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Kentucky Speedway's anticipated 2011 Sprint Cup date anouncment next week may kickoff next season's tour schedule releases

  Bruton Smith: Ready to make it official, that Kentucky Speedway will become a Sprint Cup tour track in 2011? (Photo:CMS/HaroldHinson)

   By Mike Mulhern

   POCONO, Pa.
   Bruton Smith, the mega-track owner and head of Speedway Motorsports (SMI), has scheduled an Aug. 10th press conference at Kentucky Speedway, and he says the governor Steve Beshear will be on hand....and that has quickly led to speculation of an imminent announcement of a 2011 Sprint Cup date at the Cincinnati-market track.
   Smith bought the 1-1/2-mile track two years ago, with hopes of getting a Cup date. And the lawsuit against NASCAR, long the stumbling block, was resolved earlier this year, opening the way for NASCAR to consider a 2011 race.
   Here's the Cincinnati Enquirer report on the situation:  http://bit.ly/be517P
   To get a Cup date, Smith is expected to have to give up a Cup date at one of his current tracks. Speculation has been that he would move one of New Hampshire Motor Speedway's two races to Kentucky, possibly next June, or possibly taking the July 9th Saturday usually held by Chicagoland Speedway.
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  Kentucky Speedway, near the Ohio River and Indiana casinos, could become the first new track on the Sprint Cup tour in 10 years. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mike, What's the inside scoop

What's the inside scoop on Gateway? Who's going to buy it? I hope that Bruton can acquire this one, too. Don't want to see it go away like Memphis did. It needs a Cup date to sustain it, and ISC would never give it one even if they bought it. Bruton could purchase this track, and slide another Cup date here.

ever since AB dropped out of

ever since AB dropped out of the NASCAR loop, Gateway has been a lonesome dove. AB would promote it. Nobody does now. good market, tough location, does anybody care? kansas will have two Cup dates, and how far down the road....

Mike, I hadn't heard about a

Mike, I hadn't heard about a possible Chicago date change - what are you hearing about where that date would move to? I personally hope that if they make "impactful" changes to the schedule that they do a major overhaul. I for one am for Daytona ending the season but it sounds like that idea has been shot down. One idea I have to spark interest back into the Brickyard, is run that thing in September as the first race of the Chase.

all i've heard is that nascar

all i've heard is that nascar is looking at giving kentucky a date in early july; since it will not likely be the Fourth, that means the Chicago weekend. dont know what they might do with chicago. i was thinking start the chase there in mid-September because it looks like Loudon loses a date. but if not September, then maybe moving Chicago to that late june date that Loudon now has; just two weeks difference, as a lead-in to daytona. i think one thing nascar should do is open the chase with a bang. i like loudon and jerry gappens and all that, but loudon in mid-september just doesnt have that much punch, from what i can tell? the brickyard in mid-september would be an excellent idea i think. i dont think the brickyard in late july does much, do you?

To me, the only thing Indy in

To me, the only thing Indy in July does is give ESPN a lead-in into their season. I find it very curious (especially with that Indy Star article last week) that NASCAR would put a date at Kentucky 2 weeks before Indy, which makes me wonder whether something else isn't in the works. As for Chicago (I'm from Chicago), as much as I would personally love to see it become the first race of the Chase, I would be concerned marketing that event during the first couple weeks of football season, especially in this market. Want a huge change? How about Daytona ends the season, Atlanta's one date goes to the 4th, Darlington back to Labor Day and maybe Chicago goes to Mother's Day weekend. I just hope NASCAR is thinking out of the box on this one and it doesn't turn out to be the '04 realignment that really didn't do a whole lot except damn near kill Darlington.

I don't think where they put

I don't think where they put Kentucky whether it's close to Indy or far away. Doesn't matter. If they are gonna come, they are going to come. Problem, inherited, is those places ain't used to NASCAR racin'...Not in their DNA like Charlotte, Martinsville or Bristol. The biggest problem I've seen over the years between ISC and SMI tracks is they kept on building and building and now it's too much. When tracks were around the 60,000 - 70,000 capacity and the infield, no problem. Now many tracks are pushing 90,000+ and they look nearly empty. Keep in mind, back in the day, during the fall...Martinsville, Charlotte, Rockingham and Atlanta used to race within a month of each other and that's within a 250-mile radius of the racing hub of Charlotte (less miles for Martinsville and Rockingham)...4 races and they were packed and no lights. Time for the ISC/SMI, cut their losses. Tear down the unused stands in the turns, focused on the frontstretch and move on. They'll pack the stands and offset the cost via race sponsors, t.v. rights, etc. But trying to fit a round peg into a square hole ain't working.

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