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Eddie Gossage: “Foolish move” by F1 to go head-to-head with NASCAR at Texas

Dec 4, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Texas Motor Speedway Announcement Getty Images

This morning’s release of the final 2014 F1 schedule revealed that the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas had moved up one week to Nov. 2, 2014.

But on that very weekend, a few hours up the road in Fort Worth, all three NASCAR national series will be competing at Texas Motor Speedway. And on the same day as the USGP, the Sprint Cup contingent will be resuming their championship Chase at TMS, too.

Cue TMS president/general manager Eddie Gossage, who just absolutely loves this development. Actually, no, he doesn’t.

“It’s a foolish move by Formula One,” Gossage said in a terse statement. “Our two NASCAR Sprint Cup races draw the two largest crowds in Texas sports. It isn’t the smartest move to try to compete with that.

“I’m sure regardless of what they say publicly, the folks at the Austin track are pulling their hair out over this one. They don’t have any say over their date.”

It’s not the first time Gossage has gone on the offensive against what he perceives are threats to his race track and its well-being. He wasn’t thrilled with IndyCar’s decision to return to Houston this year, and back in August, he showed his displeasure over the series reportedly eyeing a potential third event in Texas at COTA.

Now, the world’s most popular motorsport and America’s most popular motorsport are set to go head-to-head in the Lone Star State next fall.

Gossage seemed to assert that COTA is frustrated with the FIA’s decision regarding the USGP date for 2014. But if that’s the case, they’re at least not showing it publicly.

In a statement, COTA chairman Bobby Epstein said the track was pleased that the USGP wouldn’t conflict with any major conventions in the Austin region. He then focused on the situation of having to overlap with NASCAR:

“Due to the large number of NASCAR events scheduled annually, there will occasionally be overlaps with events at Circuit of The Americas, and that will happen next year. However there are few similarities between a NASCAR race and the Formula 1 weekend we have developed. The F1 USGP is a massive, fun and entertaining experience that has performed well against all kinds of competition. Many members of the public were concerned that our first F1 race fell on the same date as the season-ending NASCAR race in Homestead, Fla., and it proved to be a non-issue. Ultimately, we see this as a great opportunity to draw sports fans from around the world to Texas and to proving again that Austin is the place to enjoy premium racing and entertainment.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact both events could have upon the other.

  1. manik56 - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    I think the obvious solution would be to move the TMS date. F1 won’t bow down to NASCAR. I don’t see Bernie moving his date to appease anyone. If there really is a problem, NASCAR has to react. Eddie and NASCAR need to worry about making the 1.5 snoozers entertaining. I wouldn’t watch with or without the conflict.

    • indycarseries500 - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      NASCAR schedule wouldn’t allow that. To tell you the truth CotA is the only one in a position to lose. TMS, NASCAR, and FOM will all make mucho money off TVmoney/sanctioning fees, and even CotA should be fine since probably 70-80% maybe more come from outside Texas.

  2. mondogarage - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    I’m not sure why Eddie’s crowing so loudly…TMS attendance has been steadily declining the last few years for NASCAR weekends. Not that I actually expect them to be fighting for many of the same patrons, but the reality is that it is far more likely COTA cannibalizes some of TMS, and not vice versa.

  3. testover6370 - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    I don’t think there’s a lot of crossover there. Certainly there are some dedicated motorsports fans who will want to be at any and every race in their general area, regardless of series, but I don’t think you would have had too many people at TMS one weekend and COTA the next if the date stayed as it was.

  4. Matthew - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue and commented:
    The more I read this, the more I wonder if Eddie Gossage hasn’t gotten so high on whatever supply of BS he peddles that it almost makes you hope Bernie Ecclestone puts the USGP directly opposite the late-season TMS race just to tick Gossage off.

  5. indycarseries500 - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Michigan International Speedway never complained about Formula 1 being in Indianapolis. I’m surprised the FIA or ACCUS didn’t say “hold on here, Bernie” but I don’t think it’ll significantly hurt either event.

    Pretty cool thought that roughly 200,000 will be enjoying motorsports at the same time in Texas.

  6. Jeff - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    I want whatever Gossage is smoking.
    My money is on F1 destroying NASCAR.

  7. ironcurtainantihero - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    While I understand Eddie Gossage’s view because it may end up hurting attendance at TMS-and that is what he is supposed to care for above all else-the fact is that the NFL this year scheduled a Dallas Cowboys home game on the same weekend as the second NASCAR Sprint Cup date at TMS. Clearly, the NFL doesn’t need to ask Gossage for permission to design their schedule, and neither does F1 or anyone else.

    It also needs to be pointed out that the two series cater to different audiences. People travel from around the world to see F1. I have yet to hear of anyone traveling from outside North America to view a NASCAR race.

    Gossage doesn’t come across well here. He whined when it was suggested that INDYCAR might have a race at COTA, and now he’s whining about this. He’s coming across as a bratty, obnoxious child
    who’s afraid of competition. Memo to Eddie:Focus on trying to find signage to cover the empty seats at your facility and leave F1 and COTA to do what they do.

    • indycarseries500 - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      I’ve heard about it tons of times, it may not be in droves like a Formula 1 or MotoGP crowd but people outside of NA do attend NASCAR races.

  8. markdartj - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Didn’t this year’s race go up against a home game for the “Aggies”? Didn’t seem to affect the turnout much at the race. I would have thought that would be a bigger conflict. Formula One races have people fly in from all over the world to watch, with many coming from South America. I don’t know how many people fly in to see a NASCAR race, but NASCAR isn’t an international sport, is it? Don’t see a problem here.

  9. kitnamania13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Every time Eddie Gossage opens his mouth, crap flies out. The media should stop reporting on him, but I guess that’s hard to do, since people love to click on articles about about the stupid stuff Gossage says.

  10. worknman24hours - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Gossage is right.

    All this kind of scheduling grandstanding does is bleed spectators from attending all the venues.

    When you have this many races going on in one area, it just makes people stay home and watch them on tv.

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