NASCAR Nationwide Series Adds Race Near Entitlement Sponsor's Ohio HQs
NASCAR yesterday announced the '13 schedule for the Nationwide Series (NNS), and it is “no accident the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be hosting" its first-ever NASCAR event, according to Rob McCurdy of the MANSFIELD NEWS JOURNAL. The announcement is “something that’s been percolating at least five years or since Nationwide Insurance came aboard as the title sponsor of the sanctioning body’s No. 2 brand.” The company “wanted an event close to its world headquarters in downtown Columbus.” NASCAR “long knew north central Ohio was fertile ground for stock car racing fans.” When Kim Green and Kevin Savoree bought the Mid-Ohio track from the Trueman family in March '11, "one of the first trips they made was NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla.” But for something that had “been in the works for years, it didn’t get serious until 35 days ago.” The Nationwide Series' annual road race in Montreal was dropped from the '13 schedule, "opening up a coveted spot" for another road course race. NASCAR “quietly lobbed a call to Mid-Ohio brass to determine interest.” Mid-Ohio then signed a three-year deal with Nationwide, guaranteeing the '13 race "will be the first of many NASCAR events to come” (CENTRALOHIO.com, 11/14). The AP’s Jenna Fryer noted the ’13 IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio is scheduled "just 13 days before NASCAR's inaugural event.” Grand-Am, which is owned by NASCAR, “races at Mid-Ohio in June” (AP, 11/13).
STILL NOTHING IN CANADA: In Toronto, Dean McNulty notes the Camping World Truck Series (CWTS) is “slated to run next season on the dirt at the Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway, also in Ohio.” The NNS and CWTS moves have to be “considered bad news" for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park east of Toronto, "which has been lobbying hard for a Truck race -- at least -- for 2013.” Track Owner Ron Fellows said that his “information is that NASCAR is still putting the Truck schedule together for next season and that gives him hope there is still a chance CTMP will get its 2013 date” (TORONTO STAR, 11/14).
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME: The AP’s Fryer in a separate piece reported driver Brad Keselowski was “fined $25,000 on Monday for tweeting during the red flag" at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. NASCAR Senior Dir of Communications for Competition Kerry Tharp yesterday “dismissed the conspiracy theories, and said drivers had been told after the Daytona 500 that electronic devices -- including cellphones -- could not be carried inside the race cars going forward.” Tharp said, "Brad's tweeting at the Daytona 500 was really our first introduction to the magnitude of the social media phenomenon at the race track, especially how we saw it unfold that evening. We encourage our drivers to participate in social media. We feel we have the most liberal social media policy in all of sports, and the access we provide is the best in all of sports. But we also have rules that pertain to competition that need to be enforced and abided by” (AP, 11/13).