Eddie Gossage open to IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader at Texas


Though he wasn’t keen on the idea of an IndyCar race without fans, Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said he’d be OK with it on the weekend of June 6 if there are NASCAR races in tow.

That possibility presented itself Monday after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave approval for Texas to host NASCAR races without spectators. NASCAR has yet to release a revised schedule but still intends to run all 36 races in 2020.

Just a week ago, Gossage said he was not interested in hosting an IndyCar race without spectators.

But the “economy of scale” of a NASCAR weekend of Cup, Xfinity and trucks could help Gossage justify an IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader because much of the infrastructure and personnel already would be in place.

Gossage said Texas Motor Speedway’s share of NASCAR’s television package would make it easy to add on IndyCar (whose TV package does not include such a share for the promoter).

Otherwise the support staff (which Gossage indicated in a tweet Monday would be tested for COVID-19 amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic) already would be in place for all races that weekend.

“That is in the economy of things,” Gossage said. “There is a scale of economics in place. You already have the key staff in place – EMT’s, firemen, ambulance, doctors and nurses in the infield care center. TV networks have cable and fiber installed. On and on, there is an economy of that, that would perhaps allow us to do an IndyCar race without fans in the stands.”

Though he prefers to race in front of fans, Gossage is willing to do what is necessary under unusual circumstances.

“The perfect situation is as things open up, and we are holding out hope that is the case by June 6, we could have a race with fans in the stands and do the IndyCar thing here,” Gossage told NBCSports.com. in an interview Monday evening “There is nothing quite like having Indy cars live and in person at Texas Motor Speedway. But I said it last week, we couldn’t do it without a gate.

“If, and this is an if, we don’t know that NASCAR will even pick that weekend to put their races on. If NASCAR says, that is a good weekend, we could run all four races in the weekend.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway currently is first in line for an IndyCar-NASCAR companion weekend.

The GMR IndyCar Grand Prix and the Pennzoil 150 NASCAR Xfinity Series are scheduled for July 4, followed by the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Cup Series race July 5.


Gossage said if an IndyCar/NASCAR weekend on June 6 doesn’t happen, the chance to have IndyCar contest at TMS would be dim.

“If the IndyCar race doesn’t happen that weekend, it would be unlikely to find another date where we could afford to do it,” Gossage said. “I have my fingers crossed we could get it done that weekend and have a great race, which is the norm for the first weekend in June and two weekends after Indy to do it here.

“We have our fingers crossed. NASCAR has eight or nine races they have to reschedule somewhere. It is their intent, as I understand it from my conversations with them, to run the Coca-Cola 600 and then run every week thereafter. It may not suit them to run the weekend of June 5-6 to pair up with an IndyCar race because it works best for us. Time will tell on that one.

“If you are looking at a standalone, later in the summer, I don’t see that happening.”

If IndyCar is unable to compete at Texas in 2020, Gossage confirmed the series would be back on the track’s schedule in 2021. The 1.5-mile oval has been playing host to IndyCar races since June 1997, two months after its grand opening.

“Oh yeah. We love IndyCar, it’s been good for us,” Gossage said. “We think it’s good for the sport and want to be a good partner.

“It’s always been an interesting event because it’s hard to beat a race that never fails to deliver a photo finish. It’s frustrating it hasn’t grown. You would hope Roger Penske’s business sense and the skills he brings to IndyCar racing will help us all market it bigger and stronger and be more successful with it. He makes it a time where you want to be involved in IndyCar racing.

“There have been times where you look at the reasons you want to be part of it, but right now, it’s easy to find the reason to be part of it. It starts with Roger and his success.

“We’ve been there for a long time. We don’t want to go anywhere any time soon.”

Gossage told NBCSports.com that he spoke with IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske about a variety of ideas Sunday night.

“Roger Penske called me last night, and we talked for 20 to 30 minutes about details,” Gossage said. “‘We could do this, or we could do that.’ He makes it exciting and expects it to succeed in a big way.

“You want to be a part of it.”

Gossage’s current schedule includes the NASCAR race at the end of October. Because of the fickle weather in Texas in November and December, it could be ideal, or it could be snowing.

“It’s always a little dicey by then,” Gossage said. “There was a Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys game in 1993 when Leon Lett fumbled in the snow. People thing we live in this hot, hot, hot climate, but it’s not always that hot here. You are playing with Mother Nature and that is a tough one.”

Once spectators are allowed to return to sporting events, Gossage believes each fan will be seated 6 feet apart. That is the current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guideline for social distancing until a COVID-19 vaccine can be formulated.

“We’re going to have to,” Gossage said. “Our new normal is going to be different. We’re all going to have to find ways to make it work. It’s just the way things are.

“It’s counterintuitive to me to promote a race where you aren’t selling a ticket to — not one. It’s a strange way of thinking, but it’s our new normal.

“This, too, shall pass. We’ll get beyond this and down the road, but it’s quite different right now.”

Gossage has stopped selling tickets to any of his events. He never dreamed he would have to do that.

“It’s tough times financially for so many people,” Gossage said. “I got an invoice last week for my season tickets for the Dallas Cowboys. Seriously?

“Finances being what they are, they sent me a bill? I’m sensitive to that and sensitive to the fact we shouldn’t be doing that either. You can’t sell tickets.

“There will come a time, but that’s not now.”

In the meantime, he views Texas Motor Speedway as a great studio backdrop for an IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader weekend, provided all the signs agree.

“It would be great. It’s something I’ve been pushing for,” Gossage said. “Hopefully, I can make the case after is all done, whether it’s us or Indianapolis or whoever, that we should be doing this every year in Texas.

“The good news is during this time when we are all stuck at home, hopefully those TV ratings for races will be way up and that will be a good thing for all of us.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury