The Frontstretch: Kansas Casino Proves That, Yes, Virginia, There Is A NASCAR Monopoly by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday October 2, 2008

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Kansas Casino Proves That, Yes, Virginia, There Is A NASCAR Monopoly

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday October 2, 2008


Imagine, if you will, that I am extremely rich. I have enough money to fund the bailout of the bank crisis several times over (not that I would bail them out — they deserve no sympathy for their own stupidity). Instead, I embark on a little lavish stupidity of my own; I build a race track!

Now, the track that I wind up building is the best that ever was. It’s not too long, not too short, and the banking has been precisely calculated to produce the best possible racing in the corners. It’s got a wide, safe pit road, and the surface is so finely tuned that even a Goodyear racing tire could be used without the fear of it coming apart within just a few laps. The oval seats about 200,000 people, and it’s guaranteed to sell out every single time the gates are open. Every driver, from all forms of motorsports, loves to race there, agreeing that no other track in America is its equal. Heck, the place is so exceptional, it is even rumored that on clear, still nights, ghosts of racers past can be seen driving wispy images of cars from other eras upon it. It is known, simply, as the “Mother of all race tracks.”

However, there is just one problem: I want a NASCAR date. Do you think I can get one? The answer, sadly, is “NO.” Why?

Because I am not a member of the France Family.

Instead, my petition for a race date has been awarded to the low-banked, 1.5-mile, lackluster track known as Kansas Speedway, which already had enough dates to begin with (one). The reason for the snub is because Kansas Speedway is owned and operated by that dreaded entity known as ISC. And ISC, while it is a publicly traded company, is controlled by the France family — with Lesa France Kennedy at the helm. Who are the people doling out the race dates for ISC? Well, that would be a private company, NASCAR, with Lesa’s brother, Brian France, as the CEO.

Works out pretty conveniently for them, don’t you think?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you decide to look at it) most of the stuff that I have written above is not true. I am not extremely rich and, in fact, don’t have enough money to bail myself out of the local hoosegow when the need occasionally arises. The part about ISC and NASCAR, however, is sadly a fact of life.

ISC and NASCAR have said all along that they do not create a monopoly when it comes to stock car racing. While technically, that may be true, the reality of it all is that they do. I ask you to consider (and answer truthfully to yourself) a few questions…

  • How come other tracks that are not owned by ISC and are known to produce better racing and attendance have virtually no chance at being awarded a second (or first) date unless they actually buy an ISC track and take the date — or sue the two companies in court to get what they want?
  • When ISC recently attempted to build two new tracks (failed attempts, I must happily add) at opposite ends of the country, how could they be assured they would be awarded a race date by NASCAR if it were not a monopoly?
  • Why are extremely lame tracks, such as California, awarded two dates when everyone from the drivers to the fans are against it… and they can’t even sell out once a year?
  • Why is Kansas Speedway getting another date when the racing there is, to say the least, a bit on the boring side?

The reason(s) here are plain and simple: The France family’s insatiable greed. They have, however, changed their tactics a bit in the face of increasing public scrutiny. Since their attempts to build new tracks with hefty doses of taxpayer dollars were defeated by, well, the taxpayers, the Frances have decided that if they can’t build race tracks, they will build casinos instead.

Kansas Entertainment, a marriage of Kansas Speedway (ISC) and another firm from Baltimore, has agreed to build a Casino that overlooks one of the turns of Kansas Speedway. The cost? Just a second race date… courtesy of NASCAR!

To be more accurate, the state of Kansas will own the casino — but it will be built and managed by another entity known as Kansas Entertainment, the marriage of Kansas Speedway (ISC) and another firm from Baltimore. With plans to construct the casino so that it overlooks one of the turns of the speedway, the company hopes it’ll be a beautiful addition completed within the next two years. Two also happens to equal the number of other entities vying for the privilege of building on this property — both of which were denied the opportunity.

Now, it is time for another question. What do you think was the deciding factor for the state of Kansas in awarding the casino to Kansas Entertainment?

Why, a second NASCAR race date, of course!

But how can Kansas Entertainment be so sure that NASCAR would award them a second date? Oh, that’s right! Brother Brian is the guy with the dates! No wonder ISC President Lesa was so confident. What is even more disgusting is the unadulterated glee that can be heard in Brother Brian’s voice… even when you are not there to hear it, but are reading it instead.

