SBD/August 19, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Source: Bristol Spring Races Moving To April Next Year; Darlington To Labor Day

Due to the "unpredictable weather in the Bristol area and lackluster attendance," the '15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway "will be moved" to April 19 from its usual mid-March weekend, according to a source cited by Allen Gregory of the BRISTOL HERALD COURIER. Track officials have "long lobbied NASCAR for a change" from its traditional March date. NASCAR officials are "expected to officially announce" next year's Sprint Cup schedule soon, and the announcement "could come this weekend" during the Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol. BMS GM Jerry Caldwell said that officials with SMI, the track's parent company, also have "pressed NASCAR officials regarding the need for a more attractive spring date." The source said that the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway "will shift back to its traditional Labor Day weekend while the Atlanta race will move to the second week of the season on March 1" (BRISTOL HERALD COURIER, 8/19).

CAUTION FLAG: Michigan Int'l Speedway President Roger Curtis said that ticket sales in the days prior to Sunday’s Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 "had dipped from previous years." Curtis attributed that to the weather, but said that "dipping ticket sales have affected many NASCAR tracks." In Toledo, Rachel Lenzi notes Curtis "acknowledges that the dynamics" of the NASCAR race weekend in June "are much different than those for the NASCAR race weekend in August." Curtis said, "The crossover of fans that come to both races is only about 15 percent. Eighty-five percent of the fans you’re seeing are not here in June, so this is fresh for them. The June crowd, it was fresh for them, as well.” He added, "Tracks used to sell out months in advance. Now we’re not selling out, and so many people are waiting to the last minute to buy tickets. Either hanging on to their money, seeing if they have money, or waiting on the weather forecast. We were doing really, really well until this week. But year-to-year sales have not been the same" (TOLEDO BLADE, 8/19).
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