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Economic gloom sparks price cuts at NASCAR tracks

January 9, 2009 |  4:30 pm

NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers circle Auto Club Speedway, formerly California Speedway, in Fontana during the Auto Club 500 on Feb. 25, 2007.

Several tracks hosting NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including Daytona International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, have announced price cuts or other promotions in hopes of fending off attendance declines due to the poor economy.

Daytona International, the cathedral of stock-car racing that hosts the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, said today it slashed the price of "a limited number" of seats in its 58,000-seat grandstands along the 2.5-mile track's back straightaway to $55 each from $99. The track earlier announced plans to close those grandstands entirely for its other Cup race in July.

Auto Club Speedway, a two-mile track that hosts the next Cup race after Daytona on Feb. 22, cut the price of seats in the first five rows of its main grandstands to $35 each from $55.

Two other tracks in Virginia, Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway, also announced ticket promotions for their upcoming Cup races.

All four venues are owned by International Speedway Corp., and "with the economy the way it is, we're doing everything we can" to help NASCAR fans, said Auto Club Speedway spokesman David Talley.

Texas Motor Speedway, owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., last month also announced plans to sell tickets for as low as $20 each for its Cup races this year.

Only two years ago, the 168,000-seat Daytona International was sold out for the Daytona 500. But with the economy taking its toll, "these are challenging times for everyone," said track president Robin Braig. And the $55 seat is the lowest price for the 500 since 1995.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers circle Auto Club Speedway, formerly California Speedway, in Fontana during the Auto Club 500 on Feb. 25, 2007. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire

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