No Cup race at Kentucky in 2011? Even though it appears that the Kentucky Speedway founders' antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR is coming to a close, track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. reported that a 2011 Sprint Cup date at the track "may not be feasible" because of a variety of factors, including capital improvements necessary for the facility. SMI Chairman Bruton Smith has been adamant about moving a date to Kentucky as soon as possible. But a filing Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission noted that 2011 might be too soon, although those filings must cover all possible scenarios and can, at times, be cautious in nature. Bill Brooks, SMI's chief financial officer, said Wednesday during a conference call with financial analysts that among the factors that would dictate when realignment would occur are "particularly costs of any capital expenditure to upgrade or expand our facility at Kentucky [and] the lead time to do it." Brooks did not say what capital improvements will be necessary, but Smith has talked about expanding the grandstand capacity. Kentucky has only 69,000 seats - 30,000 fewer than New Hampshire and 32,000 fewer than Atlanta - and likely would need to increase seating for a Sprint Cup event. According to the SEC filing, other factors being considered over whether to move a race to Kentucky are the popularity and profitability of various races, alternative uses of tracks and revenues for such tracks in the event a race is moved, any existing or potential government tax incentives, changing economic conditions at the individual tracks and in the economy as a whole.(Scene Daily)(5-6-2010)
Kentucky Speedway lawsuit gets resolved: The litigation that has stood in the way of Kentucky Speedway getting a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is over, the track’s one-time chairman said Friday. The news came after a court order was filed in U.S. District Court in Covington in a case related to the federal antitrust lawsuit that has pitted Kentucky Speedway’s former owners against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. “It’s behind us,” Fort Mitchell developer Jerry Carroll said. “Everything is behind us. The future now has wonderful opportunity at Kentucky Speedway.” There had been a one-day bench trial scheduled for May 7 in U.S. District Court to resolve a dispute between Carroll and one of his founding partners in Kentucky Speedway. The trial was cancelled Friday when lawyers representing both sides informed the court that they settled, according to the court order. The legal action brought against Carroll by four trusts controlled by Dick Duchossois, chairman of The Duchossois Group, challenged whether Carroll had the authority under the ownership group’s operating agreement to control the fate of the antitrust lawsuit. Kentucky Speedway, opened in 2000, is scheduled to host races this season featuring NASCAR’s Nationwide and Camping World Truck series as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series. NASCAR has maintained throughout that it would not consider allowing a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway until the antitrust lawsuit was resolved and has cited SMI’s involvement as one reason for that stance. SMI has invested millions in infrastructure and cosmetic improvements at Kentucky Speedway. Bruton Smith, the company’s chairman, wants to hold a Sprint Cup race there next year. One option to get a date is to move a Sprint Cup race from one of SMI’s other tracks. The track’s former owners stand to receive a $7.5 million contingency from SMI if a Sprint Cup race is scheduled at the track. Smith was unavailable for comment Friday, a company spokesman said.()(5-2-2010)
Latest on Kentucky Speedway lawsuit: A U.S. District Court judge has set a May 7 trial date to determine who has the authority to authorize whether the Kentucky Speedway founders can appeal their antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR to the U.S. Supreme Court. Richard Duchossois, one of the members of the Kentucky Speedway founding group, is suing the group’s managing member, Jerry Carroll, over the right to continue the antitrust litigation against NASCAR. Carroll doesn’t want to continue pursuing the case, while Duchossois wants to consider requesting the Supreme Court to hear an appeal. The deadline to file a request for an appeal to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court is May 19, and if the request is filed, the court likely will not decide whether to hear an appeal until October at the earliest. With NASCAR’s long-standing policy that it won’t consider moving a Cup date to Kentucky until the litigation is completely resolved, the filing of a request to the U.S. Supreme Court likely would keep Kentucky off the 2011 Cup schedule. Duchossois, who controls several trusts that are part of the track’s founding group, Kentucky Speedway LLC, alleges that more than 25 percent of the members of the founding group want to consider pursuing further appeals in the case and that Carroll therefore cannot instruct the group’s attorneys to abandon the lawsuit. The operating agreement requires Carroll to have 75 percent approval for matters concerning the sale or disposition of the property of the company. Duchossois argues that the lawsuit is virtually all that remains of the company and should be considered property and therefore Carroll cannot put an end to the lawsuit. The May 7 trial will be a bench trial (no jury) in front of Judge William Bertelsman, who was the judge for the original case.(SceneDaily)(4-3-2010)
Panel denies Kentucky Speedway suit rehearing UPDATE: The appeal involving Kentucky Speedway’s founding owners suffered another defeat Thursday when a three-judge panel for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition for a rehearing. The same panel in December upheld a lower court’s summary judgment ruling for NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. in the antitrust lawsuit.
“The panel has further reviewed the petition for rehearing and concludes that the issues raised in the petition were fully considered upon the original submission and decision of the case,” Thursday’s order reads. The only remaining option for the former owners is to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(2-18-2010)
UPDATE: Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Monday that he does not believe the former owners of Kentucky Speedway will exercise thier right to appeal a recent ruling in their antitrust lawsuit against International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR. The U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals recently refused to reconsider an earlier court ruling, leaving them with 90 days to file their final possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "I have spoken to the person that is empowered to make that decision," said Smith, "and Jerry Carroll has assured me that there will be no further appeal." Reminded that Carroll made similar assurances before the most recent appeal was filed, Smith said, "I think it's over. There will be no more appeals."(Sirius Speedway)(2-23-2010)
Bruton Smtih may sue former Kentucky Speedway owners: Speedway Motorsports, Inc., CEO Bruton Smith [and current owner of the track] told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Friday that he may file a lawsuit of his own against the former owners of Kentucky Speedway. ”I have business interests in 24 states around this country, and I employ probably 250 lawyers in those states,” said Smith. “I can tell you that some of those lawyers might be busy right now investigating the possibility of filing a lawsuit or two of our own to try and get this straightened out. We fully intend on a having a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in 2011, and we will do what we have to do to make it happen. We will stop at nothing that’s legal to fulfill the promises we’ve made (about bringing a Cup race to Kentucky).”(Sirius Speedway)(1-8-2010)
Partners sue former Kentucky Speedway owner: A former minority owner of Kentucky Speedway is suing the racetrack's one-time majority owner, Jerry Carroll, seeking to have a judge declare he can't drop an antitrust suit in a move that would keep the litigation alive. A group of four trusts operated by Duchossois Group Chairman Richard Duchossois of Illinois filed suit Tuesday against Carroll, saying he doesn't have the legal right to stop an appeal of the suit against NASCAR. The lawsuit against Carroll, filed in federal court in Covington, comes a day after Duchossois asked the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider it's rejection of the antitrust litigation. The appellate court earlier this month threw out the lawsuit. Brian Goldwasser of Cincinnati, the attorney for the trusts, did not return a message seeking comment. Carroll declined comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.
