Kentucky Kentinues

Steven Gardner writes:

Opponents of the track argued that ISC couldn’t guarantee a Nextel Cup race in Kitsap County. Technically it was true. Supporters countered that since both NASCAR and ISC are owned by the France family, the ISC part of the family wasn’t going to make a huge investment here unless there was a pretty solid wink of approval from the NASCAR part of the family. It wasn’t just supporters saying that, either. I heard a NASCAR reporter say the same thing. So I think that if the current structure remained in place, both sides were right. Technically there could be no guarantee, but c’mon.

The major hitch in the conversation, however, continues in Kentucky, where the people who built a speedway are arguing that the arms-length relationship between ISC, a public company, and NASCAR, which is private, is illusory.

Read Bob Pockrass’ story at the NASCAR-fan site SceneDaily on some of the allegations by the owners of the Kentucky Speedway.

Kentucky Speedway alleges that NASCAR, the sanctioning body and a privately owned company by the France family, conspires with ISC, a publicly traded company that operates tracks and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family, to award Nextel Cup races to ISC tracks.

NASCAR and ISC have denied the allegations of the original lawsuit, filed in July 2005. The new complaint is much more detailed in its allegations.

The Kentucky owners have dropped a demand for a Nextel Cup race in favor of an objective method of choosing tracks for the most coveted races. The big one, though, is it wants the France family to either sell off NASCAR or ISC.

“The actions of NASCAR and ISC in shutting out competition make the most egregious tactics of NASCAR drivers fighting for position look like a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive in the country,” the lawsuit states. “They have hurt race fans by causing higher ticket prices and creating fewer options to watch their favorite drivers.”

Should ISC lose this battle, the impact on wherever ISC wants to develop could be huge. No longer would proponents be able to tout the wink, wink, nudge, nudge relationship between the two companies owned by the same family. That could have been a big deal here, though I would guess the fact that there are no other races close to here would be a positive for Kitsap in any objective standard. I can’t imagine them leaving geography out.

11 thoughts on “Kentucky Kentinues

  1. The Kentucky lawsuit has been relevant to “our” track proposal from day one and was pointed out as such. If ISC – NASCAR loses, the little track in Kitsap could not compete with the big guys. Game over.

  2. The flip side is the Brunton Smith Tracks otherwise know as Speedway Motorsports who have no affiliation or ties to ISC. Speedway Motorsports owns the following facilities: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Lowes Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Infineon Raceway (previously Sears Point). These tracks hold some of the best dates on the schedule. The Las Vegas Race this last March was a sell out. Brunton Smith was smart enough to either revitalize existing tracks in successful areas or build new ones in untapped markets and made them unique. The Kentucky crowd did neither. They built a facility in an area of the country already saturated with existing tracks with existing dates (Bristol, TN, Memphis Motorsports Park, TN, Nashville Superspeedway, TN, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IN). If you go to their website you will find nothing special about either their location or their facility.

    The Pacific Northwest Proposal had the potential to put a facility in an untapped market with a surrounding environment that would give it a look unlike any other in the country. The Kentucky crowd reminds me of my post in “Smaller Speedway Planned”. Local Kitsap clubs had both the use and control over their local Kitsap track. Everyone worked together to keep the facility in good condition and yet keep the cost of holding events down. Then along came the King County clubs. They had a facility in King County to run at but they wanted more dates. So they took the leftovers from the local Kitsap clubs knowing exactly how the existing system of date selection worked. Well after awhile they wanted more so they created such a stink that a whole new system and a whole new layer of bureaucracy had to be created to manage the facility. More work, more costs and the facility is still no better off than it was before. Be careful what you wish for Kentucky.

  3. If the family has to sell off one of the compnaies…look out, because it will be ISC. If I were them, I would get rid of ISC, sell all the tracks. Get a meeting with all of the drivers and team owners then cut race dates down by 10 to 15 or so races and double the prize money. Owners and teams would love it because the year would not be so long and the tickets to the 20-25 races per year would be a truly premium ticket.

  4. No one said that they did, Rich. Communities can still obtain a significant amount of revenue from these events even if they are not “sold out”.

  5. Colleen, The reason I brought it up was to illustrate the continuing decline of NASCAR this year, not an inference to profit margins. NASCAR cannot continue to slide like this and Chris has some pretty good ideas on how to deal with that. Not looking to pick a fight either. I’ve really enjoyed some of your recent posts and found them very informative.

  6. Rich,
    I believe that the rising prices of gas and cost of living have more to do with attendance figures than lack of fans. Given that a good number of fans travel to the races it would make sense. As for NASCAR’s declining ratings and attendance figures, I can’t remember where I read it (probably NASCAR.com) but in relation to other sports NASCAR, despite it’s current decline in ratings, is still second to Football and ahead of all of the others. Yes even proffessional Basketball, Baseball and would you believe it, GOLF! And lets face it as any sport gets more popular event organizers raise prices which ultimately drives some people away, but they always come back or are replaced by others eventually. Look at what happened to Basketball after the Jordan years, and it bounced back.

    But since I can’t post a link since I can’t remember where it was it must not be true right?

  7. Rich, I would love to see CART (Champ Car) and IRL finally get their “stuff” together and take this opportunity, of NASCAR’s stalemate, to grow open wheel racing in this country. Right now road racing (American Le Mans & Grand Am) are the fastest growing segment of racing. Before the split IRL./CART was poised to become even bigger than NASCAR, but they got greedy and stupid and split up. This gave NASCAR the opportunity to dominate.

    Tony Stewart went on a real vent about the problems with NASCAR on his satellite show this week. See if you can find the article about it. It was interesting.

  8. I read what #20 had to say, and, as usual, he’s right (phantom debris, competition cautions, etc…). I used to love INDY-CART and then they ruined it with greed. I don’t even watch the 500 any more.

  9. RICH–

    Top NASCAR officials explained to Tony in great detail (at 0600 Friday morning) that they MUST err on the side of driver and fan safety when calling debris cautions. Even something as small as a lug nut, picked up and kicked out by a tire, could do some serious hurt to an innocent bystander or driver.

  10. James, I would agree, but how many “phantom” cautions do you see in mid race? The announcers for FOX didn’t see it, it happens a lot during the last few laps, it happened today, come on, it’s what NASCAR has done for years. BTW, Even the FOX grew commented today as fans again pelted #24 after the win. That was some “real” debris.

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