Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kansas Wants Second Cup Date; Announces Casino Plan

Kansas Speedway will petition NASCAR for a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date for the track, if approval is obtained for a proposed 1.5 million square-foot Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on speedway grounds.

The project -– located in the speedway’s Second Turn -- would include a 300-room luxury hotel, a state-of-the-art casino with 3,000 slot machines and 140 gaming tables, 275,000 square-feet of retail, dining and entertainment space and meeting and convention facilities. The project will cost over $700 million, with no public incentives or revenue needed.

A study commissioned by the speedway indicates that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino would provide an economic benefit of $4.86 billion to the community over 20 years. The proposal includes a temporary casino what would open within eight months, and operate during the construction period.

International Speedway Corporation is not commenting on which of its other tracks would lose a Sprint Cup date to Kansas. ISC President Lesa France Kennedy said she would move one of ISC’s current Cup dates to Kansas, beginning in 2010 or 2011. Seven ISC tracks -- Daytona, Richmond, California, Talladega, Martinsville, Michigan and Phoenix -- currently host two Cup dates each season. Four others -- Darlington, Homestead-Miami, Watkins Glen and Chicagoland – host one each.

`Dega's A Deal: A study commissioned by Talladega Superspeedway shows that the track generates an annual economic impact of $407 million for the region and the state of Alabama. The study, done by the Washington Economics Group Inc., shows that Talladega creates 7,955 jobs, and generates an economic impact equivalent to 11% of Alabama's total tourism revenue. The total economic impact translates to $88.50 for every man, woman and child in Alabama.

And Finally: It’s been interesting to read all the breathless reports in the last few days of Ryan Newman moving to Stewart-Haas Racing next season, especially since Sirius Speedway first broke the news on July 7th. That’s the same day we told you that Tony Stewart would drive a #14 Chevrolet at Stewart-Haas next season, with sponsorship from Office Depot and Old Spice. Since then, virtually every media outlet in the country has claimed to “break” those stories, despite the fact that we’ve been telling you about them for more than a month.

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