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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: Parker Kligerman takes to simulator to show Xfinity changes at Indy (video)

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While Saturday will mark the sixth straight year the NASCAR Xfinity Series will race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there will be significant changes. 

Among the changes: the use of restrictor plates, as well as adding aero ducts to aid cars with the draft.

On Tbursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman took a spin around the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway — on the NBCSN iRacing Simulator, that is — to show how some of those changes will impact the cars and potentially the race.

Check it out in the video above.

Friday’s NASCAR schedule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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Friday will be somewhat of an easy, relaxing day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cars will only take to the track twice in the afternoon — both being Xfinity Series practice sessions, which will be on the NBC Sports App.

IMS will host the NASCAR Cup Fan Fest from 4:30 – 8 p.m. ET, followed by the NASCAR Cup hauler parade that will see transporters enter the Speedway around 9 p.m. ET.

Here’s the rest of Friday’s schedule (all times Eastern):

FRIDAY, JULY 21

9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1 – 1:55 p.m. – First Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

3 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

NASCAR America: Pit crew members share their hidden talents

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What does a sky diver and Olympic-caliber swimmer have in common?

They make their living on NASCAR’s pit road, that’s what.

Check out two of this week’s pit crew all-star nominees, as seen on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

NASCAR America: Xfinity drivers react to restrictor plates at Indy (video)

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On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, several of the stars of the NASCAR Xfinity Series tried to explain in three words what to expect with the use of restrictor plates in this Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

See what they said and what they’re thinking about Saturday’s race in the video above.