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Kentucky won't get Cup date unless it drops lawsuitUPDATE A ruling on Kentucky Speedway’s appeal in its federal antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. is not expected until sometime in 2009, according to an ISC official.
Speaking on a conference call Wednesday with financial analysts, ISC Chief Operating Officer John Saunders said, “Due to some changes in court procedures, we now expect some sort of ruling from early- to mid-’09.”
ISC expects to spend between $1 million and $2 million this year on the litigation, ISC investor relations spokesman Wes Harris said.
06/16/08 Bruton Smith would like the Kentucky Speedway owners to drop their lawsuit against NASCAR as he believes that would help pave the way for a Sprint Cup date as early as next year.
But Kentucky Speedway founder Jerry Carroll says the federal antitrust lawsuit is still continuing.
With that, and NASCAR officials continuing to insist that they are getting closer to getting their 2009 schedule set, it looks as if Kentucky’s chances of getting a Cup date for next year are slim.
Besides being at odds on how the lawsuit should be handled, Smith and Carroll walked around Kentucky Speedway as buddies Saturday afternoon. Smith is attending his first race, the Nationwide Series Meijer 300, since announcing that his Speedway Motorsports Inc. had agreed to purchase Kentucky Speedway from Carroll and his investors.
“We would love to have a Cup race here next year, of course I’m talking to NASCAR almost on a daily basis,” Smith said Saturday at the track. “NASCAR, they’re concerned about the lawsuit, which we’re not involved in any shape or form. … If the lawsuit, if the present owners seek to change that, our chance of getting the event next year would go up greatly and I think we could get that done.”
Carroll said the principle of the lawsuit is important enough for him to follow through. The lawsuit claims NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. conspire illegally to keep independent tracks such as Kentucky Speedway from getting a Cup race. NASCAR and ISC have denied those claims and won the case on summary judgment, a decision that is currently being appealed. If Carroll’s group wins its appeal, then the case would be scheduled for trial.
“We’re not budging from the lawsuit,” Carroll said Saturday. “He bought it knowing the lawsuit was in place. That was mentioned many times. We didn’t really anticipate anything happening [with Cup] in 2009. We just thought it was going to be another deal where he could work his magic and work something. NASCAR does what they do.”
And what if Smith told Carroll that the track wouldn’t get a Cup date if Carroll didn’t drop the lawsuit?
“That’s his problem,” Carroll said. “We’re not going to not have the lawsuit. It’s the only opportunity that we have – and we said why we went out to get the lawsuit [was] to create an even playing field.
“If we left now that somebody came in, it wouldn’t be fair to all the time we spent on this thing.”
In talking about a Cup date, Smith once again didn’t rule out possibly moving a date from another one of his tracks.
“Whatever it takes,” he said.
Smith still has two months before finalizing the purchase of the track but he indicated that he will go ahead with the purchase. He said he is just going through the governmental regulations and expects the deal to close once he gets approval. Both Carroll and Smith said they don’t expect the issue of the lawsuit to cloud whether the purchase is completed. Scenedaily.com
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