Talin Turner is probably the only 16-year-old to organize and promote a national level motorsports event, and he’s only getting started.
Turner began racing quarter midgets at age 10, then stepped up to junior sprints for one year. After that it was restricted micro sprints and ultimately full midgets. Along the way he has been involved in announcing, flagging, tech inspection and has even served as competition director at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex. At this writing, he’s already promoted two national level races.
As a student at Basehor-Linwood High School in Basehor, Kan., Turner used his Innovation Academy class time to establish T2 Promotions as a class project to give back to the sport he loves.
Turner was familiar with Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Okla., from racing micros. The track has been one of the premier micro facilities in the country and hosted the Outlaw Nationals for years before closing in 2016. When it reopened in 2018, the Nationals weren’t revived, so Turner took it upon himself to make that happen.
Under Turner’s promotion, the Outlaw Nationals returned in July 2022 and this year’s edition was run in early March, attracting 149 entries across three divisions for the Saturday night finale.
“I put the event details together myself,” Turner explained. “Leasing the track, finding the sponsorship, marketing the event and then the leg work at the event, with the help of my family and the Port City Raceway staff.”
Diving into the deep end meant learning a lot in a hurry.
“The biggest thing in putting something like this together is time — and connections,” Turner added. “I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some great people throughout the racing industry that were able to help me out and offer me advice.”
Most of the time investment was in figuring out how to get the sponsorship dollars required to make the event feasible.
“We paid out $10,000 to the winner, but in total we distributed over $69,000 throughout the purse and cash awards,” Turner noted about this year’s race. “On top of that, I also had to lease the facility and cover any miscellaneous costs. Thankfully, I was able to get some good sponsors — Milestone HomeServices, Dri Duck, Forge Construction, Engler Machine & Tool, Performance Electronics, Keizer Wheels — are 2023 major sponsors on board to help offset those costs.”
Some of the biggest things Turner learned along the way were on the marketing side of event management.
“How can I get people to travel from the coasts to Oklahoma for an event?” Turner asked. “How can I market my event to businesses across the country, convincing them that they will get their money’s worth out of the event? How can I get fans to come and fill the stands or to watch live on a pay-per-view service?
“I also learned a lot as a racer, as to what it takes to put together an event of this size and what these tracks, series and individuals go through to put them together.”
Turner will take those lessons and continue promoting through high school.
“I enjoyed doing it and look forward to doing it again next year,” Turner said. “I’m already in the planning stages for 2024.”
Port City Raceway owner Shane Stewart has worked closely with Turner.
“He’s wise beyond his years,” Stewart noted.
Mark Robinson of Milestone Home Service Co. said, “I met Talin through a friend of mine, Mathew Riggs. Matt worked for Talin and his father, Eric, helping them with their race program.
“Talin has always impressed me with the way he represents himself his family, and his maturity as a 16-year-old. Talin approached me about sponsoring his first race, now known as the Milestone Outlaw Nationals,” Robinson continued. “I asked him what his plan was. He didn’t hesitate to explain what it would take to put on such an event. I was blown away by his presentation, and the detail in which he described how it would all work and what he would do to promote my business.
“Even though Milestone is in the DFW area outside the Tulsa market, he had a plan on how we could benefit from being the title sponsor of his event. We signed up as the title sponsor and from the success that we had we committed to continue being the title sponsor for years to come.”
However, promoting races may not be Turner’s ultimate career path. Racing midgets is part of his life now, and that may be the direction he takes. He started the 2022 season in the Grady Chandler No. 00 car, running 11 shows before a crash at I-44 Riverside Speedway sidelined him for six months with a cracked vertebra.
His plans for this year include driving his own No. 10t micro sprint and wheeling the Chandler midget.
One way or another, Turner has a lot on his plate, and he’s determined to make it all work.
This story appeared in the April 19, 2023 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.