Still frustrated over having his track’s NASCAR weekend go head-to-head with Formula One at Circuit of the Americas this fall, Texas Motor Speedway president/GM Eddie Gossage said yesterday that “nobody wins” in the scenario.
On Nov. 2, TMS will stage a Chase for the Sprint Cup event at their Fort Worth facility, while Austin-based COTA hosts the United States Grand Prix.
“I can’t say I was surprised because Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things,” Gossage said according to the Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman while attending a TMS-hosted function in Austin that featured Daytona 500 champ Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“But the thing he unfortunately doesn’t realize is that he isn’t the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to American motorsports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR.”
The American-Statesman also reports that Gossage said COTA didn’t have the experience or strength to move their USGP date, saying that “if it were the other way around, you bet your ass I could stop it and get a different date.”
Meanwhile, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has come out to defend the USGP’s placement on the 2014 World Championship schedule.
In comments to the British Press Association, Ecclestone noted F1’s massive logistics effort to move around the world – saying that Gossage is “extremely lucky” he doesn’t have to deal with that in the domestic-based NASCAR.
“We’ve a small problem they [NASCAR] don’t have – we have six jumbo jets to move around all our equipment, and we have to find the most sensible way to use them to do that,” the British billionaire explained. “We have to be efficient, and bear in mind we may also encounter problems at an airport.
“There are issues that can occur, but he and other people do not realize these things. The race prior to the one in the US is in Russia, in Sochi. We’ve never been before, and we have to get out of there and into Austin. That is probably a lot easier than trying to get into Brazil, and then we have to get out of there [Sao Paulo] to go to Abu Dhabi.”
For his part, Earnhardt himself said he was excited about F1 having an American round but that he was there in Austin to help garner support for the TMS event in November.
“I think [the USGP] is a good thing, and I hope they do well,” he told the American-Statesman. “But we have a lot of fans in the Austin area, and I want to remind them that NASCAR puts on the best show.”