NASCAR has been working to spread the schedule and the circuit far from the southern stronghold it long enjoyed. Where the Carolinas hosted eight Cup races plus The Winston all-star race in 1993, there are only four this year while Kansas, Illinois, Nevada and Texas, among others, joined the mix.
The big hurdle is Kentucky Speedway's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR. The track claims the France family, which owns NASCAR and controls SMI rival International Speedway Corporation, is a monopoly, awarding dates when it benefits the family and with little other consideration, such as whether a track is worthy or not.
The only new tracks that received dates in the last decade were ISC-owned tracks in Chicago and Kansas. Smith obtained the Texas date from buying half of North Wilkesboro and bought Las Vegas after it already had its Cup race.
A federal judge has already thrown the suit out and dismissed it, but businessman Jerry Carroll said Saturday he isn't giving up.
"It's the only option we have," said Carroll, who is part of the track's ownership group. "We still believe we have a very good lawsuit. We've added some good lawyers."
The Kentucky purchase isn't a done deal, which hangs on whether Smith can get a Cup race for the track. Smith said this week the lawsuit needs to go away in order to grease the necessary wheels.
Smith has won other lawsuits and battles on behalf of his tracks, including a suit filed by a shareholder that resulted in Rockingham closing and Texas getting a second race. Last year, he stood up to the Concord, N.C. city council about his proposed drag strip adjacent to Lowe's Motor Speedway and walked away with $80 million in incentives and the highway in front of the track named in his honor.
This battle is Carroll's, not Smith's, and Carroll is pushing onward.
Carroll was right when he said Smith was the man to get a Cup race for Kentucky, and agreed to the sale to get a Cup race in Kenutcky.
Carroll and his lawsuit haven't accomplished the feat and likely haven't won any fans within NASCAR's dictatorship.
But the lawsuit needs to go away if Kentucky's racing fans are to enjoy a home state Cup race at all. That call rests with Carroll and his group.