Bruton Smith lobbies for Atlanta race
HAMPTON, Ga. -- The chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. hasn't given up on the idea of having two Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway again one day.
"Absolutely," Bruton Smith said before Sunday's race at AMS. "But not in March. We tried that and tried it awfully hard over the years. I remember coming here four times before they actually ran the race one year. Rain, rain, rain. March is not the time to run a race here."
Smith recently gave up his March Cup date that has struggled attendance-wise to give a date to Kentucky Speedway beginning in 2011. Under the realigned schedule, Kentucky will host its first Cup race in early July.
Smith would not speculate on how he would get a second date for Atlanta, which hosted its first event in 1960. Under the current scenario he would have to give up a date from one of his existing tracks because NASCAR does not have a history of giving SMI a date from International Speedway Corporation.
The only other option would be to get a date from independently owned Pocono or Dover, which have two races each, but NASCAR has given no indication it would do that.
Smith has tried to purchase both tracks in recent years.
"Certain things would have to occur," Smith said. "If we're able to make those things occur, yeah there is a possibility. We'll be keeping our eyes open and see if we can be creative."
A second date for Atlanta is not Smith's priority. Bringing a second Cup date to Las Vegas, preferably the last weekend of the season, is.
Smith said this weekend at Kentucky Speedway that Homestead Miami is "not the proper place for the Sprint Cup series to end the Chase for the championship." He referred to the track as "North Cuba."
"I was just speaking the truth," Smith said. "I thought it was a compliment based on location."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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