Skip to content

Report: On eve of Daytona renovation, other NASCAR tracks may also shrink seating capacity

Jul 4, 2013, 5:12 PM EDT

NASCAR Daytona Auto Racing

On the eve of the start of a massive three-year renovation, revitalization and 31 percent reduction in seating capacity of NASCAR’s biggest gem, Daytona International Speedway, comes a report that other tracks may also be in line for a cut in their capacity as well.

The Los Angeles Times reported that International Speedway Corp. – which owns 12 of the tracks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on (accounting for 19 of the 36 races on the season schedule) – may also be looking at cutting seating at other tracks under its corporate umbrella.

“We just simply have too many seats in the inventory and it’s time to do something about that,” John R. Saunders, president of International Speedway Corp., reportedly said on a recent conference call with Wall Street analysts, The Times reported.

“At the end of the day, to get out of this quagmire, we’ve got to get our [seating] capacity down,” Saunders added.

It was less than a decade ago that NASCAR would routinely sell out many, if not most of its Sprint Cup races. But since the economic downturn in the U.S. began in 2007, NASCAR has seen a significant downturn in ticket sales and at-track attendance.

Rather than continue to have empty seats, particularly when they are readily seen around the country on Fox, ESPN/ABC and TNT TV broadcasts, ISC is reportedly mulling following a similar plan put in place at Daytona, according to The Times.

On Friday, ground will be broken on the first major facelift of Daytona since it opened in 1959. As part of that facelift, 31 percent of the current 146,000 seats will be permanently removed, leaving capacity around the 2.5-mile, high-banked oval at just over 101,000 seats.

In addition to replacing the remaining seats with wider and more comfortable seats, ISC also plans on adding suites and 11 common meeting areas (called “neighborhoods”) where fans can get together to watch the racing action while also socializing.

ISC owns tracks that host Sprint Cup events in Daytona, Talladega (Ala.), Fontana (Calif.), Joliet (Ill.), Richmond (Va.), Watkins Glen (N.Y.), Homestead (Fla.), Kansas City (Kan.), Darlington (S.C.), Martinsville (Va.), Avondale (Ariz.) and Brooklyn (Mich.).

NASCAR and ISC both expanded at a significant rate from 1996 to 2006, but with the drop in the economy, the sport and its facilities have suffered. The situation is the same for Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns nine tracks where Cup races are contested upon, as well as the independently owned Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway.

Which ISC tracks will ultimately lose seating capacity? Such a decision is “still in the exploratory process” and it would be “premature to speculate” ISC spokesman told The Times in an email.

Latest Posts
  1. Hamilton rules in Singapore to re-take championship lead as Rosberg retires

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    An electrical glitch sidelines Rosberg, but Hamilton is made to fight for his second victory in Singapore after a lengthy safety car period.

  2. Rosberg forced to retire in Singapore after electrical glitch

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Rosberg’s championship hopes take a huge hit before a lap has even been run in Singapore.

  3. WATCH LIVE: 2014 Singapore Grand Prix on NBCSN from 7.30am ET

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    All of the action from Singapore as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg go head-to-head under the lights of Marina Bay.

  4. Starting grid for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton edged out Nico Rosberg by the narrowest of margins in qualifying to secure his sixth pole position of the season.

  5. VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Red Bull, 24 hours after an F1 race

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying Getty Images

    Red Bull gives you a unique insight into what goes on at a race team’s factory in the aftermath of a grand prix weekend.

  6. Brendan Gaughan takes lead with 6 laps to go, wins Nationwide at Kentucky

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT

    Bristol Motor Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    A wild final restart opened the door for Gaughan to out-hustle Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon late on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

  7. IndyCar: Kanaan wins Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am charity kart race (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    KanaanTMSP1-2 Getty Images

    More than a dozen former and current IndyCar drivers take part in the special event that honors the late two-time Indy 500 champ and raises money for Alzheimer’s research.

  8. NASCAR: Tough Kentucky track awaits Regan Smith this evening

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Kentucky Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    With seven races left in the Nationwide schedule, can Smith start making up ground on teammate Chase Elliott in the championship?

  9. IMSA: Ganassi holds on for COTA win; Viper, 8Star big winners

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

    PruettCOTAWin Getty Images

    Ganassi Riley-Ford, 8Star Motorsports, Vipers win in COTA.

  10. Wendy Venturini to become first female to call Sprint Cup race on radio Sunday at New Hampshire

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com) (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com)

    When Wendy Venturini walks into the press box at New Hampshire Motor Speedway prior to Sunday’s Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup race, she will become part of NASCAR history.

  11. Red Bull GRC: Scott Speed scores third win of 2014 in Los Angeles Race 1

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    The Red Bull GRC championship tightens dramatically after the first race of the weekend in L.A.

  12. Ty Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. on front row for Saturday night’s NNS race at Kentucky

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT

    Ty Dillon KY 2014 Getty Images

    Ty Dillon is bound and determined to give it his all to win the Nationwide Series championship this season. He took a big step Saturday afternoon by earning the pole for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 later that evening at Kentucky Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. will start on the outside of the front row.

  13. WATCH: Red Bull Global Rallycross begins doubleheader weekend in L.A.

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    CLICK HERE for stream links to the first of two GRC finals this weekend from Los Angeles.

  14. 16-year-old Cole Custer becomes youngest-ever winner of NASCAR national series race

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    UNOH 175 Getty Images

    Custer holds off Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton to win the Camping World Truck Series’ UNOH 175 at New Hampshire.

  15. F1 Qualifying Analysis: Missed opportunities allow Hamilton to rule again

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari and Red Bull could have – perhaps even should have – been in the mix for pole position. Mercedes was simply too good for them, once again, though.

  16. Tyler Clary hopes to go from Olympic gold medal swimmer to NASCAR driver

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Tyler Clary 2014

    Head-to-head, there’s very few Sprint Cup drivers that can beat Jimmie Johnson. But Tyler Clary can kick Johnson’s butt any time he wants to.

  17. Red Bull GRC: Friday recap from Los Angeles (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Friday recap from Red Bull GRC in LA is in the books.

  18. Engine glitch leaves Grosjean fuming over the radio in Singapore

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    “We break our balls to make a good qualifying and you lose five-tenths every single straight line because the thing cuts” – tough talk from the Frenchman.

  19. Vettel thinks pole was possible in Singapore

    Sep 20, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Defending world champion disappointed to only finish fourth in qualifying at Marina Bay.

  20. Magnussen: McLaren can’t be happy with today (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Reaching Q3 for the seventh race in a row not enough for Magnussen.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1935)
  2. J. Gordon (1447)
  3. K. Harvick (1324)
  4. M. Crafton (1188)
  5. K. Busch (1144)