The tangled litigation traces back to 2005, when Carroll and the minority owners sued NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., claiming the two companies conspired to monopolize Sprint Cup races and cut the 1.5-mile oval at the Sparta-based Kentucky Speedway out of the loop. Carroll and his minority partners estimated damages from the suit at between $100 million and $400 million dollars should they win.
A federal judge in Covington dismissed the lawsuit in 2007 and, in December, a three-judge panel from the 6th Circuit followed suit, saying multiple factors likely weigh on NASCAR's decisions about whether to grant Kentucky Speedway or any track a Sprint Cup race. Carroll, who sold the track to Speedway Motorsports Inc. in 2008, said immediately that the decision wouldn't be appealed further, prompting the lawsuit by Duchossois. In the suit, Duchossois says the operating agreement between Carroll and his partners required approval by 75 percent of the ownership to dispose of any asset - in this case, the lawsuit. Because the minority partners - Duchossois and the estate of Jerry Lindahl - owned more than 40 percent of the race track and voted against dropping the suit, Carroll had no authority to end the litigation, Duchossois said in the suit.
In the rehearing petition filed with the appeals court, the race track says a rehearing is necessary because, "the panel's decision conflicts with established antitrust law in four fundamental respects." It also claims the panel made other, "fundamental legal errors of antitrust analysis." The track, about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati, has drawn huge crowds to some of its other races. The NASCAR Nationwide series race last year drew more than 70,000 people.
The speedway's former owners claim NASCAR had conspired to leave the Sparta track and others out of the Sprint Cup - formerly known as the Nextel Cup - series despite their superior amenities. The speedway had asked that ISC be ordered to sell some of the tracks it owns that host Sprint Cup races and that the speedway be awarded more than $200 million in damages. ISC-owned tracks host 55 percent of all Sprint Cup races. The rest are facilities owned by other companies, including Speedway Motorsports Inc., the only company besides ISC that hosts more than one Sprint Cup race. Attorneys for NASCAR and ISC argued that the speedway had insufficient evidence to prove NASCAR and ISC worked together with other tracks to keep the Kentucky track from obtaining a race in the Sprint Cup series. Kentucky Speedway has taken several steps to lure a Sprint Cup race, including getting an interstate highway widened near the track and adding a new exit. The track, with a capacity of just over 66,000 fans, has said it's prepared to add 20,000 to 35,000 seats if it attracted a Sprint Cup race.(Associated Press)(12-30-2009)
Original Kentucky Speedway owners will not pursue further legal action: Former Kentucky Speedway Chairman Jerry Carroll announced today the founding track ownership group will not exercise remaining legal options in the case of Kentucky Speedway, LLC v. NASCAR, et al. “On behalf of the original partners of Kentucky Speedway, I have informed our attorneys we will not pursue any remaining appeals in the case of Kentucky Speedway, LLC v. NASCAR, et al. While we still believe in the merits of the case, it is time to accept the decision of the courts and move on. I appreciate the continuing opportunity to assist and consult with Bruton Smith, Gov. Steve Beshear and our dedicated corporate partners to realize our shared dream of bringing a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to Kentucky,” Carroll said.(Kentucky Speedway)(12-18-2009)
Appeals court rules against Kentucky Speedway: A federal appeals court has rejected claims by a Kentucky track that NASCAR violates federal antitrust laws by keeping it off the premier racing circuit. The decision issued Friday by a three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ends, for now, Kentucky Speedway's legal efforts at forcing NASCAR to bring a Sprint Cup race to the northern Kentucky track. The panel said Kentucky Speedway failed to prove NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., worked together to with other tracks to keep the Kentucky track from getting a Sprint Cup race. Kentucky Speedway sued NASCAR in 2005 after being rejected multiple times for a top level race. The race track, about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati, has drawn huge crowds to some of its other races.(Lexington Herald/Association Press)(12-11-2009)
UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway spokesman Tim Bray declined comment [on the ruling]. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said NASCAR is pleased the court treated auto racing like other sports and acknowledged it's right to choose where and when to hold events. Poston said the 2010 racing schedule is set. Kentucky Speedway is not included in the Sprint Cup schedule. "However, we are happy to discuss alternatives with the track owners for 2011 and beyond as they relate to NASCAR's realignment plans," Poston said. "We question (Kentucky Speedway's) allegation that NASCAR's refusal to grant (Kentucky Speedway) a Sprint Cup race constitutes an antitrust injury because there are many considerations relevant to the quintessential business judgment of whether expanding the Sprint Cup to northern Kentucky makes economic sense in developing the NASCAR brand on a national basis," Judge Ronald Lee Gilman wrote for the court. Judges Jerome Farris and Deborah Cook joined Gilman's opinion.(Lexington Herald/Associated Press)(12-11-2009)
Kentucky vs. NASCAR Lawsuit continues: The former owners of the Kentucky Speedway are asking a federal appeals court for a green flag to pursue their antitrust claim against NASCAR. "They were squeezed out," attorney Stan Chesley, who helped file the lawsuit in 2005, said after arguments Thursday in front of a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A lower-court judge last year rejected the speedway's claim that the racing body and a sister company that operates tracks and promotes races have conspired to monopolize control over who gets the top stock car events. The Kentucky track, some 40 miles south of Cincinnati, has new ownership that wants the case ended to help its chances of gaining a coveted NASCAR Sprint Cup race. But Chesley said there are important issues for a trial, and that the former owners also want hundreds of millions in damages. "People have the right to have their case heard in court," Chesley said. NASCAR attorney David Boies said the lawsuit against the racing body and its International Speedway Corp. represented impatience by the Kentucky Speedway to get a Sprint Cup race. "They want one. Everyone wants one," Boies told the judges. Rule said the new Kentucky Speedway owners, Speedway Motorsports Inc., were co-conspirators. Boies told the judges there was no evidence of that claim. "Like other sports - the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA - NASCAR has the right to create its schedule and host events where it wants to," said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston.(Associated Press)(7-30-2009)
- Bruton says 2010 Cup race at Kentucky 'doubtful': UPDATE: Hours before the NASCAR Nationwide Series Meijer 300 was to go green at Kentucky Speedway, the big question to track owner Bruton Smith was whether there would be a Sprint Cup race at the track next year. Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., sounded as pessimistic that it would happen, and Smith is not known for being pessimistic. "I would like to say, 'Yes,' but I don't know," Smith said. "It's doubtful that we get it done. It would take a tremendous cooperation from NASCAR." NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston would not totally close the door on Kentucky's Cup chances for 2010, but indicated that it is doubtful. "As we've said, there can be no consideration of a Cup date for Kentucky while the litigation is pending," Poston said. "Having said that, the sanctioning process is currently under way." Once he gets a commitment to a Cup race, Smith said he would add about 50,000 seats to the track, which currently seats 69,000, as well as add additional roads to and from the facility. He would also move pit road closer to the grandstands - "You saw what I did in Vegas," Smith said.(Scene Daily)(6-14-2009)
UPDATE: Jerry Carroll, one of the five founders and former co-owners of Kentucky Speedway, expects the group’s antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR will continue at least through the appeal scheduled to be heard next month. “Absolutely,” he said Saturday as he stood about 25 feet away from current track owner Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith and Carroll consider themselves friends, but Smith cannot convince Carroll and his partners to drop the lawsuit filed in 2005 against NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. If the founders win their appeal, the case would go back to U.S. District Court for trial and, with appeals, could drag on for years.(Louisville Business Journal)(6-16-2009)
- Kentucky-NASCAR hearing set for July 30th: A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel will hear oral arguments in the Kentucky Speedway founders’ antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. at 9 a.m. July 30 in Cincinnati.
