With the 2021 Hoosier Arenacross season wrapped up, we caught up with the Team Owner, Manager, Mechanic, Racer, and whatever else he needs to be, Jeff Crutcher to go over a successful debut season and some of his early thoughts/plans on next year!
Congrats on a fantastic season! How do you feel now that the season is over?
It’s over? Nobody told me! I’m already planning for next season, I have some ideas on how I’m going to improve the operation as much as possible. I was able to finish the season in 5th overall, which is just a bonus on top of all the other successes of the team
Feel good to finish inside the top 5 of the series?
Absolutely. I did not set out on this path with the intentions of finishing top five in the championship, so to have earned number 5 for the 21-22 season is a sizable accomplishment. I hired Yates to be top dog on the team, and from a pair of injuries his seat was left vacant as lead racer. I ground the stone every weekend, and honestly it was uncomfortable to wear so many hats while also focusing on race performance. I don’t want to be in that position again next year, it’s much easier to drive the bus from the proverbial back seat.
From a racing perspective, how do you feel like you can improve for next season?
Beg the promoter to build sandier tracks. Kidding aside, AX is the opposite of what I’m good at. Going into next season I’m going to have to do even more training laps than I did for this season. I can find speed, there’s no question about it, but I will have to search and hopefully more laps will locate it. I came into the season prepared, but one can always be more prepared.
You had a pretty unique approach with your ‘interactive pit’ setup throughout the season…do you feel like it was a success and it was engaging with both fans and other riders?
Absolutely. I didn’t write the book on pit activation, I borrowed a few pages and put my signature across it. We distributed more than 10,000 pieces of promotional material throughout the season, and through product knowledge mixed with a professional display we were able to give plenty of reasons for both racers and fans alike to pull up our partners’ .com’s.
Now that you’ve done it for a year, what are some of the immediate ideas/thoughts on how to change and improve next season? From both a racing and team owner perspective?
From the racing side, I just need to continue getting more comfortable on tight tracks. I feel like that will be an easy obstacle to tackle with more time and more confidence. There is nothing easy about Arenacross even though the tracks are simple.
On the operation front, now that I have an idea of how to navigate negotiations and explaining the team, it’s easier to communicate with prospective partners on how their investment is worth their time and money. I have one season under my belt, that does not make me an expert, but I’m also no longer a beginner. I understand our value, and will continue to build upon that and see to it that every partner of the team sees their unique needs satiated
You put together some very cool ‘End of Season’ Stats pertaining to how many laps, practice sessions, and even how many whoops sections you encountered throughout the season. Very cool and engaging content for your followers, and you centered it around a brand. What’s prompted you to begin delivering content like this that brings ‘value’ to you and your race team in a different form than just race results?
Part of being a newcomer as a team manager gives me opportunity to traverse uncharted territory. It’s a fresh process of thought that gives me an advantage over other operations. In this realm I’m free to create content and deliver a never before seen program that others can now only replicate.
I also understand the difference between front end operations with outbound appearances versus backend networking. I know for a fact there are supercross teams operating off the old school thought process, and they’re cashing massive checks with their sponsors simply off reputation. It’s my goal to become disruptive- and to set the new paradigm in how brands expect to be treated by their endorsed athletes and teams. Obviously the first through the wall is the bloodiest, and I’ve dealt with the apprehension by individuals that can’t keep up, but I’m frontiering and there is no time to lean back and rest on the beaten path. As you said, I’m building value which is a thankless and oft unpaid position. However, through doing things my way the companies that have no interest in extinction will ride on this train I’m coupling together. Together we’re all highly motivated to collaborate and build the next step in powersports.
For now I’m fine tuning a new offering through my outdoor program, a beta if you will. Come next AX season I’ll have it so dialed and ready for full rollout which will deliver KPI numbers that bling like three big red 7’s lining up on max bet.
It's been fantastic being able to follow along with Jeff's journey through the 2021 season and a joy working with him and his team. We are looking forward to continuing to work with him for years to come - bring on outdoors! #TeamEVS #WeAreProtection
Photo Credits - ATC FLPSDE Racing