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DATE News (chronologically)
01/13/09
track news
SMI sacks Kentucky Speedway Executive  [Editor's Note: It looks like Bruton Smith is bringing in his own people]  One of the highest-ranking members of Kentucky Speedway’s management team has resigned and moved to Florida to start a new business.

Mark Cassis was hired before the Gallatin County track opened and worked more than nine years as its executive vice president and general manager. His resignation was effective when his contract expired Dec. 31, the same day Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced the completion of its purchase of Kentucky Speedway.

“It’s been a long trek and Mark’s been with me since Day 1. I hired him,” said the track’s former chairman Jerry Carroll, who now serves as a consultant for SMI. “He did a wonderful job. He saw it through and stuck with us….We wish him the best.”

Cassis has not returned phone messages seeking comment.

In his role as executive vice president and general manager, Cassis was responsible for overseeing track operations, including sales, marketing, communications and scheduling. A replacement has not been named.

“We’re just going to stay in status quo and see what SMI wants to do,” Carroll said. “They have a world of knowledge with (eight) speedways. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Cassis often spoke on behalf of the track and that frequently meant discussing its pursuit of NASCAR’s top racing series. In June, after the track hosted another successful race for NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series race, he indicated the struggle to land a long-sought Sprint Cup Series race had taken a toll and expressed uncertainty about his future with the track.

“I don’t know what the future holds personally for me,” Cassis said at the time. “I’ve done it for 10 years. I’m not burned out. I might be just a tad tired of pushing this boulder up the side of a mountain.

“But like I’ve said all along, I want to be part of it. I want to continue doing what I’m doing, but it would have to be right for both sides.”

SMI agreed in May to buy Kentucky Speedway for $78.3-million, including the assumption of $63.3-million in debt. The company’s chairman, Bruton Smith, has said he wants to bring a Sprint Cup race to the track as soon as possible.

Smith and other top SMI officials visited Kentucky Speedway’s offices on Monday, Carroll said. Kentucky Enquirer

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