News Analysis: Las Vegas Motor Speedway in talks for second Cup race

What happened: The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has scheduled a special session to discuss a $2.5 million sponsorship opportunity that could bring a second NASCAR Cup Series race to Las Vegas Motor Speedway as soon as Fall 2018. In response to the R-J’s report, the track said it would comment further prior to the March 8 meeting, while NASCAR said the schedule has yet to be finalized for 2018.

What it means: This is a credible report, made clearer by the quick non-comments from the track and NASCAR. If this ends up happening, another Speedway Motorsports Inc. track would likely lose a race. All tracks are in the midst of five-year sanction agreements, so SMI would either have to buy another track and move one of its races or transfer one of its existing races (by far the more likely scenario). The current SMI tracks with playoff races are New Hampshire, Charlotte and Texas — and the repave at Texas means it’s an unlikely candidate.

News value (scale of 1-10): Nine. There hasn’t been a venue change in NASCAR since 2011, so this doesn’t happen often. People have been talking about Las Vegas getting a second Cup race for years, but the talk tapered off after Vegas stopped getting the mega crowds it once did. Perhaps this means it could finally happen.

Questions: Which SMI track would lose a race? Is it possible the season would end in Las Vegas, or will the postseason banquet move away? How would Las Vegas attendance be affected by having two dates instead of one?

33 Replies to “News Analysis: Las Vegas Motor Speedway in talks for second Cup race”

  1. SMI and ISC never seem to understand that the schedule is stale. We don’t need to go to every track twice. The schedule needs new blood and not the same old stuff just in a new order. SMI and ISC pretty much killed any chance at a spiced up schedule when they bought all the tracks up…….

  2. Excellent piece Jeff. As usual, a lot of insight and factual background that the average fan would know or think about. When you say, “All tracks are in the midst of five-year sanction agreements”, I assume that only means all SMI tracks. If it were all NASCAR cup tracks under this agreement, simply buying a non-SMI track would not be a solution. Also, you say “in the midst”… What year would they be able to transfer a race? I wonder if Bruton could buy one of the races from say Pocono? If he waits till the sanction is over, the NH second race is toast. He’s not going to spend tons of money to get LV a slot in one of the 26 “Heat Races” and Texas and certainly Charlotte are not candidates for one race.

    All of this is a moot point to me. If a new venue is added, it needs to be at COTA in Austin… and that race needs to be one of the 10 “Feature Races”.

  3. It would seem to me Nascar would want to keep a presence in the Northeast.

    1. Fully agree. I would assume majority of the fan base feela the same way. A lot of the drivers seem to feel that way too.

  4. Better not be NH! They moved the other NH race to the middle of July and I gave up my tickets because it is too damn hot then.

  5. As a Vegas resident I’m very pro 2nd Race. Vegas has always had great crowds and lately the attendance had been affected by the bad infrastructure to exit the track, however with an on going widening of the interstate to be finished for the March race in 2018 that problem will be resolved. As for track to lose a race…had to be Charlotte or Texas where attendance is horrible.

  6. Sonoma aka Sears Point is safe Would place my money on Atlanta losing its date. Agree we need another mile and a half like we need a hole in the head. Make a schedule change that would allow Sonoma a “chase race”

  7. I went to the Las Vegas race for the first 10 years. The crowds were great, but that was before the current downturn. I don’t think it could support two race dates.

  8. I think Homestead is gone. No one has ever been happy ending the season at Homestead. They want the glitter and the beautiful people.

  9. Very interesting! I must first say I am going to vegas this week as I have done for the past ten years. However I must confess that it’s the whole package of vegas itself and the track that is so appealing. The racing is not always that exciting and I’m not sure two races would be the best move. Again if it’s for the last race sliding into the banquet scenario it is the atmosphere that would be great. Not so sure about the actual racing and I hope with all the changes taking place with rules and the cars that all I’ve stated above is out the window and the racing is spectacular. Hope to see Jeff at the tweet up

  10. Atlanta, I’m afraid. They can call off the repave quickly.

    I’d hate to see it but they screwed around with date so much it has no tradition any more. Plus that, the marketing sucks in the Atlanta/North Georgia area. I live here and if I wasn’t a fan I wouldn’t know it was here.

  11. It could be just a switch of the Las Vegas & Homestead dates. Both are warm-weather, so this seems achievable. You’d want to announce a switch with a new sponsor in one of the locations.

    1. Switch makes the most sense. Trick is that the owners of these two tracks want what’s best for themselves… Making sense doesn’t come into the equation.

  12. The Homestead – Vegas switch would mean that ISC and SMI have made a deal, since ISC owns Homestead. I find that unlikely, but again… everything has its price…

  13. Here’s a thought: SMI could purchase a race date from either Dover or Pocono, which are the last tracks not owned by SMI or ISC. My guess would be one of the Pocono dates, but a Vegas race in June or July might be too soon after the March race.

