Developers Drop Proposal For NASCAR Track

Monday, April 2nd 2007, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) Sponsors of a $368 million NASCAR race track proposal for Washington State abandoned their efforts Monday after encountering stiff opposition from local officials and resistance at the state Legislature.

Great Western Sports, a subsidiary of International Speedway Corp., announced the decision to drop the plan for the motorsports venue in Kitsap County, across Puget Sound from the Seattle metropolitan area.

ISC spokesman Lenny Santiago said his group hasn't taken Washington state completely off the table, but could not see a way to proceed this year.

"We still think Washington state is a significant opportunity for our company," Santiago said.

Developers had touted the racetrack as a $4 billion boon to the state's economy, including thousands of jobs. But legislation to help finance the track has gone nowhere.

Great Western President Grant Lynch said in a statement that too many changes were being proposed.

"These additional changes to the legislation were unacceptable and would have had a significant negative impact on our financial model for the speedway development," he said. "Therefore, we have decided to no longer pursue the speedway development at the current location."

The company's proposal had called for taxpayers to pay for about half of the facility, with ISC contributing $180 million. The company had said it would pay for any cost overruns. The state share would have been paid through bonds.

Lynch said the region has legions of staunch motorsports fans and added, "As a company, we still believe the Northwest represents a significant opportunity for a speedway development and we remain interested in the region."

The NASCAR proposal and a proposal by the NBA Seattle SuperSonics to build a $500 million multipurpose arena in the south Seattle suburb of Renton, with state assistance, have been met coolly by most lawmakers this session.

Former NASCAR stars Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip and current driver Greg Biffle came to Olympia in February to try and sway skeptical lawmakers.