Speedway Motorsports Inc. head honcho Bruton Smith is pushing hard to get the Kentucky Speedway on the 2010 Sprint Cup slate. Of course, there's the small matter of a lawsuit that the speedway's founders have filed against NASCAR. In other words, in a phrase I've heard all too often, no lawsuit withdrawal, no date.
"We're trying to persuade these people [the founders] to try to drop that appeal, and then they are out of the way of NASCAR, and it would make it much simpler," Smith says. "We haven't been able to make that occur. There's only two people [among the founders] that's holding it up."
Well, that and the fact that there's no date available for another track. We're at 36 races already, and extending the season or removing an off day doesn't appear to be an option, for any number of complex scheduling and weather-related reasons. But Smith has said he'd be willing to give the Kentucky track a date from one of his existing portfolio of tracks ... which leads us to wonder, which one? Let's look at SMI's tracks and size up the likelihood of them losing a race:
Atlanta Motor Speedway: One of the most historic tracks on the circuit, and also one of the most notorious for its attendance problems. Can history alone sustain a track's viability in the face of dwindling attendance? Odds on losing a date: 3 to 1.
Bristol Motor Speedway: It's the preeminent short track on the schedule, and while it's in the middle of nowhere, it's still a near-sellout and one (actually, two) of the most popular stops on the sked. Odds: 100,000 to 1.
Infineon Raceway: Everybody wants to take a race away from California -- everybody except the people making the decisions. There's too large of a potential audience for Infineon to lose a date, no matter how dull the racing gets. Odds: 100 to 1.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway: With just one race on the schedule, Vegas isn't an option. Odds: 1 million to 1.
Lowe's Motor Speedway: No way. Ain't gonna happen. Smith wouldn't even consider taking a race from NASCAR's home base. Odds: 1 bajillion to 1.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: It's a quality facility, but it lacks the history of several of the other tracks. It's also geographically separate from much of NASCAR's fan base and operations. Two dates? Hmm...perhaps a bit much. On the other hand, New Hampshire always sells out, something that Atlanta can't match. Odds: 2-1.
Texas Motor Speedway: A tentpole facility for the Midwest, with far too much money invested in its success for it to give up either of its two dates. Odds: 100,000 to 1.
Which track will stay and which will go?