by Jeff Taylor
This is pretty funny. Longtime local racing mogul/sportsman/businessman Felix Sabates lays out NASCAR’s over-building and over-exposure in an interview with the UPoR the other day and by today he is apologizing to the entire beatdown state of Michigan.
What he said:
“(In Charlotte), there’s always tickets for sale. And Bristol, if I was Bruton, I would cut the two top rows off. When you can only get 100,000 in there, man it’s like ‘My daddy died and I inherited the ticket.’ Now, who cares? You can go down and buy a ticket. Too many seats.”
There also are too many NASCAR television shows, Sabates said.
“We got like 27 of them now.”
And then there’s the thorny issue: There are too many races, he said. Six should go, bringing the Cup schedule to 30.
Sabates’ list of the expendable events (and the tracks at which the infield parking spot for his motor coach is likely to change):
Pocono. “Nice people,” Sabates said, “but we don’t need to go to Pocono twice.” At all, actually, he said. That’d be at least one down.
Michigan International Speedway. “I mean, there’s nobody left in Detroit other than the police and the unemployed. I’d cut Michigan off the schedule altogether. Michigan – I’m talking about the state – is never coming back to what it used to be, so why go there and throw good money after bad money?”
Now the grovel:
In an attempt at humor I made some comments about the city of Detroit and the people of Michigan that were in poor taste and that I sincerely apologize for.
I have worked directly or indirectly with the auto industry for over 40 years as both a auto dealer and a NASCAR owner and it was never my intention to put down the auto industry, its workers, the city of Detroit or the state of Michigan.
I have such respect for all of them. I am so frustrated over the challenges that this tough economy has brought to everyone in this country that I inadvertently joked about one of the areas hit the hardest. Those of us that have the luxury of getting to work in such a great sport like NASCAR owe a great deal to the city of Detroit and their support of the auto industry because without either, the sport of NASCAR would not be what it is today.
In fact, Michigan International Speedway, even in this tough environment, drew an impressive 100,000 fans to the track at their last race. My sincerest apologies to anyone that I might have offended, it was certainly not my intent.
Felix, buddy. You were right the first time.