FORT WORTH, Texas - Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports Chairman and owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway, has completed a deal to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway from owner Bob Bahre.
A formal announcement of the purchase is expected during a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday's Dickies 500 and one of six tracks Smith currently owns.
On Friday, Smith is expected to announce only the purchase of the track in Loudon, N.H., and not speculate on any plans to move either of its two Nextel Cup Series race dates, multiple sources said.
Smith has previously stated his desire to add a second Cup date to his track in Las Vegas. He also has expressed interest in an earlier date for his second Texas race to avoid a conflict with the opening of white-tail deer hunting season.
This Cup season, New Hampshire hosted races in June and September. The September race at New Hampshire has opened the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup since the format's inception in 2004.
The 2008 schedule has already been set by NASCAR. NASCAR vice president Steve O'Donnell said Thursday any changes to the schedule would likely need to occur in 2009.
"This year's schedule is already announced. We will entertain realignment conversations for 2009 and beyond as long as they meet with our long-term objectives," O'Donnell said.
NASCAR has generally approved realignment of races between tracks owned by the same entity. For instance, as part of a lawsuit settlement Smith purchased North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., in 2004. He then closed the track and moved its Cup date to Texas beginning with the 2005 season.
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage on Thursday declined to comment on whether he knew if the New Hampshire track was for sale or if Smith and Bahre had been discussing a sale.
"Any speedway that is for sale, we are interested in buying," he added.
Smith has been in a battle over the past month with city officials in Concord, N.C., over his plans to build a drag strip near Lowe's Motor Speedway. In the aftermath, Smith has claimed interest in finding a new home for his Charlotte-area track.
John Cox, head of the Cabarrus County Economic Development Corp., said Thursday he did not think Smith's involvement in the N.H. track would have any impact on his decision of what to do with the Concord track.
"He's got multiple pots (of money) to pull from ... He's got a lot of resources."
Smith told the Observer last month there was a 90 percent chance he would move the track out of Concord.
But Cox, who met with Smith this week along with about 11 other local leaders, says he now feels the odds are 50-50. "Bruton likes positive and friendly, that's very important to him," Cox said. "And I'm being positive and friendly to him."
Other EDC officials were in Las Vegas visiting Smith's drag strip and speedway there, Cox said.
The Charlotte Observer's Adam Bell contributed to this report.