SMI closes deal for Kentucky Speedway
Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder and CEO O. Bruton Smith announced today that his company has agreed to purchase the Kentucky Speedway from Kentucky Speedway, LLC.
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008, were not disclosed.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our company to grow into a new market in a modern speedway facility. We continue to be committed to investing in the motorsports industry,” said Smith. “I think what we are doing here for Speedway Motorsports is the biggest announcement we have ever made, mainly because of what we are doing and where we are doing it.
“Will we make changes? You got that right! This is a great speedway, and it’s our duty now to make it better.”
The acquisition of Kentucky Speedway brings the total of SMI-owned tracks to eight, including the purchase of New Hampshire Speedway last year.
The purchase of the track by SMI is just another chapter in the track’s notable history, which includes a lawsuit filed against NASCAR on behalf of the track’s owners.
Opened in 2000, the 1.5-mile tri-oval track has hosted events for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Craftsman Truck Series, and the Indy Racing League, but was not given a date to host a Sprint Cup race.
The original ownership group filed an anti-trust lawsuit against NASCAR in 2005, accusing the sanctioning body of restricting the awarding of Sprint Cup dates to tracks owned by its parent company, International Speedway Corp.
The suit was finally dismissed in January, however track president Jerry Carroll said at the time they planned to appeal the decision. It’s unclear how the recent purchase of the track by SMI will affect the suit.
Despite the pending litigation, Smith said that SMI will be working on securing a Sprint Cup date for next season, without giving any specifics on how SMI might secure a spot on the Cup schedule, although he hinted that SMI could be looking at purchasing other race facilities for the purpose of acquiring those dates.
The company plans to expand the seating capacity and address several structural issues in anticipation of acquiring a Sprint Cup race. Pete McCole reporting for AutoRacing1.com