According to the newspaper, “Seats at LVMS were widened on the front straightaway before the sweeping grandstand between Turns 3 and 4 (were) shoveled under in 2015, reducing capacity to around 108,000. Attendance for last Sunday’s Kobalt 400 was estimated at 70,000. (NASCAR stopped releasing attendance figures in 2013.)
“If the sections in front of the terraces are eliminated, it would trim LVMS capacity to around 80,000.”
NBCSports.com reached out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials for comment. In an email reply, Jeff Motley, the speedway’s vice president of communications, stated:
“At this time, we haven’t made any final decisions on what changes, if any, we are going to make,” Motley said. “We are considering making some changes. That’s really all I can tell you at this point.”
Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials announced less than two weeks ago that it would host two NASCAR race weekends in 2018 for the first time in its history, taking away one of two annual race weekends from sister track New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The newspaper cited a recent Speedway Motorsports Inc., securities filing that stated that it had repurposed or are repurposing “certain low demand seating areas and suits” at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“We often use these areas for premium hospitality, advertising and other facility revenue generating uses, and removal also reduces depreciation and certain other operating costs,” the filing stated. “For example, (Charlotte) plans to offer new premium hospitality and entertainment activities, and possibly install solar panels as part of our ‘green initiatives,’ after removal of certain fourth-turn seating in 2017.
“We believe seat removal and alternative use of desirable advertising space help improve pricing power, and provide increased marketing appeal from fuller grandstands because those areas are frequently displayed during television broadcasts, in photos, and are viewable by large numbers of fans attending our speedways.”
Charlotte Motor Speedway vice president of communications Scott Cooper told The Observer, “Every year, we look at ways to modernize the facilities, enhance the fan experience and increase revenues.”
NASCAR officials met with Kyle Busch and Joey Logano before Friday’s Cup practice session at Phoenix Raceway to discuss last weekend’s last-lap incident and post-race altercation at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The meeting lasted about 15 minutes.
Afterward, Busch answered every media question by saying: “Everything is great. Really looking forward to getting back into my car and being here in Phoenix” or some form of that statement.
Logano had more to say afterward.
“Just tried to explain that, hey, I made a mistake underneath him,” Logano said. “That’s basically what it was. He asked for some data, and I was able to show him that. That’s that and we’ll move on and we’ll start practicing in a little bit.”
Asked if he felt Busch had a better understanding of Logano’s side after seeing the data, Logano said: “I hope so. You never know, Hope so. Hope he was able to see that and I was sincere about that. Time will tell.”
Asked if he felt things were good with Busch, Logano said: “I guess time will tell. We’ll see. The only thing I could do in this case was plead my case and say that it was an honest mistake, it was hard racing at the end.”
Fox Sports 1 broadcast both driver sessions with the media after their meeting.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told Fox Sports 1 after the meeting: “It’s always our job to bring them face-to-face vs. texting to hear where drivers really stand. The ultimate goal for us is to make them clear of our expectations moving forward.”
Asked what those expectations are, O’Donnell told FS1: “In terms of on-track, they’re very clear on something that is an intentional act, we’re going to react to, we don’t want to have to do that. Do we think they’re best friends? No, but, again, that’s not what this sport is built on. Those are two guys that we really need out there racing hard for position.”
After the race, Busch walked up pit road and approached Logano. Busch immediately threw a punch but Logano said he wasn’t hit. Logano went after Busch, but was pulled away from the scene as crew members from both teams swarmed. A NASCAR security official pulled Busch, who had blood coming out of a cut on his forehead, out of the scrum.
Logano said on FS1’s “Race Hub” that he called Busch on Tuesday.
The study was part of a weekly process of meeting with track services, medical staff to evaluate the reaction to every on-track incident (including oil cleanup, not just crashes). NASCAR logs information from crash data recorders, reviews video and radio transmissions and consults with track physicians and staff.
Though the Fox broadcast showed the response could have been swifter (it took roughly 90 seconds to reach Harvick’s car, and he was waiting for more than a minute after unbuckling his harnesses), NASCAR declined to provide information on how it assessed the incident through a statement attributed to NASCAR Racing Operations officials. The response, which was issued to NBCSports.com after an inquiry for reaction to Harvick’s comment, read:
We conduct in-depth post-event reviews of every incident from the previous race event weekend. That review involves representatives from all safety-related functions, and we closely examine every aspect of the incident, including response time. Safety is paramount, and we’re constantly applying what we learn with an unrelenting commitment to advance the mission.
As in the newly enhanced stage racing format in NASCAR’s three premier national series.
Truex became the first driver to win both stages in a Cup race and then cap things off in the final segment with a win last Sunday at Las Vegas.
“I think stage racing has been really fun so far,” Truex said in a team media release. “I was a proponent of it before the season started, but we all didn’t really know how it was going to play out.
“The coolest part about stage racing is if you run really well, you get rewarded even if you have a bad finish due to a wreck or a parts failure. Stage racing really would have helped us last year.”
But a couple stage wins and one overall race win does not a season make.
Even though Truex has the most wins lately of any Cup driver dating back to last season – four wins in the last 15 races and five wins in the last 27 races – this Sunday’s Camping World 500 in Phoenix could be a major test for him.
Truex has struggled in 22 prior starts at the flat one-mile oval in suburban Avondale, Arizona, earning just one top-five (fifth in fall 2009) and seven top-10s.
Since finishing seventh in spring 2015, he’s finished 14th twice and 40th (last fall’s playoff race, the third time he’s finished last at Phoenix in his Cup career) in the last three races.
“Phoenix is definitely difficult, it has a short track mentality but drives like somewhat of a speedway,” Truex said. “It has high-speed entries and flat corners and it’s really slippery since the track was repaved. It’s just hard to get a hold of and real difficult to make the car handle.
“It’s always more difficult when you get on those long runs on Sunday at Phoenix because the track is a lot slicker than it has been throughout the weekend. Should be another fun race.”
Despite past struggles at Phoenix, Sunday’s win has the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry feeling buoyant about his return there.
Thus far this season, Truex has finishes of 13th (Daytona), eighth (Atlanta) and his win at Las Vegas. He comes into this weekend’s race fourth in the NASCAR Cup standings, just five points behind series leader and Atlanta winner Brad Keselowski.
“We’re starting off the season strong, putting ourselves in position to win races and that’s really the key,” Truex said. “We need to continue to run up front, lead laps and be there when it counts.
“That’s what we did in Las Vegas … we want to continue our momentum. I look for our No. 78 to have another strong showing (at Phoenix).”