Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SMI Expected To Request Date Changes This Week

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said he expects Speedway Motorsports, Inc. CEO Bruton Smith to submit an official request this week to realign some of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race dates next season. Smith has repeatedly said he hopes to bring Sprint Cup racing to Kentucky Speedway and add a second date at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; moves that will require him to relocate races from other SMI tracks.

Five SMI tracks -- Charlotte, Bristol, Texas, New Hampshire and Atlanta – host two Sprint Cup events each season, and O’Donnell said, “We expect to hear something this coming week. Last year we didn’t get the schedule (done) until early September. We’ve got enough time to look at it, make a decision and work with all the tracks out there.”

O’Donnell declined to comment on where the Kentucky and Las Vegas races might come from, saying, “We’ve got a pretty long streak of great support in New Hampshire, but I’m not going to speculate on what may be out there.” He confirmed that International Speedway Corporation has submitted an official request to add a second Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway, but declined to say where that race would come from.

NASCAR usually meets with track operators in May to discuss the next season’s schedule, but postponed those meetings until a decision was handed down in the Kentucky Speedway lawsuit. That suit was dismissed last month, clearing the way for Smith to move a Sprint Cup race to Kentucky in 2011. Sources say he met with NASCAR officials Saturday in New Hampshire to discuss proposed realignment scenarios, and O’Donnell said Smith is “still within his time limit” for requesting a 2011 venue change.

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