Bruton Smith: The Most Powerful Man in Racing?

al asifyouknowSenior Analyst IMarch 10, 2009

This is a quote from the Orlando Sentinel: "Never missing a chance to make a brash, inflammatory statement, Speedway Motorsports president Bruton Smith said Friday that Homestead-Miami Speedway should not host NASCAR's season finale, saying it was in a 'Godforsaken area.'"

Well I may have some issues with Bruton Smith's statement, me being a Hispanic and all. Or maybe not. Every one is entitled to an opinion, especially if you're a millionaire.

The statement "in some Godforsaken" doesn't bother me, but the "north of Cuba" remark, was a cheap back door inflammatory shot at the majority of the Miami-Homestead area residents.

That is how I took it and from reading some of the online news from the Miami-Homestead area, many of them also found it offensive.

There was no other reason to say the "north of Cuba" statement. I looked at the Florida map and Miami-Homestead area is North of many things.

Why not say north of Key Largo or Islamorada or Key West. Look it up if you don't believe me.

I've never heard Mr. Smith say Atlanta is north of Cuba or Charlotte is north of Cuba and they are. Am I wrong?

I'm very surprised a smart businessman like Smith would take a shot at a whole community. As a good merchant as he is, Smith should be trying to see how he can get in their pockets.

Here are some stats on the Miami-Homestead market:

About 50 million folks are Hispanics in the USA.

It is a one trillion dollar market.

A survey found 38 percent are casual NASCAR fans.

About seven percent are avid fans.

The fan stats are low, but if you can turn about 15 percent of the casual fan in to avid fans, now you got a 22 percent hardcore base. That is more than just a foot in the door. Now your talking serious bucks. Are you not?  

This kind of statements are not helpful if NASCAR is still trying to diversity their market.

I'm sure many of the readers of this article will say, "Well, those folks are not the fan base NASCAR relies on" and that is true. But we also have to remember that market also buys that chocolate that melts in your mouth rather than in your hands.

They drink beer and energy drinks and shop at Target and buy car insurance. Those products that pays for NASCAR'S bills don't only cater to NASCAR fans.

If Smith wants that race in Las Vegas, I'm sure he can sell it to NASCAR in many ways other than taking a cheap shot at a whole community.

People say you don't have to be too smart to become a millionaire, well I'm beginning to think they're right.