SBJ/July 17-23, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

What’s next for sanctioning bodies, track ownership?

In addition to team ownership, some wonder what’s next for ownership of NASCAR itself, the IndyCar Series and major track operators.

Amid Formula One’s sale to Liberty Media for $8 billion this year, the question is whether the France and Hulman-George families will ever sell their respective series. Brent Dewar, NASCAR’s president, declined to comment on whether NASCAR is for sale. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., said IndyCar is not for sale.

On the track side, Speedway Motorsports Inc.’s Marcus Smith said he has no designs on getting out of racing, despite aspirations of landing an MLS franchise in Charlotte and past talk of interest in the NFL’s Carolina Panthers were they to ever come up for sale. Marcus’ father, Bruton Smith, is 90 and SMI’s executive chairman.

Executives throughout the NASCAR industry have buzzed this year about the possibility that SMI and the other major track operator, International Speedway Corp., could merge. However, in an interview earlier this year, Marcus Smith brushed off those thoughts and denied any interest in selling the corporation, which is publicly traded yet majority controlled by his family.

“No, not on the radar at all,” Smith said when asked if his stick-and-ball ventures could see him sell SMI. “We operate eight speedways around the country, we have our radio network, our souvenir business; [an MLS team in Charlotte] is just one more facility; it’s not something that would prevent us from operating our core business.”

ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy declined comment.


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