Sonoma Makes Track Changes Overnight
Denny Hamlin wasn’t one of the drivers running off course in Turn 5 during practice and kicking up dirt and debris onto the racing surface.
But enough drivers had difficulty in the new corner—thanks to the reinstitution of the Sonoma Raceway carousel—that the competitors were greeted with a new berm in that corner when they came to the track for qualifying on Saturday.
Kyle Busch, Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, lobbied for curbing in the corner.
“Everybody was dumping their right sides off the race track and dumping dirt on the race track and kind of messing it up for the people that were behind them,” Busch said. “It’s going to get really dirty over there. Guys might be racing side-by-side during the race. The outside guy is definitely going to want to crowd the inside guy and go halfway into the dirt. So it was going to get interesting.
“If you’re a guy that’s leading the race—and you’re coming down to the last lap—just dump your tires into the dirt and the guy behind you is never going to catch you. It didn’t seem like it was all that smart not to have a curb over there.”
But the new berm didn’t faze Hamlin, who had the fastest Toyota in Saturday’s qualifying (sixth overall).
“It didn’t affect me any,” said Hamlin, who qualified one spot ahead of Busch. “I wasn’t one of the guys that was getting off the track.
“I thought it was good, because, obviously, when it gets down to the race, if you didn’t have that, you would just run in the dirt. It is unique for sure.
We’re going to use every bit of the racetrack. I didn’t really use it to begin with, but I think it’s good that they can keep the track clean.”
NASCAR.com - June 22, 2019
Driver Enjoying The New Sonoma Layout
That Includes the Carousel
In 1998, Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder Bruton Smith opted to shorten Sonoma Raceway to 1.99 miles so that fans could see the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars pass by at shorter intervals.
But his son, SMI CEO Marcus Smith, was all in when consensus favored restoring the track to its 2.52-mile length with the return of the Carousel between turns four and seven.
The change could have happened earlier, but for one main factor.
“To tell the truth, part of the reason we hadn’t up till now was laziness,” said track president Steve Page. “The amount of equipment that shows up for a Cup race these days -- compared to when I first got here in the '90s -- it’s incredible. I just sit and watch all this stuff roll in from my office up on the hill.
“The carousel was a really convenient place to stash it all. We used to put all the trucks we used for driver intros and all this other equipment there. We’d talk about the carousel and say, ‘It really would be great to bring it back, but what are we going to do with all that stuff?’”
But the sentiment favoring the return of the carousel finally prevailed in the track’s 50th anniversary year.
“I think everybody today enjoys a throwback,” Marcus Smith said. “And particularly with the 50th year, it makes a lot of sense to embrace the past. I love celebrating history in motorsports and NASCAR. When you think about Sonoma Raceway, one of the most storied spots on the track, the section of the Carousel, is unique to Sonoma Raceway.
“We haven’t run it for a long time in NASCAR, and after talking to a few drivers over the last week or so, the simulator only takes you so far, and I think that’s going to make it super exciting… Kevin Harvick and I were having breakfast one morning, and he said, ‘Hey, have you thought about running the Carousel?’
“I think it was just after the Roval race (at Charlotte Motor Speedway), posing the idea that, ‘You already did something crazy -- how about something else?’”
Smith then called Page, and the first response was, “I don’t know where we’re going to put the stuff,” but serious conversations followed, and the change was implemented.
Autoweek - June 21, 2019
Charlotte Motor Speedway Makes Modifications
to Roval Race Track
Charlotte Motor Speedway announced changes to the track layout for the 2019 Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 in October.
The backstretch chicane has been widened and expanded in hopes of creating additional passing opportunities and generating side-by-side racing. Track officials have moved back parts of the inside wall near oval Turn 3 to allow more space for the updated backstretch chicane.
“The Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 is all about excitement and creating memorable moments for our fans,” said Marcus Smith, the president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
“Having our backstretch chicane upgraded will give drivers an additional opportunity to go for a season-making or season-breaking pass like we saw on the frontstretch chicane last year. Every turn matters on the ROVAL™.”
Smith says that the feedback from drivers has been positive and that the drivers are up for the challenge.
“The drivers are up for a challenge, and this is a challenge,” Smith told Kickin’ The Tires. Just like the [new] carousel [at Sonoma] is a challenge and something different, I think that’s really the opportunity. We’ve got some of the greatest drivers in the world in NASCAR, greatest teams in the world.
“They need to be challenged and that’s what we’re doing with the ROVAL™ and tweaking the backstretch chicane in this case. What I’m seeing from most of the drivers, they’re up for the challenge.”
The updated chicane will require heavier breaking and a sharper entry into the turn, but the track hopes that a wider radius will provide drivers “risk-taking opportunities” and a increased margin for error on the exit of the turn.
In addition to the updated chicane, Charlotte Motor Speedway officials announced that the NASCAR Xfinity Series race has been extended by 50 kilometers and will be known as the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
Kicken the Tires - June 21, 2019
Iowa Speedway President Hopeful NASCAR Cup Series Comes to Speedway in 2021
It may just be a hunch or a feeling, but Iowa Speedway President David Hyatt says there is no better chance than now to land NASCAR's cream of the crop, a Cup Series race.
