Grandstand removal a matter of ‘right-sizing’ facilities
As the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour was kicking off in Uptown Charlotte, N.C., crews at the actual racetrack were busy removing the Turn 2 Diamond Tower grandstands and suites structure.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is just the latest NASCAR facility to remove a large section of grandstands, joining the likes of Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway and Dover International Speedway, just to name a few.
Even at Daytona International Speedway, where the Daytona Rising project is revamping the fronstretch grandstand section, the entire Superstretch structure will be removed after the July Sprint Cup Series race.
While the removal of large sections of seating might be a concern for some, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell believes it is more about making the fan experience as valuable as possible.
"I think it goes back to the experience," said O’Donnell. "When you look at some of the venues … when you look at a fan experience, if you’re asked to go to that venue and sit in that seat or would you rather sit on the frontstretch with a newer venue or newer seat model, I think you’d want to do that.
"A lot of it was right-sizing the facilities and looking at the venues and how we can up the fan experience," he said. "To do that, you’ve got to shift some things around. Also, if you look at any sport right now in terms of capacity, the NFL is going through the same thing at some venues. When you look at the new stadium in San Jose (Calif.), same thing from a capacity standpoint.
"It’s a balance. You want the right number of seats at track, so we think we’re really landing where that will work in the future."