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'Tracks are not equal,' Fontana's boss says in defense of L.A. area attendance

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010

Auto Club Speedway is about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and has grandstand seating for more than 90,000 fans. Only about half of those seats were used Sunday.

Gillian Zucker, the track , said she has received no indication that the Fontana, Calif., track could lose one of its two Cup race dates to Kansas Speedway. Attendance has been disappointing for the track in the Los Angeles market, one of the nation's largest.

The track owners and state officials are working to locate a casino at the Kansas track. Both are owned by International Speedway Corp., the sister company to the France family's NASCAR.

Zucker said the attendance Sunday was about the same as last February's. She did not provide specific numbers and blamed the economy.

“We’re hearing there’s an economic recovery and we’re looking for it to come our way,” Zucker said.

“All tracks are not equal. If you’re at a facility that holds 50,000 and it’s sold out, is that better than a track that holds 92,000 and is growing and attracting a youth market to the sport and attracting a diverse market to the sport?

"I think this market is very important to NASCAR.”

Before ISC named Zucker to the California track presidency, she held positions, among others, at the company's Daytona International Speedway and Kansas Speedway.