at Orlando SpeedWorld in Orlando, Fla., for the last five years.

He was named the Lowe’s Motor Speedway promoter of the year in 2005.

Amy Johnson is joining the speedway as marketing director and promoter after serving as a local sales manager at Opus Broadcasting for seven years.

Johnson, who starts Jan. 1, takes over a marketing position formerly handled by part-time employees.

Board member Wes Shafto said the track’s inaugural season was successful but the board wanted a manager who could better relate to the drivers.

Marcus has bold plans.

He wants to bring higher profile races to the track and add a NASCAR affiliation, which would bring races and additional revenue.

“Our goal is for the speedway to become a significant part of the community and the local economy,” Marcus said.

Johnson and Marcus are looking to draw non-racing events like flea markets, parades, concerts and special events.

“When you come here, you have to be excited about coming here, or else you’re not going to come back,” Marcus said. “We’ve got to make sure whenever you spend your hard-earned entertainment dollars that you think it was well worth it and come back,” Marcus said.

Campbell said the coming season, which begins in March, will be better because the kinks have been worked out. The speedway began last season without sewer and water services.

“There’s so much potential out here, but what they’re going to do is try to focus it,” Campbell said. “We have a facility that could grow into something that’s very well known in the Southeast.”

If anyone can do it, Rusty can. And I am sure he will get those bathrooms in the pits since he said there were none. And he definitely has a way of getting to the fans and drivers so GO GET EM RUSTY. And hopefully don’t freeze too death since it can be much colder there than here and have a great Christmas with your family in Mississippi.

Love ya and miss ya.