PHOTO: Tom Curley’s American-Canadian Tour has new policies for its media corps. Believe it or not, that’s okay with us. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

-by Justin St. Louis
VMM Editor

So, did you hear this little thing about new media policies for the American-Canadian Tour and Thunder Road?

Yeah, we just got the memo, like a half hour ago. Weird. Can someone fill us in?

Folks, all joking aside, everyone should know this: I’m cool with it. The whole thing.

Briefly, all credentialed media members were met at the Thunder Road pit gate window on Sunday by a “rights and intellectual property” outline and agreement stating that “live internet streaming” of ACT events is heretofore prohibited. The agreement was to be signed, or the media member’s credential would be revoked. Simple enough.

Here’s the skinny, and why Vermont Motorsports Magazine has no problem with the new rules.

Tom Curley has a business to run, and live streaming media during events (audio, video, or text like the CoverItLive software we tested here at VMM during the Merchants Bank 150) can potentially take a big chunk of money out of the promoter’s pocket. If the weather is chancy like it was last Sunday, or if a race is particularly far away, it’s just as easy to sit on the couch with a laptop and watch the race unfold from home.

Curley spoke about the issue on Victory Lane Radio on Tuesday night. You can listen by clicking here: VLF Radio: ACT president/Thunder Road GM Tom Curley speaks about new media policy

Several online news sources that cover ACT events use live streaming and get hundreds and even thousands of followers. If, say, 200 people stay home and view the race online for free rather than go the track and buy a $20 ticket to see it up close, that’s $4,000 that the promoter loses out on. You can do the math from there.

Twitter and Facebook updates are limited at best, and they remain acceptable for now. However, I know for a fact that there have been unauthorized live audio, video, and text streams at ACT events this year (I just used my own website as an example of one on opening day) that could very likely have cost Curley some fans in the grandstands. These instances all occurred, though, before the media policy was laid out for all to see.

(Full disclosure: VMM’s largest number of followers during the trial run was 27 people. Not exactly earth shattering.)

VMM did not provide Twitter updates as planned at the Memorial Day event at Thunder Road last week because the policy was very misunderstood at the time and we didn’t want to inadvertently cross a line. There was a lot of confusion surrounding the new rules on Sunday, as there were no known meetings or phone calls to media members explaining the policy prior to the event. We did, thankfully, have a chance to speak with a couple of officials before the race to clear a few issues up, but still stayed away from updates for the day to be safe.

For what it’s worth, Vermont Motorsports Magazine was never intended to be a “live blog” and will not be moving forward. Twitter provides an ample forum for our writers to post short updates as the action happens without taking away from the actual event. In some cases, it even enhances the experience for those in the grandstands that follow our Tweets, in the instance that we’re able to get a quick quote from a crew chief or spotter during the race about their driver, or to report handling issues, damage, etc. Twitter is most often not a consistent lap-by-lap update of a race.

CoverItLive, though, is a different story. It’s a fantastic program, but by design it requires constant attention throughout the event. It means that one person is required to sit at a computer for hours at a time and just type what they see. There is no way for anyone using that type of software to do the job that VMM prides itself on, which is being in the action, interacting with the folks that make the event happen, and getting the real story. A writer becomes a slave to the software.

Besides, we’ve done the research and found that most of the audience VMM writes for is already at the track and isn’t reading our work as the race happens anyway. (Hello, 27 readers?) Truthfully, we prefer it to be that way; it doesn’t matter if we’re penning motorized Kerouac here, get off your butt and go watch the race, then come home and read what we’ve got to say.

After all, if you don’t go buy a ticket and support the race, there will eventually be no racing, and therefore no VMM to read later!

Collectively, VMM staffers decided — even during the trial run with CoverItLive — that that type of coverage is not what this website was founded on and is not what we excel at or enjoy doing. Again, VMM is not and will not be a live news source, Twitter feeds aside. We’ll continue to provide you with in-depth stories including exclusive pre-race and post-race coverage.

Even if it takes a day or two to get the story right.

***

Is a guy not allowed to have two favorite teams? Yup, I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan. But I’m also a Vancouver Canucks fan. I bought a Canucks jersey when I was still in high school (which wasn’t during this century) and I still wear it. I’m sure I’ll be wearing it as I read hate-laced text messages and Facebook comments from Bruins fans when Roberto Luongo leads his team to the Stanley Cup in six games, too.

Just so you know, I’m a Red Sox fan but I’m also a Mets fan. I’m a UVM Catamounts fan but I’m also a Marquette University fan. I’m a peanut butter and jelly fan but I also eat the occasional baked salmon.

Get. Over. It. Dude.

***

I’ve been telling Nick Pilotte for years that I’ll write about him as soon as he does something on a Vermont race track. Sunday, the Jefferson, N.H., racer did enough to get his name and photo on this site by winning himself a Street Stock feature — in dramatic fashion, no less — at Thunder Road.

For a bit of context here, the first competitive lap I ever turned in a stock car was at Thunder Road in May 2000. And when my car came to rest on the backstretch a half-lap later, it was because I whacked Pilotte’s car so hard I tore the entire nose off my car, spun it, and killed the motor.

I kept wrecking cars over the next few years, but he’s gone on to win some championships and more than his share of races. Thunder Road was just another notch in the belt.

So congratulations to you, Nick Pilotte. Now stop whining that you never get any attention.