On Wednesday, September 5, 2012, it was announced that NASCAR had made a major deal to purchase the Panoz Motor Sports Group. Panoz Motor Sports Group is known for being the organization behind the American Le Mans Series. With this purchase, NASCAR can also now claim Road Atlanta and the lease to Sebring International Raceway in Florida. The price was revealed to be around $10 million. The American Le Mans Series featured 10 races in the 2012 season and has five different classes of competitors.
This may seem like a very strange purchase for a stock car organization. However, in 2008, NASCAR had purchased Grand-Am Road Racing. It is now hoped that the two branches of sports car racing can be combined into one single racing organization that would find far more success than each would have individually. The merger will take place after the 2013 season and the 2014 season will be the first season for the new entity. Few details have been given on what may happen so for now all fans can do is speculate on what the future might hold for the two series.
This is an interesting choice for NASCAR and it seems like a great idea to bring the two racing organizations together. Instead of splitting fans and fighting for sponsors and venues, the two will be able to work together. It may be disappointing if there are drivers that get cut from teams or teams that can no longer be a part of the organization, but overall, I would think the merge would make both more viable than if there were no merge. As a NASCAR fan, I am curious about how this was financed. It seems like NASCAR is always looking to increase viewership and attendance at races. Plus sponsorship has been an issue recently. I would not have thought that American Le Mans Series would be very profitable with just 10 races a season. This is one of those things that has the potential to be great on paper. Unfortunately sometimes it turns out that the reality is very different. Hopefully, the new sports car organization will flourish.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.
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- Panoz Motor Sports Group