Texas Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith is trying to work out a financial agreement to purchase the rescheduled Nov. 23 NASCAR Winston Cup race at New Hampshire and move it to TMS, sources confirmed Wednesday.
Smith, president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which is the parent company of TMS, is negotiating with New Hampshire International Speedway chairman Bob Bahre about making the switch.
Smith could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. TMS general manager Eddie Gossage was contacted and said he had no comment.
The Loudon, N.H. facility was scheduled to play host to the Winston Cup race last weekend, the second of two annual dates for the 1-mile oval track, but the race was postponed until Nov. 23 because of the terrorist attacks. Smith called Bahre last weekend after the postponement was announced.
NASCAR officials chose the new date, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving, because it is the first open weekend on the Winston Cup schedule. It comes after the Atlanta Motor Speedway event Nov. 18, which was to be the final Winston Cup date of the season.
But weather conditions in late November can make it bitterly cold in New Hampshire, which has an average median temperature of 36 degrees on that date. The track is 80 miles north of downtown Boston.
NASCAR teams have concerns about having a race in cold conditions on a track where two drivers were killed in 2000. Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin Jr. lost their lives when their cars hit the wall head-on during practice sessions.
The potential weather problem of a November date led to speculation that the New Hampshire race would be moved or swapped with a speedway that would have warmer weather on that date.
Smith, the sources said, has made a financial proposal to Bahre that would give Bahre the majority of the revenues generated from running the event at TMS. Smith might need to agree to give Bahre the amount of money Bahre feels the event would generate if it were held at New Hampshire on the November date.
Whether the two men can agree on what that amount might be remains to be seen. They are business partners in a situation where neither man wanted it that way, and both have admitted that their relationship is strained.
Smith bought 50 percent ownership of the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina in 1996 when it had two Winston Cup dates. Smith later found out Bahre was the buyer of the other 50 percent of the facility.
The two men begrudgingly agreed to shut down the North Wilkesboro track, sending one of the Cup dates to New Hampshire and one to Smith's new TMS facility. That gave Bahre the second Winston Cup date he was seeking and Smith the Cup date he wanted for the opening season at TMS.
TMS officials have been trying to get a second annual Winston Cup date for the Fort Worth facility since it opened in 1997. The annual NASCAR weekend each spring at TMS draws more than 200,000 fans for the Winston Cup races and more than 100,000 for the Busch series event.
Those numbers, along with the size of the Dallas/Fort Worth market, are reasons why Smith and Gossage have lobbied NASCAR officials to give TMS a second date on the Winston Cup calendar.
But NASCAR officials have said their plan is to go to new markets, like Chicago and Kansas City, rather than adding a second date at existing tracks.