Decisions on appeals typically come anywhere from three weeks to six months after the oral arguments in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.(SceneDaily)(5-29-2009)
- Former Kentucky Speedway owners not giving up lawsuit: One of the former owners of Kentucky Motor Speedway says he won't be bullied into dropping an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR by new track owner Bruton Smith. Richard Duchossios said Thursday he's not sure why Smith has decided to go public with claims that the former owners have a "moral obligation" to race fans in Kentucky to drop the four-year-old lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. Duchossios and his fellow owners sold the track to Smith last year and gave Smith the option of purchasing the lawsuit. Smith declined and the case remains on appeal. Smith has asked NASCAR to give the 1.5-mile tri-oval in northern Kentucky a date on the 2010 Sprint Cup schedule, but believes the track will not receive a Cup race as long as the antitrust case remains active.(Associated Press)(5-19-2009)
- Smith calls on former track owners to drop lawsuit: The owner of Kentucky Motor Speedway called on the track's founding group to drop the antitrust lawsuit that's preventing him from adding the facility to next year's Sprint Cup Series schedule. "They have a moral obligation to their state to get out of the way," Bruton Smith said Friday. "NASCAR understands that I will bring them an event from another speedway, but these people need to get out of the way. They have an obligation to Kentucky to do that." Speedway Motorsports Inc. recently asked NASCAR to consider Kentucky for the 2010 Cup schedule, but the sanctioning body will not consider any proposals until the former owners drop their antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., its sister company. The 2005 suit stemmed from the group's unsuccessful bid to bring a coveted Cup race to Kentucky. The suit was dismissed in early 2008, but the case is on appeal. Smith traveled to the Kentucky Derby last weekend to urge the group to drop the appeal, but said "nothing much was accomplished" because there are two staunch holdouts. Smith identified the two holdouts as Richard Duchossios and Richard Farmer, two of the five listed principals in the original ownership group. Duchossios is the chairman at Arlington Park, a horse racing track near Chicago, while Farmer is the chairman of Cintas Corp. Because the original ownership group sold the Sparta track to Smith last year for $78.3 million, it stands to gain nothing if the track finally does get on the Cup schedule. The group spent $152 million to build the facility, which opened in 2000 and hosts an annual second-tier NASCAR Nationwide Series event. At seating for 68,000 fans, it's currently the largest venue that hosts a Nationwide race but doesn't have a Cup date. Smith said he has roughly two to three weeks to resolve the lawsuit conflict and give NASCAR a 2010 proposal for Kentucky. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said earlier this week the sanctioning body has an approaching deadline in mind for beginning next year's scheduling process.(Associated Press)(5-9-2009)
- Kentucky lawsuit resolution not likely in time to secure 2010 date: The likelihood that Kentucky Speedway will be awarded a 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup race has become even more remote because an antitrust lawsuit by the track founders against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. now likely won't be resolved until July at the earliest. The case, which is in U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, is not included in the hearing calendar finalized Monday for a two-week session beginning April 20. Although the court could still add the case to the schedule, that would be rare in a case such as this one. The next two-week hearing session begins June 8 - the Monday prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track. NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said that NASCAR will not consider a realignment request for a Sprint Cup date from current owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. until the case is resolved. NASCAR typically begins the sanctioning process in April or May, and France has said that the track is running out of time to begin the realignment process.(Scene Daily:)(4-14-2009)
- Bruton making changes to Kentucky, expects Cup date: SMI Motorsports owner and CEO Bruton Smith, the new owner of the Kentucky Speedway, and a guest Sunday night on 700 WLW's KOI Auto Parts Racing Report from 7-9pm, told me [Seg] that he was at the track Monday and Tuesday with architects and enginers. Smith said they will move 3-4 million yards of dirt to improve parking at the Sparta track, change some roads, build a bridge and completely re-do the infield. The existing garages will be torn down and a Las Vegas Speedway type infield will take its place.(700 WLW's KOI Auto Parts Racing Report)
AND Smith still wants a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway, but absolutely will not take one away from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, another track he owns. Where will he pull one from? He’s not saying, but speculation is Kentucky could replace the fall race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Tom Jensen Online)
AND II Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith said he doesn’t think the former owners of Kentucky Speedway can win their antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR. Smith wants the case either settled or dropped so that he can request NASCAR realign a Sprint Cup date to that track. Currently, the case is in a U.S. appeals court in Cincinnati on whether there is enough evidence to have a trial on the antitrust claims. Last year, a U.S. District Court judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence for trial. “I don’t think they’ll be successful on this appeal,” said Smith, who bought the track in December from the former owners, who wanted to continue pursuing the lawsuit. “All the lawyers that I’ve talked to know they won’t. But they still appealed it.”(SceneDaily)(1-20-2009)
- Kentucky Speedway lawsuit UPDATE: The Kentucky Speedway has one more chance to appeal an anti-trust lawsuit. Lawyers for the Speedway had until Monday to appeal a federal judge's decision to dismiss their anti-trust lawsuit against NASCAR. Speedway directors said the organization was illegally keeping the track off the lucrative Nextel Cup Circuit. At the time of the lawsuit dismissal, the attorney for the Speedway said he planned to appeal.(wlwt.com)(4-22-2008)
UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway met the deadline to file a “proof” brief in its appeal of a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the track’s antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. Lawyers representing Kentucky Speedway had until Monday to file the paperwork with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. NASCAR and ISC now have until June 25 to file their initial response to the speedway’s brief. Final briefs are due Aug. 11. The sides also filed a joint motion Monday to seal the briefs. That motion is awaiting a ruling.Kentucky Speedway notified the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 that it wanted to challenge U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman’s decision Jan. 7 to dismiss the track’s antitrust suit against NASCAR and ISC.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(4-25-2008)
- Kentucky gets extra month for appeal: Kentucky Speedway has until April 7 to file a brief in its appeal of a federal judge's decision to dismiss the Sparta [KY] track's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway. A motion filed by Speedway lawyers Tuesday to extend the deadline from March 5 was granted Wednesday. NASCAR and ISC will have until May 12 to file its response to the brief. Final briefs are now due June 26. The sides are to participate in a mediation conference with 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals chief mediator Robert Rack at 2 p.m. Monday. The Speedway notified the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 11 it would challenge U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman's decision Jan. 7 to drop the track's antitrust suit against NASCAR and ISC.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(2-22-2008) .
