From the Kentucky Speedway
Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced May 22 that it has agreed to purchase Kentucky Speedway from Kentucky Speedway LLC. The agreement was announced in Charlotte, N.C., by O. Bruton Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2008.
During the press conference, Smith said he hoped to bring a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to Sparta as early as next year. But on Friday, a NASCAR spokesman in Daytona Beach, Fla., said it is too late to schedule a race that early.
Photo courtesy of Harold Hinson
From left, Kentucky Speedway
President Mark Simendinger and
Kentucky Speedway Chairman Jerry
Carroll pose with Speedway
Motorsports Inc. founder, chairman
and Chief Executive Officer O. Bruton
Smith. Also pictured is Kentucky
Speedway Executive Vice President
and General Manager Mark F. Cassis
and Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Executive Vice President of
National Sales and Marketing
Marcus G. Smith.
"I don't see any scenario where there could be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky in 2009, regardless of ownership," said NASCAR communications director Ramsey Poston. He added that there had been no formal request from Speedway Motorsports for a date. In addition, he said NASCAR is well into the sanctioning process for the 2009 season and hopes to release the schedule soon.
Kentucky Speedway founder Jerry Carroll responded to NASCAR's postion by saying had contacted his attorney to fight it. "This is what bullies do, and it's been going on too long," Carroll said. "They've showed their hand again. If they want to break us and want to run us out of business, get more creative."
Kentucky Speedway, which opened in 2000, hosts one NASCAR Nationwide Series event, one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, one IndyCar Series event and other racing events each year. The speedway is located in Sparta, Ky., approximately a half hour south of Cincinnati. The speedway is easily accessible via modern highways.
Located on approximately 820 acres, Kentucky Speedway features a 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway, with chair-back grandstand seating for 66,089 spectators, 50 luxury suites with seats for approximately 2,000, 100 private RV spaces, 200 reserved camping spaces and 1,000 unreserved camping spaces. Kentucky Speedway regularly hosts near capacity crowds for its Nationwide Series events.
This is a wonderful opportunity for our company to grow into a new market in a modern speedway facility. We continue to be committed to investing in the motorsports industry, said Smith.
Smith added that he has offered Jerry Carroll, who was instrumental in the development of Kentucky Speedway, the opportunity to remain involved in its future operations.
Published reports of papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Smith has not yet completed the purchase, in which he agreed to pay $78.3 million for the track that cost $152 million to build. Smith has 90 days to cancel the deal.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Carroll were planning on meeting with Smith on Sunday, May 25, during the running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
If the deal goes through, Kentucky Speedway will join an outstanding lineup of SMI facilities. The company also owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway; Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.; Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.; New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in Loudon, N.H.; and Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas.
With this acquisition, the company will own race tracks in the West, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and Southwest, including four of the nations top-10 metropolitan markets.
The breakdown includes: the sixth-largest market (Infineon/San Francisco); the fifth-largest market (Texas/Dallas-Ft. Worth); the seventh-largest market (New Hampshire/Boston); the ninth-largest market (Atlanta); the 24th-largest market (Cincinnati); the 25th-largest market (Lowes/Charlotte); the 41st-largest market (Las Vegas); and the 92nd-largest market (Bristol/Tri-Cities).
Speedway Motorsports is a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. The Company owns and operates the following premier facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. The Company provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiaries; manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars and parts through its 600 Racing subsidiary; and produces and broadcasts syndicated motorsports programming to radio stations nationwide through its Performance Racing Network subsidiary. The Company also equally-owns Motorsports Authentics, a joint venture formed with International Speedway Corporation to produce, market and sell licensed motorsports merchandise. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.speedwaymotorsports.com.