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No Cup race at Kentucky in 2011? UPDATE #2 Speedway Motorsports Inc. has not asked NASCAR to move a 2011 Sprint Cup date to Kentucky Speedway, nor has it asked for a Cup date to be moved from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, according to SMI Chairman Bruton Smith.

Smith sidestepped several questions about what the 2011 Cup schedule will be like at his race tracks. He currently has two Cup points races at Charlotte, Bristol, Texas, New Hampshire and Atlanta while he has one Cup date at Las Vegas and Infineon. There is no Cup date at Kentucky.

NASCAR typically works on the upcoming year’s schedules in May and June with the hope of releasing them by Labor Day. It has historically allowed track operators to request realignment of dates within their track portfolios.

“Whatever we do, we’ll announce it in the future,” Smith said Friday at New Hampshire. “We’re not announcing anything today. … We have not met [with NASCAR] about that yet. We’ve had no meetings about the schedule for next year.”

Smith can request NASCAR to realign a race to Kentucky now that an antitrust lawsuit brought by the track’s original founders ended in late May with NASCAR prevailing. NASCAR had refused to consider a realignment request until that case was resolved.

“I’d hate to put off until next year what we ought to be doing this year,” Smith said. “There was a lawsuit up there; that lawsuit finally went away. But that did slow us down a bit. … It did slow us down, but we’re going to accelerate now.”

Smith has said he wants to add 50,000 seats to the 69,000-seat Kentucky facility.

“We would have liked to have that [suit] to have ended months and months earlier; it would have provided us a chance to make some plans but it did deter our plans some,” Smith said.

When asked if he would need to resurface the track because of weeper issues at the 1.5-mile track, which included a canceled Indy Racing League test one day after it rained at the track in April, Smith responded: “Weepers, what weepers? That’s old. We’re through with those.” Scenedaily.com

06/13/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  For two years, Bruton Smith had indicted he was ready to move a Sprint Cup date to Kentucky Speedway.  But talking at the track Saturday prior to the Nationwide Series Meijer 300, the Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman said he has not asked for a Cup date for the 1.5-mile facility for the 2011 season.

“I don’t think that it’s too late for things, it’s just that there’s so many things to be done, a lot of things we have to take into consideration before we make that decision,” Smith said during the news conference.

“Whatever we want to do, we have to coincide with NASCAR. We don’t want to upset anything. … We have to think about the time of year, we have to think about the weather, how does it affect the sport per se. And we’re taking a date from somewhere, what does that do? There are a lot of things you have to consider. It’s not real simple.”

“We’re working diligently on that [Cup date] and we’ve been anxiously awaiting for this lawsuit to go away,” Smith said. “That took too long and had it been resolved many months ago, we would have your answer you’re looking for today. That has kind of slowed us down on the things we want to do and the things we need to report to NASCAR.”

Smith said his master plan for the track is to add 50,000 seats to bring its capacity to nearly 120,000. He also wants to replicate Las Vegas Speedway’s Neon Garage at the Kentucky track. Scenedaily.com

05/05/10 Even though it appears that the Kentucky Speedway founders' antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR is coming to a close, track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. reported that a 2011 Sprint Cup date at the track "may not be feasible" because of a variety of factors, including capital improvements necessary for the facility. SMI Chairman Bruton Smith has been adamant about moving a date to Kentucky as soon as possible. But a filing Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission noted that 2011 might be too soon, although those filings must cover all possible scenarios and can, at times, be cautious in nature. Bill Brooks, SMI's chief financial officer, said Wednesday during a conference call with financial analysts that among the factors that would dictate when realignment would occur are "particularly costs of any capital expenditure to upgrade or expand our facility at Kentucky and the lead time to do it." Brooks did not say what capital improvements will be necessary, but Smith has talked about expanding the grandstand capacity. Kentucky has only 69,000 seats - 30,000 fewer than New Hampshire and 32,000 fewer than Atlanta - and likely would need to increase seating for a Sprint Cup event. According to the SEC filing, other factors being considered over whether to move a race to Kentucky are the popularity and profitability of various races, alternative uses of tracks and revenues for such tracks in the event a race is moved, any existing or potential government tax incentives, changing economic conditions at the individual tracks and in the economy as a whole. Scene Daily
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