After much speculation, it was finally announced that Las Vegas would be getting an additional date for its Motor Speedway 1.5 mile track in 2018. This will give the West-Coast track two triple header weekends, as it will also host the XFINITY Cup Series, and the Truck Series. It will be the first city to have the honour of hosting two triple header weekends.
In order to obtain this second date without NASCAR having to spend any additional money, this was not another race added to the pre-existing schedule. Instead, another SMI (Speedway Motorsports INC) track in New Hampshire loses its Autumn date and keeps its July date. Despite specific dates not yet being final, we do know that the second Las Vegas race will be one of the ten play-off races hosted later in the season.
The contract that has been agreed means that Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be paid $2.5 million a year for seven years to promote and host both events on its premises. Sources say: “Citing nearly 100,000 out-of-town visitors and an economic impact of $139.2 million, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has been seeking a second Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, an initiative supported by SMI founder and executive chairman Bruton Smith.”
Despite this though, criticisms from fans include complaints such as not wanting another 1.5 mile track and that the date that remains in July at New Hampshire was the worst date to pick of the two, due to humid and uncomfortable weather conditions.
In light of the announcement, Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, has commented saying that they will still retain devotion for the New Hampshire race fans. “Fans and tourism officials in New Hampshire and Kentucky should know that we are still very committed to creating motorsports entertainment in those regions,” he said. “We will work hard to make sure the July NASCAR race weekends that we will continue to host in New Hampshire and Kentucky are bigger and better than ever before for our fans, sponsors and stakeholders.”
David McGrath, who was named the Executive Vice President and General Manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway spoke to the press about this issue and showed sympathy amidst fans’ concerns. This is what he had to say: “Give me some time. Let me show you what we’re capable of as a team. We understand the angst. We understand that there were two races and now there’s one. Let us make it great. Don’t turn your back on us… I know it sounds tough right now, but I promise you in the months and years ahead, this is still going to be the place to come and see a great, great Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.”
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer spoke up about the issue and was able to see both sides of the argument. “There’s always an awesome crowd, a good sell for us,” Bowyer said. “The sad thing is, where do you take (a race from)?” he said. “That’s the tough thing. I don’t think any of them that are capable of (losing a race) deserve getting one taken. That’s the sticky part.”
Marcus Smith finally added: “It’s taken a tremendous amount of work to make this happen. We are very thankful to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and NASCAR for their support in our endeavour to create a triple-header NASCAR weekend in such a world-class destination.”