International Speedway Corp.’s annual report lists capacities for its tracks

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International Speedway Corp.’s annual report was released Wednesday. Among the information in the report is the capacity for each of its tracks. Those capacities are:

Daytona International Speedway … 101,000 seats with 124 suites

Talladega Superspeedway … 78,000 seats with 30 suites

Michigan International Speedway … 71,000 seats with 46 suites

Auto Club Speedway … 68,000 seats with 80 suites

Kansas Speedway … 64,000 seats and with 56 suites

Richmond International Raceway … 59,000 seats with 40 suites

Darlington Raceway … 58,000 seats with 13 suites

Chicagoland Speedway … 55,500 seats with 24 suites

Martinsville Speedway … 55,000 seats with 20 suites

Phoenix International Raceway … 51,000 seats with 45 suites

Homestead-Miami Speedway … 46,000 seats with 66 suites

Watkins Glen International … 33,000 seats with 4 suites

Other items in the annual report:

— NASCAR-sanctioned races at its tracks accounted for about 88.8 percent of ISC’s total revenue in fiscal 2015.

— The breakdown of broadcast money remains the same as previous years with NASCAR receiving 10 percent, teams 25 percent and tracks 65 percent.

— In regards to the future, the report stated: “Looking ahead, we expect the continuing slow, but uneven, recovery in the broader U.S. economy to provide an environment for improved attendance-related and corporate partnership revenues. Our industry will further benefit from NASCAR securing its broadcast rights through the 2024 season with the largest broadcast rights deal in the sport’s 66-year history. Consistent with major sports properties throughout the world, broadcast rights represent our company’s largest revenue segment. Expanding and extending this contracted revenue will provide us unparalleled long-term cash flow visibility. We also believe the strategic initiatives we and the motorsports industry have undertaken to grow the sport will continue to strengthen the long-term health of our company.”

— On the subject of downsizing seats, the report stated: “Adjusting seating capacity is another consumer-focused strategy to promote sellouts, create excess demand and in turn increase capacity utilization at our major motorsports facilities. Over the past few years, we have reduced capacity at our major motorsports facilities. A significant portion of the capacity reduction was a result of our goal to provide improved fan amenities such as wider seating, create social zones with greater fan interaction/engagement for our guests, and remove sections that do not provide adequate sight lines. Based on our experience and the continual evolution of modern sports facilities, ticket demand relies strongly on creating a more personal experience for the fans. Enhancing the live event experience to compete with the at-home television experience is a critical strategy for our future growth. Other benefits derived from capacity management include improved pricing power for our events; enticing more customers to renew or purchase tickets earlier in the sales cycle; increasing customer retention; driving greater attendance to our lead-in events, such as NASCAR’s Xfinity and Camping World Truck series events; generating stronger interest from corporate sponsors; and creating a more visually compelling event for the television audience.”

— On fan amenities, the report stated: “Other key strategic focus areas designed to build fan engagement and augment the live-event experience include providing enhanced at-track audio and visual experiences, additional and improved concession and merchandise points-of-sale, creating more interactive social zones and offering greater wireless connectivity. We continuously monitor market demand, evaluate customer feedback, and explore next generation live-sports entertainment fan amenities, all of which could further impact how we manage capacity and spend capital at our major motorsports facilities.”

To read the annual report (form 10-K), you can download it from International Speedway Corp.’s site.

Carson Hocevar to run full Truck schedule in 2021

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Niece Motorsports has signed Carson Hocevar to run the full NASCAR Truck schedule in 2021, the team announced Thursday.

Hocevar, who turns 18 in January, has run five races for the team this season. His best finish this year is 12th at Dover. He’s scheduled to run at Martinsville on Oct. 30.

“I’m so excited to get the opportunity to race fulltime next year with the Niece Motorsports group,” said Hocevar in a statement. “We’ve had some really strong runs in the few starts that we’ve had this season and I am grateful for the chance to continue that next year. I’ve learned so much already this year and know that we will keep improving next year too.”

“Carson has really impressed us this season,” said team owner Al Niece in a statement. “He’s proven his talent – getting into the truck with no track time and really holding his own. We’re thrilled to have him with us fulltime next season and look forward to contending for wins together.”

TikTok to sponsor Ryan Vargas in six Xfinity races

JD Motorsports
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TikTok is coming to NASCAR.

The popular video sharing app will break into the sport next month as a sponsor of Ryan Vargas in the Xfinity Series.

