Texas Motor Speedway president upset with F1 scheduling

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads Red Bull driver Mark Webber of Australia during the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads Red Bull driver Mark Webber of Australia during the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN (AP) — The top executive at Texas Motor Speedway is frustrated over Formula One’s decision to hold the United States Grand Prix at Austin on the same weekend that his track hosts all three of NASCAR’s national series.

Speaking before Tuesday’s celebration of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory in the Daytona 500, Eddie Gossage said the scheduling change was “arrogant.”

“I absolutely think it’s foolish,” said Gossage, the track’s president and general manager. “It’s a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR. I can’t say I was surprised because (F1 CEO) Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things. The thing he unfortunately doesn’t recognize is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motor sports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR.”

Texas Motor Speedway will host the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s AAA Texas 500 on Nov. 2, the same day F1 will hold its only event in the United States this year.

Messages were left Tuesday night seeking comment from the Circuit of the Americas, where the F1 event will be held, and the FIA, the governing body for the sport.

“Any time you cut something into two pieces, whether it’s 50-50, 60-40 or 99-1, it doesn’t matter who’s got the 99 and who’s got the 1, it’s less than 100 percent,” Gossage said. “It’s just not smart. There’s 52 weeks in the year. But that was the only weekend that Formula One could make it work in Austin, Texas. Give me a break.”

Gossage thinks a stronger stance by the management at Circuit of the Americas would have prevented the scheduling issue.

“It wouldn’t have happened if they had the strength and the fortitude to stand up and say no,” Gossage said.

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