Newton's 7/8 mile track was purchased by NASCAR in 2013, but the track hasn't been a part of the coveted Cup Series yet, mainly because of a sanctioning agreement with current Cup Series tracks.
That agreement ends next year, meaning the 2021 season could be making a stop in Iowa.
Hyatt says the main advantage for the Iowa Speedway is its short track, something that's completely different than what the Cup Series features now.
“Well I think short track racing brings racing back to its roots for starters,” David Hyatt said. “People grow up racing on short tracks if they are racers, and if they are fans, they grew up attending in short tracks, so you see a lot stronger competition. It's not always about the speed, it's about the racing; it's about the competition between each other. It's about the bumping and banging and not having to rely on aerodynamics fully or horsepower only. It's a combination of driver skill and the kind of car that you've got and fans notice that and they want to see more of that.”
Hyatt said talks regarding the 2021 season haven’t begun yet. He said the biggest thing the Iowa Speedway can do at this point is prove they can host something like this. He says the infrastructure can handle that kind of race and crowd turnout, besides a few minor tweaks they are ready to make. He hopes these next few seasons will prove the Iowa fanbase is strong.
The 2019 season begins on Father’s Day weekend.
WHOTV 6 - June 16, 2019
ISC Strikes Deal to be Purchased by NASCAR for About $2 Billion
NASCAR agreed to a sweetened, $2-billion deal to buy a company that runs 13 major racetracks and take it private as part of NASCAR’s effort to reverse years of decline in stock-car racing’s popularity.
The tracks — including the two-mile, 68,000-seat Auto Club Speedway in Fontana — are owned by International Speedway Corp., which is controlled by the France family that also founded and controls NASCAR, the sport’s sanctioning body.
NASCAR last November initially offered $42 a share for the roughly 25% of ISC held by the public. The new deal accepted by ISC and announced Wednesday is for $45 a share in cash.
ISC’s other tracks include Daytona International Speedway in Florida, Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama and ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix. ISC’s revenue in its latest fiscal year totaled $675 million.
The merger’s goal is to give NASCAR more flexibility in making major changes that it hopes will lead to a rebound in the sport’s drooping attendance, television ratings and corporate sponsorships that finance its racing teams.
“In recent years, attendance at NASCAR events has faced stiff headwinds,” ISC said in its latest annual report.
There is speculation the changes could include shifting locations in the 36-race schedule in NASCAR’s premier Monster Energy Cup Series, altering the length of certain races or shortening the series’ long schedule, which runs from February to November.
As a private company, NASCAR also would be able to make changes without worrying about the reaction of public investors and its stock price, because NASCAR no longer would have to publicly report attendance figures and financial statements for the tracks.
Jim France, NASCAR’s chief executive and chairman of ISC, said in November that in “a highly competitive sports and entertainment landscape, a more unified strategic approach is important to our future growth.”
The sport “requires structural changes” and the NASCAR-ISC merger “a positive step forward in that direction,” he said.
Even if the deal is completed later this year as expected, NASCAR still would have to negotiate some changes with another outside party, Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight racetracks that host major NASCAR races, including Sonoma Raceway in California, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
“We are pleased with the progress that the negotiation and execution of the merger agreement between NASCAR and ISC represents,” NASCAR said in a statement Wednesday. “With a strong vision for the future, the France family’s commitment to NASCAR and the larger motorsports industry has never been greater.”
Los Angeles Times - May 22, 2019
Heavy Damage By Possible Tornado at
Lucas Oil Speedway
Several people are in the hospital and officials at Lucas Oil Speedway are evaluating operations after a storm with strong winds ripped up a nearby RV park and left the speedway without power Tuesday.
Emergency responders evaluated seven people who had sustained injuries, according to a report by KOLR10. Four were taken to a nearby hospital, and three refused medical treatment.
Danny Lorton, General Manager of the Speedway, told KOLR10 they would not be able to operate.
“We are surveying the area tonight without any power and will know more in the morning,” Lucas Oil Speedway said in a statement on Facebook at 12:11 a.m.
As of now, there has been no official report of a tornado in the area, which is approximately a two hour and 15 minute drive southeast of the metro.
The 27th Annual Lucas Oil Show-Me 100 is planned for this coming Thursday, May 23-May 25. The speedway is expected to host thousands of fans.
fox4KC - May 21, 2019
Yellow Wall Gone at Charlotte Motor Speedway
The iconic yellow walls at Charlotte Motor Speedway are no more, as this weekend we will see a primary white paint scheme walls with blue and red patriotic accents similar to what we was shown at the Charlotte Roval race last October.
Charlotte Motor Speedway has had yellow walls since 2004 when Nextel and Sprint was the series sponsor.
The Racing Insiders Team Report - May 20, 2019
$60 Million Dollar Renovation Plan Revealed for Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
in Plan to Return NASCAR
Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials on Tuesday revealed their long-awaited $60 million renovation plan to bring NASCAR racing back to Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway.
This is the first public revealing of the renovation plan after several closed-door meetings between SMI officials and representatives of Nashville Mayor David Briley’s administration.
“This is your racetrack,” said Jerry Caldwell, Bristol Motor Speedway executive vice president told Metro Board of Fair commissioners, according to The Tennessean. “This racetrack belongs to the people of Nashville. We see tremendous potential … and are willing to offer our resources and experience in partnership with you.”
