Where past, present and future racing stars come to share their stories
The home of grassroots motorsports radio in the Carolinas and beyond.
RACE CHASER ONLINE
The genesis of Race Chaser Online actually took place in 2001 when veteran motorsports insider Tom Baker formed a partnership with a newsgroup in Central New York State to put together a motorsports news site called Inside Groove, aligning it with Baker’s motorsports talk show based in the Syracuse area.
Though it was only online for two seasons, Inside Groove was the first motorsports news site to be built in New York State, and it quickly became a focal point for race coverage across the Empire State. The same passion, drive, and determination to provide interesting, energetic and unique content that went into that site were recalled when creating Race Chaser Online.
Throughout the past 32 years, Baker has successfully served the motorsports community in several capacities, including track promoter, writer, broadcaster, marketing, and public relations specialist, driver coach and spotter, and returned to his journalistic roots in May of 2013 (250years after he started writing for his local paper in 1988) as the Founder and Senior Editor for Race Chaser Online.
“I am blessed to be able to have a second chance at a motorsports news site,” Baker said when the site was launched in May of 2013. “I love giving people a chance to share their stories and recognizing them for their hard work and achievements. We were quite successful with Inside Groove all those years ago, but I didn’t really understand where the Internet was going as a news source so I didn’t stay with it.
With my experience over the years and the encouragement of many highly regarded people in our sport, I believe we are creating something that every race fan will enjoy. Humpy Wheeler was the one who helped me to clarify the vision for our new site, and I cannot thank him enough for his time, advice and continued friendship.”
For most of its first five years, Inside Groove was a newspaper-style daily buffet of news and views from around the racing world. Over a half-dozen, young and talented writers came through the site to develop their skill set and learn the craft under Baker’s guidance. Jacob Seelman, who carried much of the daily load of writing and managing the site, is now the editor-in-chief of SprintCarAndMidget.com, part of the Speed Sport family of media offerings.
Kyle Souza has been handling duties as NASCAR Home Tracks’ Modified Tour PR coordinator and works for Thompson and Seekonk Speedways in New England. Steven Ovens is now one of the voices of the Land Of Legends Speedway in Canandaigua, New York and has been PR director for two other NY race tracks. Joel Sabastianelli is now a sports multi-journalist at an NBC affiliate in Florida and has been a voice for IndyCar radio.
This sport needs more young media blood,” Baker says. “My goal was to give them the platform and teach them the proper journalistic approach so they would be valuable assets to us and to the sport wherever they landed in the future. It’s humbling to know you’ve played a part in their development, and the energy they all brought to that part of our journey was infectious.”
Race chaser evolution
In 2019, Race Chaser Online evolved into its current, radio-focused status and for Baker, it’s a return to his favorite media form. “I have always loved radio. Radio is the theater of the mind. It’s a challenge to call a live race on the radio or to describe something you saw because the listener doesn’t have the benefit of video to clarify your words.
I launched Race Chaser Online as an audio-based site, but when Jacob came into the picture he had such a talent for writing that it changed the vision – we went with the talent we had. But most of our young writers also were appearing on our radio shows, and Jacob remains the host of the Motorsports Madness Show on Thursday nights, as it was his brand name, and Kyle Souza and I are now doing the Mainly Modifieds Podcast together. I’m really proud of both of them for how they’ve stayed focused and worked so hard at their craft.”
James Melick, a teardown specialist for NASCAR Cup Series Team Levine Family Racing who is working on finishing his Broadcast Journalism training at the Carolina School of Broadcasting, joined the group as an intern in 2019 and will continue into 2020 once he is done with his schooling.
Chris Murdock, who graduated in May of 2018 with a broadcasting degree from Ohio University, started with Race Chaser when he came to North Carolina, has done some work for both NASCAR Communications and Sinclair Broadcasting, and is currently working for Race Face Brand Development is a combination of video production and social media roles.
Baker is able to bring the same acumen for developing media to developing racers as well, along with combining his media properties with their race team-related assets to enhance their marketing efforts.
“We can provide those teams, tracks and series with all the marketing and promotional materials and consultation they need to be successful, and we customize each program to the needs of the client.
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We can do everything from graphic design to marketing presentations, websites, videos, copywriting, press releases and even live radio broadcasts for races, tracks or series that want to elevate their online presence to a more exciting form of coverage.
We can also set up a support program to work with them on refining their marketing efforts and increase their chances of success in that area.”
