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SMI executive on 2nd Las Vegas Cup date: ‘You just never know’

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The chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., describes the chances of a second NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as “always a possibility.’’

When pressed if Las Vegas could get a second Cup date next year, Marcus Smith told NBC Sports on Sunday: “You just never know. The schedule is something that we’re always working on. But there are a lot of moving parts. A lot of dominoes that kind of have to fall into place.”

Questions about a second Cup date for Las Vegas emerged after a Las Vegas Review-Journal report Friday that stated the track is close to landing an additional Cup race.

“We love the support we get out of Las Vegas,” Smith told reporters before Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “I think the fans love it. It’s a great track for us. When we see that the community is supportive of racing there, it’s definitely encouraging to us.”

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s board of directors scheduled a special meeting Wednesday to discuss a race sponsorship agreement with the track. The deal would be for $2.5 million a year for seven years with the option of extending the deal three years.

Cup tracks are in the second year of five-year sanctioning agreements with NASCAR. That doesn’t prevent track companies from moving dates.

MORE: SMI may reconsider repaving Atlanta 

Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns Las Vegas Motor Speedway, along with Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Kentucky, Texas, New Hampshire and Sonoma. If it decided, SMI could move a race from one of its tracks to Las Vegas to give it an additional track, pending NASCAR approval. SMI’s other option would be to get a date from elsewhere. International Speedway Corp. owns 12 tracks that host Cup races, including Daytona, Chicagoland and Darlington. The other Cup tracks are Dover (owned by Dover Motorsports Inc.), Pocono (family owned) and Indianapolis (family owned).

Asked about purchasing a date from Dover, Smith said Sunday: “I’ve heard of neither.”

NASCAR issued a statement Friday from Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of Racing Operations and NASCAR Event Management, that said: “We are constantly working with promoters to discuss and develop NASCAR schedules. We have not finalized any schedules for 2018 or beyond, but will announce them as they become final.”

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which has hosted one Cup race a year since 1998, issued a statement that read:

“All of the information regarding a potential sponsorship opportunity between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority can be found at www.lvcva.com. When there is more information to provide, we will do so subsequent to the LVCVA Board of Directors meeting on March 8.”

Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted one Cup race a year since 1998.

Story includes additional reporting from Nate Ryan in Atlanta. 

NASCAR America: NASCAR’s stars hit the track for the ‘Little 600’ (video)

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Like more than three dozen of his NASCAR Cup counterparts, Joey Logano is gearing up for the longest race of the year, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

To warm up, Logano, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and other NASCAR drivers headed to the GoPro Motorplex in North Carolina for the “Little 600.”

Check out how they fared in the above video that was on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

 

Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, marking the second consecutive race at Charlotte Motor Speedway he has led the field to the green flag.

Harvick, a two-time Coke 600 winner, earned the top starting spot Thursday night with a lap of 193.424 mph in his Ford. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch, who won last weekend’s All-Star Race.

Chase Elliott starts third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Erik Jones.

Points leader Kyle Larson will start 39th in the 40-car field after not making a qualifying attempt. He hit the wall in practice and then his team couldn’t get through qualifying inspection until one minute remained in the opening round of the session. The team was unable to get Larson out of the garage in time to make an attempt.

Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Slugger Labbe: How do crew chiefs prepare for grueling Coca-Cola 600? (video)

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Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe stopped by the NASCAR America studio in Charlotte on Thursday.

Labbe gave his perspective on how NASCAR Cup crew chiefs will prepare for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. While the race length will be the same as it has been for decades, one significant change will have crew chiefs developing strategy that they’ve never had to deal with in the 600, namely, four different race stages.

Labbe also gave his take on the positives and negatives of the Laser Inspection Station for both pre- and post-race inspections.

Check out the above video.

NASCAR: Remembering Martin Truex Jr.’s dominating 2016 Coca-Cola 600 win

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In one of the most dominating performances in NASCAR history, Martin Truex Jr. turned last year’s Coca-Cola 600 into a runaway one-man show, leading the field for 392 of 400 laps.

Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America took a look back at Truex’s record-setting win.

Check out the video above.