STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. (WWLP) – Stafford Speedway officials announced on Monday they will not run under the NASCAR Weekly Series banner for the 2021 season due to conflict regarding ownership of streaming and broadcast rights of weekly racing events at the Connecticut half mile oval.
“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 a news release. “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.”
Stafford Speedway TV began at the start of the 2020 season and is the live broadcast home for Weekly racing series events. Race teams that competed at Stafford during the 2020 season received 25% of each pay-per-view sale that went back to the 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.”
The track also announced on Monday that they will match the NASCAR track and state point fund that was paid to four of the five divisions. This will not affect the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as they will visit Stafford three times in 2021.
“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.”
Stafford released their 2021 schedule of events last month. The 2021 season will begin with the NAPA Auto Parts Opening Weekend on Saturday, April 24 featuring the Granite State Pro Stock Series, SK Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks.
On Sunday, April 25, it will be the 49th annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler featuring the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour along with the SK Modifieds for their second race of the weekend, SK Lights, and the Vintage All-Star Modifieds.