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California Speedway Notes June 6, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Tracks.
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Hey All! You have got to read this. I got an email from a listener recently – Larry – who sent me a note about California Speedway. He sent it to me and said he did not get a reply from anyone at California Speedway – so I sent his email on for him to the President of the track. You have got to hear what she replied. First, read Larry’s email :

May 24, 2008

Good afternoon,

It is with deep regret that I read of the impending schedule change which shall “reward” the California Speedway for its lack of ticket sales by awarding it a “chase” race date.

It is important to note that when Darlington and Rockingham (deservedly) lost Cup dates for lack of ticket sales, without being provided consideration for their weather woes, California is now being “GIVEN” not only a better race date but a CHASE date.

I / we / most people can totally understand that when a specific track does not live up to ticket sales expectations then they would (deservedly) have dates cut back and/or removed. But it is becoming more and more obvious that the “favored status” of your speedway means that regardless of whether one, one hundred or one hundred thousand (highly unlikely) show up, NASCAR will see fit to continue to support this most unproductive of race venues.

It would seem (more than) obvious to everyone (except maybe the Hollywood set) that California can do no wrong and will continue to occupy not one but two dishonored dates on the illustrious Cup schedule.

How disappointing. You must indeed be proud.

Larry Taylor

New Bern, NC 28560

Larry said he did not get a reply – and he said he bet someone he never would. I told Larry I’d send his email on to the President of the track . Sure enough I got a reply today to him that I was copied on by the track president. Read on:


Claire B. Lang forwarded me your note. As I’m sure she would be willing to confirm, I jump at the chance to respond to any issues raised by race fans, especially ones based on factually inaccurate information because it allows us a chance to present our side.

Let me begin by saying should the date change at Auto Club Speedway, it most certainly won’t be as a result of any kind of “reward”. We have been petitioning for a date change for several years – unsuccessfully. The possibility of a calendar swap to a date with more appropriate weather conditions would only occur because of a request by Atlanta for Labor Day Weekend. Their management feels that a holiday weekend will have a positive impact in a market that continues to struggle and has seen attendance continue to decline.

That is not the case in California where our track is seeing slowly increasing attendance, even in light of the most horrific weather conditions imaginable. For that reason, we disagree with your suggestion that our track has a “lack” of ticket sales. In point of fact, we draw considerable more than so many events on the schedule. Small tracks that fill to capacity like Darlington, Miami, even Phoenix are considered successful while you view us as unsuccessful even though we sell more tickets than any of those facilities.

As for doing no wrong. We feel quite the opposite, that we can do no right in the minds of those from the heart of the NASCAR Nation. It’s a shame because it our aggressive, strategic and creative marketing that has driven our facility to what would have been the most highly attended Auto Club 500 since I have been at the facility. Mother Nature stepped in to rain on our parade but that monumental growth of ticket sales in an economy when other tracks are experiencing a decline, we feel shows that Californians are continuing to step up when it comes to NASCAR.

Fans here further demonstrated their passion is growing through their recent support of our Southern California NASCAR Day celebration. How ironic is it that out of every race track in the nation, it was Auto Club Speedway that sold the most pins for NASCAR Day, more than 16,000, and raised more money for the NASCAR Foundation than any other speedway.

I indeed am proud. Proud of a team that has made monumental strides in making NASCAR relevant in one of the most difficult but also most important markets in the nation. This all is good for the sport and with the passion for NASCAR that I know we share, I hope you will look at Auto Club Speedway with a little less venom in the future. We’re just pushing relentlessly for what is in the best interests of the sport and our SoCal race fans.

Best regards,
Gillian Zucker
Auto Club Speedway

How about that? I wonder which one is right – Larry or Gillian. Email me and let me know what you think. Interesting email in my mail bag.
Claire B
XM Satellite Radio