Texas showdown: A different take

Here's a different take of the scheduling conflict between F1 and NASCAR that got Eddie Gossage livid.

Texas showdown: A different take
Texas Motor Speedway atmosphere
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 on pole before the start of the race
Jimmie Johnson celebrates
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E22 runs wide
Fight after the race between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselwoski
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W05 leads at the start of the race
Jimmie Johnson celebrates
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
F1 flag
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW36
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9 at the start of the race
Sprint Cup Series logo
Matt Kenseth
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade

Texas Motor Speedway and the Circuit of the Americas are 220 miles apart via Interstate 35, the backbone highway of Texas and the United States. For Bernie Ecclestone, it is of little note, but for larger than life TMS front man Eddie Gossage it is 220 miles too close. He raised a stir when F1 announced this year's U.S. Grand Prix for the same date as his premier AAA Texas 500. Since then the scheduling gaffe has led to criticism and the debate of whether or not it would force fans of the two seemingly disparate series to choose which venue would win their presence and hard earned money.

TMS backstory

Texas Motor Speedway opened its doors in 1997, I remember it well as I grew up just 15 minutes from the track. It has hosted numerous rounds of NASCAR and IndyCar, serving as one of the few bright lights during the early and dark days of the IRL. I will always love TMS, I've been there more times than I can count and it's quite possible I would not be engaged in this line of work were it not for the house Eddie built.

COTA backstory

The Circuit of the Americas, affectionately known as COTA, is much newer, the purpose built home for F1's triumphant return to the United States. I've been there multiple times and rank it among my favorite places on Earth.

Gossage's reaction was unwarranted 

Instead of embracing this new neighbor to the South, Eddie has sadly done just the opposite. Continually bashing Ecclestone, the FIA, COTA and threatening to pull his races if NASCAR or IndyCar dare to make the venture down I-35 and race at one of the premier motorsport facilities in the world. Apparently hollow threats like these from Eddie and others prompted IndyCar's Mike Miles to release a statement on why IndyCar deliberately chose to leave off fan favorites like COTA and Laguna Seca from their much delayed 2015 calendar due to their close proximity to current race venues. After this I naively thought Eddie would stop, but heading into this past weekend's events he felt the need to once more beat the drum.

Eddie Gossage sounds off

"Anybody that you do business with, you deserve loyalty. I look at races as the sanctioning body is a wholesaler and they sale you a product and you turn around and retail it to the public. If you've been the retailer for all this area and all of a sudden they want to bring in another distributor and it's going to cut into your deal, that's not OK, that's not appropriate. If IndyCar wants to run in Austin, my response is God Bless you, it's been a nice 18 years, have fun. We don't need another race in the market to cause people to make choices and decisions."

The real tragedy in this is that Eddie was once known as one of the best promoters in the business. But in the past few years he's let it slide and rest on the laurels of TMS being an established track. He doesn't want the fans to have choices?! Just read that over again, it is baffling to me and one of the most hollow threats I've seen in some time. Maybe Eddie is jealous, maybe he had grand plans for a true road course and COTA beat him to the punch. Maybe he doesn't like F1 coming in and upstaging him. Either way I am far more apt to agree with NBC Sports Steve Matchett who grinning ear to ear after Sunday's grand prix had the following to say.

"The biggest winner of today is America and Formula One's place in America," said Steve Matchett. "We've seen a lot of very passionate knowledgeable fans out here. We've all been made very welcome around the city of Austin, they have embraced the race, it's a fantastic event, can't wait to come back again."

My take

I would argue that the increased exposure each series brought to the other was nothing but a positive this past weekend. A positive for both venues, both series and motorsport as a whole. I had friends and colleagues that did have to choose; some went to TMS, some went to COTA. All of them had a good time and talked about the other series while they were there. Both races were good races, with popular winners placing a greater emphasis on two close championships.

Schedule clash gone for 2015

Both races put Texas in the bright spotlight of the international motorsport community and showcased to the world facilities and drivers they may have not previously been aware of. Next year the U.S. Grand Prix will be held a week earlier, preventing such an awkward situation from recurring, but I am willing to bet that quite a few NASCAR fans will venture down to COTA and then quite a few F1 fans will venture up to TMS the next weekend, and that would be a very good thing.

Adam Tate is the co-founder of Tribute Racing and a contributor to Motorsport.com

shares
comments
NASCAR punishes crew members/crew chiefs, but not the drivers for Texas brawl

Previous article

NASCAR punishes crew members/crew chiefs, but not the drivers for Texas brawl

Next article

Danica Patrick looking for home field advantage

Danica Patrick looking for home field advantage
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020