No room for Montreal on Sprint Cup schedule
NASCAR has quashed continued speculation that a race in Montreal, Canada, could be added to the Sprint Cup series in the near future, stating that there is simply no room on the schedule to accommodate the venue.
NASCAR has held a Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in each of the last six years, attracting a turnout of 60,000 fans to the latest running of the race earlier this month.
The category’s presence in the country also extends to sanctioning the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series – a class that continues to develop since being bought by NASCAR in late 2006.
Despite underlining the importance of the Canadian fan base to NASCAR, its director of competition communications Kerry Tharp affirms that there are no plans to ‘upgrade’ the current Nationwide race into a Cup event.
“Our schedule right now is completely full in the Cup series, there’s really no way to grow that schedule,” Tharp told Speedcafe.com when asked of Montreal.
“We have very limited weekends off as it is (including the non-points All-Star race, the Cup cars race every weekend bar two between the season opening Daytona 500 in February and the Homestead-Miami season finale in November).
“We’re effectively racing every weekend, so somebody would have to drop off the schedule and there are currently no plans for that to happen.”
Tharp also pointed to a need to upgrade the circuit’s current infrastructure in order to hold a top-tier event and the hassles involved in taking vast amounts of crew and equipment across the border between the USA and Canada as reasons that adding Montreal to the fixture is unlikely.
A desire to keep the number of road course races at current levels (one visit each to Sonoma and Watkins Glen per season) is also thought to have played a role in NASCAR’s hesitance towards Montreal.
“Road courses are always a topic of debate among the fans,” said Tharp.
“Should we add more, should we have one in the Chase? It (adding further road courses to the series) is something that is debated and something that we’ve looked at, but I think right now having two on the schedule is the right number.”
The 2012 Sprint Cup series continues this weekend in Atlanta. Greg Biffle will enter the event with a reduced 11 point margin to second-placed Jimmie Johnson after a tough run for the Roush Fenway Ford driver at last weekend’s IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.