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DATE News (chronologically)
02/04/13
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Talladega eliminates 35,000 seats to avoid embarrassing attendance  UPDATE Many NASCAR fans didn't like the two-car tandem draft that dominated restrictor-plate racing, especially at Talladega Superspeedway, in 2010 and 2011. They were joined by some of the top executives of the sport, including one who recently railed against the style of racing and blamed it for the sluggish ticket sales at Talladega Superspeedway. International Speedway Corp. President John Saunders, whose company owns 12 tracks, including Talladega and Daytona International Speedway, minced no words when talking about the racing during a conference call last week with financial analysts.

"The tandem racing, two or three events of that kind of stuff & was quite frankly pathetic," Saunders said. "It's not what Talladega has been known for." Bad weather, including tornado warnings, that occurred during Talladega's spring weekends in 2010 and 2011 and high unemployment also hurt attendance, Saunders said. But he also said drivers' negative comments about the racing at Talladega encouraged fans to stay home.

The Talladega stands were far from full last year, and NASCAR estimated the Talladega crowd last October at 88,000  an estimate that includes those camping in the infield. In fan surveys after its fall 2011 race, 75 percent said they didn't like the two-car draft, Lynch said. While NASCAR implemented rules designed to limit it in 2012  rules that kept drivers from using the two-car draft up until the race's final laps  the damage appears have been done. Sporting News

02/03/13 Many NASCAR fans didn’t like the two-car tandem draft that dominated restrictor-plate racing, especially at Talladega Superspeedway, in 2010 and 2011.

They were joined by some of the top executives of the sport, including one who recently railed against the style of racing and blamed it for the sluggish ticket sales at Talladega Superspeedway. International Speedway Corp. President John Saunders, whose company owns 12 tracks, including Talladega and Daytona International Speedway, minced no words when talking about the racing during a conference call last week with financial analysts.

“The tandem racing, two or three events of that kind of stuff … was quite frankly pathetic,” Saunders said. “It's not what Talladega has been known for.”

Bad weather, including tornado warnings, that occurred during Talladega’s spring weekends in 2010 and 2011 and high unemployment also hurt attendance, Saunders said. But he also said drivers’ negative comments about the racing at Talladega encouraged fans to stay home.

While ISC officials would not release attendance figures to back its claims, it cited the two Talladega races and the moving of the spring Kansas race from June to April as having an impact on its 5.7 percent decline in admissions revenue from 2011 to 2012.

The Talladega stands were far from full last year, and NASCAR estimated the Talladega crowd last October at 88,000 — an estimate that includes those camping in the infield.

It’s up to Talladega President Grant Lynch to try to find a way for Talladega to rebound. The track has been installing wider, nicer seats for spectator comfort, which will decrease capacity. Using banners to cover several sections of seats, the track now lists its seating capacity at 108,000, down from 143,000 three years ago. More at Sporting News

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