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DATE News (chronologically)
01/18/10
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Who will lose a race for 2nd Kansas race?  UPDATE #3 The chief operating officer for International Speedway Corp., Roger R. VanDerSnick, says the financial fortunes of Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Phoenix International Raceway and Michigan International Speedway will be evaluated in 2010 as ISC tries to decide how to shift a Sprint Cup race to Kansas Speedway in 2011.

Those three tracks — all of which play host to two annual Cup races — are among the four ISC markets hit worst by the economic downturn. The fourth is south Florida, where Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the season finales for NASCAR's three major series (which are sponsored by Ford in a long-term naming rights deal).

"Those are our four challenging areas: Southern California, Phoenix, Michigan and Florida," VanDerSnick said. "We have a decision to make for 2011 on what date goes to Kansas? So we have a number of different models helping us drive through the decision-making process on that. Once we're close to a recommendation, we'll make a proposal to NASCAR that we want to realign a race to Kansas for that second weekend."

12/02/09 It wasn’t the glitziest proposal for a casino in Wyandotte County. Or the biggest or the most expensive.  But the planned Hollywood Casino had the virtue of being the only proposal left standing Tuesday after the recession forced developers with grander visions to drop out earlier this year.

That proved to be enough — along with deep-pocketed, experienced developers and a prime spot overlooking the Kansas Speedway — for a state board to unanimously approve the $386 million project.

“Is it ideal? No. But we understand the constraints of the economic times,” said board member Jackie Vietti. “It’s in the better interests of the state to move forward now.”

Construction is expected to begin late next year, with an opening set for early 2012.

The casino will be built near Turn 2 of the speedway. It will include 2,300 slot machines, 86 table games and 28,000 square feet of dining and entertainment options. A second phase calls for a 250-room hotel.

All told, the project represents an investment of more than half a billion dollars. The project is expected to create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs in Wyandotte County.

As part of its sales pitch, the developers also pledged to bring a second NASCAR Sprint Cup race and a Grand-Am race to the track.

A group of delighted residents and a bottle of champagne greeted Unified Government Mayor Joe Reardon when he returned home Tuesday. Supporters said they were tired of seeing so many Kansas license plates in the parking lots of Missouri casinos.

“We have been donating quite a bit of money to Missouri over the years, and it’s time to bring some of it back,” said Beverly J. Darby of Kansas City, Kan. ThatsRacin.com

04/03/09 Kansas Speedway has resubmitted its bid for a casino overlooking Turn 2, a plan that was put on hold a few months ago cause of the troubled economy. When it's approved by the gaming commission Kansas Speedway will petition NASCAR for a second annual Sprint Cup race. That will probably happen in 2011. Lesa France Kennedy is the president of International Speedway Corp., which owns Kansas Speedway and 11 other facilities that play host to Cup events. The France family has controlling interest in ISC, which is headquartered in the same building as the NASCAR offices in Daytona. NASCAR chairman Brian France is Lesa's brother. But NASCAR won't add a race. Cup has too many events now at 36 points races and two all-star events. So the second Kansas date will need to come from another ISC track. Martinsville, an ISC track and the oldest facility in NASCAR, was thought to be the location that would lose a race. Don't count on it. Martinsville is the new Bristol. The resurfaced track at Bristol has eliminated much of the bumping, banging and crashing that made the short track so popular. That leaves Martinsville as the best bumper-bashing facility left. NASCAR officials aren't going to mess that up and take a race away from the old Virginia track, a move that would cause a revolt by many fans. Martinsville appears safe for keeping both Cup dates until ISC manages to build a new short track (probably more like the .75-mile oval at Richmond) in a big market like Denver or Seattle. That's a long way off, several years at least. So which ISC track will lose a Cup date to Kansas? Most fans would opt for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., but Michigan Speedway might be the odd-place out. Sponsors want to race twice at ACS because it's in the second largest market in the country. Michigan, an almost identical track to ACS but 30 years older, lies in one of the most depressed areas of the country, but draws twice the number of fans as Fontana.  Jayski.com

04/03/09 Kansas Speedway has resubmitted its bid for a casino overlooking Turn 2, a plan that was put on hold a few months ago cause of the troubled economy. When it's approved by the gaming commission Kansas Speedway will petition NASCAR for a second annual Sprint Cup race. That will probably happen in 2011.

Lesa France Kennedy is the president of International Speedway Corp., which owns Kansas Speedway and 11 other facilities that play host to Cup events. The France family has controlling interest in ISC, which is headquartered in the same building as the NASCAR offices in Daytona. NASCAR chairman Brian France is Lesa's brother. But NASCAR won't add a race. Cup has too many events now at 36 points races and two all-star events.

So the second Kansas date will need to come from another ISC track. Martinsville, an ISC track and the oldest facility in NASCAR, was thought to be the location that would lose a race. Don't count on it. Martinsville is the new Bristol. The resurfaced track at Bristol has eliminated much of the bumping, banging and crashing that made the short track so popular. That leaves Martinsville as the best bumper-bashing facility left. NASCAR officials aren't going to mess that up and take a race away from the old Virginia track, a move that would cause a revolt by many fans.

Martinsville appears safe for keeping both Cup dates until ISC manages to build a new short track (probably more like the 0.75-mile oval at Richmond) in a big market like Denver or Seattle. That's a long way off, several years at least. So which ISC track will lose a Cup date to Kansas? Most fans would opt for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., but Michigan Speedway might be the odd-place out. Sponsors want to race twice at ACS because it's in the second largest market in the country. Michigan, an almost identical track to ACS but 30 years older, lies in one of the most depressed areas of the country. Thousands of people in the Detroit market are out of work because of the layoffs in the auto industry. Being in the backyard of GM, Chrysler and Ford's headquarters was a big reason Michigan had played host to two Cup races a year since 1969. No one knows whether all three automakers will survive. Michigan Speedway also could become a victim of the problem. How things go this season and 2010 will go a long way toward determining which ISC track loses a race to Kansas. ESPN Insider
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