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.
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“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