Kansas seeks second Cup race if hotel/casino approved

Updated: August 13, 2008, 5:59 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

Lesa France Kennedy, president of International Speedway Corp., said Wednesday that she will petition NASCAR to add a second annual Sprint Cup race for Kansas Speedway if approval is granted to build a hotel and casino at the facility.

A second Cup date for Kansas would not happen until 2010 at the earliest. The 2009 schedule is near completion and NASCAR officials are expected to announce it by the end of the month.

"Kansas Speedway currently has an economic impact of $243 million [annually] to the area," said Kansas Speedway president Jeff Boerger. "The addition of a second Sprint Cup race would add another $111 million to the community."

Kennedy made the announcement at Kansas City, Kan. Community College, where plans were revealed to build a $700 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

"Kansas Speedway not only attracts hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the year but also serves as a catalyst for new development," Kennedy said. "Many positive changes to the community have occurred since our arrival, and I believe our Hard Rock Hotel & Casino proposal will continue the momentum we started and benefit the taxpayers of Kansas."

The proposal for the hotel and casino includes 300 hotel rooms, 3,000 slot machines, 140 gaming tables, 275,000 square-feet of retail shops and dining, and a live music entertainment venue.

The Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board will consider the speedway proposal in late September. If approved, Kennedy will ask NASCAR for a second Cup race at the 1.5-mile oval speedway, which opened in 2001.

Kennedy also said a second race for Kansas would not increase the 36-race schedule, but instead would come from another ISC facility. ISC owns 12 speedways that play host to Cup events.

Kennedy is the sister of NASCAR chairman Brian France. She also is the executive vice president of NASCAR. ISC is a public company that is controlled by the France family.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter