The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 27, 2014

Ecclestone: No clash between F1, NASCAR in Texas

NORMAN — Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says his series and NASCAR won’t be competing for the same motorsport fans in Texas when they hold races 190 miles apart in November.

Ecclestone dismissed on Wednesday any clash between the series, after the top executive at Texas Motor Speedway called F1 “arrogant” for scheduling the United States Grand Prix in Austin on the same weekend that his track hosts NASCAR in Fort Worth.

“I absolutely think it’s foolish,” said Eddie Gossage, the track president and general manager. “It’s a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR. I can’t say I was surprised because Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things. The thing he unfortunately doesn’t recognize is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motorsports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR.”

Texas Motor Speedway will host NASCAR’s Texas 500 on Nov. 2, the same day F1 will hold its only race in the U.S. this year. Fort Worth is about a 3-hour drive from Austin.

Gossage thought a stronger stance by the management at Circuit of the Americas would have prevented the scheduling issue. But Bobby Epstein, chairman of Circuit of the Americas, disagreed.

I’m not sure why Eddie is so upset,” Epstein said. “He is in a huge metropolitan area, has a fine product, and our events are incredibly different. Although there is very, very little overlap, I do feel for the fans who have to make a choice. The reality is there are more than 30 NASCAR races in the U.S. and only one Formula One race. It’s impossible not to bump into them.

“Bernie worked hard to try to accommodate a date change, but the complexity and costs of moving between countries, combined with local logistics and conflicts made it an impossible task.”

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