Story By: PAUL ARUTE / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – After a 60-year partnership working with NASCAR as a sanctioned short track, Stafford Speedway will not operate under the NASCAR Weekly Series banner for the 2021 season due to a conflict regarding ownership of streaming and broadcast rights of weekly racing events.
“Unfortunately we were unable to come to an agreement regarding the media rights of our weekly racing program,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “In the existing format NASCAR owns the rights to any NASCAR sanctioned race produced by Stafford Speedway Productions. With the success of Stafford Speedway TV we no longer see this as a partnership we want to continue.”
Launched for the 2020 season, Stafford Speedway TV is the live broadcast home for weekly racing at Stafford Speedway. Teams competing at Stafford Speedway shared in the success of Stafford Speedway TV in the 2020 season with 25% of each pay-per-view sale going back to the race teams.
“StaffordSpeedway.tv has become a great asset to Stafford Speedway and all the race teams that compete at Stafford weekly,” continued Arute. “We see opportunities to grow this platform and currently are handcuffed on what we are able to accomplish for our race teams. Through the weekly racing sanction, NASCAR continues to own all rights to our weekly production, which is something we are no longer comfortable with.”
Stafford Speedway officials have also announced that they will, at a minimum, match the NASCAR Track and State point fund that was paid to 4 of Stafford’s 5 weekly divisions. Additionally this does not affect NASCAR Modified Tour events for the 2021 season with 3 currently on the Stafford Speedway schedule.
“It’s really too bad. We hoped it would not come to this but we’ve really been given no option. We now look to the future and the opportunities in front of us. For starters, we will match the NASCAR Track and State point funds and will expand it to the Street Stock division, which currently does not receive a point fund under the NASCAR banner. Like we have done for decades we will continue to explore options to showcase the talented drivers that race at Stafford Speedway every Friday night.”
“The weekly racing at Stafford Speedway is some of the best racing we’ve ever seen,” continued Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “We are doing a disservice to the race teams by giving away ownership of the weekly program media rights. Our goal is always to grow short track racing and put our competitors in front of more eyes. In the current structure, operating as a NASCAR sanctioned weekly track limits the opportunities that we can go after.”
The 2021 racing schedule was released last month and features a slate of 24 events across 7 months.