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No NASCAR at Kentucky Speedway, Track to Evolve Into Multi-Use Facility

A troubling announcement from NASCAR has Kentucky Speedway rethinking its operations, and Northern Kentucky business and tourism officials concerned.

NASCAR announced this week that it would not include the Sparta track on its 2021 schedule.

Kentucky Speedway hosted its first NASCAR event in 2011 and hosted multiple events in recent years. 

"The past two decades have been filled with memorable moments that will last a lifetime. Your dedication and passion is what motivated us to do our best every day," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark Simendinger said in an announcement posted to the track's website.

Simendinger stated that the Kentucky Speedway would evolve into a multi-use facility, and that the track would keep the public updated on what that means.

The Speedway has been an economic driver for Gallatin County, and just last year, ground was broken on a new airport in Sparta. The airport was expected to serve business interests in the corridor between Cincinnati and Louisville.

“The Kentucky Speedway has had a tremendous impact on our economy over the years and is a great amenity for talent attraction and retention," Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Brent Cooper said in a statement. "As the NKY Chamber President, I cannot tell you how sad I was to hear this news. Not only was the announcement bad for everyone at our Speedway, this is also another blow to our hotels, bars, restaurants, retail businesses, etc., at a time when they’ve already been beaten up pretty badly.

“Having a Nascar race in our back yard, with the state of Kentucky’s logo appearing on national television as the cars roared by over and over, was terrific marketing for the Commonwealth. I hope Nascar will find a way to bring it back.”

The Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau (meetNKY) painted a dire picture of the impact of this week's Speedway announcement.

“The entire tourism industry in Northern Kentucky is disappointed in NASCAR’s decision to eliminate the July Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway," said John Ellison, chairman of the meetNKY board. "This had become a signature event for the state of Kentucky and the Cincinnati region that brought in many race fans from all over the country to enjoy, not only the best of stock car racing in a world class facility, but also all of the gems that make this region unique like our growing bourbon industry and special attractions like the Ark Encounter, Newport Aquarium and Cincinnati Zoo. This loss will have a big impact on the region’s hotels, attractions, restaurants and CVG International Airport.”

This story may be updated.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo via Kentucky Speedway