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Kentucky Finally Gets Its NASCAR Fix

Posted: May 23, 2008

If you build it, they will come....

That seems to be the delayed result at the Kentucky Speedway.  This track is perfectly situated between Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati and was built and developed by Jerry Carroll.  Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader explains in his column:

A real-estate developer by trade, Carroll first made his name in Kentucky sports running Turfway Park, the horse racing track in Northern Kentucky. By the late 1990s, the rise of casino gambling in states around ours made Carroll question the long-term economic prospects of Turfway.

Intrigued by the then-exploding popularity of NASCAR, Carroll decided to try to bring that show to Kentucky. He spent $152 million in private capital and opened the state-of-the-art Kentucky Speedway in 2000.

For eight years, he and his management team promoted the daylights out of the place, generally drawing large crowds for minor-league NASCAR races and Indy Racing League events.

Yet, with all those big crowds, Carroll and his ownership group never could solve the code to bring Cup racing to the commonwealth. By 2005, frustration boiled over and Carroll and Co. launched a federal anti-trust suit against NASCAR.

The suit didn't go anywhere so Carroll made the right move for the northern edge of the Footprint by selling it to Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports.  Smith has promised that there will be a Sprint Cup race at the track in 2009.

The excitement in this part of our region for NASCAR grows daily.  Smith's ownership will finally get them a race.  All of the cities affected from Lexington to Louisville to Cincinnati are extremely excited.

This is yet another strong sign that NASCAR is coming back to it roots under the leadership of Brian France.  Brian's father and grandfather built NASCAR, but they also had a dream to bringing from its Southern roots to New York, Chicago, Seattle, and LA.  In the process, some of the dreams remain unrealized and many of NASCAR's fans felt slighted.

(For those wondering about the history of this age old battle between the France family and the old school NASCAR origins, Swampland Sports highly recommends Neal Thompson's Driving With The Devil.)

Finally, there will be Sprint Cup racing in Kentucky.  That's good for everyone.

Now, if they can just allow a little more personality of the drivers to show.  Patrick Snow has a great piece about Kyle Busch for everyone to check out.  This Vegas kid is showing what used to make the sport great - driving with to win.

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