29 August 2009
Daytona solves 2010 Super Bowl conflict
Yes, NASCAR, there is a Super Bowl - other than the Super Bowl of stock car racing.
Daytona International Speedway found a creative way to deal with a scheduling conflict between qualifying for the 2010 Daytona 500 and the February 7, 2010 NFL Super Bowl in Miami.
The answer? Move the pole qualifying session from its traditional Sunday slot to a day earlier. In doing so, Daytona created a racing tripleheader for Saturday, February 6, featuring the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA race, Daytona 500 qualifying and the non-points Budweiser Shootout for the Sprint Cup Series. The qualifying session, scheduled for 1.05 pm [local time], will kick off the day's activities.
"We've been watching what happens that weekend anyway," said Roger VanDerSnick, executive vice president and chief operating officer of International Speedway Corporation, which owns a portfolio of racetracks, including Daytona. "From a publicity standpoint, running the Saturday before the Super Bowl is probably not the most optimal day, but that event (at Daytona) has turned into a good, strong local draw.
"It was spread over two days, and I think now we'll put it on one day and give much more value to fans, so now instead of having to come Saturday for the Shootout and the ARCA race and Sunday for qualifying, they get to come out to the racetrack on Saturday - spend a terrific day in the Florida sun - hopefully - and then they've still got the opportunity to have Super Bowl activities. And I suspect that (Daytona president) Robin Braig is already cooking on some kind of Super Bowl activities that we can do at the track for the fans that do want to stay there."
The tripleheader takes care of the conflict in 2010, but still at issue is the prospect that the NFL may expand its schedule from 16 to 18 regular-season games, potentially encroaching deeper into the NASCAR schedule.
"That has to be voted on and worked through with the (NFL) players association," VanDerSnick said. "In light of everything else that's going on over there, I'm not sure of the timing, but I can assure you, we've modelled a lot of different things.
“We're very happy with the schedule in 2010, but we recognise that there could be a much bigger change in 2011.
“We've got a couple of different things that we have on the table (where) we can react, depending on which way the NFL goes."
by Reid Spencer
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