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No deal for Charlotte race move to Las Vegas

Deadline passes without request to move a Charlotte Sprint Cup race after Bruton Smith had threatened to make switch.

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Jul. 26, 2013

Apparently the Las Vegas odds were not that good after all.

NASCAR confirmed Friday the deadline has passed without receiving a formal request from Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner Bruton Smith to move one of his Sprint Cup Series race dates from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2014 season.

In May, Smith told WBTV in Charlotte there was “a 70 percent chance” he’d move Charlotte’s fall Cup race to the track his company owns in Las Vegas.

The next day, WBTV followed up with a report citing sources who called it a “done deal.” Smith immediately disputed that assessment.

At least as far as 2014 is concerned, Charlotte is expected to continue hosting two Cup series points races as well as the annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

A spokesman for CMS declined to comment on Smith’s decision not to make a request for a race change.

During his interview with WBTV, Smith said money would play a large factor in moving one of his Cup dates from Charlotte.

“You’ve got 150,000 (hotel) rooms out there, more than any city in the world,” Smith said of Las Vegas during May. “And they want to fill up those hotels and we do fill them up. That’s good.”

There was a lot of negative reaction in the Charlotte area when Smith first broached the idea of moving a NASCAR date to Las Vegas.

Former SMI and CMS President Humpy Wheeler said it would be a great loss to Charlotte and to the South.

“I don’t know what else could occur to disappoint the Southern race fan that has brought us to where we are,” Wheeler said at the time. “They lost North Wilkesboro, Rockingham and half of Darlington (S.C.).”

CMS has hosted at least two Cup races each year since it opened in 1960 and has been home to the annual all-star race every year but one since its inception in 1985.

Las Vegas hosts one Cup series race each March and is expected to do so again for 2014.

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