NASCAR's O'Donnell Discusses Measured Approach To Adding Races Outside U.S.
NASCAR Senior VP/Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell said that the sanctioning body "turned down opportunities to bring one of its national series" to Singapore, Malaysia and Russia, according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. O'Donnell: "We've had 20 groups approach us from China. But most of them are one-offs. We keep pushing back and saying we're going to do this but in a smart way." He added that Brazil, Japan and Russia are "viewed as the most enticing for building new series." Ryan notes NASCAR is expanding its media rights "with new Fox and NBC deals" beginning in '15, and their hope is that "foreign drivers will begin gravitating toward aiming at the Sprint Cup Series instead of open-wheel Formula One." While races in Mexico City and Montreal "disappeared from the Nationwide Series schedule in the past five years, NASCAR used those events to help build a footprint in Canada and Mexico that it hopes will become the blueprint for establishing leagues around the world." O'Donnell said the Sprint Cup Series is "tapped out" at 36 races. But he added that NASCAR would "consider returning" to Mexico with the Nationwide Series. But Ryan writes, "Holding a 'tentpole' event with a national series isn't viewed as necessary in NASCAR's long-term strategy for expanding into a country" (USA TODAY, 11/21).
IS PERCEPTION REALITY? NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. appeared on FS1's "Crowd Goes Wild" last night and talked about the fans' perception of him as an African-American driver in a predominantly white sport. He said, “They see me as a driver, as how I want to be perceived. I like to say, once you close the shield on my helmet you don’t see who’s behind there, a man of color, you don’t know. They’re kind of getting tired of an African-American winning a race, it’s just another kid trying to come up through and that’s what I like. But I also like carrying the African-American race because there is no one there and it needs to change” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 11/20).