Bruton Smith predicts F1 failure in Austin UPDATE #2
Old Bruton got to eat his words today. The Austin race was a huge success and drew far more fans than Bruton's NASCAR race did at TMS. It looks like TMS has some real competition in the Circuit of Americas and Texans have been exposed to the #1 form of racing in the world - Formula 1.
|An exuberant crowd of 117,429 packed the new 330-acre facility. Total attendance for the three-day event was 265,499 with Friday’s practice sessions and Saturday’s qualifying rounds drawing 65,360 and 82,710, respectively.|
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Ole Bruton is flapping his gums so he must be shaking in his boots. It appears most of the NASCAR fans that used to buy tickets for the fall Sprint Cup race at his Texas Motor Speedway instead bought tickets for the Austin, Texas F1 race in two weeks. The photos show all the empty grandstands on Sunday at TMS and the other side of the S/F line was even worse. It looks like Bruton is going to have to rip out a lot of grandstands at TMS so NASCAR doesn't look like a big loser. Maybe he should drop to just one Sprint Cup race a year at TMS. Charlie Drake
11/04/12 Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith said Formula One racing "never has worked in this country" and he has no concerns about its upcoming race in Austin affecting tickets sales to future events at Texas Motor Speedway.
|Thousands of fans dressed as aluminum bleachers has Bruton Smith shaking in his boots|
|Getty Images for NASCAR|
"We've checked and about 10 people we know are going to it, so I'm not really concerned," Smith said Saturday at TMS. "Formula One never had done anything in this country. It never has worked.
"They had one (Formula One) race in Phoenix a few years ago. There was an ostrich race that weekend (in 1991) that drew more people."
That sounds absurd, but TMS president Eddie Gossage said, "It's actually true."
F1 raced in Phoenix from 1989-91. The inaugural F1 race in Austin takes place Nov. 18 on the new Circuit of the America's track, a $300 million, 3.4-mile-road course southeast of downtown Austin.
Organizers of the Austin event say they have sold all the grandstand seats (estimated at more than 70,000) for the inaugural event.
Gossage was much more complimentary of the Austin event than Smith, who owns TMS and seven other speedways where NASCAR races.
"They are going to have a great crowd down there,'' Gossage said. "We know their ticket sales and they've done very well. Personally, I feel the more racing in Texas the better. But we don't have much crossover.
"It looks like a beautiful circuit. The challenge will be to maintain that in Year 2 and Year 3 , where F1 has struggled in the past. They had great crowds the few couple of years at Indianapolis, but couldn't sustain. But it'll be great this year."