Vegas race needed for F1 to gain traction in US - Busch

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NASCAR superstar Kurt Busch believes that Formula 1 should absolutely establish an event in Las Vegas if the sport wants to gain a strong foothold in the United States.

Earlier this year, Bernie Ecclestone announced that Las Vegas promoters had been positioning themselves to try and stage a second Grand Prix in the US, and that a contract was in the works.

A native of the iconic desert city, Busch, an avid F1 fan who races in NASCAR with Stewart-HAAS Racing, says that a good second location in the US and efficient promotion are the key to gaining sustained traction with US audiences.

For Busch, a venue in 'Sin City' would perfectly fit the bill.

"Austin was the American dream; you build it and they will come," Busch explained to about the prospects of a race in Las Vegas.

"It worked, but it is difficult to get returns, and people to come again and again and again.

"The way you get multiple returns is in the tourism industry, and that is what Vegas is known for – you have tourists there who are always going to be coming.

"That group you have in year one can be a completely different group in year two. I’ve heard that view from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The ticket sales they say are 60 percent from outside Nevada and California, so you get the tourism.

"And that is what makes it popular, as you get the seats filled every year. A deal like this [Las Vegas GP], it is probably a five-year deal minimum and you have year one, and it then gets bigger and bigger and bigger."

Busch also believed that single-seater racing in the US has been depressed by the fact that IndyCar and ChampCar were at loggerhaeds for so many years, which in turn obliterated the public's interest in both series while NASCAR became even more popular.

"NASCAR did the right things to promote itself. We have 38 race weekends a year, we see 80-100,000 fans every weekend, the cars are on track, the drivers are accessible, and it is just a different system.

"So NASCAR in America, the fans want it right in front of them all the time. They don’t want to have to deal with the politics or the difficulty of trying to actually see a driver.

"They want to make sure they are there to try to get an autograph, not just to see a guy."

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