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France: Kansas, not Kentucky will get next Cup date
NASCAR Chairman Brian France indicated Tuesday that it is more likely that Kansas Speedway could get its second date on the 2010 schedule than for Kentucky Speedway to have its request approved for an inaugural race there.

International Speedway Corp. is planning to ask NASCAR to move one of its Sprint Cup dates to Kansas Speedway, while Speedway Motorsports Inc. planning to seek to move a date to Kentucky Speedway.

Neither ISC nor SMI has indicated which tracks they want to move a date from in their realignment requests.

Speaking after an appearance at the Street & Smith’s Motorsports Marketing Forum, France said that NASCAR wouldn’t approve a request without making sure it fits the sanctioning body’s criteria.

“It depends on what they want to exchange it for,” France said. “If they want to leave a smaller market not performing as well, we would look at that favorably. They all understand what that criteria is.

“I would expect Bruton [Smith at SMI] or ISC to ask for it in the way that would get it approved. … We’re not going to take a date that’s working fabulously at one place to move it to a second date anywhere.”

ISC, a publicly traded company whose majority of voting stock is owned by the NASCAR-controlling France family, has pledged a second Cup date at Kansas to go along with the construction of a Hard Rock Hotel and casino.

France said a 2010 Cup date is “possible” at Kansas (Controlled by who?  The France family of course), but Kentucky is another matter. Although SMI is expected to complete a purchase of the track later this month, the current owners have indicated they will continue pursuing a federal antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC over the issue of Cup venues.

France has held firm that as long as the lawsuit continues NASCAR will not consider a realignment request. An appeal on whether the case should go to trial likely won’t be decided until next March at the earliest.

"[SMI] is going to run out of time as it stands today,” France said. “I hope the litigation gets completed as soon as possible. There have been extensions now, and it’s going to be very difficult to see how we would be able to award or look at realignment for the 2010 season because sanctions will be going out in the spring, and the early summer will be completed.

“The case is liable to go well into the fall of next year, and there will have to be a change in the litigation schedule to be able to figure it out. Scenedaily.com

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