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NASCAR Schedule Changes in 2005


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RICHMOND, Va. - Tracks in two southern states will lose Nextel Cup races, and venues in Texas and Arizona will get them as part of a lawsuit settlement and sweeping NASCAR (news - web sites) realignment in 2005.

NASCAR said Friday that North Carolina Speedway and Darlington Raceway in South Carolina will each lose a race, leaving the track in Rockingham, N.C., without any races and sparking a series of track sales and wrangling that NASCAR hopes will solve a number of nagging problems it faces.

Among the changes, North Carolina Speedway will be purchased by Bruton Smith-led Speedway Motorsports Inc. for $100.4 million as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that has dragged on for about two years.

Francis Ferko, a shareholder in SMI, claimed in the suit that NASCAR had breached agreements by not awarding a second Cup race to Texas Motor Speedway. Texas will get a second date next November in the settlement.

The date "is a result of the Ferko settlement, but at the same time, it fits in perfectly with our realignment plans," NASCAR chairman Brian France said during a news conference at Richmond International Raceway.

He said the settlement effectively makes the lawsuit moot.

"My desire, as it has always been, is to continue to help NASCAR build the sport of stock car racing," said Smith, who was not involved in the lawsuit. "Working together will help build a better sport for fans, participants and corporate partners."

Phoenix International Raceway also will gain a second race weekend under the realignment, adding a spring race to the one it has Nov. 13.

"This is another example of us increasing our visibility in an area of the country that is truly a hotbed for NASCAR fans," France said.

Further, Martinsville Speedway, half-owned by the France family, will be purchased outright by International Speedway Corp. for $192 million with money from the Rockingham sale and another $91.6 million. ISC is about 60 percent owned and controlled by the France family.

"There comes a point in time when you've got to look at change, and I think change in this case was inevitable," said Martinsville president Clay Campbell, whose grandfather, Clay Earles, opened the track in 1947.

"I think (ISC) can carry Martinsville a lot further than we could ever carry it," Campbell said.

"Anything that's been family owned for so long like that, definitely it pulls on your heart a little bit," he said. "But you can't let your heart make a business decision at all times. ... We're looking at the bright side rather than the sentimental side."

Martinsville will retain both of its race dates in the 2005 season, and Campbell will also remain as president under ISC's ownership.

The schedule also answers many other questions about 2005.

California Speedway will replace North Carolina as the second stop of the season, and the Nextel Cup all-star race will return to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., now host to the only races in North Carolina.

The Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge will be run May 21, a week before the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's, NASCAR's longest race of the season.

France defended the moves as in the best interest of the sport and said he regrets that racing at North Carolina Speedway and Darlington struggled to sell out despite some of the smallest seating capacities.

"We're disappointed that the events didn't work as well and they've worked in California and other markets," he said, adding that race fans in the Carolinas still have a number of tracks within traveling distance.

France also doesn't expect the lawsuit that sparked the changes to inspire other lawsuits as tracks look to add additional races.

"We have a history of being very aggressive in defending NASCAR's business practices," he said. "We were aggressive in this case and we'll continue to be aggressive. There was a solution in this case that was unique. We were able to find that it would work for everyone."

The changes mean North Carolina Speedway will have lost both of its Nextel Cup weekends in the span of a year. The struggling track's other date was given to California Speedway at the start of this season.

Darlington, the original NASCAR superspeedway and host through this year of the prestigious Southern 500, would be left with only one race — on Mother's Day weekend — for the first time since the 1960 season.

The Southern 500 Labor Day date moved this year to California from Darlington, which had its second race pushed back to Nov. 14.

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I feel sick....I can't believe they took Rockingham away...All for another boring race in LA...Bastards....If they want to improve NASCAR they need to take boring races away from tracks..Chicago? Boring...GONE....Dover...Boring....GONE....Kansas, boring...GONE....New Hampshire, GONE.

Tell the otherr tracks that if they don't do something to get more exciting racing they're outta here...I want better racing, not bigger markets, most fans watch races on TV anyway...Improve the TV product.....I don't really care about historic tracks losing their dates, I really don't...I worry about boring tracks getting the dates.

Also, NASCAR bought out Martinsville....If the bullring loses a date next year I'mm gonna storm NASCAR and kick some ass

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Sweet!! Another race for Phoenix!! At night no less!! ^_^

See, that's a good thing.....Phoenix is good racing, and night racing is even better.

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No track should have 2 races until Kentucky Speedway gets a race. They should also have some international races. You would think those advertising whores would figure that out by now!

I totally agree. Kentucky is an awesome facility! You can check it out on line at:


The biggest thing going against it getting a Nextel Cup date (It already has a Busch and Craftsman Truck date, along with several open wheel dates!) is that it isn't owned by Nascar, or I think that's what Kevnz told me. Am I right Kevnz? :blink:

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The biggest thing going against it getting a Nextel Cup date (It already has a Busch and Craftsman Truck date, along with several open wheel dates!) is that it isn't owned by Nascar, or I think that's what Kevnz told me. Am I right Kevnz?  :blink:

That's exactly what it is. NASCAR and ISC are owned by the same people. That's why new tracks that get added are almost always owned by ISC. It's such a con...How else do you explain some of these tracks getting a second date, but world class tracks like Kentucky not getting 1? That's why Texas got a second date. NASCAR wanted to stay out of court cause they know they are a monopoly and they would be split apart when they lost.

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