Ky. Speedway Track demands $400M and a 2006 Nextel Cup race

Kentucky Speedway's owners are seeking more than $400 million in damages and a 2006 Nextel Cup race in a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp.

Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley, representing Kentucky Speedway LLC, said NASCAR and ISC violated federal antitrust laws by restricting which tracks host NASCAR's premier Nextel Cup races.

Chesley said NASCAR officials told the speedway's owners that the Sparta track would not get a Nextel Cup event.

"They literally said … you're not going to get a race," he said.

The suit also seeks an injunction forcing NASCAR to establish a competitive-bidding process in awarding Nextel Cup races and elimination of some Nextel Cup rules that the speedway calls monopolistic.

"In my opinion, the facts clearly support a conclusion that NASCAR and ISC have colluded to exclude competition in order to financially benefit themselves," Chesley said.

"By doing so, they have harmed not only Kentucky Speedway but also all stock-car racing fans nationwide."

Suit 'not surprising'

Dennis McAlpine, a securities analyst with McAlpine Associates LLC in Scarsdale, N.Y., who follows the motor sports industry, said he wasn't surprised by Kentucky Speedway's lawsuit because of a settlement NASCAR reached last year on a suit filed by Francis Ferko, a shareholder of race promoter Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Under that settlement, SMI, which controls six tracks that host Nextel Cup races, bought North Carolina Speedway from ISC. That track closed and its race moved from Rockingham, N.C., to Texas.

"It's not surprising at all, given the outcome of the Ferko suit, in which there was another race granted to Texas Motor Speedway," McAlpine said.

"I think (Kentucky Speedway chairman and developer) Jerry Carroll has done an excellent job with that track," McAlpine said. "I think given the circumstances, he has made the most of what he has for races, and has promoted some of the most successful Bush races and IRL (Indy Racing League) races."

McAlpine years ago worked for an investment bank that sought to raise money for Kentucky Speedway's construction. "NASCAR and ISC's activities have harmed race fans in Ohio and Kentucky," Houston-based lawyer Steve Susman, also representing the speedway, said in a news release. "NASCAR's treatment of Kentucky Speedway makes the most egregious tactics of drivers fighting for position on the track look like a Sunday-afternoon drive in the country." Full article at Cincinnati Enquirer

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