- Kentucky Speedway appeal dates set: Kentucky Speedway has until March 5 to file a brief in its appeal of a federal judge's decision to dismiss the Sparta track's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation. NASCAR and ISC must respond to the speedway's brief by April 7. Kentucky Speedway can then file an optional reply within 14 days. All final briefs are due May 22. Before any of those deadlines, the sides are scheduled to participate in a mediation conference with 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals chief mediator Robert Rack at 2 p.m. on Feb. 25. It is scheduled as a telephone conference, unlike in June when the sides met in Covington for five hours of mediation with a federal judge magistrate. Kentucky Speedway formally notified the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 that it would challenge US District Court Judge William Bertelsman's decision Jan. 7 to dismiss the track's more than 2-year-old antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC. The track sued in July 2005 alleging NASCAR and ISC violated federal laws by restricting which tracks host Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel Cup) races.(Kentucky Enquirer)(2-2-2008)
- Kentucky Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR/ISC dismissed APPEALED: Today on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio at approximately 11:15am/et, SIRIUS host Steve Post reported that the U.S. District Court in Kentucky has dismissed the anti-trust lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR and ISC alleging the two worked together to restrict the Kentucky track from acquiring a NASCAR Cup race. SIRIUS host, Steve post: "Breaking news and to my knowledge you are hearing it first right here on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio. We just have word that the courts in Kentucky, the case Kentucky vs. ISC, have entirely dismissed this case. It looks like the whole thing has been thrown out."
AND A judge has ruled in favor of NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. in an anti-trust lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway's owner. U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertlesman's opinion was issued Monday morning. In it, he ruled that even by granting Kentucky Speedway the benefit of the doubt on all reasonable inferences, the track failed to make a case. Kentucky Speedway alleged that NASCAR, which is privately held by members of the France family and sanctions races, conspired with ISC, which is publicly traded but under majority control by the Frances, to keep track Kentucky from getting Sprint Cup races. NASCAR and ISC had sought a summary judgment from the court before a trail that had been scheduled for March. Kentucky Speedway has the right to appeal Bertlesman's ruling.(Thatsracin)(1-7-2008)
NASCAR Statement: NASCAR is very pleased by the U.S. District Court’s ruling to dismiss this case. It puts an end to any question about which locations and dates NASCAR can operate its races. Like other sports such as the NFL, MLB and the NBA, NASCAR can host its events where it decides is best for the sport and its fans.(NASCAR PR)
Kentucky Speedway Statement: In response to today's decision in the antitrust suit brought by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR and ISC, Stanley Chesley, attorney for Kentucky Speedway stated: "We are disappointed in the Court's decision, both for ourselves, for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and for all those fans who have been hurt by what we believe are NASCAR's and ISC's anticompetitive actions toward Kentucky Speedway. We are convinced that there are serious issue of both fact and law, and we intend to appeal."(Kentucky Speedway PR)(1-8-2008)
UPDATE: The Kentucky Speedway formally notified the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday that it will challenge a federal judge’s decision to dismiss its antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. “We’re moving forward,” Stan Chesley, the speedway’s lead lawyer, said Friday. “We wanted to move on that appeal as quickly as we could.” U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman on Monday ruled in favor of NASCAR and ISC by dismissing the lawsuit filed by the Kentucky Speedway more than two years ago. NASCAR and ISC filed a joint motion for summary judgment last summer and on Nov. 19 the opposing sides presented arguments before Bertelsman in U.S. District Court in Covington. The track sued in July 2005, alleging NASCAR and ISC violated federal laws by restricting which tracks host Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel Cup) races. In an amended complaint filed last year, the speedway said it wanted to develop “objective factors” for the awarding of Cup races; for the France family to give up control of either ISC (a public company that operates tracks and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the Frances) or NASCAR (a private company owned by the Frances); and for ISC to sell at least eight of the 12 tracks it owns that host Cup events. It also sought more than $200-million in damages.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(1-12-2008)
- Judge recommends NASCAR, Kentucky Speedway settle lawsuit: A federal judge said attorneys for NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation and Kentucky Speedway should consider returning to the bargaining table. U.S. District Court judge William Bertelsman said Monday an expected monthlong trial, followed by several years of appeals, could be avoided if the two sides continue mediation. NASCAR and ISC attorneys asked Bertelsman for a summary judgment Monday, arguing the speedway has insufficient evidence to prove NASCAR and ISC worked together with other tracks to keep the Kentucky track from acquiring a NASCAR Nextel Cup race. Bertelsman said he won't rule on the motion until January at the earliest. A March 4, 2008 trial date already has been set. "If you want to, now would be a good time to return to mediation," Bertelsman said. The two sides met for five hours in June with no success, and Bertelsman said it was his understanding neither side wants to settle. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said it was "premature" to say whether NASCAR and ISC would be willing to return to mediation. Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley, a co-counsel for the track, said track officials are "always willing to sit down and talk." In the lawsuit, the speedway alleges NASCAR conspired to leave the Sparta, Ky., track and some other tracks out of the coveted Nextel Cup schedule despite their superior amenities. The speedway is asking ISC be ordered to sell at least eight of the 12 tracks it owns that host Nextel Cup races and that the Kentucky speedway be awarded in excess of $200 million in damages. The speedway's goal is to "destroy an anticompetitive regime," said track co-counsel Stephen Susman. He said that because NASCAR and ISC work so closely together -- the two companies are both controlled by the France family and share the same offices in Daytona Beach, Fla. -- that a jury could "reasonably divine" that the two companies have worked together to deny independent track races the chance to host a race. The 1.5-mile tri-oval in northern Kentucky opened in 2000 and is host to several events each year, including a Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series race, as well as an Indy Racing League event. David Boies, lead attorney for NASCAR and ISC, argued that if NASCAR was intent on shutting out the speedway, it would not allow the speedway to host NASCAR-sponsored events. "It's inconsistent with their logic," Boies said. "NASCAR wouldn't support the track if it was trying to drive Kentucky out of business."(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-20-2007)
- NASCAR, ISC and Kentucky Speedway hearing Monday: NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and Kentucky Speedway head to court Monday afternoon for a hearing on whether the race track's antitrust lawsuit should go to trial. Each side will get 45 minutes to present their case in front of U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman in Covington, Ky., during the summary judgment hearing. The summary judgment motion, which asks the judge to rule in favor of NASCAR and ISC before the case goes to trial, already has been filed under seal. It is typical for defendants in such litigation to file summary judgment requests. The judge is not expected to rule Monday. Kentucky Speedway claims that NASCAR and ISC illegally conspire to keep non-ISC tracks from getting Nextel Cup races. NASCAR is a privately owned sanctioning body owned by the France family while ISC is a publicly traded track operator whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family. ISC and NASCAR deny the claims. Kentucky Speedway is asking for the France family to sell its interest in either NASCAR or ISC, for ISC to sell eight of its tracks and for NASCAR to create objective factors for the awarding of Cup dates. The trial is scheduled to begin March 4.(SceneDaily.com)(11-18-2007)