SMI’s plan would increase seating capacity of the .596-mile short track from its current size of 15,000 to 30,000, as well as include an expanded concourse, premium seating, pedestrian tunnels and sound barriers, according to The Tennesseean. Caldwell also revealed a financing plan that could be done through revenue bonds and revenue generated through the use of speedway property.
A previous funding plan by SMI for $54 million in bond payments and $2 million in a city cash subsidy was rejected by Briley’s administration, which wants the project to be a private investment and not include any funding from taxpayers, according to The Tennessean.
One other major obstacle remains: a new $275 million Major League Soccer stadium – and surrounding mixed-use development that would include private residences – will have one of its abutting walls only 20 feet from the Speedway’s main entrance. It has been a stumbling block that neither the city, the soccer team nor SMI have been able to reach a compromise on.
Nashville SC, the group that will bring MLS soccer to the city and is behind construction of the new stadium, has remained adamant that its plans are set in stone.
“Our group has worked diligently over the past eighteen months to engage with stakeholders, the Fairgrounds staff and the architects to design a stadium and surrounding development that safely serves the property and future users of the Fairgrounds,” Zach Hunt, a spokesperson for the MLS ownership group, said in a statement, according to The Tennessean.
“The Mayor and Metro Council made the boundaries for our project very clear and we’ve maintained our commitment to building a first-class venue within those boundaries.”
Metro council member Robert Swope told The Tennessean, “We have a chance, if we redo the speedway along with this (soccer stadium), to turn this facility into the crown jewel of Nashville. But that only happens if you bring an operator like (Speedway Motorsports) to help with the speedway renovations.”
NBC Sports - May 10, 2019
Dover International Speedway will build a new, expanded Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage following the upcoming May 3-5 NASCAR tripleheader weekend, track officials announced today. And when NASCAR returns to the track in 5 months, it will be completed.
The new, larger Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage will be located between Turns 1 and 2 in the infield, a shift from its current spot closer to Turn 1. The current garage area has been in place since the Monster Mile’s first race, the “Mason-Dixon 300” on July 6, 1969.
The garage will include an Allied Steel Building, a corporate partner of Dover International Speedway and the sponsor of the “Allied Steel Buildings 200” NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash race on Saturday, May 4.
Another partner of Dover International Speedway, Raynor Garage Doors, is providing the garage doors for the project. Raynor is the preferred garage door of Dover International Speedway.
Some highlights and features of the new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage include:
Work is scheduled to begin on May 6, right after the upcoming races, and be completed by Sept. 20, right before the Oct. 4-6 NASCAR tripleheader weekend. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Sunday, Oct. 6, will be the 100th NASCAR Cup Series race in track history and the final race of the Monster Mile’s 50th Anniversary season. Dover International Speedway will be the 10th track in the nation to host 100 or more NASCAR Cup Series races.
The upcoming May 3-5 NASCAR tripleheader weekend opens Dover’s 50th Anniversary season and includes the “JEGS 200” NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday, May 3 and the “Gander RV 400” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, May 5.
Dover International Speedway - May 3, 2019
New Talladega Infield Construction
Less than 24 hours after Chase Elliott became the final Talladega winner to get the champagne there, demolition began on Victory Lane.
On Tuesday, Superspeedway Chairman Grand Lynch waved the green flag as NASCAR legend Bobby Allison took the first dig to demolish the iconic structure, where so many winners were showered with champagne and confetti over the years.
A new victory lane is in the cards for the Fan Experience, which is expected to be built in time for the October race. The Fan Experience will also allow race fans who buy that package to get up close to drivers, dine at the Open Air Club, and will also see a complete renovation of the media center.
Allison, who lives in North Carolina now, says Talladega will always be home to him and he’ll always love any upgrade the management makes to the track.
"I want to tell you what, that was really fun, to take a big chunk of the old Victory Lane out of here, been back under good circumstances a few times, and that was good," Allison told reporters.
“I just appreciate the upgrading they keep doing to this place, some of the other places around this circuit. Of course, this will always be home, so I love whatever they do here,” Allison added.
Allison has driven numerous vehicles over the years - race cars, street legal cars, trucks, he’s even piloted airplanes.
But Monday was the first time he ever operated a backhoe.
Gatorade Victory Lane is expected to be demolished by the end of this week.
WBRC 6 - April 29, 2019
Sonic Financial Corporation Makes Offer to Purchase Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Plans to Take Company Private
Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced Wednesday that it has received a non-binding proposal from Sonic Financial Corp. to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock other than those already held by Sonic.
Bruton Smith and his family own and control Sonic Financial Corp. Smith is the founder and majority stakeholder in Speedway Motorsports Inc.
SMI operates eight tracks that host Cup races, including Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.
This action follows NASCAR’s non-binding offer Nov. 9 to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Class A and B common stock of International Speedway Corp. not already owned by the controlling shareholders of NASCAR.
The Sonic Financial Corp. offer for the outstanding SMI stock is for $18 per share. The stock closed at $13.94 on Tuesday. SMI’s board has formed a special committee to consider the offer.
NBC Sports - April 28, 2019
Dover International Speedway Announces Renovations After Next Week Races
According to Bob Pockrass, reporter for Fox Sports mentioned that during the Dover Motorsports quarterly earnings announcement Thursday, it was mentioned that a $5-$5.5M Cup garage project will begin after next weekend’s races.
