Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Smith: I Know Where Kentucky Cup Race Will Come From

Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith admitted Monday that if he wants a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, he will likely have to move it from one of his other tracks.

Smith also revealed that he has already decided what track that race will come from, but would not name it. SMI currently hosts 12 Sprint Cup events; two each at Texas, Charlotte, New Hampshire, Bristol and Atlanta Motor Speedways, and one each at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Infineon Raceway. Widespread speculation is that the race will come from either Atlanta or New Hampshire, but prior to this week, Smith has insisted that he has no plans to take a race away from any of his tracks.

NASCAR has repeatedly stated that there will be no Cup race at Kentucky next season, but Smith said he hopes he can change the sanctioning body’s mind. “I am not arguing (with) NASCAR," he said. "I would like to see them cooperate, and maybe be flexible.”

He said he believes an important factor in the negotiations will be the status of the lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway's current ownership against NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation.

“If the lawsuit could go away today, I think I would stand a pretty good chance of getting (a race) there in ’09," he said. "NASCAR, a few years ago, gave us the freedom of moving an event from one speedway to the next.”

Smith said that while he has an option to back-out of the purchase of Kentucky Speedway if he cannot acquire a Cup race, he has no plans to do so. In fact, he said he is already planning to redesign the track’s garage area.

“It must be a nightmare for (NASCAR) to try to control what’s going on in those garages,” he said. “They’re so far apart, you need to call a cab to go over to the next one. That’s one thing I saw that I want to do. I will duplicate what we did in Vegas – we’ll create another Neon Garage there.”

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