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NASCAR expected to schedule Kansas Speedway's races in June and October

The two NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at Kansas Speedway apparently will be in June and October of 2011.

Lesa France Kennedy, chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation, will appear at Kansas Speedway on Tuesday morning to make it official that the track will have two Sprint Cup weekends for the first time since it opened in 2001.

The June date for Kansas Speedway is part of a domino effect resulting from changes to other tracks owned by ISC, Chicagoland Speedway and Auto Club Speedway of California.

NASCAR confirmed Monday that Chicagoland Speedway will open the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sept. 18, replacing Auto Club Speedway among the 10 Chase tracks.

Chicagoland has had a race in July since its first race in 2001. Since the Chase started in 2004, New Hampshire has opened the Chase.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, said no other Chase venues will change, meaning Kansas will maintain its October date, most likely as the fourth race in the Chase, following Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover, Del.

Auto Club Speedway -- which had sold out its Sprint Cup races each year from 1997 to 2003 when it had only one event but struggled to fill seats twice a year -- will maintain its February date.

"What we’ve done is ultimately give each track the best opportunity to succeed,” O’Donnell said at a news conference in Chicago. “California we think has a much better date for them, kind of back to their traditional date they used to have in the California marketplace that worked well for them.”

Kennedy, who was a driving force in the design and construction of Kansas Speedway, will be joined by Lt. Governor Troy Findley, United Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon and Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren at Tuesday's announcement in Kansas City.

Kennedy, chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation, owner of Kansas Speedway, petitioned NASCAR’s board of directors for a second date if the state of Kansas approved the Hollywood Casino that is now under construction at the track.

One question yet to be determined is what effect a June NASCAR weekend will have on the Indy Racing League weekend at Kansas Speedway. This year's IndyCar Series race was held on May 1, but it's doubtful the speedway will schedule a Sprint Cup and IRL weekend so close together.

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