07-14-2005, 12:51 PM
Joe Oliver love-child
Join Date: Jan 2005
Re: Kentucky Speedway sues NASCAR
Here is the Lexington paper's account of the proceedings. Apparently, there is a precedent (TX) in NASCAR having to issue a settlement...
Kentucky Speedway sues NASCAR
Track wants Nextel Cup race
By Beth Musgrave And Alicia Wincze
HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITERS
The Kentucky Speedway is suing NASCAR and the International Speedway Corp., alleging the companies violated antitrust laws and kept the Kentucky track from getting a lucrative Nextel Cup race.
"In my opinion, the facts clearly support a conclusion that NASCAR and ISC have colluded to exclude competition in order to financially benefit themselves," Stanley Chesley, a Cincinnati-based lawyer representing Kentucky Speedway, said in a written statement. "By doing so, they have harmed not only Kentucky Speedway but also all stock-car racing fans nationwide."
The lawsuit -- filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Covington -- alleges NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are both controlled by members of the France family -- whose patriarch, Bill France, started NASCAR in the 1950s. Members of the France family are on both NASCAR and ISC boards.
NASCAR also owns 10 percent of ISC stock. Tracks affiliated with ISC host 20 of 38 Nextel Cup series events. Since 1999, NASCAR has created only three additional Nextel Cup series races, all on ISC-owned tracks in Florida, Illinois and Kansas, the lawsuit says.
Two tracks in development in New York and on the West Coast are ISC-owned and have been guaranteed Nextel Cup races, the lawsuit says.
The Kentucky Speedway, a $150 million-plus track, opened in 2000 in Sparta in Gallatin County. It hosts two NASCAR-sanctioned races, one in the Craftsman Truck Series and one in the Busch Series. But neither series draws the fans, revenue and marquee drivers of a Nextel Cup race.
The Kentucky Speedway is asking for $400 million in damages and wants NASCAR to establish a competitive bidding process for Nextel Cup events.
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."
The Kentucky Speedway referred all questions to Chesley. On its Web site, it posted a list of answers to questions about the lawsuit.
Carroll told the Herald-Leader in June that he was frustrated with the powers-that-be at NASCAR. Carroll said the time for "trying" to get a Nextel Cup race is done; "now is the time for doing."
The Kentucky Speedway lawsuit is at least the second antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR.
The Texas Motor Speedway settled a similar lawsuit against NASCAR in May 2004. The Fort Worth-area racetrack alleged NASCAR had promised the track a second Nextel Cup race and NASCAR and ISC violated antitrust laws.
As part of the settlement, the Texas track's parent company -- Speedway Motorsports -- purchased North Carolina Speedway from ISC. North Carolina was removed from the Nextel Cup schedule, and Texas Motor Speedway got its second date.
The case was settled before a federal judge could rule on the antitrust claims.
Samuel A. Cherry Jr., an Alabama lawyer who represented the shareholder who originated the Texas lawsuit, said that from a legal standpoint, the antitrust claim against NASCAR and ISC might be difficult to prove.
"It's going to be an extremely difficult undertaking in Kentucky," Cherry said. "I'm very familiar with the Kentucky track. It's a beautiful track, and it's regrettable that they don't have a Cup date."
NASCAR has presented a fairly compelling business reason why bidding for Nextel Cup races would create a chaotic season for fans and drivers alike, Cherry said.
"The race facilities have to be confident that the money they spend on improving their facilities will pay off in the future," Cherry said. NASCAR's fan base knows the Nextel Cup series schedule and plans vacations and weekend excursions accordingly, he said.
"Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY
Last edited by Blimpie; 07-14-2005 at 12:53 PM.