The renovation was been planned for more than a decade but was delayed by the recession in 2008.
NBC Sports - April 24, 2019
NASCAR Offers More Money For Purchase of ISC
It was reported that NASCAR has raised its offer to purchase International Speedway Corporation from $42 a share to $47 a share. The ISC is estimated worth 1.86 billion dollars which includes eight race tracks: Auto Club Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Michigan International Speedway.
ISC missed its mark on the first quarter earnings for 2019, down 3% from 2018. The stock dipped slightly the end of March 2019 from $43.90 a share to $42.10 a share. The current rate for a share of ISC stock as of April 21st is $43.16 a share.
The Racing Insiders Team Report - April 20, 2019
14 Year Old Charged with Arson
at Nazareth Speedway
A fire at a building at the old Nazareth Speedway was intentionally set, police said.
A 14-year-old is behind the fire that broke out on Sunday, according to Colonial Regional police.
The teen is a student at Nazareth Area Middle School and will be referred to a juvenile detention center, officials said.
As police were putting out the fire, they got information about a Snapchat video on the Internet which appeared to show juvenile males at the scene at the time of the fire, said Detective Sgt. Mike Melinsky with Colonial Regional Police.
The Snapchat video was used to arrest the teen in connection with the fire, said Colonial Regional Police Chief Roy Seiple.
The Hecktown Volunteer Fire Company chief confirmed the building in the video was the building at the old Nazareth Speedway.
A second juvenile is expected to be detained in connection to the arson as well, police said.
The fire broke out around 5 p.m. in a building by the parking lot on the Lower Nazareth Township property. The building was located in the infield, and was about 30 feet by 40 feet.
The fire was knocked down quickly and there were no reports of injuries, officials said.
The property has been vacant since the legendary race track closed in 2004.
The fire was automatically considered suspicious because there was no electricity in the building, Melinsky said.
It appeared the fire had been set in several different spots, Melinsky said.
It's estimated the fire caused about $15,000 worth of damage.
The race track closed after the 2004 season, and has been left abandon since then. The last race at the track was the Ground Pumps 200 won by Martin Truex Jr. in May of 2004 in the Xfinity Series.
WFMZ 69 - April 20, 2019
Gateway Motorsports Park Gets a New Name
Gateway Motorsports Park and World Wide Technology have agreed to a naming rights deal that will see the NASCAR track rebranded as the “World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.”
As part of the deal, WWT will also be the official technology partner for the track. The agreement extends WWT’s standing ties with NASCAR, as it serves as the technology and analytics partner of Richard Petty Motorsports and a primary sponsor of the team’s No. 43 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“The support of WWT will help ensure that our track will compete for North America’s most elite races and offer an innovative and exhilarating fan experience for years to come,” says Curtis Francois, chief executive officer, Gateway Motorsports. “The relationship with WWT will help us tremendously as we continue to grow World Wide Technology Raceway into one of the premier racing facilities in the country.”
License Global- April 19, 2019
Kansas Speedway Lands a New Sponsor,
Including Race Title Rights
Digital Ally Inc. signed a partnership agreement with Kansas Speedway that makes the Lenexa company the title sponsor for the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Truck Series races on May 10 and 11.
“We are excited to partner with Kansas Speedway,” Digital Ally CEO Stanton Ross said in a release. “We have had an outstanding relationship with NASCAR this past year and a half. It made all the sense in the world to team up with our local track as well. We look forward to a fantastic weekend of racing.”
Digital Ally designs and manufactures high-quality video recording equipment and video analytic software for law enforcement, emergency management, commercial fleets and consumer use. Its products include in-car and body cameras, cloud and local management software, and automatic recording technology.
This isn’t Digital Ally’s first foray into sports sponsorship. Previously, the company was the title sponsor of the Web.Com Tour stop in Kansas City, the area’s only professional golf tournament.
Digital Ally signed a five-year deal for the 2015 to 2019 Web.com Tour tournaments in Kansas City. The tour’s parent company, PGA Tour Inc., sued Digital Ally for defaulting on the contract in 2017. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed Wednesday, hours before the announcement of the Kansas Speedway sponsorship agreement.
“Plaintiff PGA Tour Inc. gives notice that this action has been resolved and is voluntarily dismissed with prejudice,” PGA Tour wrote in a court filing.
Kansas City Business Journal - April 17, 2019
Nashville Fairground Speedway in Need of Over $50 Million in Upgrades to Eventually Host NASCAR Top Tier Events
Speedway Motorsports, the company trying to bring NASCAR back to Nashville, pitched a plan that called for $54 million in bond payments and $2 million in cash from the city, according to city officials.
Mayor David Briley's administration rejected the proposal, but ongoing discussions could end with tax revenue collected at the track financing part of the project.
In a presentation to Briley in late February, the group offered various possibilities on how the upgrades necessary for NASCAR's return to the Fairgrounds Speedway could potentially be financed — including an option that uses Metro dollars.
But Briley would reject a deal involving funding from taxpayers, according to his administration, which previously said the mayor is insistent on private investment in any proposal.
"Mayor Briley does not support using public money to bring NASCAR to the fairgrounds," Briley spokesperson Thomas Mulgrew told The Tennessean on Monday.
