Tha Sports Junkies 101

Las Vegas Earns a Second NASCAR Cup Weekend

Las Vegas Motor Speedway


The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season will see a realigned schedule for the first time since 2014. Las Vegas Motor Speedway will add a second date to the schedule, while New Hampshire Motor Speedway will lose one. In addition, the October race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be run on the infield road course for the first time in history. All three facilities are owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc..(SMI).

Despite having solid attendance numbers, New Hampshire Motor Speedway had trouble selling sponsorship in 2016 and 2017. In contrast, The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a $2.5 million incentive package for the track to add a second Cup date. That commitment is key at a time when sponsorship dollars are hard to come by.

The agreement calls for Las Vegas’ two events to be in March and September, the latter being a playoff race. Unknown is if the season-ending banquet, which has been held in Vegas since 2009, will return after 2017. Initially, SMI founder Bruton Smith wanted Las Vegas to host the season finale and awards banquet, but the deal signed yesterday would seem to rule that out.

New Hampshire has just 89,000 seats and 38 suites with sparse amenities. Las Vegas however, holds 104,000 with 102 suites, an expanded fan zone with garage access, and a spa. That contrast coupled with sponsorship troubles prompted the date swap to help shore up sagging revenues at SMI.

The last time SMI traded race dates was in 2011, when Kentucky Speedway was added and replaced Atlanta Motor Speedway’s second date. Atlanta, Sonoma, Kentucky, and New Hampshire will carry forward with just one date. Texas, Bristol, and Las Vegas will have two and Charlotte will have three including the All Star weekend.

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