SBD/July 30, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NASCAR Has Not Discussed Bringing Sprint Cup Or Nationwide Series To Eldora

NASCAR execs were pleased with the uniqueness of the race at Eldora
NASCAR officials have had "no discussions" about adding a Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series race at Eldora Speedway, according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. NASCAR Senior VP/Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said of the Camping World Truck Series being the only NASCAR series to hold a race at the dirt track, “I wouldn’t rule out looking at potential other venues for trucks, but I think for the most part, we want to keep the uniqueness of that event. It has been really successful. They have done a great job for us. They set the bar very high. But we like where we’re at right now with it." Pockrass noted the race at Eldora is a "successful weeknight event." Whether that success could "translate to a Cup race on a weeknight remains to be seen." Both the track and TV partners would have to be prepared for it, and so far NASCAR has not had a track interested in a "weeknight prime-time event that it could then pitch to the networks." O'Donnell said, "One of the challenges with most of the venues, especially on the Cup side, is big camping unlike other sports, so that presents a challenge. It is something we have discussed with promoters. But we just aren’t there from a logistics standpoint to be able to pull it off" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/28).

NO MAJOR CHANGES: In Jacksonville, Don Coble writes it "seems there only will be minor tweaks" to the '15 Sprint Cup schedule after a season that has been "plagued by weather problems, low attendance and a lack of off days." Next year’s schedule is "certain to start around Valentine’s Day and end a week short of Thanksgiving, making it the longest professional season in team sports." Driver Ryan Newman said, “I’d turn some of those tracks into Wednesday night races, and the other ones would be Saturday night or sometime Sunday afternoon when it made sense. I’d give us a little bit more off weekends. We can still run 36 or 38 races but we don’t need to be at the racetrack, especially for the Daytona and Talladega for three, sometimes four days with the inspection process. So I think just giving us the opportunity to be on TV and be our own special event on Wednesday night, especially in football season, would be good for our sport.” Driver Jimmie Johnson added, "I’ve always felt like we could use an off weekend before the Chase (for the Championship) starts just to leave us an opportunity to have a make-up race” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/30).

BRICK BREAKER: ESPN writers weighed in on the question of why the Brickyard 400, after 20 years, has gone from sellout crowds of 250,000 to perhaps the most glaring example of NASCAR's attendance decline. ESPN.com's Ed Hinton: "The thrill is gone, the novelty has worn off." ESPN.com's Brant James: "Take the series to 25 runnings at the Brickyard and then shut it down. Create a nostalgia, rekindle a demand for tickets when or if it returns." ESPN The Magazine's Ryan McGee: "They won't leave Indy anytime soon because it still means something to the competitors, and NASCAR brass doesn't like to admit retreat on anything. But if this were any other racetrack, it would've already been put on notice." ESPN.com's John Oreovicz: "Even with the speedway only a quarter full for the Brickyard, the event is still profitable for IMS. ... The Brickyard 400 is a tarnished entity that could prove impossible to fix" (ESPN.com, 7/29).
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