By Don Ward
(February 2010) 2010 will be a transition year for the Kentucky Speedway as its new owner Bruton Smith and the tracks staff prepare for what they hope will be a Sprint Cup race sometime in 2011. Carroll County and the surrounding area stands to gain from a Cup date because of the significant economic impact that would be generated from thousands of people descending on Sparta, Ky.
That was the message delivered to 33 Carroll County Chamber of Commerce members on Jan. 12 by Tim Bray, the Speedways communications director. Bray was the guest speaker at the chambers monthly luncheon meeting, held at Gen. Butler State Resort Park.
We anticipate 2011 to be our breakout year with a Spring Cup date. Burton Smith has already spent $13 million on things like parking, camping, a paved ring road and restrooms to get ready, Bray told the group.
Smiths Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns seven other race tracks that each have Sprint Cup races. Some have two races for a total of 13 at SMI tracks. Since NASCAR is unwilling to add more race dates, it is expected that Smith will request to move one of the races from another track he owns to Kentucky. NASCAR would likely approve such a move if it is financially beneficial, Bray said.
If a Sprint Cup race comes to Sparta, Ky., the economic impact to the region is expected to be huge, Bray said, if judging from the impact such races have on other communities. In Sparta, the impact has been estimated to provide 5,000 jobs and more than $1.5 million in economic impact to the region.
During the business session, newly installed board president Mark Smith outlined the chambers plans for 2010 and listed the members of various committees.
Chamber membership has remained steady at 79, he said. The annual golf scramble is planned for May 19 at Fairway Golf Course in Wheatley. The Annual Dinner is set for Aug. 19 at Gen. Butler State Resort Conference Center and will again feature locals participating in a talent show titled Carroll Countys Got Talent. This event was popular at last years dinner, he said. Monthly auditions for this show will begin in February at the library.
The Business Celebration Day is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the courthouse square. The chamber will again help organize the citys Christmas Parade in early December.
Smith said the boards three primary goals this year are to increase membership, provide more explanation of benefits to its members, and provide more networking opportunities.
In addition, weekly email updates will be sent out, replacing the previously monthly email newsletters. Office administrator Bret Calhoun is organizing this effort from the chamber office at 511 Highland Ave.
For information on the chamber activities, membership or to sign up for talent show auditions, call (502) 732-7034.