Texas Motor Speedway

NASCAR exec: Racing in Austin hasn’t been discussed

NASCAR isn’t going to leave Texas Motor Speedway for Austin anytime soon, according to an executive with the company.
NASCAR isn’t going to leave Texas Motor Speedway for Austin anytime soon, according to an executive with the company. The Associated Press

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, shut down any talk of the nation’s top racing circuit going to the Circuit of the Americas road track in Austin.

“We’ve not had any discussions with the track there and candidly don’t plan to,” said O’Donnell, who took part in Texas Motor Speedway’s unveiling of its new racing surface Monday.

“We’re happy here.”

The idea of NASCAR going to Austin gained steamed last month when the Austin American-Statesman had a report suggesting it would be a possibility in the future. The Circuit of the Americas has been home to Formula 1 races since it opened in 2012.

TMS President Eddie Gossage brushed off the report initially, but then used it to try and persuade city council members to pump up the track’s opening race weekend next month.

But O’Donnell put the story to bed.

“We’ve got a long-term agreement here at Texas. They’ve been great partners for us,” O’Donnell said. “From our perspective, we’re really happy in this marketplace.

“Any promoter can say I’ve talked to NASCAR, but it’s different if we reach out to them. Again, we’re really happy to be here.”

If NASCAR wants to pursue more road races, O’Donnell said, it will likely look internally at the tracks the circuit already goes to. For now, it seems content with two on the schedule at Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen, N.Y.

O’Donnell went on to praise TMS for its continued efforts to remain among the top tracks in the country. The repave and reprofile is a $5 million project, and the track also made a significant capital investment for “Big Hoss TV” a few years ago.

“This is a tough sports market,” O’Donnell said. “[TMS assistant general manager Kenton Nelson] was telling me this will now be the oldest sports facility in the market, which is hard to believe. But they’re always reinventing themselves and now it’s on us to bring a really good racing product to the track and get fans excited.”

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

  Comments