Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Doubtful for 2010

Richard DeveauCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2009

After rumours of Kentucky Speedway joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2010 were floating around, a court schedule released Monday appears to be another blow to the track's chances of having NASCAR's premier series.

The antitrust lawsuit between the track founders and NASCAR most likely will not be resolved until at least late May.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Monday released its oral argument calendar for the week of Mar. 9, and the case was not on the docket. The earliest the Kentucky-NASCAR case can now get on the calendar is the two-week session that begins April 20.

It takes at least a month, and typically longer, for the appeals court to render a decision.

NASCAR officials have repeatedly said that the Sprint Cup Series will not be racing at Kentucky as long as the case is unresolved.

New owners of the circuit, Speedway Motorsports Inc., have requested a spot on the 2010 schedule. When SMI bought the track, the former owners retained the rights to the lawsuit.

This means unless the founders of this track do not drop the lawsuit, we will not witness Kentucky Speedway on the 2010 Sprint Cup Series schedule.

Kentucky Speedway is suing NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. on antitrust grounds.

It claims that NASCAR, a sanctioning body owned by the France family, and the publicly traded track-operator ISC, whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family, illegally conspire to keep tracks such as Kentucky from obtaining Cup dates. SMI is considered a co-conspirator in the case.

NASCAR and ISC deny those claims.

In January 2008, a U.S. District Court judge ruled there was not enough evidence to go to trial. The appeal centers on the validity of the evidence, and if the Kentucky Speedway founders win the appeal, the case would then go back to district court for a trial.

The appeals court could make a decision without a hearing, but it is not expected to do so.

“I wouldn’t speculate as to when the court would hear the case, but I can say that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date will not be considered while the litigation against NASCAR, ISC, SMI and others remains,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in a statement Monday.

Thanks to scenedaily.com for information and comments.