“With all the development and all the things going on, I think it’s great if there’s an opportunity to have a second date, and it looks like there will be,” said France.

When asked, as a member of the board, how he would vote on the matter of a second date…

“That’s a yes. That’s a very definite yes,” France said. “Obviously, that has to be petitioned by the speedway and ISC, and I assume they will do that at some point.”

Gee, ya really think so? ISC won’t have to sue NASCAR to get a second date for Kansas Speedway? Who’d have thunk it!?

Integrity of the sport and quality of racing for you, the fan, be damned. Pull up that chair and put your money down! You might be a winner. The France Family sure is.

Stay off the wall (and bet within your means),

Jeff Meyer

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10/02/2008 07:15 AM

I’ve said it before I’ll say it again:

NA$CAR really stands for:

All we
About is


M.B. Voelker
10/02/2008 08:09 AM

Your perfect racetrack there is Kentucky, right?

Kentucky is just another cookie-cutter, 1.5 mile, moderately-banked, tri-oval just like all the other cookie-cutter, 1.5 mile, moderately-banked, tri-ovals.

Another race on that type of track is the last thing Nascar needs.

Nascar doesn’t really need another race at Kansas either.

What Nascar needs is to strip some dates away from those cookie-cutter, 1.5 mile, moderately-banked, tri-ovals and award those dates to some good short tracks because that’s where the good racing is.

Maybe even encourage those who are building new or reconfiguring to duplicate Dover or Richmond too.

Annie Mack
10/02/2008 09:00 AM

Nascar is the epitome of everything that is wrong with Wall Street. Nothing would make me happier than to see Brian France and the rest of his band of thieves go down in a cloud of brake dust. He can’t escape the economy, none of us can. Hey Brian France, The Field of Dreams was a movie; if you build it, they may NOT come.

Kevin in SoCal
10/02/2008 12:21 PM

Why are extremely lame tracks, such as California, awarded two dates when everyone from the drivers to the fans are against it… and they can’t even sell out once a year?

Bullpucky, Jeff. California sold out its one date just fine, every year. And California Speedway did not ask for a second date, either. It was thrust upon them by NASCAR in an attempt to capitalize on the Los Angeles market. Nobody had a problem with this track until it was given the Labor Day date and a sacriledge was performed with the death of the Southern 500. Now its a scapegoat for all that is evil with NASCAR and its date-awarding process.

I’d gladly give back one of CA’s dates to keep Martinsville from losing a date. Or to give a date to Iowa, or Kansas, or Las Vegas, or Kentucky. Or Darlington and Rockingham, too. But California Speedway deserves one date, the same as every other NASCAR track in this country.

10/02/2008 12:35 PM

I couldn’t agree with you more about the insatiable greed of NA$CAR. Knowing that, other than the Poker Room, (where you don’t play against the house.)

I would want to risk my money in a casino in which NA$CAR had an interest, WHY?

My next question would be with Dover, (already having gambling) excitedly waving it’s hand saying, “buy me, buy me. Why hasn’t ISC done so?

10/02/2008 12:42 PM

BTW – Dover’s gambling consist of slot machines…. been there – done that.

And…. there’s the old Golden Rule – He who has the Gold (ISC) makes the Rules (NA$CAR)….. it’s simple France economics.

10/02/2008 12:59 PM

Iowa should get a race date. 7/8 mile, progressive banking, it’s perfect!

Karen T.
10/02/2008 02:40 PM

If Las Vegas Motorspeedway doesn’t get a second date before Kansas (Bruton Smith’s been waiting years for a second date) he ought to start another lawsuit – MONOPOLY!!!!!
What a joke the France family are….

10/02/2008 03:10 PM

Hey guess what. We the taxpayers are giving tax breaks to Track Owners under the “Bail out” bill.

What a joke, we get no break with our Mortgage, and now we pay for part of their track by not only ticket prices but now our taxes.

We are suckers.

10/02/2008 03:53 PM

Bruton ought to start another seris

Jeff Meyer
10/02/2008 05:08 PM

MB! Long time no hear from! Welcome back!

I don’t remember even using the name Kentucky in my article! Nope, never mentioned it once or even hinted it was my ‘perfect’ track.

But I did miss ya!


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.