It was not immediately clear why the group specifically made a pitch for $2 million in cash or how the $54 million in bonds — more than double the $25 million in general obligation bonds the Metro Council approved to support public infrastructure associated with the soccer stadium — would be used.
Details on what upgrades are necessary and how much they’ll cost have not been released.
But a top Speedway Motorsports executive said there's been a shift from talks of using general obligation bonds to a plan that emphasizes a private-public partnership with the possibility of using revenue from the track to fund any project.
A rendering presented to Mayor David Briley by Speedway Motorsports in ongoing talks to bring NASCAR to the Nashville Fairgrounds
A rendering presented to Mayor David Briley by Speedway Motorsports in ongoing talks to bring NASCAR to the Nashville Fairgrounds (Photo: Handout)
“We remain very interested in helping Metro return its historic property to a showcase venue that will host major races and special events that generate substantial new revenue for Nashville," Jerry Caldwell, executive VP and general manager, Bristol Motor Speedway, said in a statement.
"We believe this redevelopment can be accomplished in a private-public partnership that is funded by revenues within the fairgrounds and our capital investment and without use of the city's current tax revenues."
Caldwell said the company brings the capital and "professional expertise" to deliver major events and "advance a true renovation of the historic fairgrounds property."
He said the renovation would improve the surrounding neighborhood.
“Our team is optimistic that we can work with the Briley administration, Councilman (Colby) Sledge and Metro Council, the Fair Board and MLS to find solutions that are in the best interests of the community and provide a better future for the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway," Caldwell said.
Financing remains a roadblock that has emerged in the ongoing talks between Speedway Motorsports and Briley. The group has already proposed a project that clashes with plans already in place for the new Major League Soccer stadium.
The feasibility of a major upgrade to the racetrack remains questionable since the soccer stadium project will place a mixed-use development building so close to the Speedway.
“Mayor Briley is happy to entertain a common-sense proposal to revitalize the iconic track at the fairgrounds,” Mulgrew previously said. "To date, (Speedway Motorsports) has not presented an option that was either practical considering the planned MLS stadium or financially feasible ... ."
Sledge, whose council district includes the fairgrounds, said he also would not support a plan that calls for public dollars to be invested into the racetrack.
"They should be doing it within their own budget," Sledge said. "There should be no money from the city going into this plan. Or if there's some sort of improvement the city is a partner in, it should be extremely low exposure from the city."
The Nashville Fairgrounds has not been "privy" on what Speedway Motorsports is proposing, according to Holly McCall, a fairgrounds spokesperson.
Tennessean - April 16, 2019
Talladega Finishes New Turn 3 Tunnel
The last pre-cast arch has been placed for Talladega Superspeedway’s new Turn 3 Oversized Vehicle Tunnel, the first development of the 2019 Transformation Infield Project. Crews have started sealing around each arch placement for protection and weatherproofing, while concrete walls are also going up for the infield entry and exit access. Oxford, AL’s Taylor Corporation, which is spearheading the tunnel construction effort, is right on schedule.
The Oversized Vehicle Tunnel, which is scheduled for completion in time for the track’s April 26-28, 2019 spring motorsports tripleheader weekend featuring the GEICO 500, MoneyLion 300 and General Tire 200, is the initial part of the approximately $50 million Transformation Infield Project that is part of International Speedway Corporation’s (Talladega’s parent company) long-term capital allocation plan and reinvestment into its major motorsports complexes. The new 2-lane tunnel will be capable of allowing vehicles as large as race team haulers and fans’ recreational vehicles to enter and exit the track simultaneously with ease. It will be open 24 hours during event weekends. Construction efforts also continue for the spring opening of the new 69-spot Finish Line Premium RV area (located just past the start-finish line & includes full hookups). The speedway will also offer new Infield Shower Trailers in April.
The culmination of Transformation will occur this October and will allow fans to be immersed into the sport of NASCAR with a one-of-a-kind Talladega Garage Experience, which will feature “up-close” access, interactive attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders in the iconic Talladega infield.
Talladega PR - April 15, 2019
Nashville Fairground Speedway In
Jeopardy to Host NASCAR Event
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville racing operator Formosa Productions has breached its contract at the city-owned racetrack by racing after hours, paying rent late and failing to pay Metro a commission from the previous race season, according to the Nashville Fairgrounds.
Nashville Fairgrounds Director Laura Womack alerted Tony and Claire Formosa in a letter Monday that the situation must be remedied in 30 days.
"I encourage you to address these issues with a sense of urgency so that we can continue to work together to ensure a successful 2019 race season," she wrote in the letter obtained by The Tennessean.
Tony Formosa and Formosa Productions has been the racing operator of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville since 2010.
Womack says that the Formosas:
Any events operating outside the established curfew must have prior approval by the Metro Fair Board.
Womack requested immediate payment of the past due amount and requested the Formosas appear at the Fair Board meeting April 16 to address these issues.
However, the Formosas said there was "more to the story" in an interview with the Tennessean on Tuesday.
"Obviously there are somethings that we are aware of that we have taken care of, like the office rent," said Claire Formosa, the vice president of the group.
"The other two things...there is a lot more to it than what is being stated in the letter," she said, declining to go into detail until she presents at the fair board meeting next Tuesday.
