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It's official: Kansas Speedway gets second NASCAR Sprint Cup race

Gentlemen, mark your calendars.

Kansas Speedway and International Speedway Corporation announced today that NASCAR has approved ISC’s request for a second Sprint Cup weekend at Kansas Speedway.

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend will be held June 4-5 and the second weekend will be the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Oct. 8-9.

This will be the first time two Sprint Cup weekends will be run at Kansas Speedway since the facility opened in 2001. Lesa France Kennedy, chief executive officer of ISC, made a formal announcement today at the track.

Kennedy pledged to petition NASCAR's board of directors for a second date if the state of Kansas approved the Hollywood Casino project that is now under construction above turn 2 at the track.

The additional race weekend is expected to have an economic impact of $100 million, plus the “several hundred” million dollars in economic impact the casino will provide when it opens in 2012, speedway officials said.

"The Kansas City region is an important one for the NASCAR racing teams and marketing partners, and the Hollywood Casino project will make Kansas Speedway two of the most anticipated stops on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule,” said Kennedy, who was a driving force in the planning and design of Kansas Speedway.

ISC also has approved lights for Kansas Speedway, but both Sprint Cup weekends in 2011 will be day races. The spring weekend likely will include the NASCAR Camping World Trucks series as the companion to the Cup race; the fall weekend will include a Nationwide Series race.

Still to be addressed is whether Kansas Speedway's schedule will allow room for the Indy Racing League. The IndyCar Series has run at Kansas Speedway in late April or early May since 2007 after competing on fourth of July weekend during 2001-2006.

Having the lights in place, however, opens the way for the Indy Racing League to come to Kansas Speedway during late July or August for a night race.

“It’s easier to get night racing if we have lights,” said Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren.

Kansas Speedway ticketholders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the new June race. Tickets for the 2011 events will go on sale after Kansas Speedway’s 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend in October, and they will be separate buys, so fans can buy both weekends or just one.

“This is an exciting announcement for Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas, and the state of Kansas,” said Warren. “Our fan support for the past 10 years has been tremendous and as a result of that support and the new Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, we are fortunate enough to gain an additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race starting in 2011."

The complete 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

The 2010 weekend will include the Kansas Lottery 150 ARCA Racing Series on Thursday, Sept. 30. Fans can bring a non-winning Kansas Lottery ticket for free admission. Fans 18 and under are free.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 2, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods will be on Oct. 3. Tickets are available for that race package.

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