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SMI Extends Partnership With Coca-Cola For Six Of Its Race Tracks

SMI on Friday announced that it is extending its long-term partnership with Coca-Cola North America through '15. Coca-Cola brands will continue to be the official soft drink, sparkling beverage, water, sports drink and enhanced water for six of SMI's tracks. The agreement includes title sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway through '15 (SMI). The six tracks to have a deal with Coca-Cola are below:

Atlanta Motor Speedway Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Infineon Raceway Texas Motor Speedway

CRUISE CONTROL: Coca-Cola Senior VP/Integrated Marketing Bea Perez said that despite declines in attendance, NASCAR sponsorships "remain valuable." Perez: "We don't worry, because what we know is, people are just consuming it differently. People are struggling and they may not be able to come out to the races. But even if they don't come to the races, they're watching it at home. And more often than not, they're watching it with their families" (, 3/5). SMI President & COO Marcus Smith noted that SMI and Coca-Cola have a 25-year partnership and said that the "extension of the partnership will include special advertising and promotions for fans and racing teams" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/6).

Bruton Smith Confident Kentucky Speedway
Will Get A NASCAR Sprint Cup Race In 2011

FEELING LUCKY IN KENTUCKY: SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith Friday said that he is "confident that Kentucky Speedway will get a Sprint Cup date in 2011." In order for that to happen, Smith still "needs track co-founder Richard Duchossois to agree not to appeal" the verdict in his federal antitrust case against NASCAR and ISC to the Supreme Court. Smith: "I think eventually Duchossois will get tired of trying to do something that he can't get done. I think that (his dropping the suit) will happen. ... I'm very confident" (, 3/6).'s Tom Bowles noted if Kentucky Speedway lands a Cup race, Atlanta Motor Speedway seems likely to "lose a date." The SMI track is "part of NASCAR's Solid South, near its core fan base but also within 500 miles of a half-dozen tracks." That makes it an "ultra competitive market for fans who could just as easily spend their money on more prestigious events at Daytona, Darlington, Talladega or the short track in Bristol." Bowles noted Infineon Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which each own one Cup date, "are not likely to get the ax, since Smith would not pull the plug on their only chance to make big bucks this season." Bristol and Texas have two dates each, and as "leaders in NASCAR attendance, they won't be going anywhere." That leaves Smith "picking between three ovals with two sanctioned Cup dates: Atlanta, New Hampshire and Charlotte" (, 3/5).

BRUT-AL HONESTY: Smith said investing in Motorsports Authentics was the "worst decision that I have ever made in my business life." Smith: "I refused to do it for five years and finally got talked into it and should have never done it. ... It was a sorry-run company and the due diligence was not done properly and the company had a lot of crap out there" (, 3/6).

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