MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ NASCAR’s Busch Grand National Series won’t be racing through the Grand Strand next year.
Myrtle Beach Speedway co-owner Billy Hardee said Monday that he and fellow owner Nick Lucas decided against holding a Busch race in 2001 because of increasing costs.
``We’ve decided it’s in our best interest with the way things are going not to do it again,″ Hardee said.
The Myrtle Beach 250 had been sponsored by Budweiser, Carolina Pride and Advance Auto Parts, but Hardee and Lucas haven’t had a sponsor since 1998.
``We had promises right up to the last minute the last two years and it didn’t happen,″ Hardee said.
The track put up the $717,571 purse for the June 17 race this year _ up from $515,641 last year. Sponsors usually cover that cost in exchange for naming rights.
Hardee and Lucas said the decision to drop next year’s race was theirs, not NASCAR’s.
NASCAR won’t discuss its racing locations until the schedule is announced. The schedule is expected to be released in the next few weeks, said Beth Vairo, spokeswoman for the Busch series.
Myrtle Beach Speedway has been host to a Busch Series race since 1988.
This year’s race was a month earlier than usual and Hardee said that contributed to a drop in attendance
``We sold out in ’99, and we didn’t sell out this year,″ Hardee said. A 9:30 p.m. start and 4 p.m. qualifying also contributed to the lower turnout, he said.
Official attendance figures were not available.
Hardee hopes to have another feature event at the speedway next year to replace the Busch Series.
``We’ll definitely find something else to do in place of it,″ he said. ``I don’t know what it will be.″
South Boston, Va., also said Monday it would not hold a Busch Series race next year.