The future of NASCAR’s All-Star race

Fans were handed buttons as they walked through the gates at Lowe's Motor Speedway that read, "Racing was built here. Racing belongs here." Even as local and racetrack officials intensified their efforts to keep the Nextel All-Star Challenge at the 1.5-mile speedway, speculation continued to grow it might be moved. The merger between Nextel Communications and Sprint, which will be finalized later this year, triggered a lot of talk the race could be moved around on a rotating basis. Fueling the speculation is the fact NASCAR is owned and controlled by the France family – the same people who own International Speedway Corp. Lowe's is a member of rival Speedway Motorsports Inc., while the tracks in Richmond and Kansas City are owned by ISC. In short, the France family would make millions by moving the all-star race to one of their tracks. Nextel officials, however, still love Charlotte. They are impressed with the community's passion for the sport and the way speedway officials have fought to keep back-to-back races in the area in May. The decision to keep the race at Lowe's doesn't belong to Nextel. "That's one of things that's NASCAR's call," said Michael Robichaud, Nextel's senior director of sports and entertainment marketing. "We expect it to stay here, we expect it to continue to grow as an event, to grow and learn from what we learned this year and take it a few steps forward. Hopefully it will be here next year, but I haven't been privy to next year's schedule. These are the best fans, they love the sport. We love it here. It's been great to us here." Nextel officials not only aren't part of the scheduling process, they apparently aren't even given a preview of the schedule. Nextel didn't learn its all-star race was returning to Lowe's until the schedule was released to the public last May. Augusta Chronicle

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :