Smith, NASCAR to discuss schedule

Updated: June 28, 2010, 4:03 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

LOUDON, N.H. -- Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith said Friday he plans to meet with NASCAR officials soon to discuss the Sprint Cup schedule for SMI tracks in 2011.

Smith did not say whether he plans to move one New Hampshire Motor Speedway date to Kentucky Motor Speedway.

"Whatever we do, we'll announce sometime in the future," Smith said. "We'll be talking to NASCAR about all these things and we need to study it carefully. We want to do whatever is best for the sport. We're in this thing together. If opportunity knocks, we want to be there to open the door."

Kentucky is the only SMI track that doesn't have a Cup race, something Smith wants to change. That could mean the June race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which SMI also owns, could move. NHMS also hosts the first Chase race in September.

Smith will announce Sunday that the IndyCar Series will race at NHMS next season, which could replace the June Cup date at the 1-mile oval.

There also was speculation that Smith might move one Atlanta Motor Speedway date to Kentucky.

"No, I've never heard that," Smith said Friday.

Smith was asked if the two Cup races at Brooklyn, Mich., which is about 250 miles north of the Sparta, Ky., track, might hurt attendance at Kentucky.

"We're a long way from there," Smith said of Kentucky Speedway. "And Michigan is never going to be what it once was. The auto industry has moved south."

Smith also was asked what he would do if he owned Michigan International Speedway.

"I would move one of those races to Kentucky and one to Las Vegas," Smith said, listing two tracks owned by SMI.

Smith said he will meet with NASCAR president Mike Helton this weekend and plans to meet with Lesa France Kennedy soon. Kennedy is the CEO of International Speedway Corp. and the sister of NASCAR chairman Brian France.

Kennedy hopes to add a second Cup date next year at Kansas Speedway, an ISC facility.

"I get along very well with Lesa," Smith said. "She and I have a good rapport. I will be talking to her next week, hopefully. We don't want to put off until next year what we can do this year."

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter