TMS to dump IRL

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage delivered a verbal bumper tap Thursday to the Indy Racing League. Gossage's message: the IRL's future at the speedway could be in doubt because of increasing fees. "We have great races here," Gossage said. "But there again, if we can't afford them – and they're getting pretty doggone pricey – we're going to have to look hard at the future of Indy cars here at all. That's something that's really on my radar screen."

The IRL charges different licensing fees to different tracks, with Texas Motor Speedway's fees at the high end. IRL president Brian Barnhart was surprised by Gossage's remarks. "Our fees are still very, very reasonable," Barnhart said. "I don't see that our relationship is any different than it was before." Barnhart hopes Gossage won't let the IRL "be thrown out the window simply because he has two (Nextel) Cup dates. And I don't think Eddie is the type of person who would do that." While a Nextel Cup race could attract upwards of 200,000 fans, an IRL event is fortunate to draw half that figure.

The IRL is already down to one event at the speedway, which hosted two races from 1998-2004 in a mutually beneficial partnership. Gossage would like the IRL to remain a fixture on schedule. But the growth in fees has exceeded growth in gate and sponsorship, he said. "We're not here to have a good time," Gossage said. "We're here to have a good time and make a dollar or two in the process." Dallas Morning News [Editor's Note: More evidence that the attendance at most IRL races are as a result of free ticket giveaways. We say that because the IRL and TMS boast about 80,000 to 90,000 attendance each year for the IRL race at TMS and show pictures at an angle that looks impressive. If they had 'paid' attendance that high they would be floating in profit because we can tell you that the IRL sanctioning fee is not that high. We believe what we are seeing here is Gossage saying that when the 'sanction fee' was zero he made a hefty profit off of concession sales. Now that the IRL is charging money to come there, the profit from soda and hot dogs doesn't cover the sanction fee. TMS can sell out all their seats for both NASCAR races. The IRL attendance is largely a result of the essentially free tickets thrown in if you buy NASCAR tickets. TMS doesn't need the IRL to sell out their NASCAR races, so if soda and hot dog profits don't pay the IRL sanction fee than why hold the race at all.]

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