Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Smith claims "done deal" report on track move is wrong

   The following is a statement from Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, O. Bruton Smith:

“The ‘done deal’ report by WBTV regarding moving a race is false. No final decision has been made regarding any race date move, and I have not discussed this with NASCAR. 

   “Instead of what ‘could’ happen, let’s set the facts straight about what has happened. We’ve invested $100 million in the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex in the past six years to make it even better for the fans. We’ve expanded our fan zone, added pit road suites and built the world’s largest HDTV for every fan to enjoy. We’ve put more people to work with these projects and we’ve added more events to the calendar to bring in more tourists and fans. And we’ve done this during the worst economy since the Great Depression. 

   “We’ve done this without asking for a handout from the government, like we’ve seen from so many other sports facilities, teams or franchises, and yet at the same time property values are falling during the recession, our Cabarrus County taxes have doubled since 2005. We absolutely love the fans that come to Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s frustrating to think about the future and consider that the local government doesn’t share the same excitement about Charlotte Motor Speedway that our fans do. The Cabarrus County politicians may say nice things to the media, but raising taxes does not support the tourism business, the area economy or companies trying to grow.”

Michael Annett finally cleared to race


   After being sidelined for eight races, Michael Annett will return to the driver's seat of the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday's History 300 Nationwide Series event.

   Annett was medically cleared Tuesday after suffering a broken and dislocated sternum after an accident in the season-opening Nationwide Series event at Daytona International Speedway in February.

   The Nationwide series regular underwent surgery for his injuries after the accident and has been sidelined for three months to allow his injuries to heal. Annett has been preparing for his return by participating in physical therapy over the last three weeks. Doctors, along with NASCAR officials, determined he was cleared to drive following an MRI on Monday afternoon.

Greg Biffle: "I highly doubt" Charlotte will lose a NASCAR race

   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle took part in a teleconference on Tuesday and was asked about track owner Bruton Smith's claim there was a 70 percent chance he would move Charlotte Motor Speedway's fall Cup series date to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the near future.

   Here was Biffle's response:

    "I highly doubt whether we see that race move to a different location. There's a lot of people that come to that race. Let's face it, it's a business decision a lot of times. You make business decisions on the amount of people or fans or people you can attract to a particular race," Biffle said. "If your race is well‑attended, I don't see any reason for moving it.  Obviously, if we're running all the races, we're not going to be going out and doing all the stuff to try to change our cars.

   "That's the way I perceive it. I'm an entrepreneur, business type of guy. I see the grandstands fairly full when it comes to our two Charlotte races, a lot of attendance. I don't know all the behind‑the‑scenes stuff.

   "Frankly, we'll race wherever the race is at. I like both of the race tracks. I would like to see it stay in Charlotte. If it goes to Vegas, then I suppose we have to race there."