August 26, 2014

Same dates in 2015 for Texas Motor Speedway, but is finale in future?

NASCAR officials, Eddie Gossage discussed moving the season-ending Sprint Cup race to TMS.

Eddie Gossage hoped that NASCAR officials would make a change to their schedule and give Texas Motor Speedway arguably the best race weekend possible — the season finale.

It’s something that high-ranking NASCAR officials discussed with Gossage, and it would have made TMS the de facto championship site for the Chase. But it didn’t happen as TMS released its 2015 schedule with essentially the same dates from previous years.

Instead of getting the coveted season finale in the fall, TMS is stuck once again with a race weekend coinciding with the start of deer hunting season. At least its spring race won’t be going up against the Final Four next year.

“Date certainly is critical,” Gossage said. “In November, it’s the opening of deer hunting season, and we certainly tried to educate NASCAR on the importance of that.

“There was also some discussion in the sport of making the championship race here in Texas. We think it would make sense to have the championship race here in Texas because we pay the biggest purse and are one of the most successful big-market tracks in the country. In the end, it didn’t happen and I can’t tell you why it didn’t happen.”

NASCAR made a couple changes to its schedule, such as pushing back the Bristol race a month and running Darlington on Labor Day weekend again. But the season finale remained the same and is headed back to Homestead-Miami Speedway, a 65,000-seat track.

TMS can seat more than twice as many fans, Gossage said.

“Texas is a place you’ve got to consider,” Gossage said. “Hopefully we’ll get it.”

For now, Gossage simply has to do the best with the dates he’s been given.

The spring Sprint Cup race will return to being a Saturday night race on April 11. TMS moved it to Sunday this year to have it on the day between the NCAA men’s basketball semifinals and championship games in Arlington.

TMS went to the night race format in 2011, and Gossage said that’s what the majority of fans prefer. The spring Nationwide race is April 10.

The fall tripleheader, meanwhile, is in its same spot. The Sprint Cup race is on Sunday, Nov. 8, preceded by the truck race on Nov. 6 and the Nationwide race on Nov. 7.

Despite not landing the season finale, Gossage was pleased to learn that the fall race will be broadcast on NBC rather than on a cable station, as it has been in previous years.

IndyCar also returns for a 19th season. The Firestone 600 will be a night race on Saturday, June 6. That weekend will also feature a NASCAR truck race on Friday, June 5.

Additionally, TMS announced two dirt-track race weekends on May 15-16 and Sept. 11-12.

The slogan for the 2015 season will remain “No Limits”, Gossage said.

“The ‘No Limits’ campaign is something our fans have really identified with,” Gossage said. “So many crazy things have happened here, there is no limits. It has fit us well and our fans love it.”

2015 Texas Motor Speedway schedule

Duck Commander 500 weekend: April 10-11

Firestone 600 weekend: June 5-6

AAA Texas 500 weekend: Nov. 6-8

2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule

Feb. 22: Daytona 500

March 1: Atlanta

March 8: Las Vegas

March 15: Phoenix

March 22: Fontana

March 29: Martinsville

April 11: Texas

April 19: Bristol

April 25: Richmond

May 3: Talladega

May 9: Kansas

May 16: Charlotte (All-Star race)

May 24: Charlotte

May 31: Dover

June 7: Pocono

June 14: Michigan

June 28: Sonoma

uly 5: Daytona

July 11: Kentucky

July 19: New Hampshire

July 26: Indianapolis

Aug. 2: Pocono

Aug. 9: Watkins Glen

Aug. 16: Michigan

Aug. 22: Bristol

Sept. 6: Darlington

Sept. 12: Richmond

Sept. 20: Chicago

Sept. 27: New Hampshire

Oct. 4: Dover

Oct. 10: Charlotte

Oct. 18: Kansas

Oct. 25: Talladega

Nov. 1: Martinsville

Nov. 8: Texas

Nov. 15: Phoenix

Nov. 22: Homestead-Miami

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