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Isn’t it strange how much NASCAR news came out around Thanksgiving?

By admin | November 30, 2013

By Richard Allen

The week of Thanksgiving is known for being incredibly busy for many people. The day before the holiday is known for being the busiest travel day of the year. Thanksgiving Day itself is known for for family, food and football. The day after the traditional Thursday happening is known for being the busiest shopping day of the year.

The time around Thanksgiving is also known for corporations releasing less than favorable news in hopes of it getting lost in the shuffle. Apparently NASCAR is not immune from such shenanigans.

Did you happen to notice all the news that came out around Thanksgiving? Yeah, they were hoping you didn’t.

Texas Motor Speedway started the holiday week of with the news that it would not attempt to sell its backstretch seating in 2014.  The move, according to the track, was made to accommodate a new high-definition video board. But it is certainly worth noting that the 10,000 seats being taken out of the equation were not used for several events during the season and were sold at greatly reduced prices for Sprint Cup races.

The capacity of TMS is now reduced to 112,552.

 Empty seats were a common sight at TMS and other NASCAR tracks in 2013.

But that’s not all. There was more news to be made public.

The Talladega Super Speedway joined in by announcing that it would reduce its overall seating capacity to 80,000 on Wednesday.  That number is down from the listed capacity of 109,000 during the 2013 season. The giant track’s seating was said to be 147,000 in 2007 while the total attendance at that time was estimated at over 300,000.

To put this reduction in perspective, the seating capacity of the Bristol Motor Speedway is twice that of Talladega despite the fact that BMS is only one-fifth the size of the monster Alabama track.

 Attendance at Talladega has dropped steadily over the past few years.

Of course, these reductions at two of NASCAR’s premier tracks are being done in the name of improving the fan experience. Video screens will be more easily seen and sight lines will be improved. Funny how those video capabilities and sight lines weren’t so much of a concern ten years ago when those seats were being sold at full price.

I guess having a Black Friday type of price reduction on tickets other than those on the first ten rows of a track would not be a good idea for filling those empty seats. Better to just take them out.

NASCAR now owns the Iowa Speedway.

Perhaps the strangest news of the holiday week came from NASCAR itself regarding the sanctioning body’s purchase of the Iowa Speedway. What’s so odd about this move?

The purchase was initially veiled in secrecy as the buyer’s identity was withheld for a short time. But on Wednesday(again the busiest travel day of the year), the new owner was revealed to be NASCAR. The oddity of the deal is that NASCAR is primarily owned by the France family. The first family of the sport is also the dominant share holder of International Speedway, Corp., which is their track owning arm.

So why did NASCAR want to buy a financially struggling race track? Why didn’t the France dominated company that actually owns race tracks buy it? Why was this a good business move for NASCAR but not for ISC(as is stated in The Sporting News article linked above).

Whatever the reasons, it would seem to be a safe bet that this news was not released on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving by accident. Whether it be to protect the publically traded ISC’s balance sheet after that company has already decided to take on significant debt to give the Daytona International Speedway a facelift or something else, this just seemed to be a strange move.

I’m sure the answers will be forthcoming soon.


Topics: Articles |

12 Responses to “Isn’t it strange how much NASCAR news came out around Thanksgiving?”

  1. Robert Green Says:
    November 30th, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Perhaps they plan on moving seats from Talladega to Iowa… Concerning NASCAR’s purchase of Iowa; maybe Bruton was interested and the France’s didn’t want him to get it…

  2. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    November 30th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    So whose race goes to Iowa?

  3. Russ Says:
    December 1st, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Just goes to show that they have spin masters (the PR types not Clint Bowyer) on staff.

    Regardless you can bet that all of these events had one thing in common. It was good for the bottom line.

  4. Douglas Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 4:13 am

    I really don’t consider this NASCAR news, to me this is more NASCAR business news than actual NACAR news. But the Iowa situation is really going to be interesting though.

