I’m wondering if Formula One saw a controversy coming when it scheduled its U.S. Grand Prix for Sunday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, just minutres prior to the drop of the green flag for the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth. My guess is that the folks at F1 probably didn’t check out the NASCAR schedule.
USAToday.com recently documented the Friday and Saturday of the Texas F1/NASCAR race weekend of race fan Alex Wiseman of Kingwood, Texas.
Wiseman got out of bed in the wee hours of Friday morning to travel to Austin for F1 practice. Then he drove a couple hundred miles to the Fort Worth area for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night and remained at TMS for Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Work dictated a four-hour drive home after the Nationwide race. He’ll be working his job at an air traffic control center in Houston on Sunday, so he won’t be in attendance at either track for the F1 race or the headlining race of the NASCAR weekend. But as for his adventures earlier in the weekend — that’s what I call a dedicated race fan.
Wiseman told USAToday.com that his adventure was worth it, but he wouldn’t do it again. I guess that’s okay, because the schedule’s going to be a little different next year. The F1 race at COTA is going to be a week before the NASCAR race weekend at TMS in 2015.
Is the change for 2015 a result of an uproar of sorts from race fans? I’ll put this one on F1, because NASCAR’s had the same fall race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for several years.
There’s been a media overlap this weekend, with members of the NASCAR media spending some time in Austin early in the race weekend. Also, some reporters on the F1 beat traveled to Fort Worth for some of the NASCAR action. I’m just wondering how much of an overlap there is across the two fanbases? Obviously, there’s some. Wiseman is an example of that. Some people simply like racing, not matter what it is or where it’s at.
Is there really a controversy with both F1 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing on the same day or is it much ado about nothing? Are there very many fans who care about both? Is Wiseman in the minority? I guess we’ll just have to check the attendance for both races.
TMS President Eddie Gossage has been vocal about his displeasure of the F1 at COTA scheduling since the date for that race was announced, but juding by statements made to FOX Sports by Texas native and racing legend A.J. Foyt, Gossage probably has nothing to worry about. Foyt thinks the NASCAR race will be better, but then again, his biggest issue with F1 seemed to be his distaste for having to wear a necktie so much. Seriously, though, Foyt did touch on the fact that F1 has never really been all that big in the U.S.
F1 may not enjoy the U.S. fanbase NASCAR does, but F1 does have some fans on this side of the pond. Will that affect NASCAR attendance this weekend? Will the NASCAR race affect attendance for F1? Once Sunday is history, I don’t guess it’ll really matter. Whether intentional or accidental, there won’t be an overlap next year. For fans willing to spend a lot of time on the road over the course of a week-and-a-half or so, there will be an opportunity make both in 2015. You may even run into Wiseman a few times at either or both places. Heck, Foyt may even be at one of the races. If he is, my money’s on the NASCAR race.
What will you be watching on Sunday? Answer in a poll.