SBD/March 20, 2012/Facilities

SMI Examining Changes To Bristol Track, Could Revert To Pre-2007 Configuration

Smith said Sunday rain killed walk-up crowd, which accounts for 3,500 to 4,000 tickets
SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, whose company owns Bristol Motor Speedway, is “considering about $1 million worth of changes to return his Tennessee track to the way it was before a 2007 reconfiguration,” according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Smith yesterday said, “We are going to take a very hard look at it this week.” The track this past weekend hosted the Food City 500, the fourth straight Sprint Cup Series race that has been unable to sell out at the 160,000-seat facility. Smith said that “8,120 sold tickets went unused.” But he insisted that it was “the rain, not fan apathy over the current style of racing at Bristol, that contributed to Sunday’s poor crowd.” The rain began late Saturday night and “continued until about two hours before Sunday’s scheduled start.” Smith said the rain “killed the walk-up crowd. And that alone accounts for 3,500 to 4,000 tickets.” He added, “I want to be sure that the fans like what they see” (AP, 3/19). Meanwhile, in California, Louis Brewster notes in “past years, virtually every story in the NASCAR mainstream media in advance of the Fontana stop has centered on attendance.” Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker, whose track hosts this Sunday's Auto Club 400, said, "The tickets are tracking good, at least from last year. We expect good weather, it's spring break for many students and we believe we have good packages." Brewster notes the most popular package to date "was the Valentine's Day offer for two tickets, two track scanner rentals and two pre-race pit passes” (SAN BERNARDINO SUN, 3/20).
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