  5. Ken Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 10:10 am

    The news of ISC buying Iowa is interesting. Wouldn’t it be something if Iowa replaced the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015? Considering the pathetic excuse for racing the IMS produces, especially since the big tire fiasco in 2008, that wouldn’t break my heart. However, I am sure most want one of Michigan’s races taken away. This would not be good for NASCAR, since more than half of Michigan’s crowd comes from Ontario, Canada. For a lot of Ontario NASCAR fans, Michigan’s two weekends are the only NASCAR weekends they can attend. Walking through Michigan’s camp grounds, one has to look at all the RV’s with Ontario plates. It is the same with the parking lots. Being from Ontario, I feel like I never crossed the border. It is for that reason alone that Michigan must retain both the track’s dates.

  6. Troy VandeKamp Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I think the Iowa Speedway purchase allows them to (1) protect ISC Stock (publicly traded company) but not burdening that arm with more debt (they reportedly paid $14,000,000 for the track, but had to take on $8,000,000 in liabilities from the previous ownership group. No matter what, from a Wall Street perspective, that would have been bad for ISC.

    I don’t forsee a Cup Race coming to Iowa Speedway anywhere in the near future (unless NASCAR sells the speedway to ISC or SMI).

    The thought of bringing Cup to Iowa Speedway is bad business for ISC and NASCAR (they own Kansas City and Chicago, moving a Cup Date from another track (or one of those 2) to Iowa would just further splinter the fanbase across the 3 tracks (it’s a 4 hour drive from Newton, IA to KC and 5 hours to Chicago). Giving fans that currently drive from Iowa another choice just means more empty seats in the long run.

    It will be interesting over the next few years, but I feel like NASCAR might be actually looking at the future of the Nationwide and Truck Series here. They need to STOP running in conjunction with Cup in order to have their own identity (and drivers), or both series will be things of the past in the not to distant future (how many Nationwide or Truck races SOLD 10,000 tickets or more the last couple of year, not too many, can probably count them on 1 hand combined).

  7. GinaV24 Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 11:28 am

    well, I would have missed all of those news items if you hadn’t put them into an article, Rich. The only one I saw on my own was the Iowa track purchase. Very interesting and as Benjamin pointed out, I wonder what track will be losing a race so Iowa can have one.

  8. jo-jr Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Really, does not, make any difference, anyway! Fans, are not going to take their hard-earned money, and travel, hundreds, of miles, and pay for tickets, that cost to, much, and already know, who, is going to win! No, fan likes to see cheaters win, and get championships, instead of wining them!! We, were die-hard, race fans, since back, in the fifty’s! had, season tickets to Bristol and went to charlotte, Martinsville, an a couple of other tracks! could not pay us to go, now! We, don’t, even watch them on T.V. NASCAR IS DEAD!!

  9. Tony Geinzer Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Rich, the one thing that galls me with a passion is the Packrat Mentality of our Motorsports Press and we need to do better on Positive Press, ESPECIALLY with No Speed! Worse, I feel the Winston West Mentality is testing us up and I’d prefer to “resolve” Brian France having a Job with NASCAR and I don’t want the Banquet in Las Vegas again.

  10. Overra88ted Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Has anyone heard if Dale Jr. won a race this past weekend?

  11. Fred Says:
    December 2nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I’m done with Talladega. I went often for the $49 backstretch 2 day special, a great bargain. Now they’re tearing down the backstretch to “improve the fan’s experience”. What a load of crap. The Iowa sale is smoke and mirrors. na$car IS the same as ISC, they are all within the france empire.

    Ken I highly doubt the buffoons will ever move a race from Indy no matter how absolutely atrocious the racing is there.

  12. lucas Says:
    December 6th, 2013 at 1:20 am

    People “In Charge” today have a gauling opinion by the drivel they write that the majority of people are stupid and cannot read between the lines, Nascar is King at it.