- Hearing Scheduled on NASCAR-Kentucky Speedway Lawsuit: The day after the 2007 Nextel Cup champion is decided, NASCAR attorneys are scheduled to be in a courthouse trying to convince a judge that Kentucky Speedway's anti-trust lawsuit has no merit. U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman has scheduled a 1 p.m. hearing for Nov. 19 in Covington, Ky., to hear a variety of motions in the case, including a motion for summary judgment filed by NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. That motion, which asks the judge to rule in favor of NASCAR and ISC before the case goes to trial, already has been filed under seal.(SceneDaily.com)(10-19-2007)
- Kentucky Speedway explored sale to ISC: Before it sued NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. in 2005 for allegedly monopolizing big-time racing, Kentucky Speedway apparently discussed a possible sale of its track. But ISC was only interested if it could buy it on the cheap, according to a sworn statement filed last week by Jerry Carroll, the track's chairman and developer. Carroll could not be reached for comment. The allegation is included in a confidential 2002 memo Carroll sent to Kentucky Speedway partners and referenced in the court record. Carroll said in the sworn statement the memo is consistent with his recollection of the meeting, at which Lesa France Kennedy, now ISC's president, said "ISC would only purchase Kentucky Speedway if it were a 'steal.'" In its amended complaint filed earlier this year, the speedway said Kennedy and other ISC officials visited the track several times from 1999 through 2004 to assess a possible purchase.(Cincinnati Business Journal)(10-13-2007)
- Sanctioning bodies wary of Kentucky lawsuit: An association of U.S.-based racing sanctioning bodies is asking to get involved in the Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. The Automobile Competition Committee for the United States has asked to file a legal brief in support of NASCAR and ISC because the case involves how sanctioning bodies determine the tracks that get races. The association is made up of NASCAR, the Indy Racing League, the International Motor Sports Association, the National Hot Rod Association, Champ Car, the United States Auto Club, the Sports Car Club of America and the France-family controlled Grand American Road Racing Association. Kentucky Speedway has asked for the France family to sell off either its sanctioning body NASCAR (which it owns as a private company) or track-operator ISC (which it owns the majority of voting publicly-traded stock). It also has asked for NASCAR to develop objective factors to determine which tracks get races. NASCAR and ISC deny the speedway's claims that they conspire to keep non-ISC tracks, such as Kentucky Speedway, from obtaining Nextel Cup races. Because NASCAR has a point system that requires drivers to compete in all Cup events, Kentucky Speedway argues that it cannot hold a stock-car race that could attract top NASCAR talent. Kentucky Speedway has asked the court to deny the organization from being allowed to file a legal brief in support of NASCAR and ISC. It argues that because the lawyers and firms representing ACCUS have done work for ISC and NASCAR, that the filing is just a way for NASCAR and ISC to go beyond the court-ordered limits on the number of pages it can use to make its argument. The case is scheduled to go to trial in March in U.S. District Court in Covington, Ky. NASCAR and ISC have filed a motion (which has been sealed) for summary judgment. A hearing date has not been set.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2007)
- Kentucky Speedway, NASCAR heading to mediation: UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway is heading to mediation Friday in its antitrust case against NASCAR, but lawyers weren't saying whether the two sides are any closer to a settlement that could potentially land the Sparta track a Nextel Cup race. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Wehrman has set a "settlement conference" for 10:00am/et Friday in Covington, according to the court clerk's office. Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley, who is representing the speedway in the $400 million antitrust lawsuit, said it was hard to know how long the mediation proceedings will last or whether it would spark any movement in the negotiations. "The fact we're going to mediate doesn't mean it's going to get settled," Chesley said. "We'll either settle it, or try it in March." NASCAR officials didn't immediately respond for requests for comment Wednesday.(AP/Kentucky.com)(6-28-2007)
UPDATE:: Kentucky Speedway owner Jerry Carroll had a long-anticipated meeting with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation officials Friday. But the lawsuit between them wasn't resolved, so Kentucky Speedway's case against NASCAR and ISC remains headed toward a March 2008 court date. The two sides met for a total of five hours of mediation with a federal judge magistrate at the United States District Courthouse in Covington. The meeting ended without a settlement. For the Speedway, which is alleging anti-trust violations on the part of NASCAR and ISC, it was an encouraging sign that key figures, such as NASCAR president Mike Helton, ISC president and NASCAR board member Lesa France Kennedy and ISC chief executive officer and NASCAR board member James France were present. No other mediations are scheduled, but Speedway lawyer Steve Susman said another session could arise between now and the March court date if the judge rules on pending legal matters involved in the case.(Cincinnai Enquirer)(6-30-2007)
- Speedy Trial? not! Kentucky Speedway vs. NASCAR March 2008: The Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR is set to go to trial March 4, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Covington, Ky. The trial will conclude no later than April 4, 2008, according to an order issued Wednesday from U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman.(SceneDaily.com)(6-1-2007)
- NASCAR questions benefits of a Cup race at Kentucky: NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. formally denied most of the allegations in Kentucky Speedway's antitrust lawsuit when each filed responses Friday to the track's revised complaint. Kentucky Speedway alleges that the France family-owned NASCAR conspires with the publicly traded ISC (which has the majority of its voting stock owned by the France family) to keep non-ISC tracks from getting Nextel Cup events. In separate filings in U.S. District Court in Kentucky, NASCAR and ISC claim the companies have not violated antitrust laws. Although they operate as two separate entities, among the defenses NASCAR and ISC use is the established legal theory that two companies with common ownership cannot conspire to violate antitrust laws. NASCAR also challenges Kentucky's assertion that a Nextel Cup race at Kentucky would have a short-term economic benefit to NASCAR. In its filing, ISC almost comically challenges a Kentucky Speedway assertion, when discussing the ability of the track to host a Cup date, that the track is "also immediately accessible via helicopter." To that statement, ISC responds: "ISC admits ... that, to some extent, depending upon weather conditions, the entire planet, including the Kentucky Speedway, is 'immediately accessible via helicopter.'" Both NASCAR and ISC indicated they plan to move for summary judgment, where the companies will ask the judge to throw out the case before going to trial.(SceneDaily.com)(5-5-2007)
