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Appeal keeping Kentucky from date

CONCORD, N.C. -- The chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. isn't nearly as optimistic as he was a month ago that Kentucky Motor Speedway will get a Sprint Cup date in 2010.

Bruton Smith said Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway that the former track owners won't drop an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR. The governing body has said that has to happen before it will move a Cup race there.

"I've tried every way in the world, talking to them, talking to them, to get them to drop that appeal," Smith said. "NASCAR doesn't want to sanction an event there until that appeal has gone away. I have tried everything in order to get that done. I tried to actually shame them into it.

"They have a moral obligation, I believe, because the state of Kentucky spent $96 million on putting that speedway there."

Richard Duchossios, one of the former co-owners, told The Associated Press on Thursday he didn't know why Smith has decided to go public with his "moral obligation" claim.

"I'm not going to be bullied," Duchossios said.

Smith purchased the track last year for $78.3 million with the promise to move a Cup date there. He said last month he was optimistic the suit would be dropped to make that happen.

The former owners filed the suit in 2005, claiming that NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation had an unfair monopoly over the sport. The case was dismissed, but is on appeal. A court date is set for July to settle the appeal.

NASCAR chairman Brian France said last week that the 2010 schedule is close to being set. Smith isn't sure the governing body will wait for the appeal to be heard before finalizing it.

If NASCAR waits Smith said he would move one of his existing dates from another track to Kentucky. It has been speculated that date will be Atlanta, which has struggled to sell out its two Cup dates for several years.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.