This morning’s release of the final 2014 F1 schedule revealed that the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas had moved up one week to Nov. 2, 2014.
But on that very weekend, a few hours up the road in Fort Worth, all three NASCAR national series will be competing at Texas Motor Speedway. And on the same day as the USGP, the Sprint Cup contingent will be resuming their championship Chase at TMS, too.
Cue TMS president/general manager Eddie Gossage, who just absolutely loves this development. Actually, no, he doesn’t.
“It’s a foolish move by Formula One,” Gossage said in a terse statement. “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.”
It’s not the first time Gossage has gone on the offensive against what he perceives are threats to his race track and its well-being. He wasn’t thrilled with IndyCar’s decision to return to Houston this year, and back in August, he showed his displeasure over the series reportedly eyeing a potential third event in Texas at COTA.
Now, the world’s most popular motorsport and America’s most popular motorsport are set to go head-to-head in the Lone Star State next fall.
Gossage seemed to assert that COTA is frustrated with the FIA’s decision regarding the USGP date for 2014. But if that’s the case, they’re at least not showing it publicly.
In a statement, COTA chairman Bobby Epstein said the track was pleased that the USGP wouldn’t conflict with any major conventions in the Austin region. He then focused on the situation of having to overlap with NASCAR:
“Due to the large number of NASCAR events scheduled annually, there will occasionally be overlaps with events at Circuit of The Americas, and that will happen next year. However there are few similarities between a NASCAR race and the Formula 1 weekend we have developed. The F1 USGP is a massive, fun and entertaining experience that has performed well against all kinds of competition. Many members of the public were concerned that our first F1 race fell on the same date as the season-ending NASCAR race in Homestead, Fla., and it proved to be a non-issue. Ultimately, 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.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of impact both events could have upon the other.