Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sources: NASCAR Nationwide Series Schedule Could Drop As Low As 30 Races In 2011

Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule could include as few as 30 races next season, a dramatic drop from the current slate of 35 events. NASCAR is expected to announce the 2011 schedules for its top three national series’ in the next 3-4 weeks, and its appears that the total number of races will drop to between 30 and 32. NASCAR President Mike Helton said recently that the idea of a reduced Nationwide Series schedule “has been bounced around. Obviously, there's players that have to be talked to in regards to that,” said Helton, “(including) Nationwide, ESPN, promoters and the competitors. There's a lot of movement going on in the three national series this year, trying to sort it all out."

Reliable sources say Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California will lose its February NASCAR race weekend to Kansas Speedway in 2011, eliminating that race from the Nationwide schedule. Gateway International Raceway announced recently that it will not host any Nationwide or Truck Series events next year -- trimming two more events from the Nationwide schedule – while sister track Nashville Superspeedway experienced extremely poor attendance at both of its races this season, putting at least one of its 2011 dates in jeopardy.

There are options to replace at least some of the lost events, if NASCAR chooses to do so. Iowa Speedway Vice President Craig Armstrong said this week that while his track has not formally requested a second NASCAR Nationwide Series race for 2011, he would take one if asked. "If a second race is offered to us, we will certainly consider it,” said Armstrong. “It is entirely NASCAR's decision, and we respect that."

In addition to a shorter schedule, expect a number of venue and date changes next season. Officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway say they may ask NASCAR to move the Nationwide Series date currently belonging to O'Reilly Raceway Park to IMS next season, in an attempt to boost flagging attendance for their Brickyard 400 weekend. It initially appeared that New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s June NASCAR date might move to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011, but sources say that move has now been tabled until at least 2012, keeping the Nationwide Series in the Granite State for at least another year. There is also a possibility of weeknight racing on both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series’ in 2011.

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