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Ecclestone: NASCAR is a domestic series

NEWS STORY
26/02/2014

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at the Texas Motor Speedway boss who criticised the scheduling of this year’s United States Grand Prix.

Eddie Gossage, president and general manager at the speedway, had hit out at the scheduling of this year's Grand Prix which takes place on the same weekend that his track hosts all three NASCAR series including the Sprint Cup's AAA Texas 500. Gossage was also critical of Circuit of the America bosses for their failure to stand up to Ecclestone in terms of the scheduling of the race.

However, never one to shy away from a row, Ecclestone wasted no time in responding to Gossage's comments.

"We've a small problem they don't have... we have six jumbo jets to move around all our equipment, and we have to find the most sensible way to use them to do that," he said, according to the Guardian. "We have to be efficient, and bear in mind we may also encounter problems at an airport. There are issues that can occur, but he and other people do not realise these things.

"The race prior to the one in the US is in Russia, in Sochi," he continued. "We've never been before, and we have to get out of there and into Austin. That is probably a lot easier than trying to get into Brazil, and then we have to get out of there to go to Abu Dhabi. So he is extremely lucky he doesn't have to do what we have to do."

Responding to Gossage's claim that "there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motor sports... NASCAR", and that "any time you cut something into two pieces, whether it's 50/50, 60/40 or 99/1, it doesn't matter who's got the 99 and who's got the 1 it's less than 100 percent", Ecclestone said: "I've spoken to the people that run the race at Cota and they believe the NASCAR crowd is a different crowd to Formula One, different people, different customers.

"At the end of the day they run a domestic series in America... we run a world championship."

Ouch!

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by K1w1, 28/02/2014 3:32

"Except that NASCAR has a steady, if not growing, fanbase and F1's fanbase is declining.
One huge area that F1 could use to increase the fanbase is the US, and putting the USGP on the same weekend as a NASCAR race in the same state shows that Bernie has no real interest in the US in regard to F1. He wants the show ponies that pay him a lot of money and is attended by an ever declining number of spectators.

He doesn't seem to have any real interest in the future of F1, only the here and now which will, eventually, destroy the "sport"."

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2. Posted by gturner38, 27/02/2014 23:27

"Sorry, Paul, but Bernie has little to be jealous of. First of all, the US may be a larger landmass than Europe, but it is considerably smaller in terms of population. More importantly, F1's popularity isn't solely in Europe. It's huge in places like Brazil and Japan while NASCAR has failed to be able to expand into Mexico and Canada for sustained periods. Even the NASCAR race in Japan was little more than an exhibition that led to nothing. In the end NASCAR truly is a domestic series, ie a series with only American drivers, American teams, and American races. It doesn't attract an international audience to attend the races and is at best a niche sport on TV outside the US and Canada. F1 is synonymous to motorsport for most of the world in the way NASCAR is in the US."

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3. Posted by Paul C, 27/02/2014 18:53

"Bernie should put his nose down and look at NASCAR and it's popularity. NASCAR encompasses a larger area than the contiguous area of Europe and the Middle East than F1 does. F1 only exceeds NASCAR in it's extension to the USA and Asia, although NASCAR has held races in Japan. NASCAR's fan numbers are possibly bigger than F1 in both race attendance and media coverage.
I think Bernie is jealous of NASCAR."

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4. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 27/02/2014 9:51

"And, F1 will remain an irrelevace to most Americans until such time as an American is on the front row of the grid; this may take a while."

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5. Posted by ciscotex, 27/02/2014 0:22

"Bernie's comments reflect the same mentality Tony George had when he destroyed open wheel racing in America. This isn't a competition with the fans as pawns, true fans watch [and spend money on] anything that burns gasoline and goes fast. Most of the NASCAR drivers here watch the European races before their own, and, given the amount of coverage of NASCAR that I see on European sites, the fans there aren't any different. Given the ageing of the motorsports fan demographic, it would behoove Bernie to play nice for the future and cultivate fans, as opposed to getting into an appendage measuring contest in which everyone loses. And given the quality of racing we've seen in F1 recently, he's got a ways to go if he's competing with a series which offers real racing. And yes, I'm really an F1 fan."

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6. Posted by F One, 26/02/2014 22:51

"For once I agree with Bernie...
I feel kinda dirty now. :O

And NASCAR is just a bunch of hics endlessly driving around a circle anyway. ;)"

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7. Posted by White Lightning, 26/02/2014 22:22

"The NFL, NHL and NBA are domestic series too....."

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8. Posted by K1w1, 26/02/2014 21:46

"I think Bernie can't see the forest for the trees again, he's blinded by his own, and F1's, sense of self worth in the US.

While NASCAR may only be a "domestic series" he's a fool if he thinks the fans of NASCAR won't go to an F1 race. But when push comes to shove NASCAR will win at the moment. Bernie doesn't realize that F1 still needs to rebuild bridges in the US and he seems intent to pull down the work so far."

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