Cody Sommer Details The Dirt Million At Mansfield Motor Speedway


(Dustin Jarrett Photo)

January 7, 2018 by Shane Walters

Cody Sommer is the man behind the Gateway Dirt Nationals. The indoor dirt late model race has reset the bar of what a dirt late model event can be.

Now, Sommer is attempting the raise the bar yet again. This time, he’s doing it as his recently purchased Ohio dirt track.

In 2018, Mansfield Motor Speedway will introduce an upgraded dirt late model event. The .44 mile banked dirt oval race track will host the ‘Dirt Million’ on August 24-25, 2018.

I’m a little confused about the Dirt Million? Is see some things are going 100% to the purse? I’m not entirely sure how that’s possible. Help me understand?

“We’ve only had so much information go out. People want to latch onto something and assume something, or whatever,” Cody Sommer explains to

“The way that the Dirt Million is structured is a portion of just about everything, goes into the purse. There’s certainly a few things that don’t. But, in some aspect 100% of certain things go directly to the purse escalation.”

“That event’s no different than any other event. He have to pay the purses, our staff, the light bill, insurance. That’s why it can’t be 100%. We still have to cover those things.”

The Dirt Million has a unique payout structure. It’s guaranteed a purse of $200,000 with $100,000 going to the winner while paying $2,000 just to start the main event. But, there’s an asterisks next to the payout. That’s not because the payout money isn’t set, it’s because it’s likely to be much higher.

“I’m willing to set a commitment, like I have. Ok, we’re going to guarantee this. Because, all those additional portions that are helping to build the event up.”

“I’m not worried about our attendance. I’m not worried about the success of the event, at all. I can set a number of tickets and say a portion of this, goes to just that.”

“But, that other portion. It would be putting a rev limiter on us. Ok, that portion that we’re receiving from ticket sales or sponsorship or whatever. After our expenses, we’re making whatever portion that is. Either way, we’re putting a limit on it.”

“Most businesses, most promoters, they won’t do that and can’t do that. Typically, we don’t do that either. We don’t do that with any event. But, that’s what makes this one event so special.”

“To me, the Dirt Million is more about giving back to the fans and the teams, primarily the teams. In my opinion, the Dirt Million is the only event where the teams, in some aspects, can effect their own outcome.”

“They get behind the event. Their fans therefore follow them down the path. Their getting a reward for making the event more successful. By drawing in more fans, by drawing in more revenue.”

Each driver is going to have it’s own page on the soon to launch Dirt Million website. From there fans can choose to donate funds, buy pit passes and other things on that drivers behalf. In the process, points will accumulate on that drivers page. But, it’s so much more than that.

Basically, you turned every driver into a promoter

“Basically, you don’t have to. But, it’s in their best interest to,” Cody Sommer explains.

“There’s perks for being better at that aspect. Let’s say you’re a driver that has done a really good job promoting the event. Let’s say you have 5 different ways that you as a driver can accumulate points. And you have accumulated the most points, you have perks.”

“Perks such as, a provisional starting spot. And there’s several of those. It gives guys additional benefit. Not only the benefit of an increase in the purse.”

“Each driver’s going to have their own page on the Dirt Million website. Each driver can benefit by driving more traffic to their page. By getting fans engaged with their page.”

“The traffic to the website should be unrivaled in the sport. It’s not just a go on there and buy tickets thing. It’s more than that.”

Here’s the part that hasn’t been announced yet. It’s also the most interesting part of the entire deal…

Fans will soon be able to purchase items via the Dirt Million website. When a driver sends fans in that direction, they accumulate points from any purchase. It’s going to be well beyond racing merchandise and tickets.

Yetti coolers, grills, t shirts, tires, shocks, household items and more will be available. Each time a driver send fans to the website and they purchase anything, that driver’s page will accumulate more points. In addition, the proceeds for each of those items sold will go directly to the purse escalation.

This website will be more than just donations?

“If you’re an average household and you’re going online to buy something, check Dirt Million first. You’re going to pay the same price for whatever it is you’re wanting to buy. But, we might have it.”

“If we do, rather than that margin going to a 3rd party, that you don’t know. You know, that this margin’s going to help the sport you love, the teams you love and the drivers you love.”

This is the part that wasn’t really explain in the press release. The Dirt Million website is planning to use the power of the dirt racing GDP to build up the purse of a dirt late model race. It’s going to keep the money in the dirt community and put on an exciting show at the same time.

The margin of these items will be sent 100% into the Dirt Million purse. To my knowledge, nothing like this has even been attempted before in the racing industry. It’s on the far side of brilliant.

“Let’s just use a grill as an example. If it’s $99 at Walmart or Amazon and it’s also $99 on why would you not buy it on Dirt Million? When you can see that $19 of it goes to the purse.”

“All those examples, 100% of that goes to the purse. We don’t make nothing.”

Cody Sommer explains that 100% of the profits from the purchase of online items will go directly to the purse of the event. When you’re browsing the online store, it will show you a percentage or dollar amount next to the item. That percentage tells you exactly how much of the proceeds from each item are redistributed back into the growth of the Dirt Million purse.

Hudson O’Neal at Mansfield Motor Speedway”But, we do on tickets,” Sommer refers to taking some of the profit for his team. “That’s why it says ‘portion’ because we have to cover our costs and our expenses. We have to do what we can to be financially positive for the event as well.”

“But, things like that. It’s about using the economic dollar of our industry to the best way we possibly can. I think a lot of people feel the Dirt Million is just about donations. It’s much more.”

The plan is to launch the full blown website in January.

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