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NASCAR racing in Portland: Bad idea? Cost concerns?

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – MAY 07: Justin Allgaier, driver of the #7 Hellmann’s Chevrolet, celebrates in the Ruoff Mortgage victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Mahindra ROXOR 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 07, 2022 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

By Colby Evans

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is making its debut race at Portland International Raceway this weekend. While it’s exciting to see NASCAR coming back to the track for the first time in over 20 years, many teams and drivers have expressed some concern due to costs.

The real-world issues right now have cost NASCAR teams greatly with fuel and grocery prices sky-rocketing. Media, fans and even some drivers have expressed concern on whether NASCAR should be going all the way to Portland, Oregon, a 2,755-mile drive from Charlotte, North Carolina.

With the Xfinity Series fields capped at 38 starters, an average of two cars per race this season have failed to qualify for events. Fortunately for the Xfinity Series field this week, nobody will miss the race, with 38 drivers on the entry list.

The released winner’s purse for the Portland race is $1,258,443, according to sources. It’s the lowest purse of the season, with last place (38th) paying a mere $9,700.

The purses received a lot of criticism by fans and even some crew members online saying that it wasn’t a fair purse for one of the longest trips of the season.

A couple of Xfinity Series crew members were nice enough to release the estimated costs for the Portland trip, Which include a $12,000 fuel bill round-trip for the transporter, $10,000 in race tires, and $5,000 in airfare for team members.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Daniel Hemric, driver of the #18 Poppy Bank Toyota, leads the field during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

The Portland race will not feature live pit stops, in hopes of trying to save the teams money. But does a move like this hurt the legitimacy of the event itself, not featuring an important aspect of the race?

This begs a couple of questions: does the Xfinity Series need a standalone road course race? And does it need to be all the way out in Portland?

This weekend’s race will definitely give us those answers. Time will tell if Portland will return to the Xfinity Series schedule for 2023 as the costs continue to rise, while the purses seem to get smaller.

For Xfinity Series teams, it might not be the ideal track for them to go to as there are many other choices for road courses across the U.S.

The Pacific Automation 147 from Portland International Raceway is scheduled for Saturday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. 

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