Bruton Smith to move two Cup races?
Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith says fans shouldn’t listen to rumors about the possibility of New Hampshire Motor Speedway losing one of its two Sprint Cup dates.
In announcing Sunday that he is bringing an IndyCar Series event back to the track in July 2011, Smith wouldn’t offer any hints about what he will ask NASCAR to do for the 2011 Cup schedule. Smith threatened to move a race from New Hampshire to another SMI track because of a dispute with local police in Loudon.
“The last three weeks, you’ve read and you printed and you’ve seen a lot of the stuff that is going on and we don’t like that,” said Smith, who is in a dispute over a bill $170,000 for police protection on NASCAR race weekends. “We couldn’t [move a race] without talking to NASCAR first. … If we have something to announce, we’ll announce it. But let’s not rely on rumors.”
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said he expects to hear from Smith this week about potential realignment of dates for 2011. SMI has two Cup Series races at Charlotte, Bristol, Texas, New Hampshire and Atlanta as well as one at Las Vegas and Infineon. He doesn’t have a Cup date at Kentucky Speedway, which SMI purchased last year.
Atlanta and New Hampshire are the two smallest venues in terms of seating capacity that have two races in SMI’s Cup portfolio.
“We expect to hear something this coming week [from SMI],” O’Donnell said Sunday. “Last year we didn’t get the schedule until early September. We’ve got enough time to look at it, make a decision and work with all the tracks out there. … We’ve got a pretty long streak of great support in New Hampshire, but I’m not going to speculate on what may be out there.
“We look at TV markets, the race track, attendance trends, marketplace saturation – there’s a lot of different factors, [including] where things fall in the schedule.” Scenedaily.com
Atlanta does not even come close to selling out both of its Sprint Cup races. It would seem logical that he will move one Atlanta race date to Las Vegas and one New Hampshire race to Kentucky.