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.

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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.