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Why New Hampshire wants an IndyCar raceUPDATE #2 New Hampshire Motor Speedway yesterday announced that it will "retain both" of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series dates next year "in a realigned 2011 Sprint Cup schedule and add an IndyCar Series race Aug. 14," according to Michael Vega of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Sprint Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 301, "normally held in late June, moves to July 17, and the Sylvania 300, which had been the first event in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, shifts to the second Chase race Sept. 25."
06/28/10 On Sunday while announcing next year's IndyCar race at NHMS Bruton Smith shot down rumors that he plans to move one of the two NASCAR events at NHMS to his track in Las Vegas. If true that means he has to sell tickets to two Sprint Cup races. Does he really think he can sell a lot of tickets for the IndyCar race as well given the New Hampshire fans wallets will be tapped out? Given the low IndyCar TV ratings in the New England market there will have to be a massive ticket giveaway to make it even look slightly good.
Speculation is that because of a dispute with Loudon Police Chief Bob Fiske about the cost of police and fire protection for the NASCAR race weekends, track owner Bruton Smith could move one of the already scheduled NASCAR events, using the IndyCar race to cushion that loss. Smith claims the track would not see a decrease in revenue.
“Diminish?’’ said Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. “Who’s talking about diminish? We build. We build here. We don’t diminish.’’
Smith purchased the track three years ago from Bob Bahre for $340 million. If Smith moves one of the NASCAR races, the event could land in Las Vegas and Kentucky, where he also owns tracks.
“Deep down, I don’t think he wants to do that,’’ said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president of NHMS. “But he’s not going to let a police chief dictate how he does business.’’
06/26/10 Sources told Sirius Radio's Dave Moody New Hampshire Motor Speedway will lose its June Cup date in 2011, to be replaced by an IndyCar race. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, multiple sources say plans are already afoot to move the first of the track's two annual Sprint Cup events to either Kentucky or Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH, reported SMI will move one New Hampshire race to another venue next season, if local officials refuse Bruton Smith's demands to lower the cost of police protection at the track.
Former owners Bob and Gary Bahre traditionally paid $250,000 per race weekend for police protection. Smith negotiated the price tag down to $170,000 last year, but says he should be required to pay no more than $65,000. Smith said he no longer feels welcome in Loudon.
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