Speed Reading

Q: NASCAR wants to build another 1.5-mile oval this time in the Pacific Northwest. Why do we have to have another "cookie cutter" track?

Sandy Monroe
Pueblo, CO

A:
Sandy, I wish I knew the answer to that question and why ISC would build another track that is identical to Kansas and Chicagoland. Obviously they want the facility to be able to host more than just Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck events, so a track that would be able to run IRL events is necessary. But Richmond is able to host such a variety of circuits at only .75-mile in length and provides some of the best racing anywhere. Any new track should be a Richmond clone but unfortunately it looks as if the Pacific Northwest will go the 1.5-mile route. The good news is the proposed speedway in New York is of the .75-mile variety.


Q: Seattle and New York look to be in line for Nextel Cup dates in the next five or six years. Where will these dates come from?

Tom Utley
Denver, N.C.

A:
Rockingham, Darlington and Martinsville will all lose dates within the next five years to accomodate these new tracks if they are indeed built. ISC will have to swap dates from within their properties, unless NASCAR decides that 36 races aren't enough and why not add one or two more to the schedule. Putting the Nextel All-Star Race on the Coca-Cola 600 weekend frees up a date and there has been talk that event may move to Richmond next season (to be closer to Nextel's Virginia headquarters) and be held in prime time on the Thursday before the Cup race. But short of expansion, the only way to bring in another track is to switch dates and unfortunately the three smallest markets will be the ones to suffer the loss.


Q: Why did the ASA change their car's paint schemes to move the number to the back fender and add the primary sponsor to the door panels? It looks terrible.

Jack Mobley
Plymouth, Ind.

A:
The idea was to give the sponsor more of a presence on the larger side door space and also to generate a "new look" for the ASA National Tour cars. I have to say I'm a traditionalist and not a big fan of this new look (which is also being used in the new Dash Series and looks hideous on those cars). ASA president Steve Dale is trying to shake things up a bit at the ASA but we've been flooded with e-mails and phone calls from fans who aren't enthusiastic about the new design.


Q: What's the deal with the CART schedule? Their season opens in six weeks but that's the only date we know. How can sponsors and teams and fans plan for a season on such notice?

Cynthia Sanders
Coldwater, Mich.

A:
Although the official schedule hasn't been released by OWRS, the Champ Car teams must have an idea of what the slate looks like. That doesn't help fans who can't make plans, although some track websites are touting a Champ Car date despite the official schedule not being announced. I'd expect the 15-race calendar of events sometime this week.


Q: What did you think about the crowd at the IRL opener in Homestead. It looked pretty healthy on TV to me?

Greg Francise
Matoon, Ill.

A:
Estimates of about 30-35,000 would make Sunday's IRL opener one of the best attended in series history. The track was smart in keeping the fans all in one area on the main straight, which gives everyone a good seat and looks much more impressive on television. There were several free ticket promotions in the area I'm told so there's no telling how many paid admissions there were, but still a crowd of over 30,000 at an open wheel race is pretty good.

Got a question or comment? E-mail to pete@racingone.com.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2004

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