SBD/Issue 202/Facilities & Venues

Chicagoland President Rust To Re-Evaluate Track Operation

Rust Wants To Make Speedway
More Prominent Presence In Auto Racing
Chicagoland Speedway President Craig Rust said that after Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup 400, he "expects to take a step back, observe how everything operates and figure out a way to make the Speedway a more prominent presence in auto racing," according to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Chicagoland is expected to be below-capacity for this weekend's race, and Rust said NASCAR "should be selling out" at the 75,000-seat track. Rust: "We're properly sized. The place by no stretch is overbuilt, which I think some of the other facilities around the country are. The first goal is (to) get the Cup race consistently sold out." Rust added, "We need to brand our facility properly, we need to establish strong partnerships whether it's sponsors, whether it's with other sports teams. ... There is a lot of potential to grow the profile of this race track in this market." Meanwhile, Rust noted there is a "lot of acreage around that race track." Rust: "What else can we use the facility to do? ... The facility is busy six months out of the year. That's another thing I want to take a look at -- are we maximizing the potential of the facility?" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/9).

READY AND WILLING: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear yesterday held a "ceremonial signing" of House Bill 3, an "incentives bill designed to help attract a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race" to Kentucky Speedway. The bill, which Beshear officially signed into law on June 26, includes a "provision that offers Kentucky Speedway as much" as $36.7M in sales tax credits over the next 20 years. The tax break "would help SMI pay for what could be" a $100M expansion, but is "contingent on Kentucky Speedway hosting" a Cup race. Beshear: "I think this sends a very strong message to NASCAR that Kentucky is ready, willing and able to step up and do everything possible to make this track a success and to make a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here a big success." SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, whose company owns the track, said that the bill "represents a 'huge commitment' from the state" (KENTUCKY ENQUIRER, 7/9).

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