NASCAR Fans To See Few Noticeable Changes With ISC Deal
NASCAR officially closed on its ISC deal on Friday, and there will not be "a lot of noticeable differences for fans" in the short term, according to Matt Weaver of AUTOWEEK. Privatization "allows for NASCAR to better streamline sponsorship activation across its touring divisions and facilities," and "could, hypothetically, make it easier for NASCAR to be purchased if it were for sale." Additionally, this "would allow NASCAR to unilaterally make changes to all three national touring schedules without having to answer to public shareholders or Wall Street." ISC currently "owns and controls 12 tracks that host 19 points-paying Cup races" (AUTOWEEK.com, 10/18). Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren said of the deal, "We're excited about it. It's a huge opportunity for our industry and having the leadership of the France family, who have played such a huge role in our sport since its founding. To bring the two entities together is only going to make things better. We've always had a good relationship with NASCAR, so I don't know if it's a significant thing just for Kansas" (K.C. STAR, 10/20).
CHANGES LOOM: In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis wrote the acquisition is "one of several steps necessary to proceed with yet unspecified changes to how NASCAR presents its racing season." Those changes "could be the most earth-moving" since '72, when NASCAR "streamlined its Cup Series schedule by about 40% (from roughly 50 races per year to 30)." Willis: "The Sonic-SMI merger and the NASCAR-ISC deal are two big steps. The 2020 conclusion of NASCAR's current five-year sanctioning agreement with all existing tracks would be next." The assumption is NASCAR "wants to shorten its stay on the yearly calendar." Once "all the pieces are in place, once all the red tape has been snipped, things would likely start happening fast" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 10/19).