- Ketucky Speedway revises lawsuit: Kentucky Speedway no longer is demanding a Nextel Cup race in its federal lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. In an amended complaint filed Friday, the speedway now says it wants NASCAR to develop "objective factors" for the awarding of Nextel Cup races, the France family to give up control of either ISC (a public company that operates tracks and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the Frances) or NASCAR (a private company owned by the Frances) and for ISC to sell at least eight of the 12 tracks it owns that host Nextel Cup events. The 41-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Covington, also reveals some of the speedway's attempts to bring NASCAR's top racing series to Gallatin County. The speedway filed suit in July 2005 alleging NASCAR and ISC violated antitrust laws by restricting which tracks host Nextel Cup races and trying to "monopolize the market for hosting premium stock car racing events." In the original complaint, the speedway asked for Nextel Cup races to be awarded through a competitive bidding process. The complaint details some specific attempts by the speedway to secure a spot on the Nextel schedule. According to the new complaint, the track offered New Hampshire International Speedway owner Bob Bahre $360 million to buy the facility that holds two Cup races annually. NASCAR and ISC have denied the allegations contained in the original complaint. A NASCAR official could not be reached for comment Monday. Some parts of the amended complaint filed Friday were not made public after NASCAR successfully asked the judge to withhold "highly confidential" information.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(4-24-2007)
- Kentucky Speedway wants Frances to sell either NASCAR or ISC: Kentucky Speedway has backed away from its demand that a jury award a Nextel Cup race to its track as part of its antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. But the track is demanding that NASCAR change the way it does business in a revised complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. The track is asking that NASCAR develop objective factors to award Nextel Cup races, as well as asking the France family to sell off either ISC or NASCAR. It also asks that ISC divest itself of eight of its 12 tracks that operate a Cup race. Kentucky Speedway seeks damages in excess of $200 million. Among the other allegations in the revised complaint:
- NASCAR awarded a Nextel Cup date to Las Vegas in 1997 (for a 1998 race) because it expected that the owners at the time would sell to ISC. Instead the owners sold to ISC rival Speedway Motorsports Inc.
- NASCAR and ISC attempted to induce Kentucky Speedway owners to sell at an "artificially-low" price in order to drive it from the market and/or allow ISC to take over the track.
- It quotes SMI Chairman Bruton Smith on ISC's track portfolio: "If you make a good business decision, there's some of those places you would maybe go plant tobacco or grow peaches, but some of them should not exist today in the climate we're in." ISC's portfolio includes Daytona, Talladega, Michigan, California, Watkins Glen, Chicagoland, Kansas, Homestead, Darlington, Phoenix, Richmond and Martinsville.
- NASCAR implicitly threatened New Hampshire International Speedway with the loss of its track dates should New Hampshire sell a race to Kentucky Speedway. Kentucky offered New Hampshire owner Bob Bahre $360 million cash for his track. "The only reason why New Hampshire did not sell to Kentucky Speedway was because of the pressure exerted by ISC and NASCAR to exclude Kentucky Speedway from the market," the complaint states. It also alleges that NASCAR and ISC induced Pocono and Dover not to sell to Kentucky.
- ISC and NASCAR encouraged Kentucky Speedway to buy Martinsville in 2003 and 2004, and owner Clay Campbell expressed interest in selling to Kentucky in spring 2003. ISC eventually bought Martinsville as part of the settlement of another antitrust lawsuit in 2004. (SceneDaily.com).(4-21-2007)
- Kentucky Speedway lawyers question NASCAR ownership: As part of their federal anti-trust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., Kentucky Speedway lawyers are apparently raising questions about the exact ownership of NASCAR. The track is asserting that Chairman and CEO Brian France owns no stock in the sanctioning body, something France has declined to comment on in the past. A memorandum says his sister, Lesa France Kennedy, and uncle, Jim France, own a majority.(see full story at SceneDaily.com)(4-4-2007)
- Group wants NASCAR to sever ties with Kentucky Speedway: Union organizers crisscrossed the state line Thursday getting signatures on a petition that seeks to keep the status quo with regard to the assignment of NASCAR race dates. The group wants NASCAR to sever its ties with Kentucky Speedway and uniform company Cintas. Volunteers told fans who turned out along Bristol’s State Street for Family Race Night that a lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR could force the race-sanctioning body to take race dates away from smaller tracks. The Kentucky track, owned in part by Cintas Chairman Richard Farmer, accuses NASCAR of antitrust violations because of the way the organization assigns race dates to tracks. The speedway in Sparta, Ky., opened in 2000 but has been unable to secure a Nextel Cup race date. If the lawsuit succeeds, tracks would have to compete for race dates, and the highest bidders would get the races, petition organizers said. The volunteers working the crowd didn’t tell those who signed the petition that the textile and hotel workers’ union Unite-Here! backed the petition drive. The union has a long-running dispute with Cintas over efforts to unionize Cintas’s work force. The union accuses Cintas of using intimidation to quash any moves toward unionization. Chris Rook, the organizer of the petition volunteers, said Unite-Here! would be interested in Kentucky Speedway’s lawsuit even if the track weren’t connected to Cintas. The union has collected 25,000 signatures at tracks across the country, and volunteers seemed to have little trouble attracting interest on State Street.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-25-2006)
- Kentucky Speedway wants all tracks' records: In trying to prove that NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. illegally work together to keep Nextel Cup events at ISC tracks, Kentucky Speedway is asking for lots of sensitive financial and business records. That was to be expected as far as NASCAR and ISC were concerned. But now virtually every track that has a national NASCAR race will be asked to give up its records, too. Kentucky Speedway has asked a U.S. District Court judge in Kentucky to allow it to serve subpoenas to request information from companies that are not parties in the lawsuit. Those parties include Speedway Motorsports Inc., Dover Motorsports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, the Milwaukee Mile and New Hampshire International Speedway. Among the documents Kentucky will ask from SMI, which has 11 Nextel Cup events at its tracks, will be for all documents and depositions from the Ferko v. NASCAR anti-trust case that was settled out of court in 2004. Ferko was an SMI shareholder. The proposed subpoena - filed as an exhibit to the motion to allow Kentucky to subpoena companies that aren't parties to the case - also asks for SMI to produce sanctioning agreements, ticket sales information, advertising revenue, safety records and documents relating to any attempt to purchase another racetrack. The subpoenas have not been served, and it is expected that once they are served, the tracks will challenge how much information they will have to provide. Disagreements and arguments over the production of documents are typical in cases such as this. Kentucky Speedway alleges that ISC and NASCAR work together to keep non-ISC tracks from obtaining Nextel Cup events and is asking for it to be awarded a Cup date as well as having a standard set for the allocation of Cup dates. NASCAR is a private company owned by the France family. ISC, which promotes many NASCAR-sanctioned races including 20 of the 38 Cup events, is a public company in which a majority of stock is owned by the France family. NASCAR and ISC deny Kentucky Speedway's claims. The case won't go to trial until at least summer 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(5-5-2006)
- Judge rejects appeal in Kentucky Speedway lawsuit: U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman rejected International Speedway Corporation's request for an immediate appeal on his decision to keep Kentucky Speedway's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC in Kentucky. ISC wanted permission to immediately appeal the issue to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Bertelsman, in an opinion issued Monday, denied that request.(SceneDaily.com)(3-15-2006)
