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Dates May Change at New Hampshire

New Hampshire Dates May Change
Within the circus that was New Hampshire Motor Speedway this past weekend—from new $1,000 shoes for Danica Patrick to Dario Franchitti's hot laps in an IndyCar—came a stark message.

Unless circumstances change—and change quickly—this may be the last time NASCAR's Big Top visits the Granite State in June.

It's no secret that track owner Bruton Smith is considering pulling one of two Sprint Cup dates from New Hampshire and petitioning NASCAR to move it to one of his other properties—either to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which already has one Cup date, or to Kentucky, which currently hosts Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series events.

Don't doubt that Smith is serious about moving to greener pastures—and to Smith, greener pastures mean, among other things, a community where he feels welcome, a police chief that doesn't charge $175,000 for security during race weekends and something more than two-lane access to the racetrack.

Those are issues that have surfaced recently and will influence Smith's decision on dates and tracks when he finalizes his schedule requests to NASCAR. There are those who equate Smith's posture in New Hampshire with threats in 2007 to relocate Charlotte Motor Speedway over a dispute with the city fathers in Concord, N.C., and Cabarrus County.

"He's bluffing," was the refrain then. After Smith, the city and county settled their differences—at least temporarily—the track stayed put.

But Smith isn't bluffing now. It's far easier to move a Cup date than it is to move a speedway.

"I've always been an optimist, and we've had a lot of negativity here—which we don't like," Smith said Sunday at New Hampshire during a press conference to announce the acquisition of a late-July IndyCar date in 2011. "We have not liked it, still don't like it, and tomorrow when I wake up I still won't like it.

"So that's not good. You cannot do what we do, or anybody else in this business does … You have a very big event here today (Sunday's Sprint Cup race), and, yes, we have a lot of people here in this market, but we find—I don't care where we are—you can't do it alone. You have to have the blessings of the city, county, state in order to do what you do when you draw these huge crowds."

Before the press conference, Smith and track general manager Jerry Gappens held a question-and-answer session with New Hampshire fans in the Nationwide garage. Smith was asked no less than five times whether he intended to move a Cup date from New Hampshire.

"You haven't answered the question yet," said the third fan to inquire. "I'd like a 'Yes' or 'No'—will New Hampshire have two Cup races next year?"

Each time, Smith deflected the question, citing the necessity of meeting with NASCAR to discuss the schedule.

"When we have something to announce, we'll announce it," Smith said.




Related Pictures

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Bruton Smith
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, spin out into the grass during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The crew of Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, leads the field near the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, races Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates with an American flag after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Terry Labonte. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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scott - Unregistered

June 29, 2010 3:59 PM

great how the article says that chief is charging all this money...... with close to 10,ooo RV's at the track from fri 2 sun... how many drunk redneks from the northeast do you think are staggering around this sprawling property. E F F U Bruton...take yer ball go home



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