html

ThatsRacin.com


NASCAR shuffling deck, race dates

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Jul. 25, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS – NASCAR's 2010 Sprint Cup schedule is expected to have a considerably different look next season, including the site of the season finale.

Some changes are expected in response to requests from major track owners International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., but several other race dates are believed to be in play.

Several sources told the Observer and ThatsRacin.com on Sunday that changes being contemplated include the season's final race, now held at Miami-Homestead Speedway. That ISC-owned track could get the second race of the 2011 season.

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., currently occupies that spot on the schedule.

The sources said two tracks figure in the options being considered to replace Homestead as host of the season's final race weekend: Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway.

In addition to the season-opening Daytona 500, the Daytona track currently hosts a Cup race on the Fourth of July weekend. Las Vegas now has one race date, in late winter on the 2010 schedule.

A Las Vegas finale could make it more convenient for fans, teams, media and others to attend NASCAR's season-ending awards events. Those events, held in New York CIty for years, moved to the desert gambling-and-resort city for the first time last year.

A season finale at Daytona would add a second restrictor-plate race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Las Vegas track is owned by Bruton Smith's SMI and the Daytona track belongs to ISC, a sister company to the France family's NASCAR.

ISC spokesman Lenny Santiago declined on Sunday to specifically address the Homestead and Daytona moves.

"We submitted our request to NASCAR to realign a second date to Kansas Speedway for 2011," he said. "Beyond that, there’s nothing more I can add."

ISC has requested the second race date for its Kansas track, where work on a casino is moving forward. But it has so far declined to identify which of its tracks would lose a race in the process.

SMI has requested second dates for Las Vegas or Kentucky – or both. Officials of that company also declined to name any tracks that would be part of such a swap.

Few specifics were provided Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by Brian France, NASCAR's chairman and CEO. Decisions could be finalized within a couple of weeks, he said.

"We'll have some pretty impactful changes to the schedule that I think will be good for NASCAR fans," he said.

"It looks like there are going to be some interesting, good changes to the schedule in terms of how fans get to events (and) which events they'll attend."