Jul 4, 2013, 5:12 PM EDT
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.
Aug 27, 2014, 1:23 AM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT
NASCAR star Kevin Harvick has never been afraid to speak his mind. But the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy has caused him to be more judicious in what he says and also “frustrated” at how the media has dealt with the entire incident.
Aug 26, 2014, 8:51 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 7:06 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT
With 35th win, Scott Dixon ties Bobby Unser on the all-time win list.
Aug 26, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT
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Aug 26, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Dutch media peg Giedo van der Garde as close to a 2015 race seat with Sauber.
Aug 26, 2014, 10:34 AM EDT
Wide guest list to join tonight’s one-hour NASCAR AMERICA, as the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule is revealed.
Aug 26, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
Len Terry was behind the success of the Lotus 38 that won Indianapolis with Jim Clark.
Aug 25, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT
With two regular season races left, the pressure’s building for those drivers without a win and are outside of the Chase Grid.
Aug 25, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT
After Saturday’s radio altercation between Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers, NASCAR AMERICA’s Frank Stoddard wonders if their boss needs to take a harder line against his talented but sometimes mercurial driver.
Aug 25, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT
For the second straight year at Bristol, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick were involved in one of the night’s bigger incidents.
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