NASCAR Charlotte Bruton Smith Bank of America 500 2014 Las Vegas - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

NASCAR: Deadline passed, no race move from Charlotte in 2014

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Bank of America 500, October 2012 (Source: CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com) Bank of America 500, October 2012 (Source: CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com)
CONCORD, NC (WBTV) -

Despite NASCAR mogul Bruton Smith saying there was a 70% chance that he would move a major race out of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials say the deadline has passed to get a race moved for the 2014 racing season.

During a one-on-one interview in May, Speedway owner Bruton Smith told WBTV's Paul Cameron there was a strong chance he'd move the Bank of America 500 out of Charlotte.

The Bank of America 500 is one of two annual races held at Smith's Charlotte Motor Speedway, along with May's Coca-Cola 600. The BoA 500 is held in October.

On Friday, NASCAR officials told WBTV that the deadline to have a race moved for the 2014 racing season has passed and the organization has not received a formal request from Speedway Motorsports Inc.

"I know you're not gonna cut this one out, but I've been having some strong conversations about one of these events being moved," Smith said in May. "And Las Vegas is a great place - it's the entertainment capital of the world - and they want another event."

In addition to owning the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the North Carolina native owns eight NASCAR tracks, including the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, hosting a total of eleven NASCAR Sprint Cup events.

Smith said he's flown out to Vegas several times to talk about moving a Sprint Cup race to his track there, saying he knows that officials would approve the move.

"I've made two trips out to Vegas and it costs money to go out there. I know all the powers out there," he told WBTV. "I have a lot of friends in Las Vegas - I have businesses out there, I have six businesses in Las Vegas."

The Charlotte Motor Speedway is based in Concord, North Carolina. Smith has been involved in legal fights with Cabarrus County for years over money he is owed.

In fact, in 2009 Smith filed a lawsuit against the city and county seeking millions of dollars worth of infrastructure improvements near the Concord track.

Smith claimed officials breached a contract by not following through on the infrastructure improvements.

The improvements were part of the agreement reached to keep CMS in Concord after a bitter dispute flared up over the construction of the zMax Dragway.

"Some of your dear friends over at Cabarrus County are gonna say 'Is he? Is he? Is he?' Well... he may," Smith said. "Someone once said 'follow the money.' Well, if we do this, we will be following the money because, here again, there's a lot of money in Las Vegas. And if it gets to be strong enough, I imagine we might do something like that."

When asked if he thought he could make more money at a race in Las Vegas versus having a race in Charlotte, Smith's answer was simple.

"Yes, yes, yes. Oh yes," he said. "Plus, we're discussing a ten-year contract for a lot of money every year."

According to Smith, money plays a huge factor in his possible move. He says a lot of the hotel/casinos in Vegas would love to have the race there, because race fans would fill up the hotels.

"You've got 150,000 rooms out there, more than any city in the world," he said. "And they want to fill up those hotels, and we do fill'em up.  That's good."

Smith played a major role in getting NASCAR to move the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards from New York to Las Vegas five years ago.

When it comes to a timeline on the potential move, Smith says this isn't a spur of the moment idea.

"Oh, now there you're pinning me down. I don't know how soon, that's just, it's something that's been in the stages now for at least a year."

So what's it going to take to move the race from Charlotte to Vegas?

"When the game is over, it'll be money, money, money. Money will move it," Smith said. "I'd say [the chances] are about 70/30."

And the attendance numbers appear to back up Smith's claims.

According to Jayski.com, attendance numbers at the one race hosted at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway are higher than any of Charlotte's three Sprint Cup races since 2010.

The only Sprint Cup race that is currently held on the LVMS is the Kobalt Tools 400, which is held in early March.  In the past three race seasons, it has averaged more than 150,000 fans in attendance.

The highest attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway in that same time was 145,000 at the 2011 Coca-Cola 600 race.

Charlotte's fall race, the Bank of America 500, has seen a nearly 65,000 fan decline since 2007, according to records, while Las Vegas has lost less than 10% of that.

NASCAR as a whole has seen a decline in race attendance in recent years.

According to Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI)'s yearly report, the company has been plagued by declining attendance - a 38% drop in the past five years.

That attendance drop has resulted in a $72-million drop in attendance revenue since 2008.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway races outperformed four of Smith's other seven tracks in 2012.

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