NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell made comments about continued schedule changes during a November 17 appearance on “Stacking Pennies with Corey LaJoie.” He explained that an Xfinity Series trip to Portland International Raceway was sort of a test run for NASCAR, which could have an impact on where the Cup Series races in the future. He also identified some key markets where the Cup Series could go.
“I think domestic, you’d probably look at the Northwest and Colorado,” O’Donnell told LaJoie. “If you can get Denver, Seattle, you know, there’s a reason we went out to Portland, just to see what the turnout would be for us. We had an Xfinity race in the pouring rain, and people showed up and it was pretty cool. So that would be a big market for us.”
Heading to Denver would provide a variety of fans with the opportunity to watch the biggest names in the Cup Series face off. Though the success of the event would depend on the racing, the style of the track, and the infrastructure.
Colorado Has Multiple Tracks Around Denver
Denver, which previously served as the home of Furniture Row Racing, does not have a traditional track that could leap out as an option for the Cup Series. For example, there is a 2.55-mile road course, High Plains Raceway, which features events for both car and motorcycle clubs.
There is also Colorado National Speedway, a .375-mile short track that advertises itself as “Colorado’s Premier NASCAR Track.” This venue has hosted races with Late Models, Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Legends, Sprint Cars, and multiple other vehicle types.
Colorado National Speedway has also hosted some of the current Xfinity Series competitors. Julia Landauer and Jesse Iwuji took on the track in 2017 during a K&N Pro Series West race. Michael Waltrip, Alex Bowman, and Todd Gilliland have all competed at the short track as well.
Another potential option, albeit one located 1.5 hours outside of Denver, is Pikes Peak International Raceway. This venue features multiple tracks, such as a 1.3-mile road course, a .75-mile road course, a .25-mile oval, and a one-mile D-shaped banked oval.
Pikes Peak International Raceway hosts a variety of events throughout the year. It has also served as the site of 10 IndyCar Series races, four K&N Pro Series West races, five Truck Series races, and eight Xfinity Series races. The track has featured such names as Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Michael Waltrip, and Matt Kenseth celebrating wins.
International Races Are Also an Option
Races in the Denver area, as well as the Pacific Northwest, are among the options for NASCAR. There are also some races that could take place in the international markets.
As O’Donnell explained, NASCAR has had a presence in multiple countries. Canada and Mexico are at the top of the list. However, the Cup Series has not competed in these markets, which is something that could change in the coming years.
“Certainly Canada. We’ve always had a stock car series up there,” O’Donnell continued. “We went [to] Montreal with the former Busch Series, and one of the things that I kind of learned going up there this year was we didn’t bring Cup, so we haven’t necessarily brought the Cup Series to Canada or the Cup Series to Mexico.
“So there’s a lot of interest from both of those places. Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterey, They’re all talking to us. Montreal, Toronto. So there’s a lot of interest.”
As O’Donnell continued, there are some things that bear consideration. One of the biggest is the type of track that is available. He doesn’t want to have a “30-race road courses schedule.” O’Donnell also noted that there aren’t necessarily many ovals located around the world that are ready to go.