If you were Bobby Goldwater, president and executive director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, and you had to choose between the American Le Mans Series (sports cars) and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), which would you pick?
When it comes to staging a race in Washington, is it a hard choice or an easy one?
For Goldwater, it is probably very hard.
But from here - or from where you're sitting right now - it might be pretty easy. As simple a choice as deciding to go for the best racing - American Le Mans - or the biggest draw - CART.
To make it easy on Washington as a first-time racing venue, you might want to go for American Le Mans. It won't be as big. The course won't be as difficult, or as disruptive to set up. You can comfortably get your feet wet.
The other benefit is you don't have to worry about what is going on in the CART series right now.
It seems like almost every two weeks there is word of yet another CART race being canceled (Brazil, Texas), discontinued (Michigan, after the July 22 event, and possibly Cleveland, after today's race), or perhaps never even held. There are reports that ticket sales are going badly in Germany, where CART is to have its inaugural race there Sept. 15.
Of course, all those changes could just be the normal discomforts of installing a new philosophy. CART is under new management and wants to clearly define itself as a road racing series, leaving the oval tracks totally to the Indy Racing League.
All those changes make it easy for Washington to pick a date of its liking. But by the time 2002 or 2003 rolls around, who knows what state the product will be in?
If I had to make the decision, I'd offer Le Mans a race in 2002 and, if I believed it was possible to eventually handle two races, agree to invite CART to the capital in 2003. By then, officials will have a better feel for what it takes to put on one of these events and, probably, by then everyone will have a clearer picture of what is happening in CART and open-wheel racing in general.
Dodge has put in place a diversity program to help minorities become involved in NASCAR racing. It has a role model in driver Willy T. Ribbs for youthful drivers to look up to, and it has a scholarship program for minority students who want a career as a mechanic in stock car racing.
Anyone interested in applying for the six available scholarships, which are valued from $20,000 to $22,000 and include tuition, books and lodging for a 51-week course at the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, should seek out an application, which must be received by July 11.
Applications can be requested by calling toll free, 866-256-8954, or by downloading them from the Web site www.4adodge.com. Once at the site, click on Motorsports, then click on the Dodge Motorsport Diversity Scholarship sign. Additional information about the program can be obtained from the school's Web site, www.uticorp.com.
Applications require the usual basic information - high school grade-point average, extracurricular activities, a personal statement, references and, probably the most time-consuming to acquire, transcripts. Recipients will be notified by Aug. 13, and flown to the Winston Cup race in Brooklyn, Mich., on Aug. 19 to receive their awards.
In with NBC/TNN
The "Hollywood Hotel," as Fox has called its pit road headquarters, has closed for the season. But next weekend, when the Winston Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400, "The War Wagon" will be parked at the front of the race field on pit road, acting as the NBC/TNN nerve center.
"Right in the middle of the action is where the fans want to be," said Sam Flood, NBC/TNN Sports producer. "That's where we're going to take them, right in among the cars and the drivers. The tone is total access."
In the broadcast booth, viewers will be watching to see if the chemistry among Alan Bestwick, Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach measures up to that displayed by Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds on Fox.
"I promise you, I am not going to sing," said Parsons, referring to Waltrip's tendency to break into song.
The NBC/TNN crew will have a lot to live up to, in terms of ratings and share.(A show's national rating indicates the percentage of U.S. homes tuned into it, and its share represents the percentage of television sets that were tuned in. One national ratings point equals 1 percent of the 102,200,000 television households in the United States, or 1,022,000 households.)
Here is the wrap-up from Fox:
Every Winston Cup race on Fox Sports after the Daytona 500 earned its highest rating ever, and Daytona posted its best rating since 1979 (10.1) and was the most-watched in history.
Winston Cup racing established itself as the No. 1 spring sporting event. Not counting the Daytona 500, NASCAR on Fox doubled the NBA regular-season ratings on NBC (5.8-2.9) in households.