Smith, NASCAR discuss Kentucky date

Updated: May 4, 2009, 4:23 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith is confident he will have a Sprint Cup date at Kentucky in 2010.

Smith said on Monday he has talked to NASCAR officials about moving a date from one of his tracks that has two races to the 1.5 mile oval that he purchased for $78.3 million last year.

He said a formal request hasn't been made because he doesn't want to announce what track will lose a date. Atlanta, which has struggled to sell tickets the past few years, comes up most often.

"See, I'll be doing damage to a lot of people if I sat here [and named the track]," Smith said on Monday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

NASCAR chairman Brian France has made it clear that realignment will not be considered until the appeal of the antitrust lawsuit filed by the track's founders is dropped.

"NASCAR has not received a formal request to realign a race to Kentucky,'' NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "As we have consistently said, no request will be considered until the pending litigation is resolved. Furthermore, the window for realignment requests is rapidly closing."

But sources close to the situation acknowledged NASCAR has had discussion with Smith and that an informal request has been made.

The founders have alleged that NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., have conspired to keep independent tracks from obtaining Cup dates. SMI is considered a co-conspirator in the case.

"We're trying to persuade these people to drop that appeal," Smith said. "We're hoping that will occur."

NASCAR is in the process of setting next season's schedule. It typically is announced in late summer.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter