NASCAR Notes: A Texas Sized Schedule Conflict
BY DAVE GRAYSON
They say that everything is bigger and better in Texas. Sometimes that old saying includes potential arguments. It now appears that there’s a schedule conflict involving two very prominent auto races to be held next November in the Lone Star state that could lead to a promotional tug of war between the Texas Motor Speedway, (TMS) located in Fort Worth, and the Circuit Of The Americas, (COTA) located in Austin.
Back on December 11th, Formula One Racing released its official 2014 season schedule which listed the United States Grand Prix onNovember 2nd at the COTA in Austin. That date also happens to be listed on the TMS schedule where NASCAR is racing all three of its national touring divisions that weekend. The TMS date is also race number eight for NASCAR’s 2014 Chase For The Spring Cup Championship.
The potential racing conflict immediately caught the attention of TMS President and General Manager Eddie Gossage. In a statement made to NBC Sports (dot) Com, a clearly irate Gossage said: “It’s a foolish move by Formula One. 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 what they say publicly, the folks at the Austin track are pulling their hair out over this one. They don’t have a say so over their date.”
On the other side of this potential disagreement is COTA Chairman Bobby Epstein who in a statement, also to NBC Sports (dot) Com, felt that the two races on the same weekend really wasn’t that big of problem. “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 One weekend we have developed. The Formula One United States Grand Prix is a massive, fun entertaining experience that has performed well against all kinds of competition. Many members of the public were concerned that our first ever Formula One race fell on the same date as the season ending NASCAR race in Homestead-Florida, and in 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 proving again that Austin is the place to enjoy premium racing and entertainment,” Epstein said.
It’s all well and good to say that the first ever United States Grand Prix in Austin-Texas didn’t conflict with NASCAR’s championship weekend in Homestead-Florida. After all, there’s a huge chunk of real estate between those two race track locations. The same cannot be said about the Texas tracks racing against each other next November. That’s because the distance between Fort Worth and Austin is only 188 miles.
Like true natives of the Lone Star State, TMS’ Eddie Gossage won’t be caught sitting still over this potential race date conflict. He will respond in a very big way. However, it won’t be adversarial. Instead, Gossage will create an attention getting publicity campaign, steeped in the sense of humor he’s famous for, that will give all race fans plenty of reasons why they should come to Fort Worth for his NASCAR weekend. This publicity campaign will likely be eye popping glitzy and very funny because Gossage has never hesitated to think and work outside of the box.
It must be true, because, after all, the Texas Motor Speedway is the home of the famous Bacon Beer Milkshake.