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DATE News (chronologically)
10/25/08
track news
Kentucky Speedway sale could be done by December  UPDATE #3 Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith said Friday he is still hoping to have a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in 2010.

SMI is scheduled to close on the 1.5-mile oval in December.

Smith has said NASCAR has told him that it won’t even consider putting Kentucky on the Cup schedule until the antitrust lawsuit  by the original track ownership group against NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. is finished.

Jerry Carroll, the track founder, has said he has had no intentions of dropping the suit.

Carroll's group alleges in the suit, filed in 2005, that the France-family owned sanctioning body, NASCAR, illegally works with the France-controlled race-track operating company, ISC, to keep tracks such as Kentucky Speedway from getting a Cup date. NASCAR and ISC deny those claims.

The lawsuit currently is in U.S. Appeals Court in Cincinnati. In January, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of ISC and NASCAR without the case going to trial because he ruled Kentucky Speedway's expert's theories were inadmissible. If Carroll's group wins its appeal, the case would then go to trial.

Final briefs in the appeal are not due until Dec. 16. A hearing on the appeal isn’t expected until January or February 2009 at the earliest.

“I talk to Jerry all the time,” Smith said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “He’s tried like the dickens to get it [settled] but we have not been able to be successful on that.

“We will have a Cup race there in 2010."

08/28/08 Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is proceeding with the purchase of Kentucky Speedway, company officials announced today.

The company entered an agreement to purchase the NASCAR track in May and was allowed 90 days to conduct due diligence. That period expired Aug. 18 and SMI decided to move forward with the acquisition, "subject to satisfaction of remaining closing conditions." The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, most likely in December. The purchase price listed in May was $78.3 million, which included $63.3 million in assumed debt.

Kentucky Speedway has hosted Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series races in the past and Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of SMI has stated his company's intent to move a Cup race to the track.

"Moving forward on Kentucky Speedway allows our company to expand its geographic reach into the motorsports hotbed of the Midwest," Smith said.

"We are optimistic about being able to promote a Sprint Cup series event at Kentucky Speedway. Once we secure a Sprint Cup series event, we plan to expand seating capacity and host some of the largest crowds in the Midwest. Kentucky Speedway entertained sellout crowds for NASCAR Nationwide Series and IndyCar racing events this year. With a Sprint Cup date, season ticket sales, seat licenses and corporate sponsorship opportunities will increase tremendously."

According to the release, NASCAR has stated it cannot allow realignment of an existing Sprint Cup series race date until the anti-trust litigation among NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and the current ownership of Kentucky Speedway is resolved. Although the time frame for resolution is uncertain, Speedway Motorsports will continue to work with NASCAR to schedule a Sprint Cup series date at the facility.

Located on 820 acres in Sparta, Ky., just south of Cincinnati, Kentucky Speedway features a 1.5-mile trioval speedway, with chair-back grandstand seating for 66,089 spectators, 50 luxury suites with seats for approximately 2,000, private RV spaces, and reserved and unreserved camping spaces. SMI owns Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Infineon (Sonoma,
Calif.) Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe's (Charlotte) Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor
Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, all of which host Cup races.

"We are in this motorsports business for the long term," Smith said. "The opportunity to buy a modern race track below replacement cost in a market with incredible growth potential was simply too good to pass up. While we expect some short-term loss, this is a significant investment in the future that better positions us to compete in this industry, and will pay off with long-term gains when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is added to Kentucky Speedway's event calendar." SceneDaily.com

08/21/08 Bruton Smith, the Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman and chief executive expects the $78 million acquisition of the Kentucky Speedway announced in May to be completed later this month. Concord-based Speedway Motorsports had a 90-day option from the time the deal was announced to make the purchase. With that deadline arriving this month, Smith says an announcement on the completion of the deal could come within a few days. Smith, speaking at Speedway’s ribbon-cutting Wednesday for a $60 million drag strip in Concord, pledged to move a Sprint Cup race from one of the company’s seven other tracks to Kentucky. That move could not take place before 2010. NASCAR unveiled its 2009 schedule this week and did not include a Sprint Cup date at the Kentucky track. “NASCAR has never given me a date, so does that give you a hint?” Smith says. “They never have.” He declined to discuss which race date he had in mind for the Kentucky track. The 1.5-mile track is in northern Kentucky, about midway between Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio. The track has 66,000 grandstand seats and 50 luxury suites and opened in 2000. Charlotte Business Journal

08/09/08 Jerry Carroll's last race as owner of the Kentucky Speedway marked the first sellout in the IndyCar Series' nine visits to the track.

The irony wasn't lost on the man who tried for years to prove the 1.5-mile oval halfway between Cincinnati and Louisville was the equal of almost any track in the country.

"You have to give a lot of credit to the fans, because they wanted to show there's an interest in this sport,'' Carroll said before the Meijer Indy 300. "We're a performing team here. We've always been trying to sell a good product.''

The salesmanship, however, couldn't convince NASCAR to bring a Sprint Cup race to the track. The ownership group filed an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. three years ago. The case was dismissed in January, though Carroll has filed an appeal.

Frustrated, Carroll and company agreed to sell the track to Speedway Motorsports Inc., owned by Bruton Smith, in May.

"Bruton will have an opportunity to come in here and justify some of the situations that are going on,'' Carroll said. "Are deal was if you don't like some of the (details) send the contract back.''

Smith, who owns several other tracks, including Texas Speedway and Infineon Raceway in California, spent some time before the race talking with IRL president Tony George and said he's eager to get started revamping the track.

"I think that what can happen is we'll be doing a lot of things here and I think anything that we do is going to make the IndyCar Series better as well as NASCAR,'' Smith said. "We're going to work both sides of the street.''

Smith said he has no concerns about the IndyCar's future at the track, and has no problem with the series' early August date.  More from AP Story

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