If those who still yearn for a NASCAR speedway in Washington are not watching what happens with the proposal to fix KeyArena, they should.
There are a few similarities. Both the new KeyArena idea and the speedway plan called for the proponents picking up about half the tab. Neither, at this point, could guarantee the presence of the major league sport should the work happen.
When International Speedway Corp. made its bid for the track, one of the arguments was that its proposal was better than those used to pay for Safeco and Qwest fields. The same is being said about the deal for KeyArena.
The KeyArena proposal would use existing taxes to pay for half of the improvements needed at the arena, while the owners would put up the other half. Additionally, the proposal has the tentative backing of people who normally oppose stadium deals using public funds.
That last point could be bad for race fans, because if the deal goes through, the next speedway proposal would presumably have to be a better offer than the one before to come close to arena proposal.
Apparently, ISC is still interested.
Ryan McGee writes for ESPN Magazine and in a tongue-in-cheek March 6 column he wrote, “International Speedway Corp. is snooping around Seattle, Denver and, despite the best efforts of environmentalists, New York City.” That part wasn’t a joke. Nor was it really news, according to ISC.
ISC spokesman Wes Harris said Monday the company continues to be interested in the Seattle market, and the ones in Denver and New York. “We do think that long term those are markets that would be well served by cup racing,” he said.
I e-mailed McGee and asked if there was any news we should be expecting. He responded:
“I was with NASCAR Images, the league’s production company, up until January and I don’t have any specific info for you other than to say it still comes up on the ISC meeting agendas on a weekly basis. In other words, they aren’t going away!”
That doesn’t mean Kitsap County, necessarily. But I can’t help but have it in the back of my mind when issues such as the annexation of the South Kitsap Industrial Area arise. There’s also an election coming this November, with many promising payback to local legislators who helped block the proposal in 2007.
It makes me wonder if some people in Daytona Beach, Fla. will be hitting the refresh button around 11 p.m. EST on Nov. 4.