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Marcus Smith saw positives in the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas

While social media response to Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway may have been predominantly negative, the track’s owner still saw plenty of positives.

In an interview on Monday with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports (which owns TMS) was noncommittal about the idea of moving the annual race to a different track in 2023.

“We had it in Charlotte for a number of years, and did it in Bristol in 2020 when we couldn’t have it in North Carolina (due to COVID-19 restrictions),” he said. “Then, we moved it to Texas for the last couple of years.

“This event, we had more people buying tickets than we did last year. We had increases in tickets and camping. It was a lot of fun for a lot of people in the southwest region of the United States.”

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In fact, Sunday’s race attendance was not only visibly larger than a year ago but also larger than the last time the race was held pre-Covid in Charlotte during the 2019 season.

Also, from a logistical standpoint, if there have not yet been discussions with NASCAR about moving the race next year, it seems unlikely that would change.

It’s already late in May and planning for the 2023 Cup Series schedule has been long underway. Last year, the 2022 Cup schedule was released in early September.

“We’re always looking to make it bigger and better. When we had it in Charlotte, we had some detractors who would always say, ‘Why is in it Charlotte’ or ‘It’s just a warm-up event,’ Smith said.

“We move it and people say, ‘Let’s put it back in Charlotte.’ One thing I’ve found is nobody likes change and nobody likes anything to stay the same. It’s one of those things that you can’t make everyone happy.”

Controversy at the finish

While the quality of the racing in Sunday night’s all-star event may have been lacking, the entire event was overshadowed by the controversial ending that saw eventual winner Ryan Blaney thinking he had won, only for a last-second caution to send the final segment into overtime.

Blaney held off Denny Hamlin in the overtime, but he had to jury-rig his driver’s side window net in place for the final two laps since he mistakenly lowered it when he thought he won the race originally.

Driving on track without a properly installed window net is a violation of NASCAR rules but NASCAR issued no penalty.

Smith said the TMS and SMI group worked hard to make the entire All-Star weekend experience an entertaining one for those in attendance.

“We really take our job seriously at putting on a phenomenal, memorable event every single weekend,” he said. “If you look at all the things our team at Texas did to deliver an amazing fan experience – I think if you talk at the fans that were there, they had a great time.

“I saw thousands and thousands of them having a great time.”

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