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Kansas Speedway Chases Casino, 2nd Cup Race

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, March 30 2009

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

RacinToday.com

 

kspeedway150Kansas City, Kan. – Kansas Speedway’s drive to land a second Sprint Cup date will restart today when track president Jeff Boerger officially submits a bid for construction of a casino and hotel project at his facility.

 

The new bid will be very similar to one submitted to the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board last year. The bid calls for the construction of a $700-million-plus Hard Rock casino-hotel-entertainment district in turn two at the speedway.

 

If the state accepts the bid by the speedway and its partner in the project, the Cordish Co., Boerger and track-owner International Speedway Corp., will petition NASCAR for a second Cup date.

 

NASCAR chairman Brian France said last year that if the casino is built, he would be inclined to grant Kansas Speedway a second yearly Cup race.

 

If the speedway partnership’s bid is accepted, Boerger said a road course will be constructed in the infield of the speedway and that the Grand-American sports car series will be petitioned for a Kansas race.

 

The speedway partnership submitted a bid to the state last year and in September, the lottery board voted to give Boerger’s group the rights to build the casino at the Wyandotte County track.

 

However, after the economy began falter and the equity markets began to dry up, Boerger’s group went back to the lottery board and asked if the project could be phased in, starting with the casino and then adding the hotel and shopping district at a later time. They were told that the original bid did not allow for that and that the best way to secure approval for a phased-in project would be to resubmit the bid.

 

This afternoon, that will be done. Boerger will drive the bid to the Kansas state capitol in Topeka in a track show car and hand the bid over to state officials.

 

If the bid is accepted, Boerger said his group would be prepared to start construction  immediately on the $390-million casino portion of the project.

 

“We want to emphasize that we are back in the game,” Boerger said. “We are shovel ready. We could break ground today.”

 

Boerger said he hopes that a decision on the bid will be made by the end of September.  If granted the right to build, he said that construction of the Hard Rock casino would be completed by the fourth quarter of 2010.

 

That means a second Cup race could be headed Kansas Speedway’s way as soon as the 2011 season.

 

Last year, there were four bids which the lottery board considered before voting for the speedway.

 

Boerger said he expects competition in the bidding process this time around, too.

 

But, “We’re very optimistic” about having the bid accepted, Boerger said, “with everything we’re bringing to the table.”

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, March 30 2009
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