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NASCAR says Kentucky would not further NASCAR expansion
International Speedway Corp. turned down an opportunity to buy Kentucky Speedway for $186 million and NASCAR officials indicated the track "would not further NASCAR's expansion goals," according to a filing Tuesday in the track's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC.

NASCAR and ISC filed their brief to Kentucky Speedway’s appeal today in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. In their brief, NASCAR and ISC reiterate many of the arguments they have made in the past in denying that they illegally conspire to keep tracks such as Kentucky from obtaining Sprint Cup races.

A Sprint Cup race was worth $6.51 million to a track operator in 2006, according to NASCAR and ISC’s brief.

Kentucky Speedway’s owners originally filed the lawsuit against NASCAR, a sanctioning body owned by the France family, and ISC, a track-operating company that is publicly traded and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family, in 2005.

NASCAR and ISC denied the antitrust claims, and in January a U.S. District Court judge concluded that there was not enough evidence for the case to go to trial. The appeal centers on whether there is enough evidence for a trial.

In May, the owners of Kentucky Speedway agreed to sell the 1.5-mile track located about 35 minutes south of Cincinnati to Speedway Motorsports Inc., a rival of ISC, for $78.3 million, including the assumption of $63.3 million in debt. Even though SMI is expected to close on the purchase in December, speedway founder Jerry Carroll said the original ownership group is continuing with the appeal.

SMI was designated as a co-conspirator when Kentucky Speedway revised its complaint in 2007 and NASCAR has told SMI Chairman Bruton Smith that as long as the litigation is pending, the speedway can’t get a Cup date. Smith has said that he will request NASCAR to move a Cup race from another SMI track to Kentucky once the lawsuit is resolved.

In its brief, NASCAR indicated that it is not willing to expand its schedule to include Kentucky. The owners of the track began lobbying for a Cup race in 2001, a year after it opened with a Truck series race in 2000. The track has played host to an event in both the Truck and what is now known as the Nationwide series since 2001. More at Scenedaily.com

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