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Motorsports Marketing Forum: What's In Store For Future Of Racing?
Published December 1, 2010
|Joie Chitwood Says Tracks Like Daytona Not
Getting Public Subsidies Creates A Challenge
Potholes, camels and a dragstrip in Daytona were some of the wide-ranging talking points yesterday at the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s 11th annual Izod IndyCar Series Motorsports Marketing Forum. The panel discussion, “The State of Motorsports and How We Can Move the Industry Forward,” featured Anheuser-Busch Senior Dir of Sports Marketing Brad Brown, Daytona Int'l Speedway President Joie Chitwood, NHRA Funny Car Driver Bob Tasca, Team Epic and Velocity Sports & Entertainment Principal David Grant, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams President Steve Lauletta, and NASCAR Senior VP/Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell. In talking about the $20M re-paving job at Daytona, designed to avert future pothole issues, Chitwood lamented racing not getting public subsidies available to other sports and their arenas. “It’s a challenge for motorsports,” he said. “No, we’re not moving to Deland, Fla. We’re there (in Daytona) for the duration. But it’s challenging dealing with aging infrastructure and how to keep relevant to what 140,000 fans expect at Daytona.” Some will like the new smooth surface, and others will not, but that debate should be good for the sport. “Opposing views create drama and interest,” Chitwood said. “It’ll get covered by media and fans.” The voice of that driver is what will matter, he said, and what fans will believe. Grant believes the Daytona track to be a viable story line. “But we’re not splitting atoms here,” he said. “It has to be understandable to fans.”
|Tasca Noted NHRA's Good Fortune Of
Record Attendance During The '10 Season
NEXT QUESTION? It became a tad tense when the question was posed about IndyCar racing returning to ISC tracks, like Daytona. “We couldn’t find common ground,” Chitwood said. “We want to get to those tracks where great racing happens and there are big markets,” said Lauletta. He also mentioned Long Beach, “where they could race camels and there would be 100,000 people there.” As the situation tightened, Tasca asked Chitwood about building a dragstrip at Daytona and maybe starting the season and ending it in Florida. “We can talk after,” Chitwood said. “You heard it here, drag racing at Daytona,” Tasca said to scant reaction in the ballroom. “Maybe not,” he deadpanned a second later.