- Judge refuses to dismiss Kentucky Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR: A federal judge ordered Friday that Kentucky Speedway can move ahead with its $400 million antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR. In a 17-page opinion, Eastern District Judge William Bertelsman rejected NASCAR's motions to dismiss the case. He also refused a request by International Speedway Corp., which owns several NASCAR tracks, to be dropped from the lawsuit. The case alleges NASCAR conspired with ISC to decide which tracks should be host to coveted Nextel Cup races. Kentucky Speedway, based in Sparta about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati, was left out, despite superior amenities to many of the sites. Despite Bertelsman's ruling, it could be a year or longer before the case gets to trial. He set a deadline of Feb. 1, 2007, to finish "discovery" _ the process of pretrial fact gathering, including interviewing witnesses.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-27-2006)
- NASCAR asks judge to dismiss suit by Kentucky Speedway: NASCAR asked a federal judge Thursday to throw out Kentucky Speedway's $400 million antitrust lawsuit, arguing the track's true intention wasn't to beat an alleged monopoly but join it.
The case, being heard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, alleges auto racing's governing body conspired with International Speedway on which tracks should be host to coveted Nextel Cup races. Kentucky Speedway, located in Sparta about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati, was left out. Judge William Bertelsman said he would act soon on NASCAR's motion to dismiss the case. He pointed out that another antitrust case he dismissed two weeks ago was a "simpler situation than this." Lawyers for Kentucky Speedway, a track not even six years old, argue in the suit that if it were allowed to compete, it would have been one of the tracks to have a Nextel Cup race. They cite safety features, state-of-the-art amenities and a colossal fan base allowing for larger purses to winning drivers.
Still, it was left off because NASCAR claimed there was no room on the 36-race Cup schedule. Of the 22 tracks that do have the races, ISC owns or controls 12 of them. But NASCAR's attorney said the speedway had no standing to sue because its goal was not to assure competition -- as antitrust law guarantees -- but to essentially become part of the monopoly the track says it wants to bring down.
"These are people who are trying to get the benefits of the very antitrust, anticompetitive conduct they're attacking," said NASCAR attorney Stuart Singer. Kentucky Speedway's lawyers said that wasn't true. If successful at landing a Nextel race, they said, the speedway could be in a position to join forces with other tracks to eventually compete directly with NASCAR for top stock car racing events in the future.
Jerry Carroll, the leader of the $152 million track's ownership group, attended the court hearing, which lasted about two and a half hours, but declined to comment afterward. Also Thursday, International Speedway Corporation argued it shouldn't be part of the case at all because it doesn't do business in Kentucky. "They're NASCAR's rules," said ISC lawyer Jack Donson. "They're not International Speedway Corporation's rules. There is zero necessity for NASCAR to conspire to adopt those rules." But Kentucky Speedway's lawyers pointed out ISC does conduct business over the Internet and produced an online sales receipt that originated in Kentucky on Thursday morning. ISC is just as responsible for diminished competition as NASCAR, they said. "These guys --ISC -- were going in and buying these dog tracks that were losers, that had no Nextel race, and low and behold, they got the Nextel race," said Kentucky Speedway attorney Stephen Susman. The date for the next court appearance hasn't been set.(Yahoo Sports/AP)(1-13-2006)
- Kentucky Speedway vs ISC trial stays in Kentucky: The Kentucky Speedway has won the first victory in its multi-million-dollar lawsuit against NASCAR. U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman denied NASCAR's request to move the case to Florida, where NASCAR is headquartered. Instead, the case will be heard where it was filed, in U.S. District Court in Covington. "There exists a strong public interest in having this controversy adjudicated locally," Bertelsman wrote in the eight-page order. "Particularly, the court concludes that the great public interest in having this dispute decided locally tips the balance in favor of retaining the case." Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley, who leads a team representing the speedway that includes anti-trust expert Steve Sussman of Houston and Mark Guilfoyle of Edgewood, said he was "very pleased" with the ruling. "It's a very thorough opinion, one that is certainly supported by the law, and we're looking forward to moving on in the case," Chesley said. Bertelsman scheduled the next hearing for Jan. 12. At that hearing NASCAR will ask the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. "(Bertelsman's) decision is unfortunate but relatively minor," said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston. "More importantly, NASCAR will be ready to make the case for dismissal on Jan. 12." NASCAR lawyers had argued that the case should be moved closer to its Daytona, Fla., headquarters where witnesses, records and other information are located. Bertelsman didn't buy that argument. "The convenience of parties and witnesses is a wash," Bertelsman said in his ruling. "Witnesses are in Florida, Kentucky and all around the country." NASCAR also had argued that information contained in contracts it has signed with the speedway, where NASCAR does run truck and Busch series races but not Nextel Cup, stipulate that the case should be moved to Florida. Bertelsman concluded there are more compelling reasons to keep the case in Covington than contract clauses. "Apparently, a Nextel race is the World Series or Super Bowl of that sport," he said. "Many members of the local community are fans who have a great interest in having such a race occur locally."(Cincinnati Enquirer)(12-15-2005)
- Judge hears arguments in Kentucky Speedway's lawsuit against NASCAR: A federal judge should decide soon whether to transfer Kentucky Speedway's $400 million antitrust case against NASCAR to a Florida federal court. U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman heard arguments from both sides on Wednesday on NASCAR's motion to transfer the case. NASCAR argues that the Gallatin County racetrack agreed as part of its contract with NASCAR to litigate all disputes in Florida courts. The Kentucky Speedway, however, argues that the consequences of NASCAR's alleged antitrust activity directly affect the Kentucky Speedway and the commonwealth of Kentucky. The case should remain in the Eastern District of Kentucky, it says. Kentucky Speedway sued NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. in July, alleging the company kept the Kentucky track from getting a lucrative Nextel Cup race. The speedway is asking for $400 million in damages and wants Nascar to establish a competitive bidding process for Nextel Cup events. Lawyers for ISC argue that the Speedway is too young and inexperienced to promote a Nextel Cup race. The allegations against ISC are "thinly concealed expressions of bitterness against a more successful promoter" that has been in the business of promoting NASCAR-sanctioned stock car races since 1953, the ISC's motion to dismiss said.(Lexington Herald Leader)(12-1-2005)
- NASCAR wants Kentucky Speedway lawsuit dismissed: NASCAR wants a federal judge to dismiss a $400 million lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway, calling the action "a study in contradictions and irony." The lawsuit seeks to force NASCAR to award the track a Nextel Cup race. In a separate filing, another defendant, International Speedway Corp., asked U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman to dismiss the case, move it to a federal court in Florida and to schedule a hearing in which oral arguments can be presented. The filings were made Monday in Covington [KY]. Kentucky Speedway filed suit July 13 against NASCAR and ISC, both of which are controlled by the France family, alleging the companies have violated federal antitrust laws by illegally restricting the awarding of Nextel Cup races. The speedway, located in Sparta in Gallatin County, currently has NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck series races on its schedule. It's one of several tracks that have unsuccessfully sought a race in the elite Cup series. The suit also alleges antitrust violations relating to various restraints of trade involving the Busch and Craftsman Truck events. NASCAR sanctions and oversees its racing series, while ISC owns or controls 12 of the 22 tracks on which the Cup cars currently race. NASCAR did not include a date at Kentucky Speedway on its recently released Cup schedule for 2006. In their filings, NASCAR and ISC deny the antitrust allegations and use pointed language to criticize the speedway.
