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Pocono Raceway Partners with KultureCity to Become First Inclusive Motorsports Facility

05.03.2018

 

Long Pond, PA -  Race fans on the autism spectrum can now experience an event at Pocono Raceway in an entirely different, more accommodating way.

 

Pocono Raceway unveiled its sensory-inclusive, nearly 5,000 square foot infield playground project in conjunction with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau on Wednesday. The raceway also announced a partnership with KultureCity, which will make the track the first motorsports facility in the world to be sensory inclusive.

 

“Our vision here at Pocono Raceway ... is to become the most beloved motorsports facility by exceeding expectations in guest services, entertainment and value while still embracing our uniqueness and character,” Pocono CEO Nick Igdalsky said. “As you can see behind me, we have embarked on a project that serves all of this.”

 

Igdalsky noted that one in five people in the United States suffer from sort of disorder that can lead to sensory overloads, emphasizing the importance of the track’s initiative.

 

“We’re thrilled not only to be able to accommodate people with sensory issues,” Igdalsky said, “but we’re even more proud to be the first of this kind at a racetrack in the world.”

 

On hand for the unveiling were seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and actor Christopher Jackson, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as George Washington in the Broadway-hit “Hamilton” and is currently on the CBS show, “Bull.”

 

Johnson, a three-time winner at Pocono, was in attendance to promote the Cup Series’ upcoming race at Pocono but immediately took to admire the raceway staff and its desire to give back.

 

“This track has always been so concerned about the community and the fans and the experience that they have,” Johnson said. “To hear the stats today that one in five (people) would need levels of assistance that are now going to be provided here at the track blows my mind.”

 

Jackson serves as a national board member for KultureCity. His 13-year-old son was diagnosed with autism in 2007. To see Pocono be proactive in its cause and reach out to those on the spectrum — as well as those with disorders such as Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, OCD, ADHD and others — encouraged Jackson for the future of inclusion.

 

“Pocono Raceway is taking another step to including as many families as they can,” Jackson said.

 

Jackson pointed to the raceway’s history as an another reason this partnership made sense. Pocono has been family owned since its inception, thanks to Dr. Joseph and Rose Mattioli, who have since passed CEO privileges down first to Brandon Igdalsky and then to Nick last summer.

 

Jackson said the family’s focus to reach out to other families in need who want to participate will keep them coming back to races for more.

 

Previously, the only organizations KultureCity had worked with were “stick-and-ball” venues, zoos, and school-based destinations, Igdalsky said.

 

“What sealed it all off is all of the furniture for the quiet spaces, the sensory bags, the training is all subsidized by KultureCity, so there’s not a single cent cost to Pocono Raceway,” Igdalsky said. “At that point, what are you waiting for? What was everybody waiting for? If I saw this opportunity or knew about it in advance, we wouldn’t have waited this long.”

 

KultureCity will help train select facility staff members on “how to recognize and handle a sensory overload situation,” according to a press release from the track. Families can expect more accommodations during race weekends.

 

“Now they’ll have access upon request to those sensory bags, which consist of noise-cancelling headphones, weighted lap blankets, fidget toys and other medically-proven devices to help calm not just a child with autism,” Igdalsky said before citing the other disorders the products could help.

 

There will also be two quiet spaces — one in the infield near Dr. Rose’s Lounge and one on the grandstand side near the Gate 8 ticket booth.

 

Johnson and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Pocono for the Pocono 400 on June 3. Tickets are available at www.poconoraceway.com.


 

 

By Zach Sturniolo 
Record Sports Writer 

http://www.poconorecord.com/news/20180502/pocono-raceway-unveils-inclusive-playground

 

 

https://www.speedwaydigest.com/index.php/news/speedway-news/43554-raceway-partners-with-kulturecity-to-become-first-inclusive-motorsports-facility

 



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