"We fully intend to defend ourselves and give our side of the things," she said.
Council member Colby Sledge, whose district includes the fairgrounds, declined to comment. But he previously told The Tennessean that Tony Formosa has fought to run cars during school hours and has also gone past his practice deadline on a weeknight.
Earlier this year, Speedway Motorsports and Formosa entered into a subcontractor agreement that clears the way for NASCAR's return to Nashville. But two significant roadblocks have emerged in ongoing talks that clash with plans for the new Major League Soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds site.
Nashville was awarded a MLS team in 2017 and now the city is pushing to build a stadium for the team to play in.
Part of the site plans for the soccer stadium development places a mixed-use apartment building and parking garage about 20 feet from the current front entrance to the racetrack.
Formosa said a building in such close proximity would make the flow of fans into and out of the racetrack impossible. He also doubted whether a building located so close would allow for future upgrades at the racetrack.
Sledge said he is not in favor of adjusting a site plan that has already gone through more than a year of public input and review by several Metro boards and commissions. He also said he would not go to residents with any negotiations regarding the track when "the operator continues to violate this contract and community trust."
"These regulations and deadlines have been in place for years. I want to have a productive conversation regarding the track, but it is impossible with the operator's continued violations," he said.
An overhaul of the fairgrounds is already underway to make room for the $275 million soccer stadium and surrounding mixed-use development. The new expo center and fair buildings, which are moving to the northeast end of the site, are expected to be operational by August.
It's put burden on the racetrack business, according to Claire Formosa, who said they've had to accommodate parking problems at the fairgrounds and other issues they have "self-created with the construction."
"There's a full detailed list that we have on what we've and to sacrifice or give up for the fairgrounds," she said.
Nashville Tennessean - April 9, 2019
Empty Grandstands at Bristol Spark Concern
Appalled by so many empty seats at Bristol Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer did some digging and learned what race fans have known for more than a decade.
Hotels along the Tennessee-Virginia line near the iconic NASCAR track have pushed one of the most popular venues on the circuit beyond the budget of the average attendee. Bowyer made a handful of calls and said he was outraged to discover lower-end lodging starting at more than $300 a night.
"I was so glad Clint brought that up," said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Bristol's parent company Speedway Motorports Inc. "It's a crazy number some of these hotels are charging and it's just unfortunate. We continue to work with the business bureaus at all of our speedways and it is a challenge we are trying to find solutions to while working with the local business leaders."
Bristol was once the toughest ticket to get in NASCAR and boasted 55 consecutive sellouts from 1982 through 2010. The track only accommodated 30,000 fans when the streak began and expansions began in earnest when SMI bought the track in 1996.
The Coliseum-style structure now holds 146,000, but the crowd size has shrunk so much over the years that Bristol last weekend did not even sell tickets in the turns. Closed sections included the Darrell Waltrip Grandstand on the same weekend the Hall of Famer and all-time winningest driver at Bristol was feted for his upcoming retirement from broadcasting.
The swaths of empty seats - NASCAR and its tracks do not release attendance figures - made for unpleasant optics Sunday during the Cup race, arguably the best race of the season so far.
It featured 21 lead changes, late pit strategy played a role in the outcome and Kyle Busch won again. Many drivers had compelling races, including Brad Keselowski, who lost his shot at the win when he was black-flagged before the final restart for not following a NASCAR directive. Kevin Harvick came from four laps down to finish 13th on a day his team was punished for failing pre-race inspection three times, and Kurt Busch continued to shine as the most consistent driver in the winless Chevrolet camp.
Smith acknowledged the challenges in selling tickets in this current NASCAR climate. Venues doubled and tripled their seating capacity during NASCAR's late 1990s boom and more tracks were built and added to a 10-month schedule.
Oversaturation became a problem and NASCAR and its most loyal fans were among those hit hardest by the 2008 economic collapse. The quality of racing deteriorated, too, and fans stopped coming.
Smith can offer alternatives to the high hotel rates with on-site camping packages; a group can rent a recreational vehicle for the weekend for the same price as booking a single room at most of the local hotels.
Bristol's spring race has also bounced around various March and April dates, and weather is often iffy enough to keep some fans at home. Sunday's race was moved up eight minutes in anticipation of late-day rain, and last year's event was pushed to Monday.
Smith is adamant the easiest promotion is a strong on-track product and the Bristol event was proof that fans can still catch a good show.
"The most important element is great racing and the racing we had at Bristol will sell more tickets will draw more eyeballs," Smith said. "That is the essential component, the essential ingredient for a successful NASCAR event and a successful Bristol event. I think the key for a resurgence in NASCAR is what we saw at Bristol and that's great competition."
Daily Mail - April 9, 2019
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in
Jeopardy of New Development
Two roadblocks have emerged in the ongoing talks between Speedway Motorsports and Mayor David Briley about bringing a NASCAR race to Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway — clashing with plans for the new Major League Soccer stadium.
Briley's administration has not seen details on how the upgrades necessary to bring NASCAR to the fairgrounds would be financed.
And the feasibility of a major upgrade to the racetrack remains questionable since the soccer stadium project will place a building so close to the track that the current operator says he’ll have trouble putting on races in the future.
