Stafford Speedway leaving NASCAR weekly series after 60 years

Staff report, Hartford Courant

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,” Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute said. “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 the track. Teams competing at Stafford Speedway received 25% of each pay-per-view sale.

“We see opportunities to grow this platform and currently are handcuffed on what we are able to accomplish for our race teams,” Arute said. “Through the weekly racing sanction, NASCAR continues to own all rights to our weekly production, which is something we are no longer comfortable with.”

Speedway officials also announced they will, at a minimum, match the NASCAR Track and State point fund that was paid to four of Stafford’s five weekly divisions. Additionally this does not affect NASCAR Modified Tour events for the 2021 season with three currently on the Stafford Speedway schedule.

“We now look to the future and the opportunities in front of us,” Arute said. “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.”