TikTok has partnered with JD Motorsports to sponsor the 20-year-old Vargas in the final six races of the season, beginning with the Oct. 3 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“TikTok has provided me with an incredible outlet to reach new fans and demographics through fun and creative content, and I’ve seen the highest growth in followers on TikTok over my other social channels,” Vargas said in a press release. “The opportunity to run the No. 6 TikTok Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the rest of the season is an absolute dream come true. Johnny Davis and the whole JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team took a chance on me last year and I’m excited to bring this amazing TikTok partnership their way. I wouldn’t want to make this partnership a reality anywhere else.”

Vargas has made three Xfinity Series starts this year. His best finish was 13th at Pocono.

The sponsor deal is part of TikTok’s Latinx Heritage Month programming.

A native of La Mirada, California, Vargas joined TikTok last year. He is a former member of NASCAR’s Drive 4 Diversity programming and a winner of the Wendell Scott Trailblazer award, which is given to a minority or female driver who displays exceptional on-track performance, sportsmanship, and community service.

The partnership and paint scheme were inspired by a concept scheme by graphic designer Ryan Pistana, a friend of Vargas’.

“Creators of all sizes and backgrounds show up to TikTok with their genuine, authentic selves,” Nick Tran, TikTok’s Head of Global Marketing, said in a press release. “Partnering with an iconic brand like NASCAR to sponsor Ryan Vargas on his racing journey is a way for us to continue to support, celebrate and elevate the diverse creators that make our TikTok community what it is today. Ryan is an incredible athlete, and we’re looking forward to cheering him on alongside the rest of the TikTok community!”

According to CNBC in August, TikTok has roughly 100 million monthly users, up nearly 800% from January 2018.

TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, has been in national headlines recently after President Donald Trump threatened to ban the app in the United States for national security reasons if it was not sold to an American company. On Sept. 19 he approved a deal for its U.S operations to be operated by Oracle and Walmart.

Las Vegas weekend schedule

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NASCAR’s postseason continues with the Las Vegas weekend schedule, as the Cup Series begins the Round of 12.

In addition to Cup, Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the Xfinity Series’ playoff opener and the second race of the Truck Series’ opening round.

More: Kevin Harvick on pole for Cup race

Here is the Las Vegas weekend schedule:

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 25

Noon – 2 p.m. ET – Truck Series haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

2 p.m. – Truck Series garage opens

2 – 8 p.m. – Truck Series garage access screening in progress

2:30 – 3 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m.  – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

8:50 p.m. – Truck Series drivers report to vehicles

9 p.m.- Truck Series race; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

11:30 p.m. – Truck Series haulers exit


Saturday, Sept 26.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

1 p.m. – Xfinity garage opens

1 – 6:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access screening in progress

5 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m. – Cup driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

7:20 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

7:30 p.m. – Xfinity race; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

9:30 p.m. – Xfinity haulers exit

10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. – Cup haulers enter


Sunday, Sept. 27

Noon – Cup garage opens

Noon – 6 p.m.  – Cup garage access screening in progress

6:50 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

7 p.m. – Cup race; 267 laps/400.5 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

11:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit

NTSB releases final report on Dale Jr. plane crash

Photo: Dustin Long
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Pilot error played a key role in the August 2019 crash of a plane carrying Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, a final report by the National Transportation Safety Board stated Wednesday.

Earnhardt, wife Amy and daughter Isla were on board the plane, which crashed after a hard landing at Elizabethton (Tennessee) Municipal Airport on Aug. 15, 2019. The report stated all three suffered minor injuries. 

The NTSB listed the probable causes of the accident as: “The pilot’s continuation of an unstabilized approach despite recognizing associated cues and the flight crew’s decision not to initiate a go-around before touchdown, which resulted in a bounced landing, a loss of airplane control, a landing gear collapse, and a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to deploy the speedbrakes during the initial touchdown, which may have prevented the runway excursion, and the pilot’s attempt to go around after deployment of the thrust reversers.”

A “go-around” occurs when a pilot pulls out of a landing and gains altitude to make another landing attempt.

The report stated that “the flight crew made several comments about the airplane flying too fast and allowed the airspeed to increase well above the reference speed for the approach.”

The report stated that “the pilot did not extend the speedbrakes upon touchdown, which landing checklist required, but instead attempted to deploy the thrust reversers immediately after touchdown, which was a later item on the landing checklist.”

Earnhardt’s Cessna 680A Citation Latitude bounced twice upon landing as it traversed the 5,001-foot runaway.

After the fourth touchdown, the right main landing gear collapsed. The plane went off the road and through a 400-foot long area of grass. It went down an embankment, through a creek and a chain-link fence. It continued up an embankment. The plane came to rest about 600 feet beyond the runway at the edge of a four-lane highway.

The passengers and two pilots escaped as the plane burned.

The full report can be read here.