Despite those major questions, a top Speedway Motorsports executive expressed optimism about the company’s talks with the city. Speedway Motorsports owns eight NASCAR tracks, including Bristol Motor Speedway in East Tennessee.
Earlier this year, Speedway Motorsports and current track operator Tony Formosa entered into a subcontractor agreement that clears the way for NASCAR's return to Nashville. Both Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR have said Nashville is an ideal market for a future race.
Part of the site plans for the soccer stadium development places a mixed-use apartment building and parking garage about 20 feet from the current front entrance to the racetrack.
Formosa said a building in such close proximity would make the flow of fans into and out of the stadium impossible. He also doubted whether a building located so close would allow for future upgrades at the racetrack.
“You have to have that open for emergency vehicles, and for people to enter,” Formosa said. “That’s the main gate.”
A possible solution to the financing question appears to be on the table with state legislation that would redirect tax revenue generated at future NASCAR-sanctioned races to help pay for upgrades at the racetrack.
“Mayor Briley is happy to entertain a common-sense proposal to revitalize the iconic track at the fairgrounds,” Briley’s spokesman Thomas Mulgrew said, adding that the mayor has met with the group on several occasions to discuss various options.
"To date, (Speedway Motorsports) has not presented an option that was either practical considering the planned MLS stadium or financially feasible considering the mayor’s insistence on private investment in any proposal," Mulgrew said.
Nashville Tennessean - April 4, 2019
Xfinity Series Rumored
to Practice on Indianapolis Roadcourse
It has been reported by Robin Miller of Racer Magazine that Indianapolis Motor Speedway mentioned that the Xfinity Series will do a test on the Indianapolis Road Course later this summer.
No news about this possibility from NASCAR, but there have been talks about trying to add more road courses to the schedule. This could be a test for what the 2021 schedule could look like. The above image might not be the official road course layout if NASCAR races on the road course.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - April 4, 2019
Rockingham Meets with NASCAR R+D
About Future Track Upgrades
Rockingham Speedway is coming back to life.
The Rock Entertainment Complex, formerly North Carolina Motor Speedway, was purchased last fall by Raleigh-based land developer Dan Lovenheim, who plans to renovate the venue into a multipurpose entertainment facility, including motorsports.
It was reported this weekend that the NASCAR R&D Center had a visit with track owners this past week at the facility to talk safety upgrades that are necessary in the future hold a NASCAR race. Some of the upgrade will include safer barriers, caution lights, and pit road amenities.
There have been rumors that the track could return racing as soon as 2021 for one or multiple NASCAR Series.
Autoweek - April 1, 2019
Pocono Raceway CEO Says
There Will Be 5 Races in One Weekend
Pocono Raceway President & CEO, Brandon Igdalsky was on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio a few moments ago and talked about why Pocono wanted to become the first track to try the double header. He said this will make Pocono become a destination race for fans, and will be known as a crown jewel race weekend.
Brandon went on to say that there will be 5 NASCAR Races in that weekend. One race Friday, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday. He said he can not speak to which series will race on which days until after the Xfinity and Truck schedules are released, so it sounds like Xfinity could have a double header that weekend also.
Brandon mentioned that in 2020 all the races will be on the current layout, but has talked to NASCAR about future road-course races at the facility in 2021 and beyond. Brandon mentioned that he is willing to work with NASCAR on how they see Pocono be the best fit.
Additionally Brandon mentioned several upgrades that Pocono Raceway will receive before 2020 including new playground area and amenities for kids, and a new event center that will be able to host NASCAR events and meet & greets with drivers on race weekend.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - March 28, 2019
Practice Speeds Too Fast for NASCAR After Test at Daytona With New Package
After a test in February with the new Aero Package the Monster Energy Cup Series have, the three cars who tested saw speeds almost over 200mph.
For this first time coming up at Talladega, NASCAR will not race a restrictor plate for the first time since 1988 at a Superspeedway race track. They will move to something similar which is now standard at all race tracks called a tapperd spacer.
The three cars that test after the Daytona 500 with the new engine and areo package were Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, and Daniel Hemric. When the three cars were wide open in only a three car draft, they were clock speeds close to 200mph. NASCAR believes that these speeds will be much faster with a pack of 40 cars.
NASCAR wanted to avoid limiting horsepower in the cars, so instead they will make the following adjustments:
NASCAR gives the teams the tapered spacer before every race weekend to be installed at the track. NASCAR will have smaller tapered spacer devices if the horsepower still seems to be too fast during the practice and qualifying sessions for the Cup Series.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - March 28, 2019
Major Changes Coming for 2020 Season Schedule
NASCAR unveiled a retooled 2020 NASCAR Premier Series schedule on Tuesday, releasing a 36-race slate that includes a reimagined Playoffs and new locations for both the Championship Race and the regular-season finale among several other changes.
For the first time since 2002, the premier series finale will have a new host track – the 1-mile ISM Raceway at Phoenix, which recently completed a $178 million renovation project designed to improve the fan experience, and one which included a reconfiguration for the track.
The Playoffs will open Sept. 6 at historic Darlington Raceway, whose throwback weekend has become a staple of late summer. The opening round ends at Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights, with one of the most anticipated races of the year moving from its traditional August date to Sept. 19.
