NASCAR CEO Brian France made a visit New York last weekend. Not just New York but specifically took a helicopter flight out on Long Island to visit Riverhead Raceway. A very curious move for a guy who is only seen publicly at 6-8 NASCAR Cup Series races a season. Why would the secluded CEO of NASCAR make a trip to a local short track on a busy NASCAR weekend?
Brian France Wants To Reconnect NASCAR With Grassroots Racing
Perhaps Brian France wants to make a bigger impact on grassroots racing. NASCAR in the past pushed their local short tracks but in recent years it appears they have backed off of that. Thus creating a divide between the local short trackers and the guys in one of NASCAR’s big three series. Multiple drivers this season have indicated NASCAR needs to give back to the grassroots racers. Brian France is the governing figurehead of the sport, no one bigger could show up at a short track than him.
Does Brian France actually care about short track racing? Probably not, the track was close to New York City and he didn’t have a date Saturday night. Maybe Brian just really likes old school short track racing the modifieds put on at Riverhead? Could be a number of things or Brian could have an ulterior motive.
Maybe NASCAR Is Looking At Riverhead Raceway To Purchase
Riverhead Raceway in no way fits the mold for a potential NASCAR top tier series track. It’s a 1/4 mile track with enough seats for maybe 5,000 people, probably less. There are high school tracks/football stadiums with more seats. The track is locked by developments on three of it’s four sides. It’s not a track that NASCAR can revamp in order to host a top tier race there.
But maybe NASCAR and Brian France are scouting the possibility of building a track on that end of Long Island. Keep in mind Long Island is legitimately long. You’re looking at a hour and a half to two hour drive from Manhattan to Riverhead. It’s approaching Hampton’s far, out on the island. Hence why Brian hopped in the chopper like an Arnold movie and made his way out. That end of the island though presents a fair amount of undeveloped land, especially in the center of the island.
NASCAR could be gauging the interest in racing in that area of Long Island. A town that is surrounded by towns who support their local short track is what NASCAR would need to justify building a track for one of their top series in that area. The local support though could take a back seat the the 15M people in New York City. NASCAR only needs 60k people to show up for a race, there’s a very large population to pull from.
Fans also want to see a new short track join the schedule. Iowa Speedway is now a subsidy of NASCAR but lacks the opportunity to get a Cup date until something drastic happens in 2020. If NASCAR builds a new track in New York they would almost certainly move a date to that new track immediately. Short tracks are the key to future growth in NASCAR and maybe, just maybe Brian France stopped sweating long enough to see that vision.
Maybe NASCAR is looking at Long Island or maybe Brian France was just bored. One thing for certain is if Brian France shows his face it generally means something is up. He shows up to the race track so few times that whenever he does he has to talk to the media because we haven’t see him in 16 weeks. Something is up on Long Island.
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