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Race fans may soon roll through Owen

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By Brian Blair

Is the Sprint Cup coming to Kentucky?

According to several media outlets, a news conference has been set at the track for Tuesday. It’s believed that the announcement will include a date for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race for 2011.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith will be on hand as well as Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and the three-time NASCAR champion, Darrell Waltrip. Smith has told several in the media that it is a major announcement, but would not go as far as admitting it will include a date for a Sprint Cup race.

While Smith would not confirm anything, an Associated Press source told Yahoo Sports on Sunday that the track would be hosting a race next season. According to the report, the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the race would be held early in July.

Visitors to the Kentucky Speedway website are greeted with a message that says, “Big News Coming.”

The track currently hosts the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

If a race does come to Kentucky next season, it is unclear whether NASCAR will assign a date for the Speedway or if Smith will move a race from one of the other tracks he owns. Regardless, it is believed if a date is announced it will mean several changes for the track including the addition of as many as 50,000 seats.

The decision to bring NASCAR to Sparta could have an economic effect on Owen County with potentially thousands of racing fans coming through the county from southern locations.

The Speedway’s next big weekend will happen Labor Day weekend when the track will host the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sept. 3 and the IZOD Indycar Series Sept. 4.