Inside Racing (cont.)
The Check Isn't In The Mail
Financial uncertainty, and past-due sanctioning fees to both NASCAR and the IndyCar Series have left the future of the Milwaukee Mile in doubt, which could lead to that track being dropped by both series in 2010.
According to sources, when Claude Napier's Wisconsin Motorsport took over the track, he also assumed some of the previous debt incurred by the previous promoter, Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the promoter owes NASCAR money from the Camping World Truck Series Copart 200 and the Nationwide Series NorthernTool.com 250 held on June 20. Napier would not disclose attendance for the truck race other than the turnout was low but acknowledged the Nationwide crowd was in "excess of 35,000 fans."
Napier also told the Milwaukee newspaper that the track would lose money this year. The Legislative Audit Bureau, which recently completed an audit of Wisconsin State Fair Park, said in its report that the Mile would lose money this year, putting added fiscal pressure on the fair.
"The sanctions fees are part of an overall deal," Napier said Friday. "We have been working closely with NASCAR in resolving these issues.
"I don't want to get into specifics about what we owe and what we don't owe. We are working very closely with NASCAR and in particular we are working on the future."
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston issued a statement that said, "Despite having a terrific day of NASCAR racing last Saturday there remain outstanding issues which concern NASCAR. As a matter of policy I won't get into the specifics of our business dealings. However, I can say we are working closely with the track management to resolve outstanding issues."
According to the Charlotte Observer, the NASCAR competitors were paid.
Napier blamed the losses on advance ticket sales for the races made last year by previous race promoter. He also said NASCAR's decision to cut testing at racetracks would cost Wisconsin Motorsports much-needed revenue.
"Wisconsin Motorsports didn't get the benefit of any of that, although we agreed to honor the tickets," Napier said of the advance ticket sales last year. "It definitely made things fall a little short."
Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for Milwaukee Mile Holdings, the former race promoter, said it was Napier, a former executive with Milwaukee Mile Holdings, who would have been in the position of collecting that ticket revenue in 2008.
"He sold the tickets and he spent the money when he was with us," Zeppos said.
Crash Of The Week
When Kyle Busch rear-ended Martin Truex Jr. on a restart at New Hampshire on Sunday, it triggered a chain-reaction crash that knocked Truex and others out of the race. Truex was so upset; he threatened to throw his helmet at Busch's Toyota as it drove by under caution before climbing into the safety vehicle.
"I'm not sure what happened in front of us, either the No. 88 [Dale Earnhardt Jr.] or the No. 2 [Kurt Busch] spun the tires," Truex said. "I'm not sure who it was but I was just staying in line doing what I could do to get going and obviously you can't pass before the start/finish line. And I guess Kyle [Busch] just decided he didn't want to lift, so I was just an innocent victim today. Someone spun the tires and our lane didn't go. Kyle just lost his head like he usually does when something bad happens. He decided he wasn't going to lift; he was going to turn me on the straightaway for no good reason at all. We have a tore up race car."
When asked if the crash was a product of the double-file restart, Truex took another shot at Busch.
"No, that is the product of one guy making a mistake," he said. "Simple as that."
After the race, Busch took responsibility for the crash.
"Unfortunately, I have to apologize to all those guys," Busch said. "We got bottled up there in turn one -- especially Martin and Jeff Burton and those guys. I meant nothing of that. The 88 spun his tires on the restart, I went to choose a lane, went to the middle and the 42 [Juan Pablo Montoya] and I got together a little bit. That pinched me with the one [Truex] and I spun the one out and it was just mayhem from there. I hate it for all those guys because I know they've got 'Chase' contentions too. We were just battling for every spot out there today."
Quote Of The Week
"The Brickyard is always special. It is just for me such an important race for us. For me and my career, I am just so thrilled and excited that I have won at the Brickyard. I still feel that way. It is still an extremely important race for us to go and compete at. I think it is still important for motorsports, important for NASCAR. But just for me personally, I just love going and competing there with the history and knowing me going there as a kid, going to the museum and doing different things. Just walking around that track, thinking what a dream it would be to someday race there. Now, getting the chance to do it is fantastic." --Jeff Gordon on next month's AllState 400 at the Brickyard.
Quote Of The Week II
"We didn't do well at short tracks last year, but this year they've been a lot better for us. I think getting track time to know what the cars need to do has been the key. We'll see what happens at Bristol and Martinsville when we go back. Those weren't too stellar for us earlier this year. I think we're going to have some real good days coming up here. That's what we need to keep doing. We had a pretty darn good point's day today." -- NASCAR driver Sam Hornish, Jr., who ran as high as third place before finishing eighth in Sunday's rain-shortened contest at New Hampshire.
Quote Of The Week III
"You can't pass with these cars. It's really tough, and it's been like that forever. You've just got to be in the right position. You know, there was some passing going on, but not a whole lot." -- NASCAR driver Greg Biffle on the frustrations of passing on a flat one-mile oval with the current generation of race car used in NASCAR.
What I'm Looking Forward To This Week
Auto racing and the Fourth of July seem to go together very well, and that is what Bill France thought when he started running the "Firecracker 400" on July 4, 1959. Because it was so blasted hot in Daytona Beach, Fl, in July, the starting time for this race used to be 10 a.m. which meant it was over by 12:30 in the afternoon, which gave fans and team members a chance to actually spend the remainder of the Fourth of July at the beach. It held that July 4 date through 1987 before NASCAR moved it to the Saturday closest to July 4. A night race since 1998, this year's event will fall on July 4 for only the second time since the Saturday date change and the first since 1992. It's all the action of restrictor-plate racing, only under the lights which means fireworks during and after the race.