Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Growth marks 1998 schedule DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 3, 1997) The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will celebrate the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's 50th ...
Report from Motorsport News International
NASCAR Public Relations
Growth marks 1998 schedule
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 3, 1997) The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will celebrate the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's 50th Anniversary with an expanded schedule of 33 championship point events in 1998. The 33 events represent an increase by one from the 1997 schedule with the addition of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which will host the third race of the season on March 1. The 33 championship point events are the most on the schedule since 48 dates made up the 1971 season. The 1998 chase for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series title begins with the 40th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, 50 years to the day after the first officially sanctioned NASCAR event -- run on Daytona's beach course and won by Red Byron in his Ford modified car. Additionally, the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule will include a change in date for four facilities. After having its inaugural race scheduled in June 1997, California Speedway's date has been moved to May 3 and becomes the 10th race on the schedule. Richmond International Raceway's annual spring race has been moved from its traditional March date to Saturday, June 6 in 1998. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series' annual trek to northern California and Sears Point Raceway has been shifted to June 28, switching from the 10th to the 16th race on the schedule. With the Labor Day Weekend later on the calendar in 1998, New Hampshire International Speedway's second date moves up on the schedule from mid-September to Aug. 30. "The schedule combined with NASCAR's 50th Anniversary celebration promises to make the 1998 season an exciting one," said Mike Helton, vice president of competition for NASCAR. "We are pleased with the addition of Las Vegas and are delighted that we were able to work with some of our track operators and assist them in their requests in modifications to their respective dates." The addition of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a 1,500-acre motorsports complex that includes the 102,000-seat 1.5-mile superspeedway, gives the NASCAR Winston Cup Series its sixth major change in six years: New Hampshire International Speedway was added to the 1993 schedule and the 1995 July NASCAR Winston Cup date at NHIS broke the record for the largest sporting event in New England history. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series made its debut at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first Brickyard 400 a year later in front of a crowd estimated at more than 315,000. In 1997, NASCAR added the California Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway to the schedule as well as a second date at New Hampshire International Speedway. The 1998 schedule also includes the two traditional non-championship point events, The Bud Shootout and The Winston. Recently renamed from the Busch Clash, the Bud Shootout opens the 1998 season on Feb. 8 at Daytona International Speedway in a race featuring the pole winners from the previous year's schedule. The Winston, which again will be run under the lights on May 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, is a special winners-only event. For the third consecutive year, the 1998 schedule also will include a trip to Japan, this time with a two-race stop. Next year's first Pacific Rim event will be at the 1.4-mile Suzuka Circuit road course in Suzuka City, 250-miles south of Tokyo. The second stop will be at the Twin Ring Motegi, a 1.49-mile oval that recently celebrated its opening. The 50th Anniversary will officially kick off at the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Banquet Dec. 5 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York -- where the 50th NASCAR Winston Cup champion will be crowned at the end of the 1998 season. In 1998 the 50th Anniversary will be divided into four quarterly themes: The first quarter will focus on NASCAR history, the second will feature the greatest drivers and racing rivalries of NASCAR, the third quarter will be a country music salute to NASCAR and the fourth quarter will be a tribute to NASCAR fans. Plans for the 50th Anniversary celebration will include more than 200 hours of special programming and features focused on the past, present and future of the sport on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, Superstation TBS, and TNN: The Nashville Network.