The Charlotte road course remains an elimination race after its thrilling debut last year, but in the Round of 12 instead of the Round of 16. With ISM Raceway moving to the championship race, the vacancy for the Round of 8 finale slides to Martinsville Speedway. The shortest and oldest track on the NASCAR circuit has a history of producing plenty of drama in its previous high-stakes Playoffs races, something sure to amp up even more with drivers having just one final chance to clinch a spot in the Championship 4.
Before the postseason, the Playoffs field will be fully set and finalized in the new-look regular-season finale at historic Daytona International Speedway, a race sure to throw a dash of unpredictability into the postseason picture.
A summer stretch includes a doubleheader weekend at Pocono Raceway that will see back-to-back NASCAR Premier Series races on the same weekend. The first such instance in the NASCAR modern era, this doubleheader on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28, also ensures the season ends one week earlier on Nov. 8.
Additional summer changes include a Cup Series race on Father’s Day, which recently has been an off weekend for the premier series. Chicagoland Speedway hosts the event, the first in the NBC portion of the schedule. With the Daytona summer race moving to the end of the regular season, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will serve as host of the July 4th weekend. It hosts the NASCAR Premier Series race on Sunday, July 5.
Hosting the Round of 8 finale isn’t the only change for Martinsville Speedway. The .526-mile track will host its first NASCAR national series race under the facility’s newly installed lights on Mother’s Day weekend, May 9, 2020.
Previously the host of the finale, Homestead-Miami Speedway’s race is slated for March 22, 2020, in the early portion of the regular season. The 1.5-mile track with variable banking produces some of the best racing all year.
NASCAR goes West earlier this year, with the three-race West Coast swing starting immediately after the season-opening Daytona 500, with Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosting the second race of the season, followed by Auto Club Speedway and ISM Raceway.
The four final races of the regular season are designed to test the mettle of NASCAR’s top drivers on a variety of courses. That four-race slate includes a wide 2-mile oval (Michigan), a road course (Watkins Glen), a fast, 1-mile concrete track (Dover) and a 2.5-mile Superspeedway (Daytona).
NASCAR.com - March 26, 2019
Breaking Down of Potential 2020 Schedule
As soon as NASCAR announced Monday morning that this week the 2020 schedule was going to be announced, NASCAR Nation went crazy with rumors of potential changes we could see in the NASCAR schedule next season.
Some of the rumors are likely going to happen, some were shockingly possible, and some were down right crazy. Lets break it all down for you on what is likely, possible, and unlikely.
Atlanta Gets a Date Farther In the Season: This is very likely. There have been rumors that Atlanta asked for a later date in the season. It has been reported from several sources that after Daytona in February, NASCAR will go on their west cost swing. This could make Atlanta become the 5th race of the season.
We will race a new track in 2020: This is unlikely. NASCAR has agreements with all of its race tracks through the 2020 season. No races should go away from any race tracks in 2020, and NASCAR most likely will not introduce any new Cup Series tracks in 2020. But that doesn't mean we won't see a new track like Rockingham or Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway get a Truck or Xfinity race.
Pocono will have two Cup races in one weekend: This is possible. Several NASCAR media reporters on Monday mentioned the possibility that Pocono will have a double header schedule. One Cup race on Saturday, and one on Sunday. This will mean only one race weekend of Pocono, and will be a way for NASCAR to shorten the schedule without actually loosing any races in 2020.
Phoenix will replace Homestead-Miami as the final race of the season: This is possible. This rumor was started by the Associated Press and quickly spread through social media. Ford and Championship weekend sponsorship ends the end of 2019, Homestead could move earlier in the season.
The Daytona Summer Night Race will Move to September: This is an interesting rumor that popped up from Jenna Fryer and the Associated Press on Monday, and it sounds like this could be a strong possibility. The rumor states that the Daytona Night Race would be the final race before the playoffs in September, replacing Indianapolis Motor Speedway which could move their date to early July.
Texas Motor Speedway will loose a date and join Indy in a double header at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas: This is possible in the future, but unlikely for 2020 as Texas Motor Speedway is locked in with two races. This is possible in 2021.
The Clash Goes Away: After a lack luster 2019 Clash which started off the season before the Daytona 500, there was quite a few questions swirling around that this Clash might have had its final bow. There is a possibility that this race could go away, however ever more of a possibility will be the Duel races to discontinue in 2020.
Martinsville Gets a Night Race: Martinsville invested tens of thousands of dollars in lights at the Speedway in 2017 in hopes to soon have a night race at Martinsville. I know many of the fan would like to see that, and would be an easy move for NASCAR to make. It is possible.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - March 25, 2019
Martinsville Speedway Announced
New Glen Wood Tower
Martinsville Speedway announced prior to the STP 500 that the speedway will rename their turn 1 town grandstand as "The Glen Wood Tower".
Wood Brothers Racing was started by Glen and Leonard Wood in the 1950's near Martinsville Speedway. Glen passed away at age 93 at his home in Virginia this past January. The Wood Brothers has a total of 199 premier NASCAR Cup Series wins. Prior to the race, Glen's brother, Leonard paced the field with an original Glen Wood race car he raced at Martinsville in the 1950's
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - March 24, 2019
RACE TRACK LINKS:
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Auto Club Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Daytona International Speedway
Dover International Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Michigan International Speedway
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway
Watkins Glen International
World Wide Technology Raceway