A newly-formed relationship with WSIC Media in Statesville in the fall of 2019 provided a solid local platform of Radio and TV for Race Chaser's programming and a full production-ready studio waiting for teams/drivers who need help with building and promoting their brands and sponsors.
Businesses can also benefit from the combined experience and capabilities in the area of audio, video, photos, graphic design and copywriting that the new team can provide.
“I enjoy helping others to develop better strategies and approaches to their marketing in the sport and we can also help others with advertising and media outside the sport as well through WSIC’s portfolio of properties,” Baker continued. “You cannot shortcut the process. It takes a lot of time to cultivate and maintain sponsors and you must invest in the right materials and spend the time it takes to help them reach your audience. For those willing to make the investment of time and money to get it right, the investment is much more likely to pay off than for those who just think it’s about putting a decal on the car and having a Facebook page. As soon as you introduce sponsors into your race team or series, it’s not a hobby anymore. It’s a business. We can work with you to polish and promote your racing business.”
As a way of “giving back” and also of focusing on the future of motorsports, Race Chaser specializes in telling the stories of those who are climbing the racing ladder while highlighting the national levels of NASCAR and IndyCar as well as dirt track, short track and specialized divisions such as NHRA Drag Racing and the open-wheel super modifieds.
“We are just like a lot of our audience in that we are race fans first,” Baker explained. “We want our passion for the sport to shine through in everything we do. We love talking about those drivers in the lower series who are working hard to get to the track every week, and we want to be their go-to media partner. We aren’t owned or operated by any national series so you get our honest opinions about what’s going on. I’m thankful to have had all the opportunities I’ve had in the sport, and I believe we now have the right people in place to take what we do to a whole new level beginning in 2020.”
Race Chaser lineup of shows
For 2020, the Race Chaser lineup of shows will include the following:
(All shows available on-demand by searching Race Chaser Radio on your favorite podcast platform or find them right here on the show page of this site!)
Lead Lap – airs live on Monday nights 7 pm - 9 pm Eastern. Baker focuses on Carolinas racing (the only show of its kind in the Charlotte region) and guests join him from throughout the region and beyond. Airs live on Race Chaser Radio (player available on our home page and shows page), PMN Radio (free app – get it from your device’s App store!). Charlotte-area fans can watch the show live on WSIC TV 25.2 in Charlotte with a simple digital antenna.
The Inside Pass – Airs live on Tuesday mornings from 11 am to Noon Eastern. Randy Miller hosts with Tom as the pair debate the hottest news/topics from the sport and talks with unique guests from various race-related jobs including spotters, crew chiefs, and team managers as well as racers. You can find the show on the entire WSIC family of radio/tv stations in the Charlotte region, or listen live on WSICFM.com if you’re outside the area.
Mainly Modifieds Podcast - Premieres Tuesday nights at 7 pm Eastern. A weekly podcast about the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and other New England/Northeast Modified series as well as other divisions in that region. Baker and protege Kyle Souza, now a well-established New England motorsports insider who spent 2018 and 2019 working directly with NASCAR as the PR coordinator for the Whelen Modified Tour are the hosts. Hear from drivers and other personalities connected to the region and get all the latest regional news as well.
Inside Groove Podcast – Premieres Wednesday nights at 7 pm Eastern. For fans of the open-wheel super modified division, this is the exclusive radio media. Inside Groove is hosted by Baker, who brings his original show name and throwback logo to the table to cover the division he grew up watching at the Oswego Speedway, the exclusive weekly home for Supermodified racing in the nation.
Motorsports Madness – Airs live on Thursday evenings from 7 pm to 9 pm Eastern. This is the flagship show for Race Chaser and features Jacob Seelman along with Baker and Miller talking to a variety of guests and covering the latest national racing news of the week. This show is syndicated on weekends and airs on Saturday/Sunday afternoons on American Forces Radio, Dan Patrick Sirius XM Channel 211 (Saturday nights – 7 pm Eastern) along with all the top digital platforms and over 30 AM/FM affiliates nationwide. This show averages over a million listeners per week, making it, and Race Chaser, one of the largest independent motorsports media in the USA from the standpoint of audience size.
Racer Safety Resource Podcast – In a quest to ignite discussion and educate racers across the world about safety, Baker will launch this monthly (to start) podcast along with major supporter HMS Motorsport in April of 2020.