CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith has set 2010 as his new target date to get a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.
Smith announced last week that SMI had agreed to purchase the 1.5-mile track and intended to have a Cup date by next season. NASCAR officials said it was too late in the 2009 scheduling process to make that happen.
While SMI's deal gives it an out if a Cup date isn't acquired, Smith has no plans to exercise that option.
"I am obligated to do that," he said of getting a Cup date. "I will bring a Cup date to that place. It's a fabulous market. Our sport needs to be there. NASCAR has a point [about it being late]. But we're right there on getting this done."
Asked what he thought of NASCAR chairman Brian France saying the market is well served without a Cup date," Wheeler said, "Ignore it. Cause it's not true. Sometimes words are spoken in haste."
Smith continues to search for a way to add not only a Cup date for Kentucky but a second Cup date for Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He declined to speculate on reports that Pocono Speedway is not for sale.
He said an appeal by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation also needs to be settled.
"I have nothing to do with that lawsuit," he said. "Their people, they entered an appeal. We'd like to see that go away, The quicker the better."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.