Race for the Chase
Franklin County Times
Have you ever noticed that ultra-successful people most always find a way to get what they want? Bruton Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., is prime example of that. Smith wanted to build a drag strip on property outside of Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. The city leaders balked, Smith threatened to move the track, the city leaders relented, and Smith will soon have the drag strip.
For the last several years, Smith has lamented the fact that Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts only one race per year. The entertainment capital of the world should have more than one race, especially when that race is so early in the year, Smith thought. Well, it would be very hard to add races to the schedule since there are already 36 points races and two non-points races spanning nine and a half months.
Smith found a way to get what he wanted this week – his company purchased New Hampshire International Speedway from the Bahre family. The track was promptly renamed New Hampshire Motor Speedway, to match the other six SMI tracks.
Although the 2008 season is set and cannot be changed, it is a no-brainer that LVMS General Manager Chris Powell and company will gain that ever-sought after second race date in 2009. If I had to guess, that second race will be the second week in September, which happens to be the first race in the 10-race Chase schedule, currently held in New Hampshire.
Think what you will about Bruton Smith, he is the ultimate businessman and employs some of the most talented track operators in the industry. Eddie Gossage at Texas, Humpy Wheeler at Charlotte, and Powell at Las Vegas – these guys know how to host an event and make it entertaining for the fans and the viewing audience.
Jeff won, and Dale Jr. had a DNF because of mechanical failure. I guess all is right in the world. I don't know what the deal is with this Chase, but I am losing interest rapidly. Watching Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon battle for the championship is just not entertaining for me. I sure hope something happens over the next two races to bring the field closer together to set up a decent race in Homestead, but with 102 points separating Clint Bowyer in third from the Gordon and Johnson, I just don't expect it.
I guess the nine-point separation of Johnson and Gordon should be intriguing enough, but it just doesn't float my boat. I am almost ready for put this season in the books and start again with Daytona.
Texas Motor Speedway is next on the schedule, one of Bruton Smith's crown jewels. Look for Kasey Kahne to break out of his nightmarish season and wear the 10-gallon hat in victory lane. He is my pick to win the race.
Jeff Findley is a guest columnist for the Franklin County Times. Findley is the publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald.