NASCAR popularity waning in California

UPDATE Among the rumors at the Nextel Media Tour here in Charlotte, N.C., is that one of California Speedway's two NASCAR dates could be in trouble. Mind you, it's strictly something said and repeated but never finding its way into print. After all, it's rather silly to even think about. Absurd is perhaps a better adjective.

NASCAR, track owner International Speedway Corp. and the controlling France family went to great lengths to realign the schedule in 2004 to give Fontana its Labor Day Sunday night event. To even propose such a thought after one race is unthinkable.

However, it indicates someone somewhere is concerned about whether NASCAR will ever catch on in Southern California. Apparently, selling 93,000 seats or so, not to mention another 15,000 in the infield, isn't enough for some.

There have been published reports in various Southern newspapers that California Speedway is encountering problems selling tickets for the Feb. 27 Auto Club 500. Some have gone as far to speculate that president Bill Miller might just paper the house in order to look good after the season-opener at Daytona. More at Whittier Daily News

01/12/05 There are reports that early-season ticket sales are worrisome at several NASCAR tracks, particularly California Speedway. According to some, one reason is high ticket prices. Last September's Labor Day race at the Fontana track was a difficult sell; some NASCAR insiders said that a number of tickets were actually giveaways, or pushed on sponsors. The California race was sponsored by General Mills' Pop Secret division; this year's 500 has no sponsor. That September race in California was such a tough sell that at least one NASCAR executive is reported to be pushing to revive the Southern 500 at Darlington as a Labor Day race and to move the California race to a different weekend. Winston Salem Journal

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