SBD/Issue 144/Leagues & Governing Bodies

CART Draws Solid Attendance; Does SMI Have A Lot To Lose?

125,000 Fans Pack Grand Prix Of Long Beach

Sunday's CART Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach "surpassed attendance projections," as an estimated 125,000 fans attended the race, according to Perez & Canalis of the Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, who adds the three-day attendance estimates were about 250,000, "making it one of the most successful weekends in the event's history." While the Long Beach Grand Prix Association (GPA) does not release official attendance figures, GPA President & CEO Jim Michaelian said, "We had a good walk-up on Sunday, and Saturday was a very thick day, as well" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/16).

NASCAR: In Charlotte, David Poole writes that it is "unlikely" that the lawsuit filed against NASCAR and ISC by SMI shareholder Francis Ferko and NASCAR's possible relocation of The Winston from SMI's Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) "are completely unrelated." Poole thinks the SMI lawsuit "was filed to be a bargaining chip in negotiations" for a second race at Texas Motor Speedway, "or some bigger deal being discussed privately among SMI and ISC." But "countering the lawsuit, ISC [is] speaking through NASCAR to tell SMI to settle down and be happy with what [SMI's] got." Poole: "Not only will [SMI] not get a second Texas date, [SMI] might lose what amounts to a third Cup weekend" with The Winston at LMS (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/16). NASCAR VP/Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said of The Winston, "The original concept was to move it around. We're looking into it" (TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/14). In NC, Monte Dutton wondered whether attorney Johnnie Cochran, who is repping Ferko, "can get anyone to break ranks and provide evidence that NASCAR would actually manipulate the marketplace." Cochran "might talk to developers who could not get financing for their tracks because they could not guarantee" Winston Cup dates, or he "might investigate why all the tracks that did gets dates, with the exception of Las Vegas, eventually wound up in possession" of ISC (GASTON GAZETTE, 4/13)'s Jerry Bonkowski profiled the tenure of NASCAR President Mike Helton, who is the "first to admit he and his staff made some errors along the way, particularly at dealing with the media," concerning the death of Dale Earnhardt. Helton "understands why fingers of blame were pointed at him. But at the same time, those errors weren't intentional. ... Nevertheless, the often bitter and personal attacks on Helton did take a toll." Helton: "There were moments where it became very personal from different directions, and that's unfair" (, 4/11).

FORMULA ONE: FIA President Max Mosley, on KirchGroup's financial troubles affecting Formula One: "I don't think it makes a great deal of difference, at least at the moment. It is a huge problem for football because there are a number of football teams that depend on Kirch for their income. Formula One is the other way around. ... Kirch gets money from Formula One" (, 4/15).

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