NASCAR: ‘They aren’t going away!’

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.

18 thoughts on “NASCAR: ‘They aren’t going away!’

  1. The difference is that we were asked to contribute 135 million dollars towards the infrastructure to and from that track. They would pay for everything else. We have also 2,500 acres that need that infrastructere also. If NASCAR were to get here, it would open up all that 2,500 for the development of jobs and businesses. I can’t help but think that all the legislators who stopped that track before will be gone.

  2. Would any taxes paid outside Seattle or King County be used to pay for Key Arena under this idea? It doesn’t look like it, but is there a credit against the state sales tax as there was with the ISC proposal? One of the two stadiums in Seattle has that, if I recall correctly.

    The obvious difference is that the infrastructure to accommodate the arena exists, but it does not exist for the speedway. On top of the $164 million in public funding for the speedway facility, there was an undetermined but apparently large amount needed for infrastructure — which ISC flatly and repeatedly refused to promise to pay.

  3. Yea – I also recall whenever anyone pointed out the logistical problems of getting all of those NASCAR fans to and from SK, the NASCAR proponents would point out that many of them would be able to take the ferries from Seattle…

    How’s that idea looking these days?

  4. Has anyone on this blog looked at the current infrastructure in Kitsap county??? There are so many roads either being repaired, widened or needing to be repaired or widened. You know who is paying for it? That’s right US the taxpayers of Kitsap county. Think of the big picture here and how much revenue would come to our area. I vote to let the fans come spend their money 2 weekends a year and pay for those roads and all the other $$$$$$ it would bring to our area. NASCAR coming to Kitsap would be sweet! We were foolish to let it slip right through our fingers and I sure hope if given the opportunity again it doesn’t get blown by misinformation and or ignorance.

  5. Gordon,
    You tell me your favorite charity and I’ll tell you mine. I’ll bet you a $50 donation to the appropriate charity that no Kitsap legislator who opposed the NASCAR plan will be defeated.
    The NASCAR proprosal was just too expensive for what Kitsap would really receive.

    If you want to bet, my favorite charity, for this purpose, would be Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County,

    Tell me your favorite charity, and we’re on.

  6. NoSpin,
    The ISC proposal also claimed that the thousands of ferry riders would all somehow get from the ferry terminals in Bainbridge, Bremerton, and Southworth to the racetrack without any impact on traffic in Kitsap County. Maybe they used Harry Potter as a transportation consultant, eh?

    If I remember correctly, Mr. Bemrose also predicted that Jack Hamilton would trounce Josh Brown. I think your bet is probably safe.

  7. The liberals just can’t stand the idea of SKIA developing at all can they. They know full well that NASCAR was a way to do it. SEED most certainly wasn’t and isn’t. It’s just too bad. Now we get to just sit and look at that land. Cean, I’m a former board member and co-founder for the Habitat for Humanity chapter in Vancouver. I always donate much more than $50 dollars per year to them.

  8. My goodness, this poor horse, is there anything left to beat? ISC/NASCAR will never exist in Kitsap County, except in the dreams of it’s fans…

  9. So, Gordon, does that mean that we are on? If so, if I lose, I would donate $50 to the Vancouver Habitat, and if you lose, you would donate $50 to Habitat in Kitsap?
    To refresh, you would be betting that all of the legislators who stopped that track will be defeated in the upcoming election, and I would be betting that they would not all be defeated.
    Whoops! I already won the bet, since not all of them will be running.

    I remembered that, too. I don’t really gamble much.

  10. I don’t know what NASCAR sponsor’s product they are adding to their morning orange juice down in Florida if they think that they have a shot at getting a corporate welfare handout from Olympia in 2009 or 2010.

    The legislative session ended and the Sonics did not get any traction in getting a corporate welfare handout and if they can’t then there is simply no way on Gods green Earth that the International Speedway Corporation of Florida has a chance in begging hard enough to get a corporate welfare bill passed.

    2006/2007 was their best chance and they horribly failed on so many different levels. Sure the opposition made great strides to organize a resistance to a hostile outsider corporate entity like the ISC but ultimately it was the incompetence and repeated failure of the ISC to put forth a winning plan. If they want to build a NASCAR track in Washington they are going to have to follow all the existing laws and pay for all of it out of their own pocket.

    The national economy is tanking thanks to the fiscal insanity of years of Bush rule and the Democratic majority in Olympia is going to be busy dealing with figuring out how to fund the construction mega projects like the 512 bridge replacement, the Seattle viaduct (Go People’s Waterfront Coalition’s surface option) the I-5 bridge over the Columbia, Sound Transit and providing a solution to our breaking ferry system. We still have damage to our transportation infrastructure to repair from the December flood. Plus Tim Eyman and his supporters in Olympia have gutted the ability of local governments to maintain a decent budget. Thanks to Dino Rossi’s friend John McSame as Bush’s handing of the Air Force tanker deal to the French there is also going to be a lot more laid off workers in Washington. There is not going to be a dime for corporate welfare for NASCAR.

    I’ve met with Senators and Representatives that were co-sponsors of the failed Pork for NASCAR bill and showed obvious signs of regret for have doing so. The ISC burned a lot of bridges in Olympia and they made a really bad impression on the legislature. Also I bet the demonizing of Speaker of the House and the local legislature didn’t help. The Democratic co-sponsors risked the support of state environmental groups that they are going to need the support of if they want to win re-election in November. We are also going to be checking the PDC reports of every single local candidate and if any of them takes NASCAR money they can expect hell to pay come election time.

    The Republican supporters of Pork for NASCAR like Zarelli and Hankins are going to be lame ducks after the progressive wave of voters mail in their ballots in 2008.

