Friday, February 19, 2010

Should Kentucky Speedway get a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date – Yes or No?

If the former owners of Kentucky Speedway loss there last ditch effects on their anti-trust suit against NASCAR (I don’t discuss lawsuits, it’s the perfect way to get nailed), NASCAR fans could re-ignite the heated debate on whether or not Kentucky Speedway should get a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date.

This has been a heated debate since the speedway opened back in 2000 to whether or not NASCAR would grant a Cup Series date to the Speedway or not. And now since SMI owns the speedway, the debate would not only ask should they get a Cup date, but under the realignment of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, which of SMI’s many racetracks would loss a Cup Series date to Kentucky Speedway.

SMI who owns several racetracks in the US with Cup Series dates does have the right to ask NASCAR to move the date from one track to another (But keep in mind that NASCAR wouldn’t move a date so long as there is an anti-trust suit against them from Kentucky Speedway, even the former owners). For example, SMI has asked NASCAR in the past to move a date from North Wilkesboro Speedway to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and received it because they technically owned both tracks. (SMI co-owned North Wilkesboro with Bob Baire at the time)

No NASCAR fan wants to see their favorite racetrack that either they love the watch the racing at or attend every year loss a date to another speedway or in general. A Cup Series date is a huge deal, it brings in a lot of money to that particular economy through hotels, food, tickets, and beyond. Not to mention, NASCAR fans love there racing, I know I do.

As for Kentucky Speedway not getting a Cup Series date, the original argument was that Kentucky Speedway is located in an already saturated market with many Cup Series dates already around it including two at Bristol, one at Indianapolis, two at Michigan, one at Chicagoland and two at Martinsville if you want to go that far over. And NASCAR really doesn’t need another 1.5 mile racetrack on its schedule right now either.

However the argument from some Kentucky state residents is that there really isn’t another date within a good distance away. Indianapolis doesn’t work for them and Bristol is hard to get a ticket at. One Kentucky resident commented on another article and told me that he and friends travel down to Talladega Superspeedway in a van to attend the AMP Energy 500.

By the way, from Louisville, KY to Talladega Superspeedway is 324 miles away. That’s about the same distance from California Speedway to Las Vegas Motor Speedway (344 miles on I-15), just an interesting stat.

With that’s said, as a NASCAR fan, I have to say that I’m not in favor of Kentucky Speedway getting a Cup Series date at all for several reasons.

1. Bristol isn’t that far away nor is Indianapolis, but I can understand the issue that is above.
2. I don’t want another 1.5 mile speedway on the schedule, there is enough of them as is, I would prefer short tracks or a road course be added.
3. The idea of removing a Cup Series date from a racetrack that has earned it or fills the grandstands is horrible.
4. I don’t believe Kentucky Speedway could fill the grandstands year in and year out.
5. Sorry for saying this, but…suing for a Cup Series date is ridiculous and as a result, somebody always losses and its normally NASCAR fans.

Keep in mind, NASCAR controls who gets a NASCAR race date, it’s there company (NASCAR and ISC) and it’s there series, they can do what they want. I just wish they made it a better process like a lottery so everybody could get a chance at a date. Did you know that SMI has never been granted a date by NASCAR (at least to my knowledge), they bought other racetracks to get there dates, just a stat.

However at the same time, I do believe that every NASCAR fan should be entitled to watch a NASCAR race live in person at the racetrack within 100 miles or so, one way drive of their house. Just to be open and honest, that is the distance I drive to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to watch the NASCAR races every year, it’s a day trip.

I also believe that (regardless of who owns the racetrack) a racetrack that has the up keep and Capacity (including seats) should be able to at least bid on a Cup Series date, let alone have one. Then if the racetrack can sell most of the speedway out (tickets), they should be able to keep a Cup Series date once they get one. Of course that includes paying fees and doing everything that (NASCAR) is required of a racetrack.

It will be interesting to see if Kentucky Speedway gets there long lost Cup Series date or not. And if they do, I hate to see which racetrack will lose their date in return. I also believe the only choose for SMI is Atlanta considering Texas isn’t going to happen nor is Charlotte and New Hampshire is a near sellout twice a year and NASCAR would be crazy to remove a date from New England.

By the way, I also believe in one Cup Series date per racetrack with a few exceptions like Bristol for example. I believe NASCAR should start from scratch on their schedules especially in this economy and give dates to tracks that can sell tickets, put on good racing and is a good venue. I will get into this next week over at ThinkingBrian.com.

What do you think, should Kentucky Speedway get a Cup Series date and do you agree with me?

Photo Credit: Ronda Greer/NASCAR via NASCARmedia