Calling it a “foolish move,'' Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway expressed his dismay over Formula 1’s 2014 schedule, which pits it US Grand Prix in Austin against the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Fort Worth on November 2nd.
''Our two NASCAR Sprint Cup races draw the two largest crowds in Texas sports. It isn't the smartest move to try to compete with that. I'm sure regardless of what they say publicly; the folks at the Austin track are pulling their hair out over this one. They don't have any say over their date,'' he exclaimed.
However, Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein noted that the overlap was inevitable due to the large number of NASCAR events scheduled each year. This was further complicated by the fact that dropping the New Jersey and Mexico City Grand Prix from their calendar next year, has left Texas and Montreal as the only North American stops on the 2014 international circuit.
He also downplayed any conflict by stating, ''There are few similarities between a NASCAR race and the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix weekend we have developed, he said. “We see this as a great opportunity to draw sports fans from around the world to Texas and to proving again that Austin is the place to enjoy premium racing and entertainment.''
In addition, Epstein admitted that the reason they picked Nov. 2 for the 2014 U.S. Grand Prix was to “allow F1 to avoid a crush in Austin similar to this year when the race was held the same weekend as a University of Texas home football game against West Virginia on Nov. 8th. Having both events together would have created a big problem for Austin in regard to transportation as well as hotel accommodations.
In the meantime, Texas Motor Speedway has already found itself having to move the Sprint Cup race ahead one day from the night of Saturday, April 5, to Sunday, April 6, to avoid a sporting conflict with the NCAA Final Four in nearby Arlington.