Brett Hearn talks Big Show Xl and his racing future
When you think of professionalism in short track racing you think the name Brett Hearn. Eleven years ago, the New Jersey entrepreneur put on a new hat, that of a race promoter. We recently sat down and discussed the Big Show Xl and what the future might hold for the modified star.
Q: It’s been eleven years since you promoted your first race, The Big Show. What was your vision for this event at that time?
A: I had the experiences of travelling the Super Dirt Car Series and to other tracks and had seen the good and the not so good and had gathered some ideas of how I wanted to promote a race. It was time for me to act on it…I wanted to create a special race that fans and competitors looked forward to every year. I think we have done a good job realizing that vision.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge over the last eleven years?
A: No question, it’s been the weather. We’ve run nine shows under adverse conditions and terrible forecasts and we still have been able to grow the event under those odds.
Q: Has being a promoter taught you anything to be a more professional race team owner?
A: Actually, it’s the other way around. Things that I’ve learned running my team…to be detail oriented with a strong work ethic has helped with the Big Show. Having deep relationships within the racing industry has helped us as well as getting to know the other drivers…that’s all helped pull off a race of this magnitude. The show is very tight and efficient with DIRT’s format…and we do the rest.
Q: There have been many highlights over the eleven years. What is your most memorable moment?
A: As a driver winning Big Show V…we’ve had so many great races at Albany-Saratoga but it’s not just the races. People come up to me after the race in the pits and tell me they had a great time and it was an awesome event is that is the most satisfying for me.
Q: What has been the biggest change in big block modified racing over the last eleven years?
A: One thing comes to mind. The week to week racing has become a little flat and the big events have had great fields with extraordinary numbers. Everyone marks the big events on their calendars…so I guess the big change is the trend towards special events.
Q: Was there anyone that mentored you as a promoter?
A: Obviously Howie Commander and Lyle DeVore gave me the opportunity to pull this off. Their partnership and track preparation has been vital to our success. Also, word of mouth about the event with all the good things being said about Albany-Saratoga Speedway and the event we hold…so I guess Howie and Lyle.
Q: You have over 900 wins and 90 track and series championships in your career. Is this a direction you may be thinking about in the future?
A: I think if the right opportunity is presented to me…I can see myself doing that.
Q: You have been racing since you were a teenager and you turned 60 last September. Have you ever sat and deeply thought about the day when you hang up your helmet?
A: I have always thought that if I established myself as a competitor with a good reputation and as a fair and knowledgeable person that the door would open for many opportunities. Quite honestly there are a bunch of things I can do…and have been offered to do, in the sport I am so passionate about. But again, it has to be the right situation at the correct time.
Q: Why do you believe that you have been successful as a driver, team owner and now promoter?
A: It’s simply…my intensity and attention to detail. I also try and surround myself with good people that have the same degree of commitment to excellence that I have.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your racing career?
A: (Brett pauses) Believe it or not, no one ever asked me that. I would have to say my father, Gordon. In the beginning he made me learn and he stood by me all the time, but he always insisted that I do things so that I did not rely completely on him. My Dad is a hands-on guy and I have always tried to stay connected with that aspect of my team.
Q: So, what’s new for Big Show XI?
A: We have upped the winners share to $11,111 to celebrate our eleventh race. We also resigned Recovery Sports Grill, Halmar International, VP Racing Fuels and Fox Shocks…and we added Yorkmont Auctions to our family of partners.
Q: Tell us something your fans don’t know about you?
A: (Pause with a quick laugh) When I am not racing, I am actually a fun guy. I like music, sports and playing golf and spending time with my kids who I am very proud of.
Q: How do you want to be remembered as a race car driver?
A: I don’t worry about that much. I think the numbers will speak for themselves. I just want to be remembered as a fair and respectful racer.
Q: Anything else?
A: Thanks for asking…if you haven’t heard the Big Show is a really fun event. We have built it around having a great experience. There are things to do and see, we have music and a DJ…it’s not your normal race. We believe that we have created a cool vibe. I am not sure we could pull this off every week, but we have it down for once a year. I am looking forward to another great event.
Big Show XI is set for June 25th at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway.