FORT WORTH, Texas - Apart from confirming he has paid $340 million in cash to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway, Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith said little else that can be considered firm on Friday.
"I have no plans to move anything," Smith said at a news conference confirming the purchase, held at Texas Motor Speedway. But, virtually with the same breath, he also said, "I've had it for less than a week, so all of our plans are not in place."
Smith deflected questions about whether his purchase of the track from Bob and Gary Bahre means that he will, as soon as 2009, move one of the New Hampshire dates to the SMI track in Las Vegas.
But Smith has repeatedly said he wants a second Cup date in Las Vegas, and under NASCAR's "realignment" doctrine the easiest way to make that happen would be to move a date there from another track in his portfolio.
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When the deal for what will be called New Hampshire Motor Speedway closes in the first quarter of 2008, SMI will add that to Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, Texas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
"Don't be nervous," Smith said when asked if fans in New England should be anxious about the future of the 1-mile track in Loudon, N.H. "Our goal will be to make it better."
Smith pointed to expansions and renovations at Bristol and Las Vegas when asked about what he might do to his newest property. But when Smith bought tracks in North Wilkesboro and Rockingham in North Carolina, he moved Cup races to other tracks and those tracks eventually shut down.
Smith recently sold the Rockingham track, but as part of the deal announced Friday he is now the full owner of the North Wilkesboro track. Bob Bahre had owned 50 percent of that defunct facility.
"I offered to give it to Bob for Christmas," Smith joked, speaking of North Wilkesboro. "He said, 'Go to hell.' "
Smith also said the New Hampshire deal has no bearing on a pending decision about whether to relocate Lowe's Motor Speedway away from Concord. Smith has said he is considering such a move after a dispute with Concord over his plans to build a drag strip on the property at the track's current location.