Onus on Texas for success

By wire services
Published February 15, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas - For years, Texas Motor Speedway lobbied NASCAR for a second race weekend. Now that the speedway finally has it, the onus is on to fill the massive track.

It never has been a problem selling out the spring race, with crowds of 200,000-plus at TMS. This year, the setup is better than ever for that race. The Samsung/Radio Shack 500 has been pushed back a few weeks to April 17, giving it a better shot at avoiding the rain and cold that have dogged the Nextel Cup event in the past.

But Texas has a second Nextel Cup race in 2005, the Dickies 500 on Nov.6, and NASCAR will keep a close eye on ticket sales.

"The second Cup race is good for one year," said Tom Krompitz, the speedway's general counsel. "Another race in 2006 depends on us selling out the speedway in 2005."

TMS officials are asking the city of Fort Worth to contribute $500,000 to help with marketing. Early indications are that the city will kick in the money. The speedway will throw $2.8-million into marketing this year.

"It makes a lot of sense to come to a market as big as Dallas-Fort Worth twice," said Jeff Gordon, a four-time series champion, "but everyone is clamoring for a race, and NASCAR wants to spread them across the country."

OOPS, WRONG BUTTON: The sale of the financially strapped Dash series appeared to end on Monday when someone placed a winning $650,000 bid on eBay, but officials of the stock car series said a browser actually clicked the Buy It Now button by mistake.

The unidentified clicker will be allowed to retract the bid and the series will go back on the auction site.

OBITUARY: Maurice Trintignant, a French Formula One driver in the 1950s who twice won the Monaco Grand Prix, died at 87 Saturday night in Nimes, France, hospital officials said. His only two F1 wins in 82 starts came at Monaco in 1955 and '58.