I am spending NCAA Selection Sunday watching auto racing. On today is the Kobalt 400, the only Las Vegas stop of the season for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series.
But not for long. It was announced this week that Las Vegas will be getting a second Cup series weekend in the fall, starting in 2018. It will be replacing one of the two New Hampshire races on the schedule. Helping ease the move is that Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns both tracks. The move makes sense, since attendance in Las Vegas is better anyway.
All in all, it’s more great pro sports news for Vegas with the arrival of its new NHL team the Vegas Golden Knights, the announcement UFC will hold four events a year at T-Mobile Arena, and news the Raiders-to-Vegas move is back on track. Now, honestly, I have been of the opinion for a while that Las Vegas doesn’t need the NFL. What they have there now in terms of sports options is more than enough; any city that has an NHL team plus major NASCAR and UFC events on a regular basis would be doing quite well, thanks. Heck, they even have Sevens Rugby every year. But if they really want the NFL there, fine.
The other news is that this is the opening weekend for Indycar and they held their race earlier today in St. Petersburg, Florida, won by Sebastien Bourdais. Of course, whenever I see these races going in places like St. Petersburg, and Las Vegas, not to mention these golf tournaments from Florida, I get all jealous about the weather conditions compared to here, in frozen Canada. (I guess it’s supposed to warm up.) See, this is why I tune in, to get my mind off of the cold.
Also, I read an article in the New York Times about how Indycar was no longer spinning its wheels and how interest is up. You could have fooled me, though, because my own personal interest is down, and the reason is all because I live nowhere near any IndyCar races anymore. Of course, there used to be a race in Edmonton that I would go to regularly, but now it’s just Toronto on the schedule.
If Indycar is serious about getting fans back in Canada, they need another race here in western Canada where people can go and watch the race live. There have been rumors that may actually happen, though; there has been talk of IndyCar expanding their schedule and rumor is one of those additions could be a street race in Calgary, Alberta.
Well, if that were to happen I’d be interested in going to it, assuming I still live somewhere within driving distance of Calgary, Alberta by then. Right now, the IndyCar race which is the closest proximity to where I live now is the one in Newton, Iowa!!
Not only that, the closest Major League Baseball and NBA teams are in Minneapolis, the closest MLS team is in Vancouver, and the closest NHL team is in Edmonton!! Man, I miss big city life, when these sports were only a subway ride away.
This has been a big week of auto racing for me personally. I went to the Canadian Tire series race in Saskatoon this week (and even wrote a story about it), and then this weekend I was hoping to tune in to the Honda Indy races in Toronto on TV during any downtime from my reporting assignments. But it has been weather-plagued from beginning to end.
Now the second of the two races is running, and the rain is falling again in Toronto. The race just went under caution because Juan Pablo Montoya’s car wiped out and landed on driver Mikhail Aleshin’s head. Literally, his head.
Now the race is back on, but it is just a rain fest down there. All I have to say is that these are miserable conditions for the fans. I used to like going to the Indy in Toronto back in the day, but what I really liked was the good weather at those events! Rain and auto racing just do not mix — for the fans, and especially the drivers. Too bad.
Before anyone starts to blame Mayor Rob Ford for the weather problems at the Indy, keep in mind weather is a federal responsibility. (That is a very old joke.)
I am going to wait until a little later in the week to give my thoughts on the whole NHL lockout situation which continues to drag down sports followers in frozen Canada.
But today I don’t want to talk about that. Instead, I want to talk about the sports fans in Edmonton. They are having a really bad week. First, there’s the NHL lockout. Second, the Edmonton Eskimos are on a losing streak and are now in the CFL West basement after losing last night to BC. Third, the locked-out Edmonton Oilers’ owner ended up getting into a huge fight with the city this week, so now the downtown arena project is up in smoke, at least for the moment. If this mess is not resolved the Oilers could skip town. That would be even worse than having a lockout.
This is the umpteenth time that officials have cancelled the Edmonton race. I don’t know where or not to believe all these latest reports, given that there was a similar announcement a couple of years ago and the race came back.
Of course, we have heard stories for years about money problems with this race, and the IndyCar circuit is having a heap of problems all over. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I guess I have to be surprised anyway because these guys in charge all gave us this line of bull that they were going to be around long-term.
What really bugs me is the fact that I skipped this race entirely this year to save money, opting just to go to the NASCAR Canadian Tire event in Saskatoon instead. Now, I’m kicking myself for not going to Edmonton and not taking in what looks now like the last Indy in that city.
I actually care about this news more than I care about the Oilers, because each summer I would drive several hours up to Edmonton to see the race, just as I used to go to the Indy races in Toronto when I lived there. Now I have no idea what I am going to do. The cost of going to an IndyCar race is going to go through the roof for me, because I’m nowhere even close to the other tracks. I guess I’m going to go to the Canadian Tire series next year, again.