Kansas Speedway's 36-degree banked concrete turns provide some of NASCAR's most exciting action in the friendly confines of a half-mile layout.
Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports, Inc., purchased "The World's Fastest Half-Mile" in 1996 and launched a massive expansion program to increase seating, parking, traffic flow lanes and fan comfort.
When it opened originally, Bristol was a perfect half-mile with 22-degree banking. But the track was reconfigured after the 1969 purchase to measure .533-mile and bankings were increased to 36 degrees.
Mountains literally moved to make Bristol's hills and valleys more "fan friendly," and make it possible to increase seating from 71,000 to its 1999 capacity of approximately 135,000.
The expanded seating represents 100,000 additional seats from Bristol's original total when it opened in 1961. Jack Smith gets credit for the first victory that year, though Johnny Allen was driving in relief of Smith and actually crossed the finish line first.
Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip is Bristol's all-time winningest driver. The Tennessee resident has been to Bristol's Victory Lane 12 times, including a NASCAR record seven times in a row.
Bristol has become a favorite for fans and teams alike, prompting the present expansion to accommodate everyone who wants to see the show.
DEVELOPERS NIX HOTEL, CASINO NEAR SPEEDWAY
December 11, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Kans. - The odds of a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Kansas Speedway just got longer - thanks to the worsening economy.
Only hours before the project was set to receive final approval from the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, casino partners International Speedway Corp. and the Baltimore-based Cordish Co. said it had become “prudent and necessary” to withdraw their application. The deal called for them to build and manage a state-owned casino complex that had been estimated at $705 million.
The Hard Rock partnership, Kansas Entertainment LLC, said it remained interested in building a casino at the speedway in Kansas City, Kan., but not as originally proposed. It intends to submit a new application for a phased project after the state, as expected, restarts the selection process and reopens bidding. (Kansas City Star)
KC SPEEDWAY SEEKS TO ADD CASINO
April 2, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Kans. - The president of Kansas Speedway, Jeff Boerger, got the jump on the competition for a casino in Wyandotte County.
Boerger drove to Topeka in the speedway's new 2009 show car - two days before the state's deadline - and hand-delivered to Kansas Lottery offices a resubmitted bid for a $700 million entertainment project featuring a Hard Rock Casino overlooking Turn 2 at Kansas Speedway.
Last September, Kansas Entertainment LLC - the partnership between Kansas Speedway and the Baltimore-based Cordish Co. - was selected over two competing bids for the casino management contract for Wyandotte County.
But in December, only hours before the project was to receive final approval from the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, Kansas Entertainment withdrew the application because of the downturn in the economy.
Also, the language in the previous proposal did not allow the other components of the project, including a first-class hotel, a spa, a convention center and an entertainment and retail district, to be phased in.
This time, the $390 million casino, which will include 100,000 square feet of gambling as well as a bar and dining and entertainment options, will be built first. The rest will come later.
Another difference in the bid is the promise to pursue a second NASCAR Sprint Cup race and commitment to build a road course inside the infield of the track for Grand-Am Road Racing events. A year ago, they were added at a meeting in front of the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, one of several steps in the process to gaining approval.
Kansas Entertainment will have 90 days to negotiate a contract with the Kansas Lottery and secure an endorsement from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. If all goes well, Boerger anticipates hearing a decision by the end of September or early October - around the time of the Oct. 2-4 NASCAR weekend at Kansas Speedway - and he said the casino could be "up and running by the fourth quarter of 2010."
Kansas Entertainment has also committed as part of its proposal to donate an additional 1 percent of its gambling revenues to the Unified Government for use in charitable and civic causes.
This is in addition to the taxes to be paid to the state and local governments. (Kansas City Star)