    The ISC corporation of Florida wasted a lot of money on lobbyists and astro-turf political marketing that they could have better invested growing what little TV audience they have in Washington. The ISC failed in Snohomish, Denver and Kitsap and they better think twice before coming back and ask for a corporate handout.

  11. Jake,

    You have a revisionists view of history.

    I remember that it was Rep. Seaquist AND Speaker Chopp who demonized, vilified and slandered NASCAR fans and racers respectively. I am pretty sure that Speaker Chopp didn’t wrongly accuse Richard Petty of DUI to make THE KING feel good about himself. And we all remember what Rep. Seaquist said about NASCAR fans. Wasn’t he reprimanded by the Human Rights Council for his bigoted comments?

    All you need to do is take a look at some of the old blog posts.

    Maybe I’ll finally get off my butt and get the FOIA for legislators emails regarding the “then-proposed” Speedway. Maybe I’ll get the emails for the Sonics while I am at it and see what the bulk of email really says. I am tired of the vocal minority acting like they know what is best for everyone and represent the popular opinion of the state. It just isn’t true.

    Like NASCAR or not, they have been the only serious tenant for SKIA. EVER. Even the Dept of Corrections facility was a joke. E-V-E-R. How much money got dumped down the SEED rabbit-hole? How come that isn’t termed “corporate welfare?”

    How can the governor go down and open a new arena for the Thunderbirds in Kent and there is money? How come the AquaSox get a new stadium on the state’s dime?

    There isn’t a dime’s worth of rhyme or reason in these decisions.

    When there finally was a chance for real economic development in Kitsap, a chance to become less dependent on the military, a chance to have the largest tourist attraction in the state,the leaders of Kitsap were not interested.

    Have fun cutting budgets for your local services.

  12. Kyle,

    Looks like you have “a revisionists view of history” yourself:The proposed racetrack site was outside the SKIA. At the time of the proposal, the SKIA was on the north side of Lake Flora Road, and the proposed racetrack site was on the south side. How could ISC be an SKIA tenant when their proposed location was outside the SKIA?The Everett Aquasox play in Everett Memorial Stadium, which was built in 1947. There are no plans and no funds to build a new ballpark for the Aquasox.Chopp personally apologized to Petty for his statement.This is a dead horse. Stop beating it.

  13. I don’t know who this “King” you talk about is supposed to be. There was a former racer who was on a PR junket for his employers in Florida. I am an American and we don’t have a king.

    The Kitsap Human Rights Counsel said NOTHING officially about Rep Seaquist. I was there and testified in person. Rep Seaquist never said anything bad about NASCAR fans. He was talking about the ISC Corporation and even agrees with me.

    It would be great if Geoff Simpson and his pals at the ISC would disclose their emails and records about their propaganda campaign to get their corporate welfare. You know the “Prison in SKIA if NASCAR Fails” lie. That was all him.

    Honestly I don’t care about the Seed and have never been a proponent of it. I don’t think the woods of South Kitsap have been hurting anyone by staying there as is.

    I’ve consistently opposed all public money and financing for frivolous private spots complexes.

    The budget cuts are from Tim Eyman and his accomplices in Olympia that failed to stand up to his bullying.

    I think it’s laughable that Kym here and Lary Coppola compares the fail NASCAR plan to the military bases in Kitsap. Larry the NASCAR guy of Port Orchard actually compared NASCAR to Naval Base Kitsap Bangor or Bellvue Bozman that told the Legislature that Poulsbo would not be affected by a base closure. I think it is extremely demeaning to the vast majority of hard working military economy. and the men and women we support as part of our national defense.

    I did my part to fight pork for NASCAR in 06 and 07 and I’ll still be around to fight for Kitsap.

    If you want NASCAR in Kitsap you can play it on Xbox or watch it on TV.

    They failed. Get over it.

  14. NASCAR was going to be on David Overton’s property, which is included in SKIA. There was additional acreage that would have been added if the Speedway had been approved.

    The legislature appropriated funds to renovate the Everett Aquasox field last session. You can read about it in the Seattle Times.

    Chopp did apologoize, and Seaquist tried to parse his statement. That is very decent and gracious of them . However, they were not going to give NASCAR a fair evaluation. I don’t think that they could be capable of being unbiased against it based on statements like that apology or not.

    BTW, if you are going to be a condescending smart ass you need to get your facts straight. Arrogance and ignorance are not a winning combination. SHAKE AND BAKE!!!

  15. They use “NASCAR” to entice people to favor a track. We have a few NASCAR tracks in Washington State already. Everytime they think of NASCAR, they think of “cup” drivers. The races here are NASCAR Northwest Regional races. That is about all we could get here.
    Look at last week: Over 160,000 spectators. That doesn’t count the drivers, pit crews, family or officials. We could never host a “Major” race here.
    Getting here would be H— because of large motorhomes and haulers. It would be rough getting all that heavy equipment over the mountains.
    If you want to see a NASCAR race in Washington, to to NASCAR.COM and click on tracks to see where and when the races are held.
    I am a NASCAR fan, but, I know this is not a place to consider a cup race.

  16. Kyle,

    I apologize for not knowing about the Everett School District getting money for their stadium. There’s no mention of the money on the Everett Aquasox home page, or on the first ten or so pages of a Google search for Everett Memorial Stadium. $433,000 for improvements to Everett Memorial Stadium is hardly the equivalent of $175 million for a NASCAR track, though, is it?

    I stand by what I said otherwise. The track site was NOT part of the SKIA when it was initially proposed, and Chopp DID apologize.

    As for the name-calling, I try not to play such juvenile games. I’ll leave that to you, along with the dead horse. Feel free to beat it all you want.

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