Speedway owner says Las Vegas may get a second NASCAR race

Las Vegas Motor Speedway could get a fall NASCAR race to go with its annual March event, making it a part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs, according to the speedway owner.

Bruton Smith told a Charlotte, N.C., TV station there was a 70 percent chance he would move one of his two Sprint Cup Series races from Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2014.

Smith owns Speedway Motorsports Inc., which includes Las Vegas, Charlotte and six other race tracks.

He told WBTV he is strongly considering moving the October race, now known as the Bank of America 500. The Dollar General 300 Nationwide race is the same weekend.

Las Vegas already hosts Sprint Cup and Nationwide races each March, and pushes have been made over the years to add a second set of races, though little has come from those efforts.

Perhaps this time will be different.

“When the game is over, it’ll be money, money, money. Money will move it,” Smith told WBTV. “I’d say (the chances) are about 70/30.”

Jeff Motley, LVMS vice president of public relations, referred questions to Smith.

A NASCAR spokesman told the Charlotte Observer that the organization hasn’t received an official request to relocate a race from Charlotte.

“Tracks have the ability to request realignment,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations. “We review and always decide based on the best interest of the entire sport of NASCAR.

“We’re beginning the 2014 process now, and have not had any formal requests to realign.”

If Smith proceeds with plans to move the second Charlotte race, he could face stiff opposition from NASCAR. The Charlotte area is home to the elite racing teams, and taking a Chase race out of there might not sit well with the organization.

That track hosted the Sprint All-Star Race and Sprint Showdown this past weekend, with Jimmie Johnson winning the All-Star Race and Jamie McMurray capturing the Showdown. The Coca-Cola 600, one of the most prestigious races on the circuit, is Sunday.

Las Vegas joined the NASCAR circuit in 1998, and last year’s races created an economic impact of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, according to a report by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

There have been 16 races in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mark Martin won the inaugural Las Vegas 400, and Matt Kenseth won this year’s race.

NASCAR also relocated its Champions Week postseason awards ceremony to Las Vegas in 2009.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway also hosts the NASCAR Camping World Truck series each fall. The Smith’s 350 is scheduled for Sept. 28.

The dragsters from the NHRA visit the speedway in the spring and fall each year. The NHRA Nationals are Oct. 24 this year.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.