    Moving the June Dover race would bring all 3 series to Vegas for a triple header weekend. I can’t see Dover giving up a chase race, but everything has its price…. and getting a Vegas race in September helps ensure that there is enough separation between the races and they don’t over saturate the market.

    It will be interesting to see where this goes… Dover is my track and the June race is my favorite – I would hate to lose that!!

    1. Ohh, you’re right! Brandon Igdalsky would never sell one of his two dates – a promise to his grandparents, the Mattoli’s. But Dover sure would – they’ve taken some hits on other tracks they owned & probably want to make a profit at some point.

  14. Please not another 1.5 mile track. The racing at Vegas has never been that good, and the grandstands have many colorful blue/red plastic seats visible. This schedule so badly needs to be renewed. I completely agree with a commenter about COTA in Houston Texas. We also need to be at Road America with the Cup series. We need something NEW, more road courses, short tracks. Add Iowa, some how, please! That would be so cool to have the cup series there once a year too.

  15. Why spend 2.5 Million they cannot sell out the first race 40,000 plus short of a sell out. NASCAR has serious issues, poor attendance, poor TV ratings , so now cities are going to spend millions to support them. They need in my opinion to do more road courses and or street courses, The races are becoming so boring and the same people are in the top 12 every week. They should also have like Indy all have the same engines, chassis, so it all comes down to drivers skills, not those with mega million dollar budgets.

  16. If anything it’ll be Charlotte losing that date. Smith’s been threatening it for years to get the city council (and associates) to dance to his tune. By switching Charlotte’s October race with sticking that second round at Vegas it’ll show that he means it.

  17. Well it sure seems like either New Hampshire or the scenario where SMI buys the fall Dover date. Texas is not losing a race and Charlotte seems highly unlikely. I agree that another 1.5 miler, especially in the chase, makes no sense. Living in Chicago, I’d personally be much happier moving our race back to a mid summer Saturday night. Here’s another maybe crazy idea – move the all star race to the night before the cup banquet in Vegas! They get their second date, Charlotte keeps theirs and the all star race is no longer oddly in the first third of the schedule and is truely the year’s all stars. Would also introduce another off date in the middle of the year.

  18. I quit going to Vegas because of how exiting the parking lot was. The last race I went to it took me almost an hour longer to get out of the track parking then it took to run the race. That was my third race there and my last. I lover the racing but how they managed exiting the track was too much.

  19. I sincerely hope it isn’t the September race at NHMS that gets moved. Ever since the summer race at NHMS was moved to July it has been unbearably hot and crowd size and enthusiasm has dwindled noticeably for that event. The September race comes at a perfect time, New England is beautiful and comfortable in the fall and that playoff race is always well attended. I have been to races all over the country and at least to my eye it seems like NHMS has been one of the few tracks that has maintained a healthy crowd and good atmosphere even through the economic downturn. We also don’t need yet another 1.5 mile intermediate added to a schedule that is a already full of them. NHMS is a unique, flat 1 mile oval that represents some diversity on a schedule that sorely needs it. Even among intermediates Las Vegas generally produces boring racing, I personally would place it at or near the bottom if I was ranking each 1.5 miler for on-track product.

  20. Beware Bristol. Spring race has had lousy attendance for a while. I’d hate it but. Other candidate? NH and Kentucky. They may add a race?

    1. Wow – that’s another option. Hadn’t thought about Spring Bristol – and that’s an SMI track.

  21. Now I’m hearing Atlanta has postponed the repave under the guise of “we are listening to the drivers”

  22. NO, NO, NO! Once again, NASCAR following the money and not listening to what the fans want. We all know that adding another date to Vegas is going to be at the expense of another track. I only hope we don’t lose a short-track race or a whole track altogether. The only races I would be in favor of touching are one of the New Hampshire races (about as boring as they get), or leaving Chicagoland. The obvious choice would be to leave Indy, but that isn’t an SMI track, and I’m not in favor of completely leaving Indy. Would love to see them race at IRP or the infield road course.

    1. They cannot sell out one race and the price of tickets for anything in the straightaway’s is over $150.00 for Sunday’s race. They now cover 30,000 plus seats, the other issue is getting out of the track after the race which can be a 3 hour plus experience. Last the race has become very boring and if NASCAR did not throw the phantom Yellow when a driver get a 15 second lead it would be worse. They had 2 races not to long ago and they could not get enough people to attend so NASCAR took it away. NASCAR needs new management, France is clueless

  23. NHMS in July should be a night race if not call it #NEBurn300 .We need less 1.5 miles.Nascar needs to stop going back to the same track 8- 10 weeks between races.

    We need more shorttrack & Roadcourse on the calendar.Please stop repaving all the track.Circuit of the America(COTA) will never happen.but there’s at least 5 other circuit available.

    Don’t get a second Vegas race unless it’s the allstar race!

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