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PRIMESTAR DEAL LEADS TO CBS CALLING NASCAR RACE TEXAS 500
Published March 29, 1999
A "record" 220,000 fans attended the Primestar 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Sunday, and Barber & Fox of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS report that "after past hassles at the troubled speedway -- which included problems with parking, traffic and the racing surface itself -- Sunday's focus was limited to the race" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29). After a "relatively incident-free and complaint-free racing weekend," NASCAR Senior VP Mike Helton said that Texas Motor Speedway "has passed its final exam." Helton said that TMS "has fixed the water seepage problem that plagued the racetrack a year ago." TMS went through a $3M renovation last year (STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/29). Drivers who were critical of the track when it opened in '97 "have switched gears and given a thumbs-up to the modifications and improvements" (Pete Alfano, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/28). PRIMESTAR 500 TO SOME, TEXAS 500 TO OTHERS: In Dallas, Barry Horn notes that CBS "insisted on calling" yesterday's Primestar 500 the Texas 500, which was last year's name. Horn notes that Primestar "wouldn't ante up more money to the network" for the title rights. Horn also adds that CBS's announcers "were not shy in dropping the names of the cars' sponsors" yesterday, as Mike Joy referred to the camera in Dale Jarrett's car as "The-Quality-Care-Service- Ford-Credit-race-cam" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29). CBS CUTS IN: CBS News cut into the network's race broadcast to televise a special report on Kosovo just as TX Gov. George Bush was waving the green flag to start the proceedings. Horn reports that CBS Sports said that NASCAR fans, "to their credit, did not deluge the network switchboard with complaints." CBS rejoined the race in the middle of the fifth lap (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29).