ISC's filing calls the speedway's allegations "thinly concealed expressions of bitterness against a more successful promoter." ISC contrasted its 52 years of experience in promoting races to that of the 5-year-old speedway, which ISC says "is led by a group with no experience" promoting top NASCAR races. ISC also emphasized its claim that it is a separate company from NASCAR. NASCAR said "that Kentucky Speedway's real complaint is that it has not been awarded a Nextel Cup race so as to participate further in the success of NASCAR." It compared the speedway's complaint to a horse racing track trying to bid to host one of the three legs of that sport's Triple Crown. NASCAR contends that 11 contracts that the speedway signed between October 1999 and July 2005, for the running of Busch and Craftsman Truck races, contained a clause that specified that any lawsuit regarding the speedway's NASCAR-sanctioned races would be brought in Florida.
Stan Chesley of Cincinnati, Kentucky Speedway's lawyer, said Tuesday he was "dismayed" that NASCAR and ISC "believe that a federal district court in ... Kentucky would not be qualified to be fair and independent and render justice." Chesley said that the contract clauses mentioned in the NASCAR filings don't apply in this case because it is an antitrust lawsuit. NASCAR said the speedway did have a chance to reject the contracts offered by the sanctioning body because the speedway "obviously was not required to host" the Busch and Craftsman Truck series races. "And to the extent it had strong economic incentives to [host], its situation was one completely of its own making," according to the filing.(ESPN.com/AP)(9-14-2005)
- France: Kentucky a 'tired lawsuit': NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France has classified Kentucky Motor Speedway's legal attempt to secure a Nextel Cup Series race as a "tired lawsuit," not a copy of the action that led to a second date at Texas Motor Speedway. The management of Kentucky Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval in Sparta, Ky., filed a federal lawsuit last month claiming NASCAR illegally has conspired to award Cup races to tracks operated by sister company International Speedway Corp. "It's a tired lawsuit -- 'I didn't get what I think I wanted,'" France said Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the site of today's 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. "But we never, ever said that Sparta, Ky., was a market we thought was important. We actually said, 'Don't plan on a Nextel Cup race, ever, at this stage. If you're building it for IRL [Indy Racing League], maybe Busch or [Craftsman] Truck or whatever else, that's great.' And we did that. It's a tired lawsuit [and] we will prevail on this." NASCAR settled a federal lawsuit filed by Speedway Motorsports Inc. shareholder Francis Ferko on behalf of TMS out of court in May 2004, with a "promised" second Cup race in Fort Worth as part of the deal.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-7-2005)
- ISC to buy Kentucky? Kentucky Speedway's lawsuit against International Speedway Corp. could lead eventually to a possible sale of the $150-million Cincinnati-area track to the ISC, according to some knowledgeable figures in the NASCAR garage. The track, which seats 66,000, has sold out Busch series races since it opened in 2000. However, the location of the track - in a rural setting 45 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, and just a little over two hours from Indianapolis Motor Speedway - works against it.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2005)
- Kentucky Speedway files suit against ISC: Kentucky Speedway, LLC filed suit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC), alleging that these defendants have violated federal antitrust laws in that they have illegally restricted the award of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, and have illegally awarded NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races to the International Speedway Corporation. Kentucky Speedway, LLC also alleges antitrust violations relating to various restraints of trade involving the NASCAR Busch Series races and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. The lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Covington, Kentucky. Attorneys representing Kentucky Speedway, LLC include Cincinnati, Ohio attorney Stanley Chesley of Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley and Houston, Texas attorney Steve Susman of Susman Godfrey.
“We have alleged that NASCAR and ISC have violated the federal antitrust laws,” said Stan Chesley. “In my opinion, the facts clearly support a conclusion that NASCAR and ISC have colluded to exclude competition in order to financially benefit themselves. By doing so, they have harmed not only Kentucky Speedway but also all stock car racing fans nationwide. Stock car racing is the most popular spectator sport in the United States and we intend to do our best to see that fair play and fair racing is re-established.”
“NASCAR and ISC’s activities have harmed race fans in Ohio and Kentucky,” stated Steve Susman. “NASCAR’s treatment of Kentucky Speedway makes the most egregious tactics of drivers fighting for position on the track look like a Sunday afternoon drive in the country.(Kentucky Speedway site, see an FAQ page there), smart move waiting to file the lawsuit after the Busch and Truck Series races have raced there and are done at the rack for 2005.(7-13-2005)
MORE: NASCAR and ISC officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. Last month, Bill France Jr., now retired after decades as NASCAR's president, told The Associated Press he's tired of hearing Kentucky Speedway president Jerry Carroll campaign for a Cup race. "You've got the guy whining over there who was told years ago when he built the place there wasn't a Cup race in his future," France said. "Yet he's down there crying wolf. I guess that's what life is. That's the America we all know and love."(Kentucky.com) and columns covering the same as mentioned in the Press Release: Cincinatti Enquirer and the Courier-Journal.(7-14-2005)