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Nascar switches strategy with multi-year venue deals

North American stock-car racing series Nascar has signed agreements with 23 tracks to field races in its premier Sprint Cup Series for the next five years, in a move that marks a change of strategy for the organisation.

Nascar has traditionally worked year-to-year with its venues, but the new agreement from 2016 to 2020 will lock down its calendar over this period, while also allowing flexibility in terms of choosing dates for the events. Additionally, 24 tracks will host races through 2020 on the Xfinity Series, Nascar’s development competition.

Nascar has also announced its 2016 schedule for both national series. The schedule and actual placement of the dates within each given season’s schedule beyond 2016 will be part of on-going discussions between Nascar and the tracks.

Steve O’Donnell, Nascar executive vice-president and chief racing development officer, said: “The live event experience always will be important to creating a lifetime fan in Nascar. Among the goals that we set out to accomplish with our track partners was to provide consistency for race fans and the industry stakeholders. We feel like we have a nice balance of that for 2016.

“The stability of five-year agreements positions us well to deliver fans with schedules as early as possible over the next several years. This is a new approach for our industry, and one that benefits everyone: fans, tracks, teams, drivers, OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers), media and partners.”

Nascar will kick off the 2016 season against the new backdrop of a completely reimagined Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Rising, the iconic speedway’s $400m (€351.8m) redevelopment project, will be complete when both the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series launch at Daytona Speedweeks. The 2016 Daytona 500 will be held on February 21.

After the Daytona 500, Nascar events will be held the following week at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Both series then will travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway for the return of the Nascar Goes West initiative.

“We learned that Nascar Goes West worked very well in keeping momentum and interest for Nascar in these markets,” O’Donnell added. “The tracks put a lot of effort behind making it successful and we think it can continue to have a positive impact as it gains traction from being an annual effort. The efficiency of conducting three consecutive events also is helpful to the teams and industry.”